We’ve been getting on with planting our vegetables in the Walled Garden at Gillies Hill Community Woodland this week. We’ve been planting the beans, turnips, carrots, courgettes, onions and beetroot that we sowed before the Easter holidays. So far we have filled one of the beds where the old greenhouses used to be. Next week we hope to get our raised bed planted too!
It was lovely to be back in the woods today! We have a new play site and enjoyed exploring it and seeing what different things we could find there. We had several new children with us today and it is amazing to see how much more confident and independent they became after just a few hours in the woods. We are looking forward to seeing how our sessions develop as we become more familiar with the new site.
We each chose a special tree in our site and gave it a name. The names we chose were Nursery, Bramble, Firework, Violet, Tractor, Baby Teddy, Florence and Lanky Larry. We will be keeping an eye on our trees as we move further into autumn and then winter so see how they change.
Today our children were engaged in sorting sticks and matching the different kinds of wood. Some of the sticks were marked with the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet and some with the English name and so we tried to work out which sticks matched. The bark and markings on some of the wood were quite different.
The beetroot in our garden is ready for harvesting so we picked 2 and took them into the playroom to wash (we brought some ants in too so we had to take them back out) and grate. (We tasted some and decided it tasted really good). We put some into today’s bread dough and it made the dough bright pink. Once it was cooked it wasn’t quite as pink as when we pot it in to the oven but you can still see the evidence of the beetroot there. It had an earthy beetroot taste (strangely enough 🤣) but was still quite pleasant. The children definitely preferred their “normal” bread but we will be experimenting more soon!
We were very busy at Nursery today! We made a new sign for our garden and then went out for a walk to find some autumn treasures. We found apples, elderberries, hawthorn berries and loads and loads of brambles. We picked some and will try making some jam to eat with our bread. We also spotted some conkers on a conker tree and acorns on an oak tree. So many things to see in our countryside 👍🏻
At Playgroup we are aware that our role in children’s early years goes beyond the direct and explicit learning opportunities we provide. We also influence them through our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. This is particularly significant when we think about the influences we have on their understanding of and attitude towards nature, the environment and the development of a sustainable world.
Our woodland play sessions are an ideal platform for us as adults to encourage our children to develop respect and responsibility for nature and the natural environment. In the playroom we have also been encouraging children to recycle paper and plastic bottles while we also compost our food waste.
More recently we have started creating ecobricks. These are plastic bottles we are filling with the single use plastics which cannot be recycled. The plan is to collect all the single use plastic in playgroup so, for example, the wrappers on fruit we buy, the plastic wrappers some of our mail us delivered in etc. The children are already enjoying using scissors to cut these in to small pieces and then stuffing them into a plastic bottle. We plan to monitor how long it takes to fill each bottle.
Although you will see many creative projects for benches, stools and igloos made from ecobricks and indeed, we may at some point attempt to make some of these, the initial aim of this project is to develop an awareness of the amount of single use plastics we are in contact with every day. Over time we would hope to see that our children develop a better understanding of, and attitude towards, issues of sustainability.