This week we have had a lovely time discovering classical music through the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, 'Carnival of the Animals' and accompanying story! The children thoroughly enjoyed listening to the music from this piece and we encouraged them to think about how it made them feel and what images it conjured in their minds. We also used the music to develop our learning around rhythm and sound by discussing whether it was fast or slow and clapping out the beat.
In the story there were lots of new and exciting words which we had never heard of before and we loved pointing these out and discovering the meaning of them. One of our favourite new words was 'curious' which opened up wonderful group discussions around times when we have felt curious in the past. Each day we looked at a different page of the book, discovering what the various words meant and thinking about how we could use them in our own day to day conversations.
Midway through the week had the opportunity to take part in an orchestral workshop where the Squirrels listened to various classical pieces. We learned about the instruments, including what they are called and what types of sounds they make - deciding whether they were 'loud', 'quiet', 'high', low' etc. A highlight of the workshop however was learning how to conduct an orchestra. By the end of the workshop we were practically experts!
On our Outdoor Learning Day we took inspiration from our story and set the Squirrels the challenge of moving around like animals. We had to think about the animals height, speed and how they would eat and drink and try to incorporate all of these things into our movements. We also took part in an exercise class which was inspired by a few of the children who had taken seen their parents take part in classes at home. Whilst it was a gruelling workout, the children worked extremely hard and were able to observe the effects exercise has on our bodies such as making us thirsty and hot.
Another story we have been looking at this week is What the Jackdaw Saw by Julia Donaldson. This is a lovely book which identifies the various ways we can communicate with each other aside from verbal communication. The book tells the story of the Jackdaw who asks his friends to come to his party. No one responds to him, instead they simply tap their head. The Jackdaw then flies into a big thunder cloud and wonders why no one had warned him. Owl explains, they did, by tapping their head they were all signing danger and owl shows the Jackdaw how to sign the word for party so that the other animals can understand him. The Jackdaw flies around again signing party to all of the animals and everyone turns up to his party. The children loved learning the sign for party and although it was a little tricky at first, they all succeeded. We try to incorporate sign language everyday into our routine and this was a lovely story to emphasise why it is important and to normalise it amongst the children.
In our Role Play Area we have been extremely busy in our Chinese restaurant taking orders and cooking up delicious meals for all to enjoy. A staff highlight has been the chef special noodles cooked up by our Squirrels! In Free Play we have continued to explore capacity, refined our fine motor skills using putty, scissors and writing equipment, built towers with Lego and developed our imagination down on the farm.
In the Outdoor Learning Environment we had a wonderful time exploring movement and dance with the help of the colourful scarves, which we used to move around us. It was so much fun and we loved seeing how high we could throw them into the air! We also developed our ball skills and made lovely cupcakes in the mud kitchen mixing a variety of ingredients from conkers and leaves to shaving foam and sticks!