Saturday, 26 July 2014

Porridge oats and Pigeons

Dried pasta, porridge oats, uncooked rice, squidgy playdough!

No, not the ingredients to a somewhat suspect light supper, but four firm favourite ingredients for a spot of sensory exploration among the little Reception learners at Sunnyside School.

Little learners everywhere will naturally gravitate toward sensory activities. These can include: sand, water, dough, shaving foam, gloop, compost, jelly, paint, pasta, rice, oats, shells, stones and seaweed. 

Apart from contributing to brain and fine motor development in crucial ways, being presented with the opportunity to cover oneself in jelly whilst participating in a sensory activity, is just too good an opportunity to miss for most little learners! 

In the last few days the little Sunnysiders have enjoyed exploring the dried pasta, rice and porridge oats provided in the Tuff Tray outside. It has sparked some wonderful tea shop role play as well as the creation of a variety of delightful and unusual little learner recipes! 

As the little learners transport the dried ingredients all round the garden during their role play games, a large proportion of pasta, rice and oats has travelled to all the four corners of the garden and everywhere else in between! 

Whilst this makes for a tricky clean up operation (try sweeping a ton of oats and rice out of the grass at the end of a busy day) it has greatly benefited the resident Wood Pigeon in the garden, who has taken full of advantage of all the spillages by conducting his own clean up operation after the little learners have returned to the classroom. 

Subsequently, said Pigeon has become a very large Pigeon indeed, and it was Mrs Crayon who observed him this morning (after he'd eaten a breakfast of dried pasta and playdough) furiously flapping about the garden in an attempt to get airborne. In spite of all his efforts, the poor exhausted chap only managed a few brief moments in the air before crashing into the garden's cherry tree, sending a cloud of leaves, feathers and cherries to an altitude significantly higher than the one he was able to reach . 

After a good o'l chuckle to herself, the cogs and wheels inside Mrs Crayon's head started to whir, as a pigeon-type rhyme began to formulate in her mind. So, when she got home that night she penned the following.


The pigeon in our garden (although gentle, calm and quiet,)
Has grown to huge proportions from a most unhealthy diet.
He eats up all the pasta that's fallen to the ground,
All the porridge oats, the grains of rice, and any playdough that he's found.

That pigeon's in our garden eating non-stop every day,
And now he's so enormous that he cannot fly away!
He flaps about this way and that, his efforts all in vain,
 It would appear his pigeon wings just cannot take the strain.

The pigeon in our garden (once so gentle calm and quiet)
Is feeling mighty grumpy since we've put him on a diet.
We sweep up all the pasta that's fallen to the ground,
All the porridge oats, the grains of rice, till nothing can be found!

Yet that pigeon keeps on searching as he waddles on his feet,
The poor thing doesn't understand there's nothing left to eat.
Now the Pigeon in our garden just mopes about and cries,
But he's showing signs of shrinking to a normal Pigeon size!

"It's just peas for you Mr Pigeon for the foreseeable!"

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Handbags and bell-bottoms

The end is nigh! The finishing line is in sight! Journey's end is all but complete!

Which ever way you care to express it, the academic year is drawing to a close, and the little Reception Sunnyside learners will soon be heading off to pastures new. 

However, before they leave the Reception class to continue their educational journey into Year 1, the Reception Team comprising of, Mrs Jolly, Mrs Very Jolly, Miss Kind, Mrs Caring, Mrs Crayon and Mrs Organised, have planned lots more exciting learning opportunities for the little learners to enjoy in the remaining few weeks of the summer term.

It is also in these last few weeks that The Team tends to reflect and take stock and begin to fully appreciate just how far the little learners have come since they took their first tentative steps into Sunnyside School's Reception class way back in September. Those once reticent little learners have developed into independent and confident individuals, eager to try out new things and to share their newly acquired knowledge and understanding with anyone who'll listen. 

And it is listening to the little learners that the Team enjoys most of all. Armed with clipboards and pens, team members can be seen all over the setting, listening to little learners and gathering important information that will ultimately help to determine their progress and plan their next steps. 

This afternoon, Mrs Caring positioned herself (for a spot of listening) close to the cut and stick table where a group of six little learners were busy making laptops, handbags, robots, rockets, kites, and a in one particular case, a bunkbed for Sleeping Beauty.

As they snipped and trimmed, taped and tied, folded and glued, this group of little makers chatted to one another about all manner things, leaping seamlessly from one topic to another at breakneck speed for the entire afternoon.

Despite the flames that billowed from her Biro, Mrs Caring did her utmost to accurately note down the little learners' flow of entertaining chit-chat. Luckily for her, she's never quite forgotten the abbreviated symbolic writing method of shorthand, that she learned way back in the days of Raleigh Shopper bicycles and denim bell-bottoms, that helped her complete this task.

Well done Mrs Caring, lets now enjoy all your hard efforts. 

Picture the scene. Six little learners, some seated, some standing around a large table completely covered with a variety of junk and collage materials. The classroom is quiet and free of other little learners allowing Mrs Caring to hear the six little makers' conversation in detail. 

So here is just a small extract of that conversation.

Little learner 1 "I'm making a handbag!"

L.l 2  "Mine's not a handbag, mine's a bag for my laptop."

L.l 3  (wearing a sun hat) "Well do you know? I'm wearing my delicate sun hat. I got it at Egypt and do you know, I went fishing at Egypt but I couldn't catch some fish 'cause they were too quick for me.......they were turbo fish!"           
L.l 4  "There's no need to shout!"

L.l 5  "If you shout, it hurts your feelings!"                 
L.l 4  "And your elbow!"

L.l 5  "No! Not your elbow!" 

L.l 3  "If you shout more loud than me, then that's dinosaur shouting!"                  
L.l 6  "Some dogs are allergic to cats, I'm allergic to dinosaurs and roses!"

L.l 1   "I'm going to be a mum when I'm forty four...that's okay isn't it?"

L.l 2  "Well my Mum's really clever, she can hang things and fold things!"  

L.l 5  "Well my Mum's really clever 'cause she can use tweezers!"

L.l 3  "In Benidorm tweezers cost one hundred, but in this world they cost fifty!"

L.l 2  "I've been to Butlin's!

L.l 6  "I've been to Butlin's too!"                                      

L.l 4  "And I have!"

L.l 6  "I never saw you there!"

L.l 2  "Well, I'm going on holiday in a rocket to look at planets!"

L.l 5  "If you tell lies that's naughty. If you're naughty you go to kids' jail. You don't go in a police car, you go in a white cart and they have toilets and I heard on TV they have comfy beds!"

(stunned silence)

L.l 3  "Why did the shoe cross the road?"

L.l 4  "Because it was magic!"

L.l 3  "Nope.......Because it had a foot in it!"

(raucous laughter) 

Guess what Mrs Crayon did when she read the longhand version of Mrs Caring's observation?

Pass the felt pens please

As we're cutting this and taping that,
We take our time and have a chat. 
And chat we do about everything, 
As we stick with glue and tie with string.
There's our clever mums to talk about,
Who fold things up and hang things out.
There's dogs with curious allergies,
Can you pass the felt pens please?
There's our feelings to discuss and share.
I need scissors, have you got a pair?
There's fancy holidays abroad.
I cannot cut this bit of chord!
There's dinosaurs and growing flowers,
Two topics we'll discuss for hours.
On having kids we will debate, forty four a bit too late?
There's our ailments and our remedies,
Not to mention all our injuries.
There's fashion and the current trend.
Me Sellotape has lost it's end!
We'll share the jokes that make us laugh.
This stupid thing won't fold in half!
Now hurry up it's half past two,
It's time to pack away the glue,
The scissors and the Sellotape,
The string, the felt pens and the crepe. 
We've made our laptops, bags and kites,
 We've also put the world to rights. 
The day is done, and we are gone
But our words of wisdom linger on!

Tah-Dah!......A fine afternoon's work!