Learning at Home and Social Distancing
(Insert statement about difficult times here)
Our home learning is very informal, although Alfie is old enough to be half way through his preschool year we haven’t started anything remotely like formal learning. Last week I sat down and thought critically about the kind of learning opportunities I was enabling.
Art & play: the vast majority of our day is spent in free play. Alfie loves creating scenarios for his mini figures and can spend hours muttering and singing to them. Indi frequently watches him or imitates what she sees him doing.
Both of them have also been drawing and painting a lot and Alfie loves making models from polymer clay. Our Stabilo 3-in-1 pencils continue to be a huge hit and the kids love using them to draw on the windows.
Literature: We read a lot. This week we’ve been reading the charming Spring Story from Brambly Hedge, Alfie is absolutely captivated by this world and has been playing close attention to our own hedgerow as a result. Adele and Simon is another enchanting story about a brother and sister taking a stroll through Paris. Alfie’s really enjoyed the small amounts of French I included while reading it. As always Beatrix Potter and Paddington Bear are our audiobooks of choice.
This week we also ended up reading quite a bit about birds nests and how animals build their homes, this was inspired by observing birds gathering materials and especially a very defensive Song Thrush, and also by Nats Nature Cam on insta. Our favourites are How Animals Build (cartoon style with plenty of information and lots of exciting flaps), A Nest Is Noisy (beautiful illustrations with fascinating snippets) and lastly Irish Wildlife Books.
Nature Play: This week we planted some of our vegetable seeds, Alfie has especially enjoyed watching the broccoli and sprouts seedlings which we’ve got propagating in a mini greenhouse.
As a result of all our reading about nests and bird watching I thought it would be fun to build our own nest. We gathered up likely supplies just like our friend the thrush and the next day I left them all on the table for the kids to explore. Alfie loved making a nest and went through several variations before deciding on which type would be cosiest.
Inspired by our visits to the river and reading Squirrel Nutkin and Katie Morag Delivers The Mail we explored some landforms including lake, island and bay. Alfie ended up using his Schleich animals to classify which animal lived where, I was surprised that he knew which animals lived in salt water and which lived in fresh water as I can’t remember the last time we talked about it!
Music: Over the last few weeks we’ve been building a wonderful repertoire of Spring songs. We sing these while we’re out walking, when we’re gardening and when we’re with the chickens. They’re a lovely way to give us a boost when little legs get tired mid-walk, keep us focused on the task at hand or help us transition into a slower pace ready for nap time.
We also had a musical retelling of Peter Rabbit. Alfie noticed that when played softly and quickly the xylophone sounded like the tiptoes of Peter Rabbit. I suggested that our drum could make the sound of Mr McGregor’s thundering footsteps and before we knew it we had a whole range of sounds to use as we told the story. I can’t wait to do it for more stories.
Practical life: This remains a big part of our day, the kids have been cooking, helping to make Easter candles, dying eggs and looking after our animals. The weekly Long Recipe that I introduced at the beginning of the year is still going strong.
Phonics & Numeracy: We haven’t established the habits I’d have liked us to in these areas. Over the coming weeks I’ll be making a more deliberate effort to do a daily 5 minute focus on both every day.