Understanding the world covers three areas; people and communities, the world and technology. In this area, children learn all about themselves, their families, friends and other cultures, and the world around them. Children recognise similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things and can talk about features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary. They make observations of animals and plants, explaining why some things occur, and talk about changes. Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools and select and use technology for particular purposes.
All of the reception classes each have a dedicated tree which they visit and observe throughout the changing seasons. This week we have been looking at how our trees have changed in winter, compared to autumn. We noticed that there aren’t any leaves at all, the trees are very bare and boring. We know that in winter the weather is colder and it may snow sometimes. We are looking forward to seeing the new leaves growing on the trees as spring begins to arrive.
In Science this week we have been learning about different forces, and what makes things move. We learned about the difference between push and pull, how wheels help an object to travel, and what makes a car move. Some of the children made links to our previous topic of space, noticing that it is gravity that makes an object fall to the ground.
The children have been very busy cooking, digging and investigating the mud kitchen this week. Some children found worms, other made mud pies, and some just enjoyed squelching in the wellington boots and digging around to see what could be found.
Last week it was very windy, so we got out some kites and had fun running around the field with them flying behind us. We enjoyed looking at the colours, and competing to see who could fly their kite the highest.
Last week we celebrated Chinese New Year in style. There was Chinese dressing up, stories and animal races. We practised painting Chinese characters, learned how to count in Chinese and made lanterns to decorate our classrooms. The children enjoyed cooking different Chinese dishes too – Blue and Green class enjoyed a healthy stir fry with chopped vegetables and noodles, which they ate in their Chinese restaurant with chop sticks. Orange class made New Year dumplings with dips, and tasted Asian fruits, sweets, rice crackers and green tea. The children enjoyed watching films of the lion dance in Soho, and learning about the traditions of the Lunar New Year. All classes would like to say a big thank you to parents who brought in decorations, food and pictures from their celebrations to share. Happy New Year to everyone!
Orange class spotted a beautiful butterfly in our outdoor area. It was flying around but then it got caught in a spider’s web! With the help of an adult, they freed it from the web before the spider could come to eat it, and it flew away happily into the sky. The children were very excited about this, so we watched some films about how butterflies change from a caterpillar into a chrysalis, then into a butterfly. We learned about what butterflies drink, and then we made our own butterflies in the art area to fly onto our classroom walls.
Recently, we have been learning about space – including the Sun, Earth and the Moon, gravity and of course astronauts! We did an experiment using a lamp, to understand how the Earth orbits the Sun and how the Moon orbits the Earth. This helped us understand why the Sun sets and the Moon appears in the night sky. We have a role play area based on the International Space Station, where we can drink and eat from our food pouches, and sleep in our sleeping bags. This is Norah, heading off to the ISS for a hard day’s work as an astronaut.
In January it snowed, and many of the children had never seen snow before! We wrapped up warm, and headed outside to explore how the snow looked, felt and of course, tasted. The children enjoyed watching the snow, and talking about how it is made and why snow falls from the sky.
This week some people have to come to visit us to discuss their different faiths. We learned that Muslims pray five times a day, and visit the Mosque on a Friday. Their holy book is the Quran, and many Muslim women wear Hijabs to cover their hair. Churches are where Christians and Catholics pray, and we saw some Rosary beads and Crucifixes that many Christians use or wear. Lots of Christians visit church on a Sunday, which is their Holy day.
We also learned about Hindus, Buddhists and Jews who all visit different places to pray and wear different symbols of their faith. The children were interested in the different symbols, which we drew and discussed. We talked about some similarities and differences between faiths, and agreed that all religions encourage kindness and respect for others.
This half term in science, we have been focussing on chemistry. Here are some of the exciting experiments we have been doing.
We talked about different types of weather: cold, hot, sunny, and rainy. The children had to choose the right hat to suit the weather, before we talked about what materials were used and why they were suitable. We learned all about waterproof plastics, soft warm wool, and cool light cotton. The children had a chance to make their own hats, using a range of these materials and then tested them out to see if they worked!
This lesson was all about investigating how different materials are made up. We had a range of things to test; sand, stones, gravel, cereal and a range of sieves and colanders with different sized holes. The children tested what went through, and what stayed in the sieve – which brought about lots of interesting talk around size and density. At the end, we got out our magnifying glasses out to try and see the tiny grains that sand is made up of.
Here the children were investigating how a substance changes when mixed with something else. We mixed together wet and dry, wet with wet and dry with dry ingredients and watched how they changed. We learned that water and flour mix into a dough, but cornflour and water make something quite different! Adding oil makes things feel slimy, and oil and water will not mix!
In this lesson we experimented with melting. Learning about why things melt, and different ways to achieve this – the oven, hot water and our body heat. We learned that butter and chocolate melt really easily, but pencils and pens do not! The children knew that pencils were made of wood, and we also discussed what other objects are made from; plastic, metal, wood etc.
As part of science this term, reception have been learning about the seasons and how the natural world changes in Autumn. We went outside to look at the trees, observing the number, colour and textures of the leaves. We learned about the parts of a tree, and collected lots of branches and leaves for observational drawings inside the classroom. We even made leaf crowns so we could be Queens and Kings of the forest! In Spring term we will visit the trees again to see how they have changed.
Cooking is a great cross-curricular activity, as it allows us to develop skills and knowledge in maths, science and health and self-care. It also helps with our physical development – all that stirring and whisking is hard work! This half term we have made chocolate cupcakes, watching how the chocolate melted and changed from solid to liquid and back to solid. We also make our own play dough, which means we get to choose the colour and even the smell it has!