Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Making the most of it

Children have seen digging - this has
enriched their roleplay.

This is our last week before the holidays.  Its been a very tough half term and is not over just yet.  We are on the cusp of a major development, where we will see our outdoor storage being turned into a two year old provision.  Its a mammoth task and there is very little time.

Its having quite an effect on the children and the staff already.  

We have a large outdoor area which we, sadly, do not use to its full potential.  The main reason for this is it is just so vast that we cannot set everything up every day and dismantle it again for the night (we have terrible vandalism) in the time we have.  But beyond this we wouldn't want to fill every area to the brim because part of being outdoors is discovering the beauty in nature and their environment, unhindered by cluttered resources.

This impending building work has forced us to move from the bottom of our yard to the top.  We did this naturally before any work began in a hope to 'train' the children to use this area.  Its been a challenge, and naturally both staff and children have wandered down to the bottom where there is decking, a covered area and raised tyres where they can work.

However today its made me begin to realise the importance of one of our most valuable resources, our tree.  Its a huge, beautiful fruit tree that is just beginning to bear pink and white blossom - but situated at the top where we don't go as often.  We have had bird feeders hangers dangling from it for a few weeks now and today, with the wind picking up we decided to attach some ribbon to the branches.  This picked up some of the wind and blew beautifully.

Next one our little girls found a book and inside was a nest.  This nest had an egg inside (we had previously had an egg hunt with the children which required them to find little eggs with treats inside).  This got us thinking and with a little nudge from me, we got building our own nest.  All of the children worked hard to find the resources and we talked about what we should use.

For our morning group I placed a couple of eggs inside, without thinking I realised that it wasn't particularly exciting - it just looked like a pile of sticks with some eggs (ready to eat) sitting inside.  So for the afternoon we put the eggs in before the children came out.  The new [afternoon] children were so excited to find that a bird had laid an egg in a nest in the garden!

One little girl was so worried about the mummy and daddy bird coming back for their egg that she stayed around it for over an hour.  It was so lovely to hear her so concerned and she kept offering suggestions about how we could 'get mummy back.'  In the end we decided we could put out a tray of bird food for see if mummy came back.  She didn't, but I have a feeling that tomorrow afternoon there may be some egg shells around and some tracks around the nest!

Over all its been a difficult but fun day and week.  We're finding it hard to adjust to changing our routine outside and we need to consider the children's change in routine but hopefully we're putting in to place steps which will limit the impact and hopefully we can continue to provide exciting opportunities for them to develop.