I always feel really sorry for the worms in my setting’s garden. Unsuspecting, they wriggle around in the soil, happy and content. That is until the doors open and children burst out, energised and eager, often on the hunt for mini-beasts to collect and ‘home’. The sensible insects scuttle off and hide but the poor earthworms, with their limited pace and seeming duller wits, just lie there waiting for little fingers and hands to begin pulling and poking.
Worms are incredibly fascinating for young children and seem to prompt a multitude of questions and reactions. Some children recoil at the thought of holding them, whilst others take great delight in trying to collect as many as they can until they have a boiling mass of them in their palms, writhing in a living ball. To be fair the children don’t necessarily mean to harm them. The adults do give them pep talks about respect. However the fact remains that as the garden closes at the end of a session, one can often see a deceased worm or two lying flat and forlorn on the patio slabs or drowned in a bucket of water.
It was witnessing this fascination that coincided with reading Bing Nursery School’s article about projects and led to the first project in my own setting taking the shape of Super Worm...
Make Your Own Map...
Finding a way out of topic-led planning...
After a period of self-chosen exile, I’ve recently re-discovered the joy of Facebook, returning to the fold of old school friends, recommendations for restaurants, and photographs of meals eaten, nights out and spa days away from the machinations of family. It’s been reassuring to see that little has changed during my absence from Facebook and has been a reminder that life goes on quite merrily with or without me.
One new element of Facebook I have discovered however is the existence of groups and in particular those dedicated to Early Years.
On these groups there’s a great deal of discussion covering a huge variety of subjects. One thread that comes up repeatedly is practitioners asking for ideas for activities and planning based around topics. “What can I do for this...?”, “Does anyone know a way to make...?” or “I need to do x topic...”
People have lots of ideas and helpful suggestions to offer in the groups, reflecting the ethos of community and support that typifies teachers in particular. This sense of togetherness is great and for those perhaps working in Early Years isolation it must be of solace to know that there are people out there willing to advise and lend a hand.
But what if all this advice and support was in fact not that helpful? Occasionally on such threads you come across a grenade of a comment that says something like “We don’t do topics, we’re child-led’. The thread goes quiet for a bit as though everyone collectively gasps and then with little ceremony the topic-based questions begin again. It’s the grenades that interest me. The suggestion is that perhaps topic-led curriculum delivery might have an alternative, that there might just be a way to lead children’s learning experiences in a different way.
Can I Go Play Now..? is committed to widening the understanding of the magic of children's play as an educational tool. Child-centred, play-based learning is where it's truly at....