does your school have a nature table? do you think it should?(11 Posts)
I saw an article in Country Living magazine (not my normal read - too much organic bunting for my liking - but it was at someone else's house) about their campaign to bring back nature tables. I think it's an excellent idea. We had one at my primary school and it's such a good and easy way to get kids watching the seasons and learning about their natural surroundings. It might go slightly against the "don't pick wild flowers" thing but done responsibly (eg with guidance about where/what to look for) couldn't the benefits - in terms of nurturing interest and teaching - outweigh any downsides. or are schools too busy worrying about sats for such things
think they may have had one at DS1's infant school (or should I say DS2's - as DS1 had his last day there today - and DS2 starts in September??)
Our school has them in the Reception classes because they are big rooms. Unfortunately the other classes are too small so any display areas there might be are used for current topic work. We encourage children to bring in anything of interest though and have our own large conservation area which is used regularly to forage for living and non-living things for discussion
My dd's school have one, but they are told to look for 'tree litter' ie leaves, acorns, chestnuts etc. that have fallen from trees rather than have been plucked from them iykwim.
Seems a decent compromise
The curriculum is now planned in the way that it wasn't when every class had a nature table.DCs are still encouraged to bring in items of interest to talk about but I don't think that there would be room for a permanent display, the space would be needed for the current topic.
We have a table for "natural materials" rather than wild flowers which we can observe and investigate outdoors we have things like pieces of drift wood, shells, pebbles, fir cones, acorns, feathers, slices of tree stumps.
To be grimly honest, I reckon I'd find a nature table One More Bloody Thing To Remember. And/or one more excuse for the Inferiorettes to pick up random stuff and carry it filthily and slightly pointlessly around for ages.
OTOH the Inferoriettes' school has a little 'wild garden' - transformed by a quite marvellous woman from a miniscule patch of land into an actual green space - which is utterly fab. DD1 does gardening club with said marvellous woman (whom she worships) and I do madly approve.
They have one at DS1's nursery. It's great. They have some pet stick insects in a tank, lots of stuff you'd expect. The other week i noticed they had some real birds nests (i'm sure/hope it'll all be above board and they've not gone next pilfering)
I think if they can get there hands on these things it's a great way to learn.
I think the wild garden is better, a lot of schools have those, or they garden or have a nature club.
but MI that filthy stuff they pick up - you could tell them to take it to school - then teacher has to dispose of it instead of it sitting on their bedside table for 6 months
We have a garden in our junior school but not in the infants and no gardening club in either. I'm also not entirely sure how much use the garden gets - it's got a pond so they can;t go in it unsupervised.
And while a garden is great - and I would agree in fact better - not every school has got one/can afford to develop one. and the two things aren't mutually exclusive anyway.
Encouraging kids to bring stuff to talk about is also great but a display has the benefit that it encouarges participation from kids too shy for show and tell. and for kids too distracted to listen etc. and just allows kids the chance to absorb a bit more.
A nature table wouldn't need to be permanent either - it could be there for a week each term or season.
DD1's reception and year 1 classes had tables which were used to display seasonal things. So it was Autumn leaves, conkers etc in autumn. At Easter, they had an Easter tree decoration and a mixture of Spring and Easter-related stuff. I think they are used for other themes at other times, but the nature element certainly features. And they look really nice!
At home, we have a shelf right next to our dining table which I use to display stuff that the kids collect or make. Every so often I organise it nicely, to tie in with the season. It looked beautiful at Christmas and Easter, with all sorts of stuff we'd made. At the moment, however, it's a bit of a motley collection of drawings, pebbles, fir cones and bottles of tomato ketchup and brown sauce
I don't get too obsessed by it, but I do like having seasonal things displayed from time to time and I think it's making the girls reasonably aware of the way the year passes.
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