We were fortunate enough to be invited to a Quality Practice and Play session today, arranged and run by Pacey ( Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) and as it was themed around our all time favourite story, The Gruffalo, wild horses wouldn't have kept us away!
Once we were all assembled we began the mornings excitement by following 'mouse' into the deep dark wood. The children all listened to her instructions and were eager to see where where she would lead us.
We stopped along the way to gather natural items to be used later in the session. It was all about the blackberries for my young ladies and they chatted happily as they collected the juiciest ones they could find and compared the colours and sizes of them.
Once we reached the play area we were invited to find a rock to perch on, and listen as the story began. The tale was told by a lovely lady ( who's name I have forgotten so I do apologise!) who is a local speech and language therapist. She demonstrated the makaton signs for the characters in the story, and invited us to try to use them as she told the story. The girls really paid attention and easily mastered some of the signs. The visual puppet aids also really helped bring the story to life.
Once we had met all the characters from the book, and half way through the tale, it was time for us to get up and go through the woodland ourselves to see if we could find any animals. All the characters were hidden in the bushes and hanging from the trees, and the children's task was to find them, and see if they could remember the sign and think what noise each animal would make. M proudly showed me her sign for 'owl'.
The girls thoroughly enjoyed this part of the day, and were confident in talking to the adults as they showed them the creatures they had found.
While R looked high and low for as many pictures as she could find, S decided to leave her to it and I watched fascinated as she gathered as many sticks as she could carry and carefully placed them in a pile. I asked her what she was doing and she told me ' I'm making a fire!'. She then started rubbing sticks together to show me how it was done. I'm guessing this was something she has learned on a recent camping holiday with her family- it was lovely to see her re enacting the experience in her play today ( and it gave us the opportunity to talk about staying safe around fire!).
With our woodland creatures safely returned to their owner the story continued. Gillian did a very impressive job of staying balanced on the log while juggling an oversized story book!
After the story there was singing with instruments as we sang the Gruffalo song.
We ended the morning by enjoying some themed activities that had been carefully laid on for us. The girls loved exploring the Gruffalo sensory bottles, and I got some new ideas in the process on how to reinvigorate my own sensory bottles at home.
The items we had collected were used to create a collage on large pictures of the characters.
Even the blackberries were used as we discovered how the juice can be used to colour with!
The number line was also a hit, and gave the girls some great opportunities for problem solving. It took a little while but between them, and with a little support, they managed to get all the numbers in order.
Well done girls!
We had so much fun, and an awful lot of learning took place in the process. Thank you so much to the lovely ladies at Pacey for organising such a wonderful session for us to enjoy.