Today at Rachel Keeling we were joined by Cathy Gunning, Pedagogic Lead at Early Education. Cathy enjoyed touring the nursery, meeting children and staff and seeing the wonderful range of learning that has been going on over the past few weeks. We were struck by the sustained learning: whether mastering two wheeler bicycles, making circuits, creating books, cooking with independence or creating woodwork models. Cathy was lucky enough to be with us on the day when a group of children put their finishing touches to a collaborative sculpture they have been supported in creating. The journey began three weeks ago with children exploring clay, pinching, twisting, rolling and hammering. Children were then supported in looking at images as stimulus and created their own sculptures which they talked about, creating stories and illustrations. Finally this week a group have collaboratively worked, talking, listening, problem solving, reflecting on and embellishing a large piece of art. They created a thing of beauty and returned to paint it once the clay was dry. We are waiting to name it and children thought it should cost from £4 to £24 to £60 to £100 to buy. We feel it is priceless!
Cathy will be blogging about what she saw today at Rachel Keeling at www.early-education.org.uk
At Rachel Keeling we work with groups of children over a period of time. The starting point is always careful observation and listening to the children. As the cold weather hit us this week, the children in the garden were thinking about the birds who visit our garden. We looked at books and used the internet to identify different birds we have seen in the park and our garden and learned about how we can help feed them, particularly during these colder months. Children sustained concentration, problem solving, collaborating and supporting each other to take down the empty bird feeders and went shopping to buy more seeds to fill them up.
This has now lead to a new project where a group of children have begin researching bird feeders and are designing and making their own. This exciting proves of research, thinking, sharing, doing and evaluating will continue next week (with photographs to follow).
With a predicted cold snap on the horizon we are happy our children have developed such high levels of independence when it comes to preparing hot drinks. Children have been involved in a range of ways of preparing hot chocolate: using chocolate melted over the fire and using powdered cocoa in the microwave. Children and staff researched methods, tried them out and wrote up the recipe and instructions. Many children are now able to read the instructions and follow them to carefully measure and count spoonfuls, pour the milk, negotiate turn taking, stir the mixture and operate the microwave to warm the milk. During cold spells the hot chocolate has been most welcome to aid us keeping warm. Huddled around with our drinks conversation flows and it is a wonderful opportunity to share talk, thoughts and ideas.
Needless to say, all children are very independent in washing up their cups after they have enjoyed their drinks, seeing the whole process through.