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Resources To Discover Life Cycles

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Choosing to focus on the cycles of life over longer periods of time is an important part of learning who we are and why we are here, co existing with animals and plants that sustain our lives.

Written by: Early Educational Advisor - Jo Harris  

Resources To Bring Life Cycle Discovery Into Your Playspaces

There is possibly no greater mystery and elusive question than ‘what is the meaning of life?’ Here lies the opportunity to examine the cycle of life in greater detail to try to find out. For young learners, science is an extension of their everyday world. Asking the questions ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ opens the door to a deeper understanding of the world around them. With a rich and diverse animal kingdom and plantae dating from prehistoric times, it is a source of fascination between different species and classifications all over the world. 

There is an idea that major discoveries about how we understand the world only take place in laboratories, when in fact we as humans are all scientists. Within an early learning environment it might be tempting to plan exciting activities as one time or short lived experiments. Choosing to focus on the cycles of life over longer periods of time is an important part of learning who we are and why we are here, co existing with animals and plants that sustain our lives.

Many children are naturally drawn to science without realising how it affects every part of their lives from what the weather is to what they eat and drink and where it comes from.

 

Reasons to incorporate the concept of Life Cycle Discovery into your classroom include:-

  • Learning about life cycles is an important foundation for learning about conservation and sustainability, which go hand in hand.
  • Exploring and discovering elements of the natural world from a young age is crucial to help children to recognise how fragile life is, but also that it is not separate from themselves. 
  • Observing, predicting and gathering data are essential skills to learn as they comprehend themselves as living beings existing in a living world.
  • Daily opportunities to interact with nature increase awareness of never ending beginnings and endings that become intuitive and vital to good health and wellbeing.

 

Resources designed to inspire Discovery

Australia is home to unique flora and fauna with specific ecosystems that have continued to evolve for millennia. Taking the opportunity to closely study plants and animals, it is exciting to make connections between now non existent species that once ruled the planet to those of which have adapted and evolved to live among us today.

Providing child sized tools and equipment, children have the opportunity to become researchers who propose theories, gather evidence and form conclusions and answers to their questions.

 

 

These can all be much easier to bring to life through games, life cycle puzzles, big books  and other play based activities to help conceptualise children’s learning. Through these experiences they can take the time to put information into practice through pretend play, direct teaching in group times incorporating life cycle posters could be planned or incidental.

They also learn that stories have a beginning, middle and end - just like the cycles of life. Setting up a light panel with specimen slides are other ways to encourage exploration and discovery.

 

Combining Literacy with Play for further Inspiration

Australian stories such as Little Platypus and Turtle's Song capture the essence of the life cycles of native animals in their habitats. Children love to feel part of the reading experience, and encourages them to discover the power of communication through imagination, especially when paired with small figurines nestled in an environment recreated in a water tray or wooden tray with washed pebbles.

 

Cycles of Life Outdoors

Making science related activities and outdoor and active play actions part of everyday life is what gives it meaning. Teaching and guiding from our most precious teacher, nature, encourages us to take time to enjoy the incredible gift of life. 

Planting a portable veggie garden and native plants and trees to attract wildlife, or participating in annual Aussie bird count each October and Pollinator Week are simple and meaningful practical activities which are easy to implement and involve children that have a healthful impact. This leads to supporting children to learn to take care of their health and wellbeing and that of others as they grow and develop skills they will continue to use throughout their lives.

A really useful and practical way to explore the cycles of life outdoors is to make an Explorer Bag. Have fun putting together a few items that help children to discover growth and change. Include a measuring tape, magnifying glass and a mini clipboard as tools to document what they see and are learning.

To find out more about learning in nature, please explore our blogs in the Bellbird Resource Centre

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