Friday, 4 July 2014

Small World Play

With me today is little ‘X’. He has been with me for a couple of months now and I am fascinated by his *usually* gentle nature and amazing imagination! While the younger girls were having their morning naps 'X' invited me to play with him; "Perhaps you can come play Dinosaurs?" How can you say no to that?!

He began by pulling out the rocks and stacking them up behind the tray and then placing the dinosaurs behind them telling me "They like rocks to hide behind". He then decided the dinosaurs were in danger from the volcano so started throwing the rocks to knock it over.
"Now that girl dinosaur is saved because it hit it off"

"Now they are tired" he tells me laying them each down "This is his bed, this is his bed"
"And that's the end of the story"

He then changed his mind and continued the story with "The next they are eating plants. T-Rex's don't eat plants"
I asked him "oh what do they eat?"
"They eat meat. Not the Diplodocus, that one eats plants"

'X' then moved on to play with another toy for a short while before coming back and picking up a dinosaur again.
"Is this a T-Rex" he asks me holding up a red dinosaur
I replied (rather sheepishly as dinosaurs is not something I am all that knowledgeable on!) "It could be"
X "It has 3 claws; not a T-Rex"
Me "Oh, how many claws does a T-Rex have then?"
X "two, like that one"  Pointing to a smaller figure

He then resumed his small world play. All the smaller dinosaurs had been placed onto a blue Stickle Brick board earlier in the play. As 'X' was moving them off the blue board he told me "When they were in the water they were very sad because they were hungry but mummy and daddy didn't give them any food because they had been naughty. That's what happens when they are naughty, they get no food and they get their TV broken."

At this point I felt 'Xs' attention and interest was dropping in this play so I asked him if he wanted to have some Play-Doh for a little bit before the girls woke up and we had lunch. He asked if he could bring the dinosaurs too, "Of course! The dinosaurs definitely need to come explore the Play-Doh with us!"

We began by rolling out some Play-Doh and looking at the different foot prints the dinosaurs made
 'X' decided to see "How many can fit on there together" as he placed them around fitting in as many as he could
 This one is eating some of the Play-Doh "He is getting his head right in there Heather!!"
 With some of the smaller ones he then started pushing the whole body in sideways telling me "This Stegosaurus has spikes down it's back"

At this point I got up to start putting lunches together for the hungry girls who would surely be waking up soon! As I was pottering around I heard 'X' begin singing to his toys "Oh dinosaurs, my little dinosaurs"

In this short period we can see 'X' is developing or has secured a number of the Early Years Outcome points:
- Focusing attention - still listen or do, but can shift own attention
- Shows understanding of prepositions such as 'under', 'on top' or 'behind'
- Initiates conversations, attends to and takes account of what others say
- Explains own knowledge and understanding, and asks appropriate questions of others
- Suggests how the story might end
- Uses positional language
- Sings to self and makes up simple songs

- Builds up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences
- Introduces a story line or narrative into their play
- Beginning to be aware of the way stories are structured
- Builds stories around toys

Characteristics of effective learning:

X shows a clear engagement in his play. Showing interest in his Dinosaurs, drawing others in to his play and initiating activities. He is motivated by his own interest, maintaining a high level of focus and interest on his chosen activity. He is playing creatively with his Dinosaurs and then moves on to trying out ideas with the playdough. Thinking critically about how they might all fit on to the dough, making predictions as to how many might fit and changing strategy as needed.

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