The other day at nursery, I was about to take the children out on a walk around the grassy and wooded areas. I had no real plans apart from to get the children out because they needed some fresh air and to burn off steam. I watched them as they put on their wellies and wondered 'how can I make this walk magical?' and so I began to tell them a story...
I told them of a special friend of mine who just happened to be a fairy. I explained how my friend was very sad because her tree house had been cut down, and now she had nowhere to live!
By this point all of the children were engaged (boys and girls alike), all with looks of concern on their faces that made me want to giggle - but that would spoil the moment, so I asked the children what they thought we could do for my friend.
They came to the decision that we should find my friend a new home. They discussed amongst themselves how there were lots of trees around our nursery, and we could find one that was just right. We decided to take a digital camera out with us, so that we could take photographs of the trees - nicely linking in the technology side of the curriculum for me!
And off we set, investigating every tree that we stumbled upon. The children quickly wrote off some trees as too small, too thin, too ugly - linking in descriptive language and some mathematical comparisons too.
As we walked, one of the children asked me "is this real, or is it just pretend?"
This caused me a small dilemma, I don't like to tell children flat out lies BUT I didn't want to spoil the magic, so I said "well, I believe it's real. What do you believe?" It took her a minute to reply. You could almost see the cogs turning in her mind until finally she replied "I think you're making it up!"
Feeling a little deflated, but not wanting to let it ruin our fun, I shrugged it off and continued with the group to look at many, many trees until the children finally decided on a beautiful big old tree with a hole at the top which they agreed could be a window.
The children took it upon themselves to decorate the tree and spent ages finding pretty little flowers, feathers, leaves and all sorts of other natural resources which they placed on and around the tree until they were satisfied that the fairy would love it.
By this time the children were due to get some lunch, so I lead them inside and promised that we could go back to visit the tree in the afternoon.
While they sat eating, and after scribbling down some notes of all the fantastic learning that had taken place that morning, I headed out to the tree alone, armed with glitter and a note - addressed to the children from 'Fern the Fairy.'
In the afternoon, the children were eager to get back to their special tree, so again we got wellies on and walked out across the grass. As we got closer, the children noticed that something was different.
They began to run and shout with excitement! I watched as they circled the tree, following the glitter trails with wide eyes until they saw the note rolled up and pegged on a branch.
The little girl who earlier had been an unbeliever jumped up and down and cried "it's a note! It's a note for me!"
I read the note to the children which told them how happy Fern was with her new home and how she was so grateful to them for decorating it for her.
Now, I expected the learning to end there - we had completed everything that I had planned for and as far as I was concerned, it was quite a success! But the children had other ideas; on their return to nursery they proceeded to draw pictures and write letters to Fern. They took the idea into their role play and I even heard them discussing it while playing in the sand tray!
As for the little girl who hadn't believed in my friend the fairy: when her Mum came to pick her up she said "Mum, fairies ARE real! I know because we saw one!"
So much learning with just a touch of magic!