The children have been very interested to learn about planting and growing runner bean seeds for our new family centre. By placing a runner bean seed in a zip lock bag with some wet cotton wool and sticking this on to the window, the children were able to observe the seeds germinate as the roots and shoots started to grow.
“I can see the roots going down and the shoots going up.”
“They are going to be so tall.”
“The roots are getting really long now.”
After about 10 days the children filled some small plant pots with soil and carefully planted a seedling in each one and then watered them all.
“I will give them some water. They need water so they can grow.”
The children took responsibility for checking that the soil in the pots was not too dry and made sure each plant had enough water to help it grow.
“The beans need a little drink of water. I touched the soil with my finger and it felt dry.”
To prepare for planting the runner beans outdoors a handheld drill was used to drill drainage holes in planters, the planters were filled with soil and canes were added to provide support.
“I’m turning the handle round and round. I can see little bits of plastic at the bottom.”
To help carefully remove the plant from the pot without damaging it, the children learned about gently rolling and squeezing the pot with their fingers and hands. They were very interested to see how the roots had grown inside the pot.
“Look at all the roots. There are so many.”
When the children had finished planting all the runner bean plants they chose a sunny spot to put them in the garden and gave them a big drink of water.
“The beans are really tall. They have lots of leaves.”
As a nursery community, we are on a continuous journey to empower our children to improve their environmental awareness.
There are lots of wonderful ideas that you can do as a family to learn more about the natural world and care for the environment, which supports STEM and literacy learning, as well as your child’s health and wellbeing.
Introduce your children to the concept of sorting household rubbish for recycling into categories such as plastic, paper, metal and glass. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about different types of materials used for packaging, how they are made and how they can be reused.
Instead of throwing things away, encourage your child to think of great ways to reuse items. Egg cartons work really well for growing herbs, glass jars are perfect for storing loose parts for play, and tin cans make really good pen and pencil holders.
Composting helps to teach our children about reducing the waste that heads to landfills by converting it into nutrient-rich soil.
There are lots of free and easy ways for your family to start composting.
Greens – these are things that rot quickly, and provide important nitrogen and moisture
Vegetable peelings, salad leaves and fruit scraps
Old flowers and nettles
Browns – these are things that rot more slowly. They provide carbon and fibre and also allow air pockets to form
Twigs and branches
Visit a local park and spend some time cleaning up the litter. You will not only be protecting the wildlife and caring for the world around you but you will also be helping your community. It will hopefully inspire others to join in too. Count how many bits of rubbish you find – you will be amazed! Don’t forget to wear protective gloves and take a rubbish bag.
You don’t have to go far to encounter some amazing living things. Going on a back garden safari in your own garden or to a local park or woods will be a real voyage of discovery. It is such a fun way to explore and learn about local plants, animals and minibeasts. You can simply sit and watch, take photos or a video, do a scavenger checklist or record what you found by drawing a picture.
Getting your child involved in growing fruit and vegetables is a great way for them to learn where their food comes from and make healthy eating choices. Children can see first hand the growing cycle and develop an awareness of the seasonal nature of food.
Try growing indoors whilst the weather is still cold. Tomatoes, carrots, peppers and beans work well on a nice sunny windowsill using a recycled container that allows drainage.
Why not join in with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which is happening from the 29th to 31st January and you can sign up for free. There are lots of other things to do on their website too, including stories to read and games to play.
I wonder which birds you will have visiting your garden?
Why not let us know on Google Classroom or Twitter?
Mrs Silvester has been having fun with her recycling again! Here are some ideas of things you could try at home too…
In Mrs Silvester’s house we set out to build our own catapults with things we had around the house to see if we could create our own trajectory devices. Then we built a basketball type game with the catapults.
Here are some of the things you could use:
Piece of scrap wood/ cardboard/ice lollipop stick/craft stick
Wood glue/rubber bands/sticky tack
Clothes peg/plastic spoons
Plastic bottle caps
Projectile Ideas (safe for toddlers and preschoolers): peas, pom poms, dandelions (just the flower part)
These were some of the questions the children in my house had, which we were hoping the experiment would answer:
Which would go further, heavier things or lighter things?
Does a longer catapult fling the object further?
Which catapult would work better, the spoon or the lollipop stick?
This game was fun to make and is great for building motor skills, concentration, counting and number recognition. Turn a cardboard box or plate into an entertaining ball maze game. This is a great hand-eye coordination game to make and play with reusable materials.
Suggestions of what you could use to make your own Recycled Maze Game:
Cardboard Box or Plate
Paper Strips or Cardboard Tubes (Toilet Paper Rolls, Paper towel rolls, wrapping paper tubes, etc.)
Sticky Tape or Glue
A bean, marble, scrunched up paper ball or something small that rolls.
Create the Maze
1) Design your maze by placing the tubes or paper strips on the box. Arrange them making sure you leave enough space for free ball travel around the maze.
2) Then attach the tubes or paper strips to your box or plate
3) ENJOY ! ! !
You could try these other ideas for making mazes too.
Mrs Silvester has set you a challenge! Can you create your own dice game at home?
Remember to share your ideas by tweeting @GlenwoodFC #Glenwoodlearningathome
Here are a few ideas to get you started…
The lids from milk jugs have been used to make these little Plastic Lid Ladybirds for a number dice game. To make the ladybird draw or use some button type eyes and pen dots on your lids. To Play the game, roll the dice and match the spots or numbers on the ladybird number lids to the dice.
What are dice good for?
Dice are great for introducing turn taking and encouraging early maths skills such as: counting, matching, comparing and number recognition.
Find some more number games on the CBeebies website by clicking the link below.
This year at Glenwood we have been investigating and exploring the environmental impact of litter. The children enjoyed many different activities including the story of Zack’s Journey (You can read it by clicking this link), mapping out how the litter travels from our local area to the wider environment and measuring the amount of single use plastic in lunch boxes.
These are all things that you can continue to learn about at home. Eco-Schools Scotland shares some ideas on their website including:
One Planet Picnic – Have a picnic that’s good for you and good for the planet. Include healthy sustainable food with as little waste as possible.
Pop Up Pocket Garden – Design and grow a small garden at home in pots or outside. Celebrate Keep Scotland Beautiful’s birthday or the Year of Coasts and Waters with colourful and edible plants.
Fight Dog Fouling With Citizen Science – Have you noticed more dog fouling in your neighbourhood? We have! While out on your daily walk, can you help us with our survey work?
Count the number of bagged or unbagged dog poos you see (and why not take a photo?), post results on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with #PooPost or #TurdTag and remember to always pick up after your own dog
Some ideas we do at nursery:
Help sort the recycling
Make a picture using recycled materials.
Encourage others to turn off taps
Do something that doesn’t require electricity (Try a screen free day)
Decorate used items such as tins/cartons/bottles to create a plant pot
Children are naturally scientists – their curiosity helps them to understand the world around them. The children at Glenwood love to do their own experiments – developing their skills of scientific inquiry and creativity as they work.
They ask questions and make predictions, follow instructions and make observations, developing skills for learning, life and work.
Here are a few simple experiments and investigations you can try at home…
Being outdoors has many benefits to children’s wellbeing and development. It has a positive impact on mental health as the body increases production of the feel-good hormone serotonin and reduces production of the stress hormone cortisol. Being outdoors provides lots of opportunities for physical activity, which increases muscle strength, stamina and bone density as well as reducing obesity. The NHS recommends that children under 5 years have at least 3 hours of physical activity daily. One final benefit is that spending time outdoors can lead to improved sleep.
At the moment children do not have the option of visiting their local playpark so here are just a few ideas of what you might do together outdoors…
Scavenger Hunts turn any walk into an adventure! Look for signs of spring, shapes, things that are one chosen colour, numbers (in order), make up your own list or download one from online….
Explore nature in the garden Go on a minibeast hunt – look under stones, pots, logs, under plants for creepy crawlies. Use an old plastic container such as a yoghurt pot to put them in if you don’t have a bug box.
Gardening Even if you have no seeds to plant, it’s great exercise to help tidy up the garden by weeding and digging over the soil. You might find some minibeasts to investigate as you work.
Don’t forget to plant the sunflower seeds from your Family Learning Bag. You might try growing new plants from fruit and vegetables that you have been eating – apples, potatoes and peppers are good ones to try.
Family Sports Day Everyone likes a bit of competition!
Try some novelty races – ‘egg’ and spoon, balancing a beanbag (or rolled up pair of socks) on your head, penguin waddle (hold a ball between your knees), crab walking, wheelbarrow race, dressing up, shoe box slide (put empty shoe boxes on your feet)…
Make you own assault course – go under, over, along, up, down. Use whatever you have available – garden chairs, tables, slides, planks of wood, old sheets, skipping ropes. Time how long it takes for each person to complete.
Target games – who can get closest to the target? You could use a bucket as a target or make one on the ground. Throw balls, rolled up socks, wellies… Just make sure there is nothing breakable in the way.
Or you could make some skittles using tin cans or plastic bottles.
We hope you are inspired to have fun in the outdoors and don’t forget to share with us on Twitter @GlenwoodFC #Glenwoodlearningathome
We have been learning about the impact of plastic on the environment. We carried out a survey on our lunch packaging and produced a graph to show the types of packaging used in our lunch boxes. Many of us have reusable wraps, tubs and flasks…. can we do more to reduce our waste?
Glenwood Family Centre is delighted to have once again attained Green Flag status and we received lovely feedback from the assessors:
“Congratulations in retaining your Eco-Schools Green Flag status. It was obvious from your application that your young people and school community are passionate in preserving your environment. This was evident in the many humbling and sincere comments your young people mentioned in your submission, we particularly liked Erin’s quote- “If we didn’t pick up all the rubbish then the world would be smelly and dirty“.
We must also mention the amazing work you have done on measuring your success and demonstrating progression of your actions in a child friendly format, eg. the bottle top graph, learning journal- well done!! Measuring is so important to recognise in your journey and you have done that part of the process exceeding well.
We now look forward to hearing about your new Eco-Schools journey when you log onto the new online process. Keep up the good work!!”
The Eco-Schools Scotland Team
Please read the minutes of our Children’s committee to find out what our plans are for the coming months.