Play, reasoning and learning

At our nursery, we have many activities and apparatus to teach subjects such as numeracy and literacy, but how can we tell what has been learnt? By allowing the child to freely play with as little intervention as possible!

We are fortunate to have alongside our nursery the most beautiful allotment site cared for and nurtured by the local community, with a positive and committed committee. The children have access to this facility and the allotment members have provided a pond and nature areas for the children to have woodland activities, as well as growing and caring for plants.

I observed a group of boys playing today, and heard this simple conversation as they watched some of the gardeners attending their plots. “Look out there’s Mr McGregor!”, said one boy. “Oh no, there’s another one over there, now there are two!” said another boy. “Quick! Hide behind the apple tree, until they have gone!” And they hopped like rabbits to the apple tree in our garden.

What have they learnt? They know where our apple tree is, and can distinguish it from the other trees. In numeracy, they understand one more than one is two. They know the Peter Rabbit story, and can identify different movements of animals.

They continued to adapt the story of Peter Rabbit to their environment. This is creativity and reasoning. They were focused and were all able to contribute to the story line, playing together as a group.

But most of all, they had fun.