Sunday, 19 October 2014

Don't be afraid to use BIG words with little kids.....if they can say Tyrannosaurus Rex..... they can say anything!

As the lights were switched on at pre-school and the morning mist began to clear, lots of shapes were were beginning to appear - what's that noise? Did you hear?  There was swishing tails, huge claw-prints and a beak, there was definitely the sound of a roar and there was a certain shriek! 

The children have been very busy this week dressing up and becoming dinosaurs, or putting on the safari hats and wearing their binoculars to explore the dinosaur enclosure in the role play area inside to find which animals at meat - a carnivore and which animals didn't - a herbivore. Outside the dinosaurs continued to be spotted with children using masks and roaring around the garden and more safari hats and paintbrushes were used in the sand to uncover dinosaur bones by the Brambles palaeontologists!  

(Small world dinosaur picture to be added)

These dinosaur Playmobil toys were acquired from a school's catalogue though they can also be purchased from Toys R Us

During story time the children were teaching some of the names of the dinosaurs to the staff as they shared the two stories of the week: I'm sure I saw a dinosaur by Jeanne Willis and Adrian Reynolds.  Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner.

Whilst enjoying all the fact finding fun about dinosaurs the children were very busy exploring shapes this week.  Over on the maths table there has been lots of designing taking place and many of the children have been very creative and made their own dinosaurs with the shapes.  Other shape activities have supported the children in naming a variety of shapes and making pictures using shapes.

These three activities were previously purchased from Early Learning Centre

Outside the children were encouraged to identify shapes in the environment and once they got going they didn't stop - there were shapes everywhere! The musical saucepans were circles, the bike and scooter cupboard door is many rectangles, the crane set in the construction area is made up of lots of circles and the large outdoor dice are squares.  For some children they were able to extend their existing knowledge by staff sharing 3D names with them such as pyramids and cubes.


EYFS Links
Shapes are all around us.  When you look outside you are noticing the rectangular bins, the square slabs on the patio and the triangle of a roof.  Children are able to categorise what they see and need support in identifying these shapes both environmental shapes such as the circle plate and the rectangle door bell but also those in their toy box such as magnetic letters or wooden bricks.

By learning shapes your child will also develop other skills they need such as mathematics and science as well as language and early reading.  If you child can distinguish between a blue circle and a red square the skills they have learnt to do that are the same skills to recognise between a letter and a number later on.

Whilst playing with shapes your child is learning to sort and classify into similarities and differences in shape (as well as colour), make comparisons and sizing into big and small. These are the foundations of maths and for life long skills such as sorting washing or finding a book in a library.

Exploring shapes with everyday items or with purposely designed shape toys, your child is using the observation of same and different; don't be afraid to use these words with your child as they will become part of their mathematical language. This concept provides your child with a basic process to use observing, comparing and discussing everything they see and encounter.

Providing your child with the opportunity to explore shape through finding other objects around the house that are circular like the plate or rectangular like the place mat is a cost free way of exploring shape together.  Encourage your child to experiment with drawing lines and shapes by providing lots of paper (or back of wall paper samples) with pencils, markers and crayons.

Going on a shape hunt with a cardboard (from a cereal box) cut out shape to hold is another way of discovering shapes without having to pay out for specifically designed toys.  You could take a pencil and keep a tally on the shape of how many you see. Whilst outside provide your child with a pot of water and some old paintbrushes to experiment with drawing lines and shapes on the floor and watch how it disappears! 

Drawing lines and shapes is the first step to writing letters.  If they are enjoying using pens, chalk and paintbrushes why not look how the initial letter of their name is made? They may notice that O for Ollie is like a circle or a I for Izzy is like a rectangle.

Eco Autumn Treasure Bags
Staff have been busy this week making these lovely little bags made from one sheet of newspaper. Brambles children will be encouraged to go for a autumn treasure hunt with their families during the half term break and collect as much 'Autumn Treasure' as they can fit into their bag to then bring back to pre-school. Upon their return, the children's bags will be explored and the children encouraged to identify, sort, count and look at the colour and shapes of all the different 'treasures' as well as seeing if children can make pictures with their findings for transitional art.

'I've got a body, a very busy body and it goes everywhere with me.' Next week is all about physical development and all the fun activities of the past five weeks of superheroes, space, pirates, cowboys and dinosaurs have been encouraging lots of gross and fine motor skills.  The Brambles staff have planned lots of fun activities that have consolidated all these physical skills for next week along with looking at what our body needs to help it grow.

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