Thursday, 19 April 2018

Nurture through Nature

I was recently lucky enough to attend a training course on the importance of outdoor learning. I find this topic inspiring as the outdoor environment is so accessible to childminders.

We were introduced to the work of a particularly inspirational lady, Claire Warden. I have therefore shared some of her quotes below together with photos from the last few months demonstrating  the outdoor learning we undertake here at Berkeley Childminding to hi light the value we place on learning through nature.

Imagine a world where the lines were harsh and unyielding, the textures were consistent and variation is unheard of.  Does it inspire you?

Now image a place where the carpet changes every day, the ceiling is a myriad of different colours, light, shadow and movement. 

 The feelings and movement completely surround you, sometimes breezy, sometimes cold, others warm.

 Unexpected wonders fly by, sometimes full of colour and sometimes full of noise and movement.

 If we really want children to thrive we need to let their connection to nature nurture them.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Plymouth Synagogue Visit

An important aspect of working with early years children is ensuring they have a good knowledge and understanding of the community within which they live. For this reason I try and provide the children with as many opportunities to interact with the local community as possible. Today we were lucky enough to be invited on a trip to Plymouth Synagogue.

The children (and me!) learnt some simple facts about Judaism. For example we talked about the Sabbath being a Saturday and a rest day and discussed how the women sit up in the gallery with the children while the men sit on the ground floor to worship. 

The tour was very hands on for the children and they enjoyed a variety of dressing up, handling items from within the synagogue such as bells and bowls and, their favourite part, trying some Kosher snacks.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Parkwood House Residential and Nursing Home

Channel 4 recently produced a documentary that followed the success for both children and residents of allowing four year olds to visit an old people's home. The theory behind the documentary was that a four year old is unhindered by prejudice and an 80 year age gap is no barrier to friendship. The young children are considered to force people to live in the moment. 

Following on from this a fellow childminder arranged for us to visit Parkwood House several times a month with our minded children. We have been for two play sessions now and ,on both occasions, the staff and residents have been so welcoming. The children are able to play freely in a room where only residents who want to participate come and join us. In only two weeks the children have gained so much from the interaction whilst the smiles on the faces of the residents demonstrates the mutual enjoyment.  One two year old went home telling his parents the names of the ladies he had met and asked me if we were going to go to the house with the blue door again!

Our activities so far have included singing, pom pom throwing, reading and puzzles and playing with the inflatable hoopla game. The children have already got to know some of the names of the residents and are keen to interact with these new play mates! The biggest all round success has been singing time which gets everyone attempting some tunes!

This is an activity that we would definitely like to develop further as we feel this not only benefits the residents but meets all areas of learning for the children:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: social interaction with both adults and their peers
Physical Development: We have done puzzles and throwing games developing fine and gross motor skills. 
Communication and Language: The children are following instructions, talking to residents and to each other. 
Literacy: Children are reading books with the residents
Numeracy: Children have been completing puzzles through to counting out the number of fish in the house fish tank. 
Understanding the World: Children are gaining an understanding of their community 
Expressive Art & Design: Children have been singing and dancing