Playing with risk protects mental health of children - This was the headline in last week's Guardian newspaper. It claims that children who spend more time engaged in adventurous play that involves an element of risk have fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. Climbing trees, riding bikes, jumping from high surfaces or playing out of adult sight offer learning opportunities that help build resilience and independence in children and protect mental health.
These findings fit very well with our own experience and philosophy in the Good Shepherd Early Years Foundation Stage. Our garden is designed to give children free access to a safe space for adventurous play. They play freely, imaginatively and instinctively, negotiating risk and obstacles and developing their judgement. They learn to pick themselves up if they have a little bump or fall and, in doing so, build up coping mechanisms and resilience.
Our trip to Gunnersbury Triangle gave us all a lovely adventure; the children managed the long walk there and back, despite some saying they hadn't walked very much before at all!
Below are photos from the day:
Our RE topic, New Life, fits in very well with our farm topic this half term. The children have enjoyed choosing a flower pot, filling it with soil and planting pumpkin or tomato seeds and beans. They are enjoying taking responsibility for watering their plant, watching it grow and recording what they notice.
Please find below curriculum maps for our last two topics in Reception this summer term:
Understanding the World
Understanding the World is one of seven key areas of learning in the EYFS. It involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology, and the environment. As such it is the area that links most to science, history and geography.
Our On the Move topic allows us to think about how transport has changed over time. The children start thinking about the long, arduous journeys made on donkeys and camels over the Christmas period and question why trains and planes weren't used. They contrast this with transport today that they are familiar with. We read a whole range of books that allow us to think about these in detail. These include: Rosie's Walk, the Naughty Bus, the Train Ride, Mr Gumpy's Outing and Up, Up, Up.
Children think about their own journeys to school and try to map out their routes, remembering what they pass and how many roads they cross on their way to school and back.
They learn that vehicles need certain features to enable them to move on land, in water and in the air and experiment with these, noticing pushes and pulls as significant factors whether playing with vehicles with wheels, pedals, sails or wings.
The icy mornings have also given us the opportunity to think about the weather. Our penguins in the ice has made children ask lots of interesting questions about penguins. Can they fly? Do they live in the North Pole? What do they eat?
I'll add some photos of the children in action as I take them.
One of our much loved books this week is Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. Cat, Duck and Squirrel live in an old, white cabin in the woods with a pumpkin patch. Every day Cat slices up some pumpkin, Squirrel stirs in some water and Duck tips in a 'pipkin of salt' to make perfect pumpkin soup for a cold evening. We tried it ourselves. First we found an enormous pumpkin in the garden; the children got all the cooking equipment ready and tied their aprons by themselves; then they got to work with chopping up the onions and the pumpkin with a VERY SHARP knife! When every thing was chopped up small. We added all the ingredients to the saucepan and got stirring! Thankfully, unlike the story, there were no arguments between the children! All of the children tried the soup. Some liked it more than others!
There are some photos in here too of children exploring dark and light with torches and glow in the dark planets and stars in our dark tent!
Expressive art and design is one of four specific areas within the EYFS and covers the development of children's artistic and cultural awareness supporting their imagination and creativity. Participating in drawing or crafts with a large choice of materials and no strict guidelines allows them to build confidence in their own creativity. At Kite Studios, we had a fantastic time, looking at the work of artists and using a range of media to express our own ideas. Here are some photos of the children in action:
It was lovely to have the opportunity to take the children to the Holy Ghost and St Stephen, our parish church, this term. We had a walk around the church, learning about the font, the altar, the confession box, the statues and the pictures represented in the stained glass windows. The children behaved beautifully and we ended our visit with our morning prayer and practised genuflecting. Here are some photos from our visit.
We had some fabulous costumes for our All Saints Day parade. Can you guess which saints the children were dressed as?
The children seem settled in their new school environment and are enjoying their weekly timetable. We have regular carpet times, where children learn to sit and listen attentively and participate in class dicussions. Every morning at 10am storytime takes place and then the door is open for free access to the garden. Before lunch, at 11.15, we learn a new phonic sound each day and revise the ones from the days before. After lunch at 12.45 we have a daily maths session.
Tuesdays is outdoor PE - multiskills, Wednesday is gym in the hall. For the last three Thursdays the children have gone to Kite Studios for workshops where they have been using a wide range of tools and materials to develop self-portraits! I hope you'll be able to get to their mini exhibition on Thursday 30th September after school and see how much fun they've had and what a wonderful creative journey they've been on. Below is a selection of photos from our first few weeks to give you a feel for our environment.
Here we are eating lunch for the very first time in the hall. We always have the choice of different vegetables and salad with our lunch every day. Puddings range from yoghurt and fresh fruit salad to home-made brownies and crumbles.
Music and PE sessions have started too. Here are some photos of us in the big playground with Patch, our multi-skills teacher on a Tuesday. On Wednesdays we do gymnastics with Mrs Henbrey in the school hall.
Expressive arts and design is one of the seven areas of the early years foundation stage and is used to develop a child's imagination, creativity and their ability to use media and materials. Children do this in range of ways including singing songs and making music, dancing, playing with colours, textures and design. All these approaches to expressive arts help children to represent and understand their own feelings and ideas.
Above and below you will find a range of photos that cover some of the expressive arts and design skills that the children learn and practise in our classroom and garden.
“The school’s commitment towards developing pupil’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural qualities is second to none.” OFSTED March 2014
020 8743 5060
The Good Shepherd Primary School
35 Gayford Road, London, W12 9BY