One of the experiences we have missed so much over the past year is Shoppers of the Week. At Rachel Keeling the children are very much part of the running of the school: helping to set up and tidy up. We listen to the children's opinions and value their voice.
Part of this work is involving them in the shopping needed for the running our school. Children helped to write lists, checking with staff any shopping that is needed for the week ahead.
This week we are using stories to cook: The Gingerbread Man and Handa's Surprise.
We needed some ingredients today to make fruit salad so the children helped to write the list: drawing the things we needed and attempting to mark make some sounds.
Next they went to Pam in the office to collect the money, which the children counted out and put into their purses. They walked to Mark's fruit stall on the market square, sharing talk on the way. Mark helped the children find what they needed, using their lists.
Children were confident to speak and hand over the money, counting the coins out. They packed the fruit into their school backpacks and carried it back to school. The children returned to school and Pam asked them to fill out an invoice and sign their names for the auditors!
At the moment we are limiting the shopping to the outdoor market but hopefully next term we may be able to return into the local shops too!
As the cold snap arrives, we continue to embrace the garden at Rachel Keeling.
We support children to find ways to keep warm, we observe the changes in the environment and we think about how we can help the wildlife in our garden.
A few weeks ago children harvested potatoes, counting, estimating, tallying and studying them. Last week, children were supported in building a fire together.
They prepared the newspaper, kindling and made sure there was sand and water ready to douse the flames if we needed it.
We always use a flint to light the fire as a safety precaution.
The children sang and chatted happily as the fires took hold. The awe and wonder supported lots of talk and children used vocabulary such as, crackle, smoke, flames, fizz, pop, hiss.
We wrapped the par-boiled potatoes in foil and an adult placed them into the flames to cook. Meanwhile some parsley butter was made using parsley from our garden.
They were shared and enjoyed the potatoes in a little butter.
Later that day children were recounting the fire to some afternoon children: staff will ensure the afternoon children get to experience a campfire in the next week.
In Sunflower base children are fortunate enough to have continuous provision to support expressive art and design. This includes a woodwork area, colour mixing with powder paint and a workshop space to make and create.
Over the past two weeks children have been introduced to sculpting with clay: first they learned to knock it down (this is the process before you use it to get any air bubbles out of it). Then they cut it into smaller pieces and explored it using hands: rolling, pinching, kneading, prodding. Adding water changes the texture again and allows children to create a 'slip' which then can be used to join two pieces of clay.
Some children explored the clay freely using their hands.
Some children were supported to create sculptures: a "friendly snake", an "enchanted forest", some pencils, a Danish Flag, a light and a castle have been created so far. With children sustaining interest in them and returning to enhance their sculptures.
There is plenty more time to explore and work on mini-projects over the next week and a half.
Our new garden has supported lots of sustained learning this week.
Children helped to fill the bird feeders on Monday morning: this resulted in us attracting some new friends. Birds visited and the usual squirrels and then a cheeky mouse appeared to help itself to some food. The children were very interested to observe our new friend!
Then two amphibians arrived (we are not sure whether they are frogs or toads so if you know, do help us!)
Meanwhile the children were supported to harvest some potatoes and apples.
Children helped to pick the apples and dig out the potatoes, having much fun using the wheelbarrow. Then some children estimated the amount they had harvested. Next they counted and tallied them.
Next week we plan to enjoy the harvest: maybe with some baked potatoes around the open fire.