This year I have been assigned to teach religious and moral education in one of my classes. Naturally I want to have this flavoured with outdoor activities as much as possible without going outside simply for the sake of it.
Luckily most religious festivals and celebrations began in days gone by when our ancestors tended to spend more time outdoors. So following the annual calendar of such events makes this part of the seasonal cycles.
We began the year looking at celebrations and the types of celebrations we know and enjoy. We are now moving on to harvests as it is a lovely autumnal focus. The children really like and enjoy nature especially minibeasts, birds and animals. So this helps.
Last week we began with tasting and deciding which shop-bought berries we like and enjoy. This resulted in a simple tally chart of preferences as we tried blueberries, blackberries and raspberries – I also added in carrots and apples as they were also British produce and gave rise to conversations around what makes a berry a berry.
From here, we went outside and looked for all the different types of berries we could find in the wildlife garden. Interestingly the children were happy to photograph the berries but didn’t want to touch them. “They’re not safe.” or “They give you tummy ache.” were some of the reasons expressed. These conversations were absolute in the minds of the children.
From here we read the story, “Nicolas – Where Have You Been?” by Leo Lionni, helped along by a little puppet mouse. It is a rather sweet story about mice who are gathering berries during autumn to help see them through the winter.
Finally there was an optional art activity using the berries to create patterns and pictures on calico cotton. This material is great for hapa zome and taking rubbings of different features outside in wet weather, amongst other things.
Oh and just as a little aside… to my delight I have discovered that the self-seeded rosehip in my garden produces the sort of rose hips just right for making rosehip syrup…!