Welcome to term 4, Outdoor Kindy Week – our final week of outdoor kindy for 2013. Its been a wonderful learning curve over the course of the year for all of the children, staff and parents, and we hope you have enjoyed joining us on this amazing journey. We have gone from being a perhaps a little over organised, nervous and super prepared for absolutely everything in term one, to excited, relaxed, ready to work, play and fully embrace the emergent child led curriculum this experience always provides for us as we begin this week. The weather was just beautiful today, a slight breeze still made sitting by the campfire very comfortable, while the suns intermittent appearance from behind the clouds warmed us as we played.
Unlike previous outdoor kindy weeks where we already had the firepit set up, campfire going and the kitchen all prepared before the children began to arrive, todays small group, as well as the children’s familiarity with outdoor kindy week, allowed us to fully involve and immerse them in all those preparations after they arrived. There were no shortage of willing helpers to get all the essential jobs done.
There was kindling to collect….
This morning we had the wonderful experience of learning to set and light the campfire together. We filled the metal fire bucket, counting how many small buckets, carted all the way from the digging patch, it took to fill it to the top. Then we all had to work really hard to come up with ways of breaking all the long sticks that had been collected from the park next door….
We carefully placed each one over the newspaper in the firepit. If we weren’t really gentle we might collapse our carefully built pyramid.
Then we lit it. It caught straight away and burned perfectly all day long. A far cry from last term when we struggled daily to keep our fire going in the middle of a wet, muddy swamp!
The outdoor kitchen needed wiping down and stocking up….
Rolling a huge, heavy log from near the chook shed, all the way across the yard to the rain water tank to set up our hand washing area was a massive challenge, which, with encouragement and perseverance was proudly achieved by a very determined little worker….
We had gathered together a box of suitable recycled items all ready to spark the creation of a music wall. Janice found some old hanging baskets in her shed, this inspired her to use them as the base for some beautiful and inviting musical stations that the children worked very hard on.
They decided to hang them under the dappled light of the apple tree, and took great delight in experimenting with all the sounds that the different items made.
There were many experiences with the meaningful use of tools as they created these. Cutting strings,
and tying of knots to attach the pieces….
Not to mention the hand eye co-ordination it took to play them once they were dangling playfully from the tree.
The ropes that were hung between the tree and the fence a few weeks ago provided opportunity for a fun challenge. The proficiency and skills that the children are developing on this child initiated activity amazes us daily…
A toy platypus that was discovered near the digging patch first thing in the morning, inspired one group to create a habitat for it. There was so much rich language use based around the what the platypus looked like, what it could do, what it would eat, and where it would live… after a focus on ‘wombat stew’ this term, it was a perfect way to reinforce many of the concepts and language we had been inviting the children to explore.
One of the children put on his snorkel and went searching for sharks….
They could of course only be spotted with the use of his special binoculars….
We were constantly hearing the excited tones of the children finding all sorts of bugs, beetles and moths in the yard. They examined them, discussed what we thought they might be, noticed in awe how amazing it was that some of them were so well camouflaged, and then we released them back into a safe spot in the garden….
Routine, jobs such as watering our palette gardens, and feeding the chooks, and collecting the eggs were attended to as part of the course of the day…
Creating bubbles was a very popular way to spend time today. Tiny little bubbles right up to giant bubbles fluttered through the sky as we all learned to persevere, and keep practicing to try and make them fly….
We cooked sausages on the fire….
And chatted away as we enjoyed eating them….
We rested under the apple tree as our musical creations tinkled in the branches above us….
Heidi from Dancify took us for a dance session on our new lawn…
Planks of wood became skateboards….
and we sailed away to explore the wonders of the world on rickety old boats ….
Chalk drawings appeared on all the concrete surfaces, softening them with a rainbow hue of colours…
and adorning them with words that were proudly written by our wonderfully literate emerging writers.
Our memorial totem pole was finally set into position this morning…
the children helped to mix the mortar to fix it in place…
Watching this happen sparked a few children into creating their own concrete. Hauling materials from around the outdoor area, a quarry from which to cart rubble, measuring, mixing, dumping and levelling ….
Much time and effort was put into the creation of an icecream shop by a few of the children. Signs were carefully written, orders collected and delivered, and wonderful recipes for unusual requests such as gooseberry icecream were concocted….
As we only had a really small group of children today, I took the chance to sit by the fire and begin the writing of this blog post amidst the inspiring flurry of activity, and the smell of sausages sizzling on the campfire…
As always our day seemed to fly by way to quickly and it was over before we knew it. It was a very different experience today from previous outdoor weeks. We have had to contend with somewhat inclement weather in the past. Rather than being a negative experience, it has has allowed us the wonderful experiences of playing in the rain, snuggling up by the fire, sloshing around in thick squelchy mud, and jumping in deep muddy puddles. Today there was none of this. Apart from reapplying sunscreen after lunch, we didn’t need to give the weather a second thought, it was neither hot or cold. We had a great start to our week and are all looking forward to coming back tomorrow to do it all over again.
Written by Nic.
PS…..Thanks to everyone visiting our blog for sharing today with us. Please take the time to leave a quick comment on this post. It is a wonderful way for us to record both our families, and the wider communities involvement in, and thoughts about our programme, and a great reflective tool for us as a staff team. Not to mention, arriving at work in the morning and reading your lovely comments puts a huge smile on all of our faces – its a great way to start our day 🙂