Spring has arrived in the kindergarten. The changing seasons has brought with it glorious warmth, lush greenery and new life. It also seen the children within the Kindergarten exchanging their cosy winter coats for shady summer hats. Life is blooming in the forest and the children have been eager to learn more about the wildlife that is shrouded in the dark leaf world beneath the trees. The Kindergarten’s staff team believe passionately in supporting child-led learning. Therefore, it has been a pleasure to nurture the sense of awe and wonder that nature has presented to the children this term.
Throughout the winter months the children had worked tirelessly to transform the woodland into a welcoming habitat for birdlife. They had maintained bird tables, made bird feed and helped to repair nesting boxes. This spring their hard work has been repaid; we have had the good fortunate of discovering a total of three nests within the kindergarten and each nest belonged to a different species of bird. Fortunately for us, every nest was located in a manner that allowed the children to discreetly observe the chicks’ growth and develop. The children have had a marvellous time watching the chicks being feed by their parents, the chicks daily progress and witnessing the day when the chicks bravely left the nest for the first time in search of spring.
Spring brings life of many shapes and sizes to the woods. Some of the kindergarteners’ focused their attention looking up at the birds in the trees whilst others preferred to look down low for life in the leaf litter. Inspired by the success of our bird feeders the children were eager to attract more invertebrates to the kindergarten. Therefore, we decided to turn an area of the woods into a nature zone. This plan involved the construction of a large bug hotel and the planting of wildflowers that would support a variety of mini-beasts including butterflies and bees.
The development of the kindergarten’s bug hotel became an ongoing project which progressed throughout the term. This collaborative undertaking enabled the children to apply their knowledge of tool and woodwork which has developed throughout the year. Each week we added a new element to the hotel. This enabled the children to play an active role in enriching their learning environment. Furthermore, it provided the children with an opportunity to learn more about why animals choose to live in certain places and how we can ensure they have a variety of rich habitats. It has been wonderful to hear the reverence and respect that the children have for the smallest animals that share our woodland classroom.
The children’s growing curiosity led them to seek out more knowledge about the lives of mini-beasts. Therefore, we decided to raise some caterpillars in the Kindergarten. It was wonderful to see the children relating the life cycle of the butterflies to the growth of the birds in their nests. Some children further extended their thinking by comparing their own growth and development with that of the animals around us. At the end of the half term we shared a magical moment as we released our butterflies in the sun-drenched meadow next to the Kindergarten. Truly, this term, the outdoors has provided the children with a joyous classroom that has enriched their connection with the natural world and pursuing discovery.
Author: Robert Cartwright, The Outdoors Group Kindergarten Manager
Date: 10 June 2019
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