Our Project for the Autumn Term is ‘All about Me!’
Learning about ourselves is a fundamental part of childhood development, especially as children start to ask questions about who they are and how they are the same, or different, from others. Naming different body parts, recognising similarities and differences between human beings, and the importance of exercise and healthy eating all form important aspects of our ‘All about Me’ project.
To set the scene and help children become more familiar with the names of body parts, creating life size body posters is a great activity.
Children work in pairs, one drawing round another as they lie on a length of paper. They use pencils and marker pens to create an outline. Various body parts can be named beginning with the simple names of parts eg head, arms, hands, legs, feet and then moving on to add more difficult names eg neck, elbow, knee, ankle, hip.
Children are encouraged to make comparisons of parts of their bodies, asking questions such as, ‘Who has the biggest hand?’, ‘Who has the longest leg?’, ‘Are all the body posters the same size?’, ‘Which one is the tallest?’ They might also make comparisons of physical details like eye colour and hair colour or whether a boy or a girl.
Sticking two hands, one foot and a knee, results in much giggling due to the resulting tangle! Children are also encouraged to take note of how hot or cold the different parts of their body feel, and any changes to their breathing and heart rate before and after exercising.
If we are to maintain a healthy body we also need to eat well. We teach our children about the different types of food that we eat and what food groups they fall into.
Lunch and snack times are a great opportunity to talk about healthy eating and also the things that we like to eat at family meal times. Discussions about how our family’s favourite recipes may be different from our friend’s, encourages our children to think about what makes us the same or different from others. Cookery activities can explore different types of food and whether we can eat them freely or just for special occasions.
Our bodies are also affected by our surroundings, the weather and temperature variations. Encouraging the children to suggest when they remember last feeling hot or cold makes them think about changes that relate to different weather, temperatures, season or months of the year.
Or to the heat that comes after running around at playtime or during a sports session. We teach the children that they need to keep their bodies hydrated with water, especially after exercising or when the weather’s hot.
It’s important that children experience and learn more about their senses and how they can use these to find out about the world around them. Activities that get our children thinking about smell, taste, touch, sight and hearing will all be incorporated into our project.
Children can use their sense of smell to identify materials out of a sight, inside ‘smell jars’. A variety of foods or herbs can be compared, grouped and ranked in different ways. Carefully selected household products (like soap, polish or wax) add variety to the smells that children encounter. Children might rank the smells according to whether they like or dislike them.
‘What does this taste like?’ is a great question encouraging exploration of the sense of taste. Children will be encouraged to taste a variety of unfamiliar foods and use their senses to describe them.
Children might work scientifically by grouping and classifying the foods they sample by taste ie sweet, salty, sour or bitter. ‘How many foods tasted sour?’, ‘Did everybody agree the foods that were sweet?’, ‘Did you like that taste?’ and ‘Did the other children all dislike/like the taste?’ Parents are often amazed that their child is far more willing to try out new tastes and foods when they are encouraged by their friends in nursery!
Our children learn that the tongue and the roof of the mouth are covered with around 10,000 tiny taste buds, which allow us to taste our food!
We can learn about what happens when light is excluded from the human eye with activities using a blindfold and investigating the shape of different objects. Can the children guess what they are without actually seeing them?
Some of the children may wear glasses, and we can talk about how this help to improve our sight. Experimenting with different colour filters shows our children how our eyes react to colour.
Music is a fabulous way to learn about the sense of hearing. We can listen to different instruments and discuss whether we recognise what they are from the sounds that they make. Questions such as ‘Is it louder or quieter?’, ‘Is it happy or sad?’, ‘Faster or slower?’ are great for getting our children to think about hearing and how much we depend on it to make sense of the world around us.
Children are always particularly keen to copy the things that they see in adult life, and role-play activities, mirrors and dress-up play can easily be included in our project.
‘All about Me!’ is always a popular project with our children, and this term we’re really looking forward to learning about diversity and what makes us the same as, or different from, all of our nursery friends!