The day before our Winter Wonderland Discovery session it snowed overnight and when we came to school in the morning the hills around Upper Hutt were covered in a white blanket of snow. Perfect timing for our session and for lots of descriptive winter writing too!
The children had a great time exploring lots of winter themed activities. I particularly loved the snowmen made out of polystyrene cups with a cupcake case hat and sorting some winter clothes into washing baskets.
We have Discovery every Wednesday morning. Each session involves our three new-entrant classrooms meeting together and exploring activities based around a theme. Our pre-school visitors also join us for Discovery and it provides them with a time to visit school with the support of a parent or caregiver. Our visitors are called Mountaineers, they are scaling the heights of learning.
We choose themes based on special events during the term or topics the children have expressed an interest in. There is no shortage of ideas about what we want to discover. Each session is carefully planned to provide the children with a variety of experiences. We plan art and crafts, writing and reading activities, colouring, cutting activities, counting and number activities, sensory experiences, roleplay, cooking and food experiences, and cooperative experiences.
When the bell goes in the morning we all meet together in one classroom share our class greetings, at Totara Park School we a very lucky that our Junior classrooms are joined by folding glass doors, so on Discovery mornings we fold the doors back and have a large space for the children to explore. After the roll the teachers share some of the activities that are available and talk about the types of behaviour that we are encouraging.
During the session the children can visit any classroom and complete or participate the activities that they are interested in. We are very lucky to have extra parent help and teacher aide time during Discovery and our Mountaineers parents are encouraged to spend some time with their children which help them to feel more comfortable at school. It can be pretty scary during the first visit and having Mum, Dad, or Nana there makes it a lot easier.
After our session we tidy up together and sit back down on the mat to share about what the children have discovered and how they worked together.
.... it's morning tea time!
Click on the Discovery and Mountaineers labels to find out more about what we do during Discovery, or check out the Starting School and Transition to School Book pages at the top of the blog.