20th January 2023
Minibeasts… no we are not talking about the children! Minibeasts are small creatures such as worms, snails, frogs and insects and it is one of the most fun units to do in the Early Years. There is so much scope for learning and children are naturally very inquisitive about bugs. We have been outside with collection boxes finding slithering slugs and beautiful beetles to look at with our magnifying glasses. The children have even had a go at classifying the insects using books. We may have some future entomologists in our midst.
In FS1, we have started with The Very Hungry Caterpillar book which takes us through the life cycle of a butterfly and provides many other cross - curricular links, from counting fruits to learning the days of the week.
We have painted caterpillars using toilet rolls, made cocoons with papier mâché and printed butterflies, which has also introduced us to symmetry. Physically reproducing the life cycle of the butterfly really helped the children to visualise the process and remember the steps. It is important to allow children to use their different senses while learning and they especially loved the feel of the squashy papier mâché.
The children used their bodies to recreate the changes, really embodying the story and transforming into little caterpillars. FS1 took to the stage to retell the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and had a lot of fun. Another word that came up during this unit has been ‘camouflage’. Insects are masters at blending into their surroundings and it seems so are these minibeasts!
All the early years classes have been creating different minibeasts in 3D using natural materials by collecting sticks and leaves. They even had a go at reusing junk (which is both fun and sustainable - a message that we love to carry across in all areas of learning).
A unit like this reminds us how very lucky we are to live in Nanyuki and at a school that is so full of nature. We only have to step out of the classroom to find butterflies, caterpillars, centipedes, slugs and much more. Taking the learning outside is very beneficial and naturally happens a lot in Early Years. Next week we will make the short drive up into the foothills of Mount Kenya where the children will see what other minibeasts can be found… lets just hope it’s only MINI-beasts we find!