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Loose Parts - Inspiring play in young children
“The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences.”
Loris Malaguzzi - Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach
What are Loose Parts?
Loose parts are items and materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, taken apart and put back together in a variety of ways. Children usually prefer play that stimulates their curiosity, allowing them to use their imagination and creativity. This is why we introduce a variety of materials (natural or man-made) which we call “loose parts”. We encourage the children to make use of these materials both indoors and outdoors.
When children pick up ‘loose parts’ it can be anything they imagine it to be. Our Children love to play, experiment, discover and invent but most of all have fun!
As you can see from the pictures below…
“Children learn as they play. More importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.”
Children in Early Years have been developing their eating skills!
This week as part of our ‘Hands on’ activities we have been learning how to use a knife and fork. We rolled out sausages of play dough and then we started cutting. After modelling to the children how to hold a knife and fork to encourage the correct “stab and see-saw” action, we then left them to experiment. On a second attempt we cut bananas which were then used to make ice-cream. Like scissors, cutting with a knife is a complex skill and needs a lot of practice.
As a consequence, the children are becoming more confident at lunch time using their knife and fork independently.
Hands on as we grow!
After two extra days of holiday, we came back to find the school still blanketed in snow! Despite the cold, the children wrapped up warmly and played outside in the crispy snow.
They discovered that the mud kitchen had transformed into an ice kitchen and they were surprised to see and observe that the once muddy water had turned into thick, brown ice!
They swept and dug the snow instead of the sand and they had fun going down the slide and landing in the snow! After a good half an hour of playing outside, the children went back indoors to enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate. However, after a while they were eager to go outside again to enjoy this special moment.
'Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.'
-Robert Brault -
Children in Early Years had a very busy week leading up to half term, celebrating both Shrove Tuesday and Chinese New Year.
On Tuesday the children ate pancakes in the morning and then in the afternoon they had a pancake race, running and tossing the pancakes in a frying pan!
On Thursday morning Daniel (Charlotte’s father) came into school and recited the story of the animal race, which is what the zodiac year is based on. He also told the children that in China, Chinese New Year is called “Spring Festival” and lasts for fifteen days! The children received red envelopes with chinese money inside as a gift to wish them good fortune. They also received beautiful Chinese New Year window decorations to take home.
Thank you Daniel for offering your time.
As part of our Winter topic, children have been investigating ice. We filled various containers with water - balloons, ice cube trays, cups, bowls and latex gloves! We then placed them in the freezer. Once frozen we put the shapes into a tray and the children explored the various ice shapes.
Here are just a few of their comments…
|Annie: The ice is cold||Alex: It’s so shiny, there are bubbles inside!|
|Tommaso: It’s cold||Gaia: E’ ghiaccio è freddo!|
|Alex: Ice is opening up||Adam: And it’s melting…|
|Matteo: It’s cold||Charlotte: Freezing cold ice.|
|Serena: It’s so cold||Isabella: Cold (shivering)|
|Max: It’s freezing||Marco: It doesn’t look like ice|
|Elvira: It’s freezing||Marco: Mine is the coldest of all!|
We also made and ate fruit ice lollies - yummy!
Last week, Author and Poet, Paul Delaney visited our school. He conducted amazing workshops across the Primary school, including a session in Early Years.
The children were captivated by his presence. He began his session by using puppets and voices to introduce the concept of imagination to the children. He then went on to use children’s ideas to write a simple repeating poem. Paul then took the children outside onto the Red Circle, where they acted out one poem (Just Pretend) and sang another (Things to do). Paul left the children with an idea of how to write their own poems.
Ask your Mum - a simple repeating poem written by Early Years
May I watch TV? Ask your mummy
May I watch a film? Ask your daddy
May I have some chocolate cake? Ask your mummy
May I play with my princess? Ask your daddy
May I do gymnastics? Ask your mummy
May I dance? Ask your daddy
May I play football outside? Ask your mummy
May I play on the playstation? Ask your daddy
May I play in my car? Ask your mummy
May I read? Ask your daddy
May I ride my horse? Ask your mummy
May I play in the castle? Ask your daddy
May I jump on my trampoline? Ask your mummy
May I go to bed late?
GO TO BED!!!
Thank you Paul for inspiring us all!
As part of our Hands on activities, children were asked to describe different temperatures by placing the tips of their fingers into hot (not too hot), warm, cold and very cold water.
Here are some of their comments...
Annie: Cold like snow. This one is warm like the sun.
Vera: Little medium size warm.
Alex: This one is cold. This one is like an ice cube. This is boiling. This is coldest.
Serena: This one is freezing. This more cold.
Adam: Warm. Cold. It’s warm, very warm.. It’s medium. Ahhh freezing.
Alfio: It’s hot. Cold.
Mikel: Frio. Mucho frio. Poco frio.
Beatrice: It’s hot. It’s cold. It’s cold cold, freddo freddo. Caldo.
Nicholas: Fredda. Calda. Gelata.
Matteo: This one is cold. This is cold as well. This one is hot like toast. A little bit freezing.
Andrea: Freezing. Cold. Freezing. Hot.
Tommaso: Hot. No hot. Hot like coffee. Cold like outside.
Charlotte: This is hot like when you cook.. This is warmer, when you get warm. This is cold when you switch the fire off. This freezing cold, feels like the snow.
Elvira: Calda. Hot too hot, like the bath. Little bit hot. Cold like a tap. Very cold like a knife!
As part of our Hands On Activities children in Early Years have had fun making toast and biscuits.
Why is cooking so important in Early Years and beyond?
Cooking is not only a fun, engaging activity for children but it is also an important teaching and development tool for all ages. Hands on cooking activities develop pride and confidence in their skills and abilities. Cooking inspires children’s curiosity, thinking and problem solving. With its own vocabulary, cooking is also a great opportunity for language development.
HANDS ON AS WE GROW…!
CHRISTMAS FUN FOR EVERYONE!
During the last few days of term children in Early Years enjoyed doing lots of Christmas activities.
On Tuesday 19th December Early Years, Year 1 and Year 2 had their Christmas party where they played pass the parcel and musical statues. They also received a special visit from Father Christmas!
This week we learnt about Sankta Lucia which is celebrated in Sweden on the 13th of December. Winter in Sweden is very long, especially around Christmas time. It is said that Saint Lucia brings the light to make this time a little brighter.
Vera (EY1) and her sister Ebba (Year 1) along with their mother Anna came to school on Wednesday morning dressed in white and carrying candles. They sang the song “Sankta Lucia” and offered homemade ginger biscuits to the children.
Ebba, Vera and their mother dressed in white robes and holding candles.
Vera offering ginger biscuits to her friends.
Thank you Vera, Ebba and Anna for celebrating Sankta Lucia with all of us!
"The magic of rainbows inspires those who are fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of one."
This week children in Early Years have been exploring rainbows.
When the children were asked, "Where do rainbows come from?" and "What makes a rainbow?" there were a variety of responses…
What do you know already?
Charlotte: They have lots of beautiful colours
Alfio: Ci sono tutti i colori bellissimi, nel sole viene l’acqua
Matteo: rainbows are big and they have lots of beautiful colours
Annie: When the sun comes out and the rain comes down and then the rainbow comes up and then all the people will get happy…..
Elvira: The rainbow is very fun and has lots of colours…….have shinys like a bird
Adam: Rainbows have blue and green and yellow and a bit more green and purple and pink and black and white and red and the people will love it that it will make it colourful
Gaia: Yellow, blue, purple, rosso, orange. Quando piove con il sole.
Andrea: Il sole and the storm.
Max: Ho visto a casa mia quando pioveva c’era il sole. Era gigantesco! Red, purple, green, yellow...
How is a rainbow made?
We watched a short video clip about how rainbows are formed, then Alex remembered….
“I think the sun and the rain makes a rainbow. The light go in the drop and split in all the colours.”
We borrowed some equipment from Matt in the physics lab and used it to make our own rainbows.
We used a prism to make a rainbow and observe light. We were really fascinated by what we saw…
We then investigated even further…
‘That one (the bulb) is the sun and this (the prism) is the water, and I move it (prism) and I can see a rainbow…’
‘The light is coming in the water … is split out all the colours’
Adam and Matteo began to experiment with the prisms, adding more of them and piling them up
We also had fun weaving a colourful rainbow.
We drew rainbows during free play (using the right colours!)
We continued exploring colour by making beautiful rainbow collages.
On Saturday, 2nd of December, Early Years took part in the Primary Christmas Show, Aladdin. They were extremely proud of their rainbow bird costumes and they danced beautifully in front of lots of families.
The children worked really hard during the rehearsals and we are very proud of them.
A VERY WET WEEK!
As well as practising for the show the children also had lots fun splashing in puddles. The wet weather didn’t stop them from enjoying their outdoor time. As you can see…
Why Mud Play?
Mud play provides so many opportunities for learning! Mud is the perfect stimulus for exploring and experimenting. The delicious gooey mud can be anything the children want it to be… yummy dinner, coffee, a birthday cake, a bowl of soup, ice cream with chocolate sauce, magical potions and spells. This work is filled with emotional, personal and social value, and offers the context for learning a wonderful range of new and interesting vocabulary and verbal language exchange and expression.
Some of the values that mud kitchens provide for children include:
Please look at your children playing in the mud…
Making vegetable mud soup and muddy spaghetti alle vongole!
This week we have been exploring colour. We are learning our colours and experimenting with colour mixing. We have learnt about primary colours and investigated what happens when you mix them. We discovered that if we mix certain colours together we can make new colours.
We mixed blue and yellow to make green
We mixed blue and red to make purple
We mixed red and yellow to make orange
We mixed red, yellow and blue to make brown
As part of our “Hands On” activity we also had fun rolling rainbows onto large pieces of paper.
Sometimes all you need is a little splash of colour to brighten up your day. Please come and see your children’s artwork displayed in their classroom.
Autumn is a wonderful time of year to really use nature to promote the development of children.
Leaves changing colour and falling off trees are noticeable changes that often fascinate children. This simple observation helps them discover more about the world around them. Leaves in their own right have so many incredible benefits from mathematics, sensory benefits, understanding the world and even literacy.
In the next few weeks we will be looking at the changing leaves and collecting pine cones and acorns from the garden. We will be threading leaves and painting an autumn tree. We will also be exploring colour. Children are welcome to bring in something to do with the autumn for show and tell.
In December we will conclude our Autumn topic by visiting The Hazelhut, where we will do a variety of outdoor and indoor activities linked to Autumn.
Leaves, leaves and more leaves…
Hiding under a Persimmon tree!
HARVEST AND HALLOWEEN
The week leading up to half term, children in Early Years learnt about Harvest time and helping people in need. Parents donated food and other essential items like nappies and hygiene products.
A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OUR PARENTS WHO GENEROUSLY DONATED THESE ITEMS!
We discussed with the children the importance of helping those less fortunate than ourselves.
TALKING ABOUT OUR HARVEST …
Celebrating harvest is a time for giving thanks for what we have and thinking about those who aren’t as fortunate. We decided to make a collection for Caritas. Padre Marco came to collect the donations and took them to the Emporio della Solidarietà.
Barbara: Do you remember what harvest is?
Adam: Yes it’s when you collect food
Gaia : Quando possiamo mangiare tutto quello che abbiamo raccolto
Serena: I have a lot!
Alfio: I have those biscuits!
Elvira : I have so much much much things!
Barbara: Why have we collected these things?
Adam: It’s for the people that don’t have stuff
Gaia: In italiano si dice poveri… i poveri non hanno queste cose… non hanno i soldi
Adam: We give it to somebody you said in assembly….. Zio Marco will give it to the people who don’t have stuff
We also had a fun week making magic potions, playing with slime and cutting out bats...
And on Thursday we all dressed up for our HALLOWEEN PARTY!
LEARNING THROUGH CONVERSATION
Conversations can happen anywhere and about any subject. Children use their senses to explore and investigate objects.
Children learn to communicate using language and they use language to learn. Positive interactions and meaningful conversation help them explore, learn and talk with each other.
Children are often happy to discuss their thoughts and ideas.
Max, Elvira and Charlotte are playing in the water tray with soapy water, the big tubes, funnels and jugs……
Charlotte: Look! A rainbow!!!
Elvira: Max put the rainbow in there (poured it into the pipe)
Barbara: Where did it come from??
Charlotte: The light!
Elvira : Look the wall! (the light is reflecting onto it from the water)
Barbara: Where is the light coming from?
Elvira: (she looks at the water and the wall) The water!
All: RAINBOW! RAINBOW! RAINBOW!
They carry on catching the rainbows in the jugs and pouring them into the pipes. Max's leaves.
Elvira: (singing) Rainbow! Rainbow! I catch a rainbow!
Charlotte: We put it like that and like that so we can catch the rainbow
Elvira: We put it here and then go here and then splosh!
Charlotte: Yes, because the water go here and here, that’s why the thing is beautiful. We put bubbles inside (the jug) so we can see the rainbow.
All: (singing) Rainbow! Rainbow! Where is the rainbow?
Children touch, smell and talk about different vegetables...
Camilla: What did you plant?
Alex: Broccoli (points to the vegetable)
Annie: I planted cabbage
Camilla: What is it like?
Alex: It smells like Broccoli (makes a funny face)
Annie: It feels like squidgy squidgy
Serena: It breaks into little ones
Isabella: Look little ones… (breaks off a piece)
Annie: It’s difficult to break it
Serena: It looks like a tree
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