The garden is open!
We are so happy the garden has reopened and it is exciting to see the children accessing some wonderful outdoor space. There are some new and challenging learning opportunities out there. Children need to learn to assess and take risks so they have an awareness of danger and can keep themselves safe: negotiating space and challenging climbing are essential developmental learning blocks which help with brain development.
Please come outside when you drop your child off and see how the garden is used.
There is a full risk benefit analysis on the website.
In the meantime, I think the photographs do all the talking.
Thank you for your wonderful comments: this work was a massive undertaking and means Rachel Keeling has one of the most exciting outdoor school environments in Tower Hamlets.
As part of our Black History Month celebrations we have been cooking with some dishes using ingredients from the Caribbean and some traditional Somali Kimis (Sabaayad.)
Judy and some children looked at the globe, They looked at where London is.
Judy explained her family are from St Vincent in the Caribbean. She shared some vegetables she bought from the market. Children investigated yams, plantain, cinnamon and sweet potatoes.
They handled them and talked about where they came from.
Then children were supported to prepare them, peeling, chopping and washing them - the sweet potatoes proved to be hard work.
The plantains were fried and shared by the children.
The sweet potatoes were grated and the children worked together, following a recipe to make sweet potato cookies. These were baked and shared (and as you can see in the photographs, enjoyed!)
This morning, children worked with Shamso to make Somali Kimis.
Children worked in a small group to talk about the recipe (which was in Shamso's head.)
They explored the ingredients, mixed them and then used tools to roll the kimis out before frying them.
Again, they were enjoyed by many children and staff alike.
This week Shamso also cooked some traditional Somali food for staff. She is raising money for a family who need help with flooding in Somalia. Staff donated money to the cause.
Despite our delayed garden works, the team are ensuring exciting learning continues outdoors.
Children have been enjoying mark making, making and sharing hot chocolate with their friends, creating dens, making new friends by playing small group ring games, climbing and running, imaginative games and of course watching the final touches of the garden works.
We hope the whole garden will be open for children to enjoy from Monday 18 October.
We will have a week of exploration and new routines, so children can test themselves on the challenging climbing, learn the rules of playing safely in the sand and negotiate the new larger space.
Children have been supported in exploring music and movement over the past few weeks. Listening to and creating rhythms and sounds using xylophones, djembe drums and the piano.
They have further developed this learning but creating a stage and responding to a range of music, with scarves and fabric.
Then we had a problem, it was so popular, we ran out of fabric!
Children were supported to think and find a solution: they made their own dancing rainbow sticks.
How wonderful they can now continue the dancing at home with their families.
At Rachel Keeling we understand the effectiveness of working closely with our families to support the wellbeing and learning of our children.
Special Books, where learning is documented are a fabulous way to link up what happens at school and at home. Children regularly take them home and can add to them with families and share what they have been involved in at school.
A lovely experience that has helped children settle and form relationships has been making playdough to take home.
Children work in pairs with an adult supporting, with the help of a visual recipe to create scented, coloured playdough to share and use at home. The pride and joy in children's and parents and carer's faces is wonderful to see as they leave proudly carrying their batch.
Doing this experience in such a small group is so effective in establishing warm, reciprocal relationships, talk, sustaining attention and in introducing new children to one another.
The children are so patient waiting for their turn to come and relishing it when it does.
What a joy it is to see our children leaving carrying their playdough batch proudly.
Some of the photographs above show children making banana pancakes to share in school too!
When your batch runs out, please make another batch together using the recipe the children brought home!