Organising Nature Play Day in Years 1 & 2

Our focus on Discovery Day is always on using practical, real-life experiences to help students grasp important concepts and develop the skills that will serve them in life. Discovery Day allows children to engage directly with their world and apply their skills and understanding. During these days we access the local community and the resources available within it. The outdoor experiences allow for community connections to be fostered and encouraged. They are days that are purposefully planned and explored.

In Year 1 and 2 our current unit of inquiry explores 'How we organise ourselves’ and we are focussing on the central idea Organising events requires people to develop systems and processes. On a recent Discovery Day, the children organised a ‘Nature Play Day’ event. The children planned, created, implemented, and actively participated.

Curriculum areas included:

Literacy: writing (brainstorming, planning, reflection, and advertising posters), reading (instructions), speaking and listening (communicating what activity had been set up, collaborating, sharing ideas, and explaining their activity to participants)

Numeracy: time (how long will the event run for, timekeeping), number (quantities of materials required)

Inquiry: exploring systems and processes required for an event

Learner Profile Attributes: Communicators, Thinkers, Open Minded, Reflection, Risk Takers and Inquirers.

For the event to be successful the children also needed to use past knowledge when choosing and setting up the event. The children discussed what they loved doing out in nature and used these experiences to determine the activities. Activities included whittling, boat making, gravity glue, stick creations, and potion making. With a small group of peers, the children brainstormed, collected materials, chose a site, set up their stall and ran their activity.

The event was a great success. The Foundation children were able to experience the ‘Nature Play Day’ and the Year 1 & 2 children gained great insight into what is required to run an event.

The experiential learning that occurs in our outdoor classrooms contributes to the children’s overall development, by giving them opportunities to be more creative and reflect on abstract concepts, which in turn helps them make stronger connections to the information. Learning by doing allows students to grasp new concepts more easily, strengthens their problem-solving skills and the children realise that there’s more than one way to solve challenges. It also transforms mistakes into valuable learning opportunities, with more of a focus on experimentation and discovery, and creates a lifelong love of learning.

Year 1 and Year 2 Teachers