It always amazes me how much children learn from each other; their peers, siblings and friends. However, I think as adults we also sometimes forget just how much ‘learning’ happens through play! In the nursery we are given daily reminders of the important role that play gives the children as they grow and develop and how pivotal it is to their learning. In the nursery here at Cargilfield, the children have been learning about woodlands and woodland animals and it is incredible to see how much of the children’s learning has been; developed, extended and consolidated through their play.
We see examples of this every day in all sorts of wonderful ways, a few of which I have highlighted here:
All sorts of fantastic art work and den building have taken place over the last few weeks where the children have been able to use their imagination and problem solving skills to create something wonderful. These types of play scenarios are crucial in developing the children’s imagination, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Creativity through play has also been shown in many different contexts this term. The children have created their own self-portraits, made woodland art pictures and scavenged for items to make their own woodland crowns to give just a few examples. These sorts of activities are so important to help brain development in early childhood as they promote cognitive, social and emotional development aswell as helping to develop a range of multi-sensory skills.
The sand and water areas in the nursery have been very popular this term as the children make and test their hypotheses, stretch their imagination and explore their senses through these different mediums. They have been encouraged to lead their own learning to help them develop their physical, cognitive and social skills in a variety of ways. Sand and water have provided the ultimate ‘blank canvas’ to enable this to take place.
The children have already been engaging in the nursery allotment over the last few weeks; planting pumpkin seeds and thinking of ways in which we can help the seeds grow and what we can make/do with the pumpkins once they have grown. Gardening is a fantastic experience which enables the children to discover, learn and explore their natural surroundings. The children are leading the learning in this instance; deciding what we plant, how we might help the seeds to grow and what we want to do with the vegetables which will grow i.e use them to make snack each week in nursery.
Role play and creative drama has also played an important role in the children’s learning so far this term. It is through this type of play that the children are extending their understanding of community, culture and the wider world as they take on different characters in play and learn to empathise and understand the feelings of others as they ‘step’ in to their shoes. We have had some wonderful ‘role play’ so far this term with the children using masks of woodland animals as a prompt to ‘become’ the animal and then searching for food and making houses through their play.
So, when we take a step back and consider ‘How do we learn best?’ let’s not forget about the crucial role that play contributes to a child’s learning and development, something which we are reminded of in the nursery every single day.
Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.