Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Berry picking and cupcake baking!

We read "Rufus and the Blackeberry Monster" by Lisa Stubbs to the children last week.

Shortly after, 2 little girls got very inspired and decided they were going to bake a pie too, just like Rufus's Mam in the story. I watched them getting busy in the home corner.
They took down the cupcake recipe book from the shelves and started looking at the pictures. Izzy called me over and asked me if I could help read the words for them. So I did. As I read the recipe, the girls came up with ideas to substitute the real ingredients: beads for berries, playdough for butter, a jug with pretend milk, a bigger bead for pretend egg. They mixed and mixed, put everything in the oven and served it all with a cup of tea at the end. 

So, to enhance the children's learning and to follow their interest, we decided to do a baking session in the classroom. At Circle time, we read Rufus again and then we had a look at baking recipe book again. We asked the children what they thought was needed to make a cake or a pie. Apparently some think we need beer!! hmm, I never came across such a recipe. Most of the children knew we needed eggs, milk, flour and sugar. I asked them what else we could add to make it taste even better. Some made a link with Rufus's story and thought about "berries" straightaway. Others thought about strawberries, bananas and of course chocolate. 

So we brought the children outside in the field next door, and showed them how to pick up black berries from the bushes. They were so excited! It was something different and many kids could actually relate to the experience as they had done the same with granny, mammy or dad!


The next step was to wash the berries.

Then the actual baking process started. All the children got a go at mixing the dough, adding a few berries, and filling up a cupcake case using a spoon. They were so excited! I brought the cupcakes to my own kitchen as we don't have an oven in the preschool building. Once they were ready, I brought them back to the children. Yum Yum.. We even had some extra left for Mams and Dads.

Communicating: During this activity, the children showed great communicating skills as they used language with confidence and competence, receiving information, asking questions, requesting, problem-solving, imagining and recreating roles and situations. 
Identity & Belonging: The whole learning opportunity was based on personal interests, linked to their home and personal experiences past. This activity also developed their skills of co-operation and broadened their abilities (sequencing a recipe, counting eggs, accessing a field and running in dried cut grass etc..) and interests (some of the boys were asking why the grass had turned yellow rather than green and we also got to meet our next door neighbours: horses, which really got the children talking).

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