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Squirrels News - 14th May 2021

This week The Squirrels' artist focus has been on Alberto Giacometti who was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. Giacometti's work was influenced by cubism and surrealism and we have used his work to immerse ourselves in the world of sculpture and shape.

We have been particularly inspired by Giacometti’s ‘L’Homme au doigt’ (Pointing Man) and the Squirrels have enjoyed using their creative expression and Yoga knowledge to make their own striking poses! After recreating the poses ourselves we experimented with recreating these poses using wire. This required manipulation through bending and twisting and the children displayed excellent focus and determination to try and use the wire to copy the different shapes from the poses. We then covered their structures in clay; using techniques such as pinching, smoothing and wrapping to make sure all of the clay encased the wire.

In Maths we re-visited 2D and 3D shapes. The children were given the task of creating sculptures with the shapes before naming and matching them to the images on their activity sheet. They were excited to use the iPad to take photos of their finished structures, with many of the Squirrels being very proud of their achievements! This was a great way to incorporate the children's learning of ICT into or Math Focus Time too. In Free Play the children have explored ‘Loose Parts Play’ and ‘Inuksuk’ the art of stone stacking. The children loved the challenge of stone stacking, completely engaging in the activity. It was great to see the Squirrels trying hard on this activity and achieving for themselves, proving that persistence will pay off in the end!

The Squirrels love celebrating special days and events throughout the year. As we are a sugar free school we encourage parents to bring alternatives to sweets and cakes when celebrating the children’s birthdays. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in the traditional way. The Squirrels have a special ‘Birthday Cake’ that we use while singing Happy Birthday which allows the children to blow out the candles and celebrate their special day with friends.

We used the weather to our advantage on our Outdoor Learning Day this week by setting up and taking part in a rain experiment. On arrival we showed the children four containers and explained that we were going to leave them out in the rain to see which container collected the most rain water during the morning. The children were then asked to make a prediction and if possible a reason to explain why they ad picked their chosen contained, which we recorded down before leaving the containers out in the open.

As it was a wet day we set up the tarpaulins which provided us with shelter when necessary. They were instantly transformed into cafés serving coffees and pastries! During Free Play there was a wealth of imaginative play involving vehicles, fire building, and holidays. It is lovely to see the children being so supportive of their peers while out too, encouraging them and joining in with play through conversation.

The Pink Squirrels then had a Phonics session. We hid objects on and around the big log and asked the children to find one item before returning to the Safe Zone. The children identified the initial sounds as well as the middle and end sounds, segmenting the words for each object with peer support where requested.

After Snack Time we worked together to construct a giant stick man. After discussing the types of sticks we wanted to use and how many we needed we went for a walk around the common to collect the sticks we needed. The children then used the wire and pliers to connect the pieces together; developing and practising their fine motor skills through winding, squeezing and twisting. We propped Mr Stickman up against a tree and attached ribbons to his body. On one of the ribbons we wrote ‘Please give me a name’ and we hope that next week when we return to find that someone will have left a name for him!

Lastly we returned to our rain experiment. We compared the amounts of water in each container using the words 'more' or 'less' to order the containers. We found that the big bowl had collected the most water with 5 Squirrels correct in their prediction. One of the Squirrels explained that the bowl was bigger and so that was why more water was inside. We encouraged the children to observe the container openings noting that the larger the opening the easier it was for the rain to drop inside. Then we showed them a jug, which the Squirrels said was used for measuring. We discussed what a jug measures and settled on water or a liquid. After tipping the water in we didn’t have enough for an accurate measurement but we estimated that it was about 40ml. The experiment was a huge success and it was lovely to see the Squirrels using their outside environment and observations from nature to support their learning outside the classroom.


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