Our Autumn Term Project is “Me & My Family”!

‘Me and my Family’ is a great project for children to explore their identity and the things that matter to them. It will also enable them to find out about others. Families are complex, diverse, interesting and the focal point of a young child’s world. They may consist of two fathers, two mothers, two homes, step-siblings, half-siblings. Talking about, being aware of and sharing their families with others in nursery supports the young child’s confidence and self-awareness.

Our teachers will be finding out what family means to the children in nursery. Listening to their language while they play in the role-play area or with the small world people is a good way for us to see what the children already understand about what a family means to them.

Small world people, puppets and dolls are great for helping them to think about their own family, and also to start to explore the idea of families that are different to theirs. This helps develop a wider sense of the world, and tolerance and acceptance of others who may not be like us.

Photographs can be used to help children to think about the differences…

‘This is a mummy, do all mummies look the same?’ This is a daddy do all daddy’s look the same?’

The children can think about what their own parents look like. Stand up if your daddy has black hair etc.

We will also be talking about how their family is not just those who live in the same place as them, but includes aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. It can also include close family friends, babysitters, or their pets.

Making an extended family tree with the children helps them to see the links between the different generations of family members.

We can do this in a very physical way by creating a Family Tree Forest with tree branches and hanging pictures of the different children’s families. This provides a great talking point, and as families are very important to children, they will be motivated to share with their teachers and friends. This increases self-confidence and extends vocabulary.

We will develop and extend the idea that family is not just who you live with, especially for those children who have separated or divorced parents. Talking about who lives with you and where your other family members live, encourages the children to share their different types of family arrangements.

It also brings in discussions about where we live with our family. What type of house or flat, how is this the same as, or different from our friends?

There are many great activities that we can include in this far-reaching project.

Creating a family portrait gallery with the children’s own artwork. We can compare these to pictures of famous painted family portraits.

Comparing human families, to family groups of animals. What are the differences between the animal family and the human one?

Looking at how different families live in other parts of the world.

  • What type of houses do they live in?
  • Do their children go to school?
  • Do they keep pets?
  • What languages do they speak?
  • What clothes do they wear?

This starts the children thinking about what unites as human beings, even when we may live many miles apart.

Making people shaped biscuits using gingerbread cutters to decorate with coloured icing and edible decorations, whilst looking at the photos of their family. The children can take these home so that the family members can eat themselves!

There are numerous opportunities for….

  • counting – how many people live in the same place, how many people in the family, how many children have a pet in their family?
  • role play – imitating the things that they see adults do eg beauty salon, doctor’s surgery, dental surgery, veterinary surgery
  • stories and songs – My Mom is Excellent, My Dad is Awesome, My Grandma is Wonderful, My Grandpa is Amazing, all by Nick Butterworth, are excellent stories for young children about individual family members.

‘A house for me’…. children love songs and rhymes with simple actions….

This is a nest for Mr. Bluebird             cup hands together

This is a hive for Mrs. Bee                   make a fist

This is a hole for bunny rabbit            make a circle with thumb and forefinger

And this is a house for me                  place fingertips together to form a roof peak over head

Topics that we explore based on our project are flexible during the term, as we are led by some of the ideas that the children themselves suggest. We are a democratic nursery and the children vote using counters to decide between the various ideas. This gives them a sense of responsibility and independence, whilst also learning co-operation.

Our staff role model kindness to others to set an example for the children to follow, and as part of our project we’re able to incorporate discussions about love, friendship and helping others in our community with the children. Mental health and wellbeing are such a vital part of children’s overall growth and development, and our extended ‘Montessori family’ in nursery can go far to support our children in the vital early stages of their development.

Please do speak to a teacher if you would like to get involved in our project, or if you have any related items, books etc that the children can share with their friends at Circle Time.

We’re really excited to be finding out all about you and your family through your child’s eyes this term!

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