Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Three Little Pigs

 An activity day was organised to explore the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’

We listened to the story during lunch, some of the older ones repeating phrases such as ‘Huff and Puff’ while we encouraged the little ones to try to blow the house down!

We spent some time playing with Play-Doh and the different materials the pigs used to make their houses! 

'E' was able to retell parts of the story remembering the wolf came along to 'Huff and Puff' because he wanted to "eat that piggy"

'H' and 'M' explored sticking the 'building materials' into the dough 'H' saying "oh no!" as the bigger sticks kept falling over. They used some pig and wolf animals to stick into the dough and we looked at the foot prints they made. I used one of the wolfs to re-act parts of the story saying "I'm going to huff and puff and blow your house down!"then we all blew at the buildings and said "gobble gobble gobble" and the wolf ate up a piggy!!

Lastly we made some Pig masks! Mark-making practice on a plate to colour it in pink like a Pig. Then we cut out some eyes and helped put some detailing features on before we all practiced our Piggy snorting!

The older ones obviously understood this quickly and enjoyed colouring in their masks trying to cover up all of the white bits

The younger ones needed a bit of encouragement, but enjoyed taking part in the activities with the older children and lots of snorting and giggling at the end!!

Characteristics of Effective Learning – All children enjoyed listening to the story sitting quietly or joining in with familiar lines. 'H' took his cue from us and the other children to practice blowing the house down, 'M' chose not to take part in this. While sat with Play-Doh the younger children looked around the table to see what the other children were doing and followed their example. They chose different sticks and bricks to stick into the dough, testing which ones stayed stood up and saying ‘oh!’ when the bigger ones fell over.
All the children are familiar with Mark-Making but we were using new paint sticks which the younger ones wanted to scratch at to explore and feel the texture of the paint between their fingers before we then gave them a bit of encouragement to colour in their pig faces

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Duplo Building

'E' pulled out the Duplo blocks today, they have been out for a while but there hadn't been much interest in them until today. After she had tried to force them together a couple of times and announced "I can't do it!" We spoke about how they fit together, I showed her how the lumps need to fit inside the hollow side of another piece. They need to line up square and click together, then she got it and started making some short towers.

A couple of days later the blocks came out again, 'E' has mostly remembered how they go together, I had to remind her just a couple of times to turn one of them over. She announced she wanted to make a really tall tower!
I showed her how to put the bigger pieces at the bottom so it balances better, we made a tower so tall 'E' could hardly reach the top!!

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'E' tried to have a go at first but being a bit tricky she needed a demonstration on how they fit together. After she had learnt how to do it she came up with ideas of what she wanted to do

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Nature Painting

We started the morning talking a walk around the park to collect leaves, sticks and any other natural objects we could find

Throwing some leaves around and watch them flutter to the floor

Picking some good leaves for painting

Beautiful autumn skys

Lets get painting! We demonstrated how to paint one side of a leave and then turn it over to stamp the image on the paper. 'E' picked this up very quickly and made a few good prints!

Mixing some colours together to make autumnal combinations.
'E' also had a go with some sticks, dipping them in the paint and making marks on the paper.

'M' and little 'E' explored the paint and objects with interest. 'M' made some circular prints with acorn caps and 'E' rolled a conker around on the paper leaving painted tracks

Great exploration and she wasn't worried about the mess either!

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'E' joined us after we had done our collecting and just joined in with the painting. She usually enjoys painting greatly but today she wasn't all that interested in the activity and after one quick picture she wanted to go off and play. She understood direction of what we were doing (leave printing) and was able to replicate our demonstration quickly. She extended what had been demonstrated by picking up a stick and dipping it into the paint too.

'M' and Little 'E' explored the paint and objects with interest. Trying different movements with objects and the marks they leave. Little 'E' spent some time running her fingers through the paint, feeling the texture of the paint mixed with some bits of bark.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Small World Play

With me today is little ‘X’. He has been with me for a couple of months now and I am fascinated by his *usually* gentle nature and amazing imagination! While the younger girls were having their morning naps 'X' invited me to play with him; "Perhaps you can come play Dinosaurs?" How can you say no to that?!

He began by pulling out the rocks and stacking them up behind the tray and then placing the dinosaurs behind them telling me "They like rocks to hide behind". He then decided the dinosaurs were in danger from the volcano so started throwing the rocks to knock it over.
"Now that girl dinosaur is saved because it hit it off"

"Now they are tired" he tells me laying them each down "This is his bed, this is his bed"
"And that's the end of the story"

He then changed his mind and continued the story with "The next day...now they are eating plants. T-Rex's don't eat plants"
I asked him "oh what do they eat?"
"They eat meat. Not the Diplodocus, that one eats plants"

'X' then moved on to play with another toy for a short while before coming back and picking up a dinosaur again.
"Is this a T-Rex" he asks me holding up a red dinosaur
I replied (rather sheepishly as dinosaurs is not something I am all that knowledgeable on!) "It could be"
X "It has 3 claws; not a T-Rex"
Me "Oh, how many claws does a T-Rex have then?"
X "two, like that one"  Pointing to a smaller figure

He then resumed his small world play. All the smaller dinosaurs had been placed onto a blue Stickle Brick board earlier in the play. As 'X' was moving them off the blue board he told me "When they were in the water they were very sad because they were hungry but mummy and daddy didn't give them any food because they had been naughty. That's what happens when they are naughty, they get no food and they get their TV broken."

At this point I felt 'Xs' attention and interest was dropping in this play so I asked him if he wanted to have some Play-Doh for a little bit before the girls woke up and we had lunch. He asked if he could bring the dinosaurs too, "Of course! The dinosaurs definitely need to come explore the Play-Doh with us!"

We began by rolling out some Play-Doh and looking at the different foot prints the dinosaurs made
 'X' decided to see "How many can fit on there together" as he placed them around fitting in as many as he could
 This one is eating some of the Play-Doh "He is getting his head right in there Heather!!"
 With some of the smaller ones he then started pushing the whole body in sideways telling me "This Stegosaurus has spikes down it's back"

At this point I got up to start putting lunches together for the hungry girls who would surely be waking up soon! As I was pottering around I heard 'X' begin singing to his toys "Oh dinosaurs, my little dinosaurs"

In this short period we can see 'X' is developing or has secured a number of the Early Years Outcome points:
- Focusing attention - still listen or do, but can shift own attention
- Shows understanding of prepositions such as 'under', 'on top' or 'behind'
- Initiates conversations, attends to and takes account of what others say
- Explains own knowledge and understanding, and asks appropriate questions of others
- Suggests how the story might end
- Uses positional language
- Sings to self and makes up simple songs

- Builds up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences
- Introduces a story line or narrative into their play
- Beginning to be aware of the way stories are structured
- Builds stories around toys

Characteristics of effective learning:

X shows a clear engagement in his play. Showing interest in his Dinosaurs, drawing others in to his play and initiating activities. He is motivated by his own interest, maintaining a high level of focus and interest on his chosen activity. He is playing creatively with his Dinosaurs and then moves on to trying out ideas with the playdough. Thinking critically about how they might all fit on to the dough, making predictions as to how many might fit and changing strategy as needed.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Potions Potions Potions!!

I have been doing a bit of cover for Pip recently, her boys have been sick or shes had a day off. It's a great benefit of living just down the road is that we can offer this additional cover for all our families!! All the kids know both me and Pip so well, it means parents aren't so 'boxed in' if one of us needs a day off!

The new messy play kitchen has been going down so well since it was introduced a few weeks ago and with all these older ones in the house the younger ones have had a major input of imagination!

Lots of different ingredients to be found in the kitchen and all around the garden

Some Army Men added to the mix?!

Great conversations going on all around, talking about what to add, what the potion is for, what it looks or smells like. The leadership skills shown by the older ones was lovely to see. Lots of taking turns and listening to each others opinions!

'W' in particular I noticed was absorbed into this play. Listening and taking his lead from the older children. He followed requests if he was asked to go get some more mud or another scoop of water or pull leaves from the hedge for "ingredients" Since this day (08-05-2014) 'W' has been transferring and expanding his play:

12-05-2014 Practicing what he has learnt in a different environment where different ingredients are available

16-05-2014 Back at home expanding his knowledge and passing it on to younger children, making 'Hot Chocolate' and "Potions that will turn you into a dog!" This time it was 'W' directing the play and asking the younger children to go get him ingredients!

05-06-2014 As I had more after schoolers join, the kitchen play evolved into more role play, making dinner for baby and although he was reluctant to play the role of 'mum' 'W' was often the one in the kitchen making tea or stirring stew for dinner.

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'W' began this journey by watching older children and then just having a go at it himself. He has experimented with different ingredients such as mud, grass and herbs, vegetables, tea bags and anything else often coming to ask me if I have any ingredients he could use. This experimental play rapidly became more thought out and took a place in his imaginative world. He thought creatively how he could use the kitchen area, although in their play he took the role of a child not 'mum or dad' he did a lot of cooking in the kitchen area.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

More of Baby 'M's Moving!!

Since my last post about Baby 'M's movement here she has made some fantastic progress!!!

I find it fascinating the change in attitude babies have, as soon as they realise they are beginning to move the sheer determination to get themselves around is incredible and so developments are fast!!

Here are my most recent observation of 'M'

29-04-14 'M's crawling is coming along. She can now manage about 4 paces before she falls to the floor. Then will then commando crawl, wriggle, sit up and shuffle to get herself about! However the most impressive thing today was she managed to pull herself up!! Just for a moment before bumping back to the floor.

06-05-14 'M' is crawling!! She is still a bit wobbly at times; we have had a couple of bumps today as she stumbled. Her bum sometimes drops down towards the floor, (almost a Yoga move!) she has a little rest then is up and off again. Occasionally she changes to more of a crab crawl; using the foot of one leg, and the knee of the other leg but it gets her around great!! She has been continuing to attempt pulling herself up on furniture, not always successfully but the interest is there!

07-05-14 'M' attempted climbing up some steps today! It took a couple of attempts but she got up there. I did have to catch her as she went to sit up and would have toppled straight back off the step!

13-05-14 'M' is puling herself up everywhere! Using furniture or me! She is not able to stay standing for long, bumping back down to the ground. Her crawling is getting faster too, often choosing the use the more crab like crawling technique rather than on her hands and knees

All this development in such a short space of time, well done little 'M'!!

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'M' has shown much determination and perseverance in her developing movement. She has kept on trying after receiving little bumps and bruises or even getting stuck, determined to keep going to get what she wants! How she is choosing to crawl in a more 'crab like' fashion is not the most common approach but she has decided it works for her.

Next Steps
- Offer toys on a variety of levels encouraging 'M' to pull herself up and reach.
- Strategically place objects around the home to encourage a bit of cruising!
- Hold 'M's hands to 'walk' her along. Help to build more leg muscle for those first steps.
- Encourage her to climb up small steps and explore different levels
- Visit a soft play center where 'M' can climb and explore with freedom but with less risk of injury