In this post, we hear from Mia Wynyard, kaiako at Kiwi Kids ECC. Let’s find out what the ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ project has meant for this Centre one year on…
We are one year on from our ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ experience and we can’t express just how much our thinking around science and nature has changed.
Before we started this the project, science was not our strong point! We took up the opportunity to be involved as we really wanted to work collectively with the children to extend our learning.
We have had lots of great experiences over the past year, and our confidence has grown immensely. We find the five science capabilities to be a really useable framework. Here are some examples of what we have been doing as a result of the project:
We regularly go out into the community for excursions. One morning we were stopped by our neighbour Robyn, who took us to see her Swan plant filled with caterpillars. We came back to visit her often, and like with our tadpoles (see our post on this here), we observed and learnt about the life cycle of this animal. This experience was even more meaningful for the children and teachers because we got to learn and grow with our wider community.
Becoming a sustainable centre
Our involvement in the ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ project has helped inspire us to become more sustainable in our practices. We decided we needed to recycle, reuse and reduce. We have initiated a few different projects relating to this:
All of our food scraps from morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea were getting chucked in the bin. We thought that establishing a worm farm might be a good way to solve this problem. Our children are actively involved: from collecting worms from our gardens, working out how to house them and what to feed them, and looking after the worms on a daily basis. Lots of discussions and sharing of experiences have occurred between the children, whānau and teachers as we have have been creating the worm farm. This included their prior knowledge regarding worms as well as the benefits of worms in gardening. Our work in the ‘Bug’s Life’ project has meant we are able to observe, and know to wait and see whether the worms were growing and needed further care.
Every day we see empty milk bottles in our Centre, and perhaps at home. We knew that we could build with these materials from a professional development sessions kaiako Mia, Mary and Reena attended. Our creation of a recycled milk bottle Igloo shelter has been a combined effort between tamariki and teachers.
We have created living gardens with a variety of herbs, plants and flowers. The children take responsibility to look after and care for the garden. While gardening we also find an opportunity to extend their learning further regarding science. This includes looking at seeds, and the needs for fertilisation, enough water, and sun to grow plants.
The Positive Impact of Science
We have witnessed many positive learning outcomes created by the opportunities we now can give to our children. There is a huge increase in involvement in science. The children’s appreciation and understanding about ‘how science works’ has also been greatly extended. We now regularly notice children’s observing, getting involved in discussion or experimentation. Making representations is now a part of the teachers and children’s methodologies every time they do science.
Thanks for this post Mia! Building up the science confidence of our ECE sector was a huge part of why we started this project. What great work you have been doing – we look forward to hearing where you go next.