The Early Learning children are learners with curious minds
The Early Learning children are curious about nature and they’re developing a respect for and love of things from nature. Recently, we engaged in some thinking where the children identified things in our environment that were living or not living and were encouraged to justify their thinking.
Qianqian:“Snails are living because they eat leaves.”
Clara: “Frogs are living because they live in water.”
Sage: “Slugs because they eat leaves.”
Kelly: “Ducks because they are in the water.”
Alex: “Worms and that’s because they live in the soil.”
Madelyn: “Birds are living because birds eat worms.”
Ting Xuan:“Butterflies because they have long tongues so they can taste the flowers.”
Calista and Alex demonstrated their ability to think flexibly and interdependently when they expressed their understandings about how some things were once living but are now not living.
Calista: “Logs are not living.”
Alex: “We need to put logs in the middle because it’s not living but one time it was living.”
Calista: “Dead leaves were once alive. Put that in the middle too.”
June: “Pots are not living because they stay still in the kitchen.”
Alex: “Rugs don’t live and that’s because they don’t move and they just stay on the ground.”
Chloe: “Chairs are not living because they don’t move.”
The children are currently applying this knowledge about what identifies something as living or not living to create a criteria for sorting things in our classroom and garden, into living and not living.
A recent event in the classroom, provided an authentic opportunity for the children to experience how something can be living and then not living. On arrival at school last week, I noticed that one of the fish in our tank had died. I removed the fish from the tank and wrapped it in some paper towel. The death of the fish provided further learning opportunities for the children. The children made connections to the theory that Alex and Calista made about how some things can be living and then not living. We realised that yesterday the fish was living but today it is not living because it had died.
Alex: “It’s going to go all the way up to heaven.”
Rubyrose: “I thought it may stay for long, but it didn’t.”
We shared a story titled Lifetimes. The story explained life and death in a sensitive and caring way. It informed us about beginnings and endings and about living in between. There were illustrations of plants and animals and people depicting how there is always a beginning, then living and an ending.
Ms Angela: “I wonder what we will do with the fish that has died.”
Calista: “Maybe you could put it in a riverbank. There’s a riverbank near my house. It’s called the Yarra River.”
June: “We could just put it in a paper towel and bury it in the dirt.”
Alex: “We should bury it so it can go to heaven.”
Ms Angela: “Alex can you tell us about heaven.”
Alex: “It’s where other people live with God.”
Calista: “and Jesus”
Rubyrose: “We could put it in new refreshing water.”
Ting Xuan: “You could bury it in our garden.”
Alex: “All my fish have gone to heaven.”
Kelly: “You can use a paper and draw a house and put it in there and the fish would like it.”
The children decided to bury the fish in the garden. June found a place in the garden and Charlotte and Gia helped her to dig a hole for the fish. June placed the goldfish carefully into the hole. Alex and Gia put dirt into the hole and covered the paper towel.
During Chapel with Reverend Creed, we often give thanks to God for different things in our lives. I asked the children if they wanted to go to the Chapel and say thank you to God for our fish and all the things we have in our garden from nature. The children responded with enthusiasm and wanted to do this. We went to the Chapel and the children had an opportunity to create and share their own prayers to God.
“Dear God, Thank you for all the beautiful plants and animals.” – June
“Dear God, Thank you for making everything – the plants, road, people and water – and everything you make and do is wonderful.” – Rubyrose
“Dear God, I thank you for the nice beautiful flowers. Amen” – Calista
“Dear God, Thank you for all the pretty flowers and trees. Amen” – Sage
“Dear God, Thank you for the beautiful families and things from nature.” – Charlotte
Through these types of experiences, the children are learning about nature, what it means to be living or not living and life and death – beginnings, living and endings. Through their participation in these experiences, the children are developing life-long dispositions for learning, for example, how to:
> listen with understanding
> think flexibly
> think about thinking
> question and problem pose
> apply their past knowledge to new situations
> think and communicate with clarity
> gather data
> remain open to continuous learning
The children are currently expressing their reflections through drawing and dialogue.
ELC 4 (Full Time) Teacher