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Learning beyond the classroom in Nursery

We know that children are meaning-makers, constantly observing, assessing and constructing judgments about the world around them. In Nursery, we seek to provide as many opportunities as possible for children to engage in this meaning-making process, and one way in which to engineer a multitude of these opportunities is by going on Outings 1outings. We focus particularly on our local neighbourhood so that children may broaden their knowledge and understanding of people and places in their own community as they are beginning to expand their personal worldviews beyond home and family and the Nursery.

This year, Nursery children were tasked with some real world jobs, including grocery shopping and posting letters at the post office. We wrote out lists of the things we would need from the shop – fruit for snack, various vegetables both for our role play shop and for creating natural patterns with paint and ink. We then ventured to Tesco and worked together to find each of the items. Some of us used the self-checkout while others were helped by the people working at the tills. We all had to count out the right number of coins to pay and then wait for our change and receipts. At the post office, we bought stamps and carefully stuck them to our envelopes containing invitations to our families to join us in feeding the ducks later on that term. Many children were particularly interested in the jobs of postmen and women, and several Outings 2children debated how long it would take the post to arrive at their homes.

Kritika: “Well, and how does the postman get the letter?”

Kiera: “I think…he needs…a key! Look, here! Then…he can get the post out and deliver it!”

On a more frivolous outing, children enjoyed a civilised chat replete with ‘Babyccinos’ from Costa Coffee. The children translated all of these experiences beautifully into our classroom upon their returns, thoughtfully writing out and then posting masses of letters, cards and invitations in our own Nursery post box; shopping for real and play food items in role play; and whipping up scores of creative hot drinks as practiced baristas.Outings 3

Later in the year, we ventured farther afield and were excited to explore via public transport. The entire Nursery class took a train trip together with pupils from Secondary and many parents to Richmond to relax along the river – and enjoy ice-lollies, of course! A bus trip to Bedfont Lakes was a highlight for many children. There they enjoyed the more open space of the park and fearlessly tackled the novelty of larger and more challenging climbing and playground equipment – and trees! They examined the lakes, looking out for crocodiles and other fearsome creatures. Several children played a trick on the rest of the class when they returned – telling us that they had seen and escaped from sharks!

“And do you know what we sawed? Sharks. Yeah. Really big ones. And, and they was going to eat us!”

– Harry

Outings 4We found that the Nursery children were incredibly keen to partake of these new experiences and subsequently to share about them with peers and adults, alike. Over the span of the year, children were able to do this in increasingly more meaningful and comprehensible ways, as they broadened their vocabulary, deepened their understanding of the surrounding world and adapted their play to incorporate all of the new knowledge gained across these outings.

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