Friday, September 9, 2011

Junior Landcare Minibeasts

Happy Landcare Week everyone, there are activities happening all over the country, check out the link to find something near you.

We had the grade 2/3s for Landcare at school this week.  I wondered if they were too old for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but they still seemed to enjoy it, telling me the whole story with enthusiastic voices.  It's a great quick read and set the mini beast theme well.  I think kids move away from picture books too quickly, I don't think the visual delight and educational power of a beautiful book is something that is valued highly in the state school system.  My eldest was forced to put a picture book back and get a novel when borrowing at the school library, she's a confident reader but also really enjoys art, needless to say I was unimpressed.

This time I had a real caterpillar in a jar to hand around. I showed the kids butterfly attracting plants, and talked about the butterflies I had seen locally this week, and what they were eating. They shared their knowledge about mini-beasts.

We decided to do things a little differently this week. We separated the children into four groups, started each group on one activity, and then let the kids decide what they would do next.  There were adults stationed near the different activities.

It worked well, the kids gravitated towards their interests and the choice of things to do kept them occupied.  It was particularly good for the restless kids that don't like to stay on one task for too long. Not sure if it would work for the really little ones, as they tend to roam all over the place if given the opportunity - fine if there's enough adults to supervise but challenging if not.

Christine brought fabric paint and some pre cut bunting squares to do a lovely PLANT sign for our fete plant stall.  The kids were so dedicated to the task at hand and did a great job painting.

Activities today:

  • plant cuttings, 
  • craft - butterflies, ladybirds and caterpillars, 
  • gathering bugs and inspecting them under microscopes and magnifying glasses,  
  • weeding the vegie patch, 
  • and checking out the tadpoles in the pond.
  • plant bunting

To see more on things we've been doing with the mini-beast theme check out my older posts:

This is our last week of Junior Landcare until next term. Early this year I decided I was feeling a bit burnt out with volunteering every Thursday.  It takes a long time to get all the activities, information, and materials together and I found myself not really feeling like going towards the end of term. I have been doing these activities every week since my oldest was in Prep and she is now 10. Parents are invited to come along to help in our weekly school newsletter and we get a good response in the younger years, and less so as the children get older. To my surprise I was not the only one feeling this way, my fellow volunteers were also feeling a bit worn out.  I am so pleased I said something as it means each term we have a few weeks off.  It's just the right amount of breathing space to make me look forward to the next round of Junior Landcare.  All 200 students at our school participate in the Junior Landcare program and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and enthusiasm about the environment. 

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe your eldest was told to put a picture book away!

    It was a very smooth session this week - a great bunch of kids. Having a couple of weeks off at the end or start of the term seems to make all the difference. The school is so lucky to have you behind this program. :)


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young