On the recent ‘World Book Day’, I was invited to a lovely Pre-School to read one of my books to children. It was a small group of lively boys and girls between three and four years of age.
I decided to read them ‘A Thumping Great Rabbit’, and was delighted to find them an attentive and interactive group, with plenty of questions both during and after the story.
When I was teaching, I loved using stories as an introduction to a wide range of linked curriculum activities, so I feel slightly at a loss now, when I leave this to their teachers. This story, about a very noisy rabbit, is set in a woodland, which naturally offers opportunities for discussing different animals, but wrapped up in it are also hints about the preservation of woodland environments, and the dangers of drought and fire to many creatures. I am quite sure that their teachers will have loads of ideas of how to continue the learning process, and this I think is so important.
In the evening, on television, I caught an enquiry about the value of dressing up for World Book Day and I assumed the implication was that it was not of educational value. What a pity it would be if we could not keep ‘fun’ in our Early Years curriculum!
Yes, as a parent I can see the problem, if your little darling tells you at bedtime, that they must be dressed up as a Gruffalo for school next day, but there is a fair chance that you may have received a letter about it sometime earlier.
And of course, it should never become a competition amongst parents to produce the best outfit!
Sometimes the simplest is the best. I once had a child in my class who arrived dressed as a ‘Tin Man’ with metal saucepans, colanders and frying pans tied on to her with string, and rattling with every movement. It was impressive, but the poor child could not even sit down in her outfit!
However, if such days introduce children to a range of different books, and the shared fun of linked activities, it is certainly educational.