Today we were very excited and honoured to have our first 'Ace' visitor! Maddie came all the way from a school in Bath to come and see our setting. This was exciting because we do love talking but also a great opportunity for us to reflect on our provision and thought processes. The children were busy in continuous provision and lots of them were choosing activities inspired by 'The 3 Little Pigs'. Maddie asked us why we had chosen this particular story - was it dictated by our planning or did the children choose it? We realised the answer took us all the way back to the first couple of weeks of the September - and no, it wasn't because of our topic planning!
We had introduced the 'Exploration Station' and the children were excited to learn that they could 'draw on the table'! We suggested that they might like to draw what they could see outside and one of the children drew the big horse chestnut tree.
As the children began to explore their outside areas they were excited to find that the conkers had started to fall from the trees! There was a LOT of conker collecting!
Collecting conkers carried on for many days. They 'cooked' with them in the mud kitchen, collected them in pockets, weighed them, wrapped them in foil and cake cases and counted them. We were really pleased with the learning that was coming from this interest and we enhanced the provision to take this into account.
Their interest in the conkers began to include leaves and we went on a 'Welly Walk' to collect leaves to use in the classroom. This led to lots of leaf art!
Clearly leaves were not enough and while we were collecting them the children also collected a few sticks. We continued this by collecting lots more and then enhanced our provision by providing opportunities to use them in their play. This included linking the sticks to our 'Objective Led Planning' which was a shape focus.
We also read the story of 'Stick Man' by Julia Donaldson and the children were excited to have a go at making their own stick men! (And ladies. And children!)
Following this story we wanted to introduce a story focus so we decided to talk to the children about which story book character lived in a stick house and of course we then read 'The 3 Little Pigs'!
So back to Maddie's question. We came to 'The 3 Little Pigs' following all of the above! The main reasoning behind the choice of story was because we had followed the children's interests. This meant that they were invested in their learning. The children were enthused and excited to play and were engaged across many activities. We feel this gave the maximum learning/progress possible! Our topic had actually started out as 'All About Me' but we left it behind because our observations showed us that we could provide a more rich learning environment. Had we rigidly followed the topic the children would likely not be as engaged in their learning and wouldn't have made the same levels of progress.
So for us child led wins over topic every time!