Children from Firbeck Academy in Wollaton have been using their school’s outdoor spaces to inspire a special story map and artworks exploring their new ‘Jungle’ topic. During the day children explored the school’s grounds, searching for hidden jungle animals!
Teacher Lindsey Johnstone explains, “Our Reception children retold the story of ‘Walking through the Jungle’ using a story map we created in class. Children thought about how the animals moved and what noises they made for our topic looking at Jungles.”
Lindsey says that by letting children use their imaginations to develop their own narrative for the story, created a more immersive way to explore the topic. “Children respond to acting out stories, bringing it to life for them. They are involved in the experience and enjoy learning outdoors in a natural environment.”
The Firbeck Academy based on Firbeck Road in Wollaton has extensive outdoor grounds with a large area of mature woodland, providing a particularly evocative backdrop to their lessons.
Teacher Lindsey says having access to such a wide variety of outdoor spaces helps to bring lessons to life. “The children really enjoyed learning the noises and acting like the different animals in front of the woodland area. They were able to do big movements for the elephant and scary movements for the tiger!
“We discussed what the jungle would be like and discussed different animal habitats during our exploration.”
The children collected materials during their lesson including leaves, wood, grass, and stones which they used to create some artistic installations, or transient art, representing the natural habitats of the animals they discussed.
Lindsey said, “We were using transient art for the pictures because there are no expectations and it is good for all children’s confidence. It is also good for mindfulness because it is calm and relaxing.
“The lesson was a great success and the learning effective. All of the children were engaged and motivated. They were so eager to find the animals outside and were keen to carry on the learning in their classroom. Our outdoor spaces became a magical jungle for the day and helped our children to develop a deeper and fun-filled understanding of their topic.”
Nursery pupil, Jackson, age 3 had fun with the tasks saying he learnt that “…the snakes live in the grass and go up trees. It is in the story and I made a picture.”
Pupil Sofia, age 5, fell for the charms of a different animal they were studying. “The monkey is in the story because they live in the jungle. They can also swing from the trees. The monkey is my favourite because they make a funny noise and I liked making the monkey picture too!”