Milngavie Early Years Centre

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Here Be Pirates!!



The Jolly Rodger was flying in our nursery today!

Today was an exciting day in Nursery for our pre-school children-  the very first day of our Pirates Active Learning Project with Primary 1.

We were asked to imagine that our Pirate Ship had been wrecked on a desert island and that the crew was marooned.  First we had to think about where we would get our food and water, where we would sleep and how we might cope without any toilets or baths.  There were lots of good suggestions and our Stewart – who is obviously a fan of Bear Grylls- gave us some great suggestions for digging latrines and creating underground shelters.  We had to think where we might sleep comfortably, without a bed and Holly made the great suggestion that, “Nice, soft sand would be quite comfortable!”  We thought about all the different things that we might have to learn to do, and the suggestions included collecting rain water to drink, drinking coconut milk, fishing and making fires to cook our food on!

We thought about what we knew about Pirates and the general concensus was that they were “Baddies”.  How were we going to cope with living on an island where everyone was plotting to do bad things and be horrid to each other – we came up with the idea of a “Pirate Code”- rules we would have to follow,  to live peacefully together.

The children were divided into 4 different Pirate Crews:  The Emerald Raider, The Black Pearl, The Golden Dawn and the Fiery Parrot.  Each crew had to make up their own Pirates Code.  The crews were made up of both pre-school and Primary 1 Pirates and they wrote their ideas on big bits of old  parchment with quill pens.  Everyone had to sign their Code to show that they agreed to live by it during our adventure.  The children came up with great ideas- as well as the No biting, No fighting, No stabbing, No hitting, No stabbing people in the eye with your cutlass and other highly imaginative types of violence, we also got things like “Be kind to other pirates!” and “Don’t leave any of the pirates out!”  Everyone agreed that the best punishment for disobeying the code would be to “Walk the Plank!”


Parchment, quill pens, amazing ideas and handwriting -examples of our Pirate codes.

Parchment, quill pens, amazing ideas and handwriting -examples of our Pirate codes.

Primary 1 were very keen to show off their writing skills and as we wrote our codes, the children talked in their groups about learning to write and read and what they liked about school.  Our pre-school children were very impressed and they were keen to show how well they could write their names when signing the code.  In smaller groups the children soon got talking and it was lovely to see them recognising friends from the previous year and catching up with both friends and staff.  Our nursery children, many of them a wee bit nervous to start with, visibly relaxed and became more confident about giving their opinions too.

We sang our Pirate Song – everyone who has been to our nursery knows the words -and it is possible they might have heard us down in the village.  We learned our Pirate greeting -” Ahoy there me hearties!”- if anyone says this to you, you know they are a Pirate too!

Only a Pirate's parrot says, "Ahoy there me hearties!"

Only a Pirate’s parrot says, “Ahoy there me hearties!”

We finished today with a brilliant story, “The Pirates Next Door”, by Jonny Duddle- loaned to us by Mrs Chambers’ son Duncan.  We will definitely be buying it for the Nursery!

Next Wednesday, now we have got our ideas and set our ground rules, we will be ready to start the Active Outdoor learning that makes our Pre-school/Primary 1 Liaison project such fun.  We’ve set sail on our adventure and we are really on our way!  We’ll keep you informed about where we end up and what we do every Wednesday in the blog.


Why do we do a Joint Active Learning Project with Primary 1?

To promote our pre-schoolers confidence and help them get to know how Primary 1 works, by giving them a chance to talk to Primary 1 children informally about what they do at school.  This also gives Primary 1 children a chance to reflect on and describe their learning and progress.

To provide an active and exciting environment where children can apply and extend their knowledge and learning in an imaginary, yet meaningful context.

To promote peer learning- children learning from each other.

To  encourage team work.

To provide opportunities for problem solving in group situations.

To introduce our pre-school children to Primary staff.

To encourage our Primary 1 children to play a supportive role with our pre-school children, so they can settle into school knowing some older children.

To provide an opportunity for Nursery and Primary 1 staff to work together- important as we both work on the Early Level of the curriculum.

Because it is fun- and learning is a life-long adventure.

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