In our Early Years Programme there is a strong emphasis on child-initiated inquiries as we believe that children learn best when their interests are acknowledged as worthy of investigation. Children’s thinking is not only valued but supported and extended through the class community.
Walker, in our class, brought in a picture of a nest he had built with his family. This photograph inspired the children and they were curious to discover more about nests. Walker’s enthusiasm and experience, as well as books Ms Judith gave us from the library, raised the children’s interest in nest building.
As a class, we discussed the reasons birds need nests and building materials.
- Walker: Birds build nests to protect their eggs.
- Alex: They need a home to lay their eggs.
- Ffion: Eggs stay warm.
- Nicolas: To hide the eggs from bad animals and birds.
- Amy: To feed them.
- Wren: To take care of the babies till they grow.
- Walker / Alex: Sticks and bark at the bottom to make the nest strong.
- Edward: Leaves to keep the nest soft.
- Annabel / Ffion: Dry grass and moss to cover the eggs to keep warm.
We used our Waldkinder exploration to collect materials, which the children had decided they would need. We were very fortunate to spot a little nest being built on a tree on our way to Waldkinder. This helped them to closely observe the materials used and the shape of the nest.
The children engaged in collaborative dialogue to agree on how to use the materials. They were observed not only expressing their ideas, but in addition being receptive to the ideas of others. They built nests and decided together where within the school grounds they would like to place them. From their learn they are keen to take some action; by taking care of the birds by regularly putting out bird feed or bread for them.
This child initiated inquiry helped in connecting the children with nature. This experience is part of our yearlong Unit of Inquiry ‘Sharing the Planet’.