Introducing Spring in the Early Years Setting.
Spring is a wonderful time of year. Days are getting longer, plants are blooming, and young animals are appearing!
Children are naturally curious about the world and want to find out as much as they can.
It is the role of the early childcare practitioner to develop the quality of effective outdoor environments for young children. Springtime offers both the practitioner and children the opportunity to explore the great outdoors.
Early childhood care and education practitioners need to recognise these moments and pause to observe, reflect, and explore with the children.
"Children are like tiny flowers: They are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when in the community of peers."
A Natural Curriculum
Aistear tells us that engaging in play is good for children's health and well-being.
The theme of Exploring and Thinking is about children making sense of things, places and people in their environment by engaging with others, playing, investigating, and questioning.
Children have an especially great need of sensory stimulation and movement, and this is best found in the natural outdoor environment.
The early year’s practitioner understands that everything children take note of and want to do have value and is meaningful to them. Young children need time to think, to repeat, to return to things and to come back later to something that has interest for them.
How can this be implemented in a setting?
Listening to children's comments and observations is a good starting point for investigations.
Some suggestions are:
We’re going on a bug hunt!
- Discuss the different types of insects children might find.
- Provide magnifying glasses for closer inspection.
- Make insect friendly jars to keep them in.
- What baby animals have the children noticed?
- Kittens, puppies, lambs, bunnies etc.
- Do they know what the different baby animals are called?
i.e. a sheep(ewe) has lambs, a cat has kittens, dogs have puppies…
- Look for nests in low trees and watch for new chicks being hatched.
Bring baby animals into the service for children to pat and feed- a lamb, kitten, puppy or chick perhaps
- Plant a herb garden and enjoy the smells of plants like rosemary, mint and lavender.
- Grow plants in beds, in giant pots, in window boxes, in old tires. Children like watering as it involves a bit of muck and dirt and has scope for plenty of messing.
- When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes
Fran's flower by Lisa Bruce
My Nest Is Best by P. D. Eastman
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The theme of Exploring and Thinking is about children making sense of things, places and people in their environment by engaging with others, playing, investigating, and questioning. Being able to plan activities that promote enquiry-based learning in the early years setting is a core module of the BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies. Read more
About the Author
Maeve Nolan has worked in Portobello for almost twenty years with experience in managing her own Montessori school for fifteen years. She completed her BA in Montessori Education and in European Studies with a MA in International Politics. Through her experience in working in Germany as an expert in Research and Policy Analysis on Education and Training, Maeve has become skilled in time management and in prioritisation, key skills that have aided her career as a tutor
For Maeve, the most rewarding aspect of being a tutor is watching students succeed in their studies and onwards in their career. She is always delighted to her from her past students who have landed in the jobs they’ve trained for or from those who have opened their own facilities.