Nature Play

On Tuesday, the children participated in a Nature Play SA incursion led by Cameron. The theme for the visit was ‘Cubbies and Dens’. During the incursion, the children engaged in a range of nature-based songs, games and activities. This included matching sounds and actions to animal images, reading the story ‘Not a Stick’ by Antoinette Portis, building their own cubbies, and creating colourful flag buntings to decorate them.

The children had a wonderful time during the incursion and continued to build forts and dens using many recycled materials throughout the week. We would love it if you could bring in any fabrics, tarps or other materials to assist us with our future creations.

The children also had the opportunity to plant their own beans in cotton wool as a connection to living and non-living things. As a provocation, they were asked what they think the beans may turn into. Here are a few of the responses…

Kanish – “Seeds turn into a apple tree.”

Kabir – “It is beans, it will grow into flowers.”

Blaise – “It will turn into a new body inside.”

Eva – “A spider maybe.”

Agam – “A turtle.”

Frankie – “They might turn into strawberry.”

We look forward to finding out what they grow into in the next few weeks, whilst supporting the children’s learning through links to the ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ story.

Learning in the ELC and beyond…

This week we continued to develop the children’s sense of belonging to Alive ELC, as well as the wider Holy Family School community.

At the beginning of the week, the children noticed that our pet turtle Strawberry’s tank was looking “a little bit dirty and smelly” (Imogen). This lead to some group problem solving where we discussed how we could help to fix the problem. The children shared their thoughts, including – “maybe we can take the water out” (Tesi), “and put in the clean water now” (Blaise). In response, both the Murraya [3-4 years] and Grevillea [4-5 years] children were eager to assist. The children took turns to scoop the water out using a small bucket, which we then re-used to water plants in the yard. Afterwards, we used the hose to refill the tank much to the amusement of all involved. Once the tank was full, we noticed that it was still dirty so we figured it was best to give Strawberry some fresh air. Many of the children took turns patting and waving to her in the yard.

Later in the week, Gerry the animal keeper at the School organised for some Year 6 students to come and fix Strawberry’s tank once and for all. They were more than willing to share their knowledge about caring for Strawberry. They even let the children help pump out water using a special device called a siphon.

Other adventures during the week, led groups of Grevillea and Murraya children to explore other areas of the school and meet new friends along the way. This included visiting the MUDLA where some children shared a lesson with a class from Holy Family about the Bearded Dragon. Some children were even brave enough to pat the lizard. Leo excitedly exclaimed, “I love the lizard!” after his turn. A group of older children also went to explore the school grounds including the playground (which was unfortunately still closed), the oval, the MUDLA and the courtyard full of leaves. Lexi was happy to share, “This is my big school soon, you know?”

We look forward to further connecting with the Holy Family School and their living creatures in the future.

Making connections between our learning environments and nature

This week, we have extended upon the children’s interest in the natural world by participating in our first Nature Play SA incursion, observing and documenting the growth of our caterpillars into chrysalis’ and butterflies, as well as taking nature inspired walks in the school grounds. On Tuesday, the children were actively engaged in an incursion called ‘Nature Arts and Crafts’ where they were introduced to Cameron and Maria who used Zoom to share a range of nature based songs, stories and games. The children really enjoyed the story ‘the Magic stick’ and finding their own ‘magic’ items in the garden, including one that was smooth and one that was bumpy. They then used their collections as well as sticks, leaves, seedpods, rocks, yarn and other materials to design their own natural masterpieces. These included:

Eva – “It’s a instrument thing. There is a drum and a guitar and a piano and you press them to make music.”

Xavier – “It’s a plate with a leaf and a stick going in there (inside the yarn).”

Jaylah – “It’s my pretty sticking. There is lots of leaves on there.”

These were shared with Cameron, Maria and Oscar and Emmett Standing (who joined us in the Zoom call). They were very impressed with our creations, as we were with Oscar and Emmett’s wonderful designs. We look forward to our next incursion on Tuesday 26th of May.

This week we also saw the wonderful transformation of our caterpillars into both Chrysalis’ and Butterflies. We noticed that there was a very big butterfly in the enclosure and the flowers inside didn’t look like they had much pollen left to feed it. When asked what we could do to help look after the butterfly (and perhaps find it some food), the children had some wonderful ideas, such as:

Tesi – “Get some flowers and take them outside to the flowers, just the butterflies.”

Imogen – “We could go for a little walk and release the butterfly.”

On Thursday, we took the children on a walk into Holy Family to release the biggest butterfly into the flowerbeds. They took the opportunity to not only release the flowers but also collect new flowers for our soon to be butterflies, as well as some beautiful coloured leaves for future arts and crafts experiences.


Explorations of the natural world

In the past few weeks, the children have demonstrated a keen interest in the natural world, which seems to have stemmed from the Moths that have been visiting our playground. This helped to guide our learning throughout the week as children were exposed to many engagements with the natural and living world.

Originally, we were curious to find out what Moths were visiting. Blaise suggested, “Lunar Moths”, whilst Charlotte instead believed they were in fact “Rain Moths.” After our research, we concluded that they were most likely rain moths and proceeded to investigate their appearance and life cycle. The children used matching experiences to represent their ideas. Throughout this process, Olivia communicated an interesting idea, “After they’ve been a caterpillar they go to a chrysalis and after a chrysalis they become a moth or maybe a moth.”

Building upon this theory, we looked into the Very Hungry Caterpillar story and uncovered that butterflies and moths do typically share the same lifecycle. Excitingly for us our caterpillar enclosure arrived on Thursday and we began to closely observe what we saw. Max shared, “It goes upside down like a silk and gets cocoon and transforms into a caterpillar.” Mattia observed, “The little caterpillar is eating the leaf”, and Mattia stated, “It gonna turn into a butterfly.” Amazingly, on Friday we had our first butterfly appearing from a Chrysalis. We therefore placed some colourful flowers into their enclosure to help feed them over the weekend. This excitement coincided with further visits from the Rain Moths, which children used as real-life models for their paintings. Noticing that the moths were perhaps a little overwhelmed we decided to place them on a tree in the yard. Tesi stated, “That is their nature. That’s where they live,  like their home.” Thus, Making a wonderful connection between the living world and a sense of belonging which we also experience as people.

Extending upon the notions of being grateful and caring for God’s creations in the living world, we also discussed how we could help to look after our new caterpillars and butterflies. Here were a few wonderful ideas.
Xavier – “By sitting down with the caterpillar.”
Aria – “Don’t unzip their home.”
Joel – “We look and listen and not poke them or break their home.”
Max – “To eat plant stems and leaves.”

Over the coming weeks we look forward to continuing our explorations into the natural and living world. This will include looking into the life-cycles of other creatures and continuing to observe and care for other living creatures at our ELC and Holy Family School.