How do we know they are learning?

How do we know they are learning?

It’s one thing saying children learn through play, but it’s another thing trusting it. We’re compelled to look for the evidence. The evidence is right there. All we need to do is look.


Following an insect interest

Bug Hotel

One of the first things we did at the beginning of our insect interest was to make a Bug Hotel. Watch out for more details in not this coming Playcentre journal but the next one!

Our wonderful co-ordinator Sarah worked with the tamariki to put together the Bug Hotel. Here are her instructions:

How to Make a Bug Hotel

Find a wooden crate or box to hold the different materials. Gather together: bundles of sticks; logs with holes drilled into the ends; dried grasses; bundles of cabbage tree leaves tied into knots; old rotted wood; bark; dried leaves in an old plant pot; or any other natural materials that you have around and think that bugs could use to hide or nest, or hibernate in over winter. Put your materials in a sheltered spot out of the rain and direct sunshine.

The tamariki check the Bug Hotel every session and when they capture bugs they deliver them to the Bug Hotel to see if they want to stay a while. We have had spiders make their webs, centipedes running in and out visiting, beetles hiding under the leaves – just to name a few of our visitors!

The Bug Hotel has stimulated some wonderful discussions amongst the tamariki and has become a really interesting part of our centre.

This is the link to the Bug Mansion that we used as inspiration (slightly bigger than ours!)

Butterfly visit

We were lucky that the Canterbury Museum had a live Monarch Butterfly exhibit during our insect study. They were happy to host our centre on a weekend so all of our whanau could come along. It was a wonderful experience for the tamariki – their faces were just filled with awe at all the butterflies crawling all over them.

Emerging into beautiful butterflies

The tamariki have all been so interested in the lifecyle of the monarch butterflies. We have made wonderful links with home learning as most children have swan plants at home. We wondered what it felt like inside a cocoon and thought that the only way to find out was to try it! We wrapped up the kids and they burst out of the cocoon as beautiful butterflies.

Planning to extend the insect interest

This a copy of the planning sheet that we used to extend the children’s interest. It was very easy to plan under these headings and we displayed this on our interest board to encourage everyone to contribute ideas and share awareness of what we were doing.

Insect boxes from Science Alive

We hired insect cases from Science Alive. These were really good value at $5 each per week. They stimulated lots of discussion and let kids have close up views of insects that are harder to see/catch and the insects at different stages of their life cycles.

Field journals

We created a field journal for the tamariki to record their fantastic insect finds and encouraged them to take a photo of the insect and draw a picture of the insect. They really liked filling in their field journal after a great catch (just like Diego!).

Jessica Hey, Rolleston Playcentre