Introducing exploratory play

At Swanmore Primary School the children have been learning about living and non-living things, and the care of pets. In this session they explore plant growth. We have seen the benefit of time for exploration.

Here the children explore using their senses and with the aid of a range of small garden tools to get to know the properties of compost as a material. This is a rich introduction to later learning about growing and growing media.

We use a story to develop learning about how plants grow and conditions for growth. First we encourage children to interact, which helps them to know where they are starting from, and helps us to know where they are starting from. Secondly, a rich literacy link develops through later work on Jack and the Beanstalk. We make these links explicit to the children to help them connect their learning. Learning is messy. We think this poem acts as an image for how children develop their understanding through long, complex, messy pathways.

Traveller, your footprints
Are the path and nothing more;
Traveller, there is no path,
The path is made by walking.

By walking the path is made
And when you look back
You’ll see a road
Never to be trodden again.

Extract from “Traveller there is no path” by Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

An introduction to the theme of exploratory play.
Young children have a natural curiosity to explore the world around them.
In this clip look at how the child uses the magnifying glass to explore the flowers.
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