At Rachel Keeling we are lucky to have a mature garden which, with the help of our gardener and staff and children, produces a range of fruit and vegetables for the children to share and enjoy. Across the whole year, children are supported to plant, tend to and harvest a wide range of food. The past two weeks have seen the raspberries come to fruition. Children now independently will collect colanders, wash their hands and go in search of the ripest raspberry harvest. They know to wash the fruit before sharing them at the snack table or in the garden.
With oral health and childhood obesity being on the national and local agenda, it is heartening to see large groups of children choosing healthy snacks and developing an understanding of where they come from.
We know at Rachel Keeling that process led learning is a very effective way for children to learn. Our children are all unique and so are their learning journeys and Special Books. Children will experience different things at Rachel Keeling but they will all experience the same high quality experience.
Children have been supported in developing and understanding of the life cycle of butterflies recently. When our tiny caterpillars were delivered, children carefully potted them and ensured they had air, moisture and food to eat as well as a safe place to be. Each day children observed and recorded what was happening to the caterpillars: through talk, drawings, mark making, writing and sharing. They asked questions, pondered and were supported to predict what would happen. They used information books and iPads to research. Over two weeks the caterpillars changed, firstly by rapidly growing and then the next stage was when they formed a chrysalis and we waited. During this time, children further researched the life cycle and responded to a range of music to create dance routines together.
Finally, this week the butterflies emerged. They needed a few days to dry their wings, become stronger and feed on fresh juicy fruit. Yesterday we gathered in the garden to bid farewell to our winged friends who were released into the wild where they belong.
Many of our families, staff and school community recently celebrated Eid-Ul-Ftr after fasting, praying and supporting charity during the month of Ramadan.
We are very lucky at Rachel Keeling Nursery School to employ the skills of Syeda to support and share the tradition of Mehndi as part of those celebrations. Along with cooking, learning about Islam and sharing our stories of celebration, Syeda brought the century old tradition of decorating skin with Henna to Rachel Keeling. Children sustained concentration and interest as Syeda carefully designed intricate patterns based on children's interests. Children patiently dried and washed off the residue before proudly sharing their new body art.
We really enjoy celebrating the rhythms and festivals of the year at Rachel Keeling. Eid Mubarak!
The awe and wonder invoked by the flora and fauna in the Rachel Keeling garden never fails to amaze us. Children will notice the smallest changes - from minuscule larvae on the underside of a leaf to froglets emerging out of the pond.
Over the past few weeks children and staff have been observing the pond environment: using magnifiers, information books, nets and trays, We have observed the frogspawn growing and changing into tadpoles and froglets. Children have carefully harvested pond life, observing and identifying creatures such as pond snails, lesser water boatmen and pond skaters.
Children have become skilled at identifying and carefully handling the residents of our pond. Many children sustain concentration and have become experts, supporting each other, sharing talk and ideas and pondering by the pond!