As part of our theme ‘Special Times and Places’, the Reception class has been learning about the polar regions, with a focus on penguins and their home in the Antarctic. Each week, their knowledge of these special birds and the harsh conditions of Antarctica has been deepened and a new rich vocabulary consolidated with the help of some beautiful picture books, video footage of penguins in their natural habitats and Grandad Fantastic with his super suitcase.
Through their Literacy lessons, the children explore the new words that Grandad brings to show them. He has helped them to describe the parts of the penguin using language such as ‘barbed tongue’ and ‘barrel-chested’ and the treacherous landscape in which they live with words such as ‘perilous’ and ‘glacial’. Grandad encourages the children to create sentences using ambitious word choices and together the class has been writing a penguin fact-file.
In addition to our Literacy work, the children have explored temperature using real thermometers and understood the impact of blubber by coating their fingers in lard before placing them in iced water. They have learned the lifecycle of the penguin and practised their sequencing skills as well as developed their fine motor skills by making their own split-pin penguins. This work has even inspired some children to write their own books about penguins using their new knowledge and vocabulary. Each child has learned how to draw a penguin and spoken at length about their new learning, the detail of which is very impressive and demonstrates just how much the children have benefited from this approach.