Understanding the world is an important topic and a key part of the EYFS. Often children of a young age struggle with the concept of a planet that is round, with people living all around it in countries and continents, in a solar system etc. These are large topics that even our ancestors and scientists over thousands of years have struggled with! And now we want children under 5 years of age to understand the concepts!
The World is a vast topic that can head in so many directions - an endless range of opportunities for extended learning, following children's ideas, concepts, thoughts, interests - aiming to improve their understanding through fun and keeping the learning real.
Fortunately we can cover lots of Festivals of Light at this time of year where we can plan activities that explain other cultures and other countries from around the world.
We choose to set the scene. We start with the concept of the world i.e. the Earth. The Earth, that can be represented by a model globe, being a planet with a moon and a sun, in amongst many more planets, moons and suns. A globe that is round compared to a map of the world that is flat! Once the children grasp what a map is, compared to a globe, we start to discuss continents and countries, enabling us to show size between where we are now compared to the model globe (mathematics!) and different countries of the world.
Having set the context, this leads on to countries in the Far East where Festivals of Light are common at this time of year giving us lots of opportunities for exciting activities with colours, water, candles and making!
Learning "all about me" includes getting to know each other. This is very important so that we can support each and every child in terms of their settling in and happiness in the setting.
There are many ways to extend this topic including simply using the information for background understanding for the future.
One extension includes getting to know about our bodies, such as what are our bodies made of? Skin, bones, blood, organs, hair and so on. This is fun as we can explore a life-size skeleton!
With halloween coming too, we need to keep a fine balance through our activities between factual learning as well as a little bit of "spookiness" without being scary!
One approach to our planning is where we start our learning by understanding the children's current knowledge. Then we look for opportunities to extend their knowledge through fun and creative activities. And finally we ask the children what they have learned - to find out whether we successfully assisted their learning journey. But that's not the end really, since we recap on an ongoing basis as we progress through our continuing learning and discoveries.
A major theme for this coming term is Autumn where we will be learning about nature's natural cycle that means that both flora and fauna demonstrate changes and actions as they head towards the colder winter months.
Examples of our Autumnal educational opportunities:
A preschool nursery with outdoor learning and Forest School at it's heart
Woodland Adventurers Outdoor Kindergarten enables children to spend their time learning as nature intended. We embrace the seasons, learning through natural play in the outdoors - farm animals, camp fires, baking, singing, crafts, den building and more. And sometimes when the weather in wild we may even retreat to the cosy indoors!
Forest School Nursery / Preschool / Kindergarten in Monkton Farleigh, near Bath (between Bathford and Bradford on Avon)
Outdoor Kindergarten in Monkton Farleigh