Our Preppies children have learnt a lot through exploring ‘Transport’ this month. The transport we looked at included trains, cars, buses, aeroplanes, helicopters, boats, trams, tractors, lorries, vans and again we looked at emergency vehicles. This interest also allowed us to venture out of nursery for some trips to discover what the outside environment had to offer. Throughout the month the children talked a lot about transport methods, which ones they use a lot and what they see every day. During welcome time we introduced the ‘talking stick’ which encouraged children to listen to their peers and wait for their turn to talk. The children were asked how they got to nursery that morning, with a variety of answers! “In the car with my mummy”, “On the boat!” and some children even told us they flew through the sky.
Fine motor skills and colour recognition are on-going next steps for our children so we gathered all the small vehicles from our room and put them through paint, watching the tracks that they left, allowing us to develop our observational skills. The children were able to describe the marks they made and also talk about how the colours changed when they become mixed together. We used a variety of mark making tools to decorate our own sheets of paper, which were then folded into paper aeroplanes. The children were really excited to take their very own aeroplanes into the garden, running about with them and making noises and then having a race to see how far they could fly. We recycled some plastic bottles and made sails for them to turn them into boats.
Our first trip this month was a walk to Salford Quays to look at some boats and on the walk there, the children were very good at spotting lots of other types of transport. They pointed out buses, lots of different coloured cars, bikes, motorbikes and when we arrived at the Quays we also saw a tram. During the walk, all children were very well behaved and we sang our favourite songs along the way – mostly ‘a big red bus’ because everything we saw reminded us of this song!
We stood on the bridge and looked at the water, waiting for some boats to come in.,When one came in the children pointed and waved. Through water play, the children have observed how some items float on the water and some will sink. We used toy boats as the example of an object that floats and stones as an example how some objects can sink, the children were encouraged to talk about the effects this had on the water. “Splash splash, underneath, above.” were just a few of our favourite words the children enjoyed shouting out.
On part of our walk around the Quays, we saw lots of chained up bikes and the children were really interested in these and wanted to ring the bells, so Frankie brought her own bike into nursery for them to investigate. We practiced mathematical skills whilst learning the different parts of the bike, counting the wheels, pedals and seat. Safety issues were also discussed with the children and we explained why it’s important to wear a helmet and protect our skulls. Their favourite part of learning about the bicycle was taking turns to sit high up on the seat and getting to ring the bell and not forgetting collecting our favourite toys from around the room, to add in to our front basket.
We created a role play car wash for the children to wash the bikes in the garden which the children really engaged with as they have big interests in water play and the outdoors. With shaving foam and bubble bath, we used cloths and sponges to scrub all the parts of the bikes, remembering that Frankie’s bike also had two pedals but had fewer wheels than ours in the garden. As the children enjoyed this so much, we wanted to let them continue their learning through more practical activities.
Montessori looks at practical ways that children learn, in real life situations:
“Through practical exercises of this sort the children develop a true ‘social feeling’, for they are working in the environment of the community in which they live, without concerning themselves as to whether it is for their own, or for the common good.”
We put on some aprons, got our sponges and cloths again and this time we went to the car park to clean Naomi’s car. Again, we practiced our counting and looked at the numbers and letters on the license plate. Prior to this we had also had a look at Bernice’s car, the children loved crawling inside, beeping the horn and finding out what the difference buttons do.
Some of the children took a short walk around the nursery to have a look at the vans and lorries parked in the area, and this trip resulted in the children talking a lot about traffic lights and when to cross the road as they came across this along their walk. We used this opportunity to develop the children’s road safety knowledge, reading books on the topic and making games up in the garden. With chalk we drew road markings on the ground and the children either used the bikes or transformed themselves into some mode of transport and followed the road around the garden. To enhance this play, we used our own traffic lights that we made and shouted, “Red, orange, green!” to encourage the children to remember the meanings of the different coloured lights.
Joshua’s mum was able to organise a big lorry to come and visit us in nursery so that again we could have a closer look as we did with bikes and cars. We noticed that the lorry had more wheels than the car and bike, and again the children could point out where the letters and numbers were. We used all our muscles to climb up the big steps into the lorry and it managed to fit all of us in, we put on our seat belts and we even beeped the horn and surprised everyone in nursery.
There has been a lot of talk and play related to space rockets, which has really brought out the children’s mathematical skills; lots of counting to ten and backwards again. We drew hopscotch in the garden in the shape of a rocket, allowing the children to see the numbers visually, at the same time practicing turn taking. When we hopped to the end of our hopscotch we shouted “BLAST OFF” and ran all around our garden, then we ran back and high fived our friends so they get a turn to blast in to space too. Our imaginations allowed us to travel in to space; we put on our space equipment and tip toed through the garden, slowly moving in different directions, using all our fine and gross motor skills to enable us to travel in a variety of ways.
It’s been a very busy month and the children have actively taken part in many activities all to do with transport, letting each of them develop further in particular areas and engage in real life experiences. Real life experiences increase motivation, allowing the children to investigate real objects rather than just looking at pictures. It encourages the children to take part and the more your children are actively engaged, the more they are learning. Experiences give children something to talk about, helping to promote their communication and language skills and they provide us with the opportunity to introduce lots of different words to describe things. Our children have gained a better understanding of the world whilst exploring their interests in transport and they have all had lots of fun whilst doing so.