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Autumn: A Great Way to Introduce Children to Change while Tying in with Aistear Goals

Child Collecting Leaves

Big Changes: A New School Term and a New Season

As the long lazy summer days end and we say goodbye to picnics and beach days – a new school term begins. We see new faces at the school gates. Some faces looking curious, others nervous or excited. Do they know that their little worlds’ are about to change with so much learning and adventure ahead of them? How will we introduce them to change without overloading their growing brains? Well, not only are our children’s little worlds changing at this time of year because parallel to a new school term comes Autumn! Autumn brings about much change. The mornings are becoming a little colder and the evenings a little bit darker. The leaves are beginning to change from various greens to beautiful autumnal colours such as yellow, orange and gold. The fruits are beginning to fall from the trees and the vegetables planted earlier in the year are ready to be harvested.

Aistear Theme: Exploring and Thinking

All of these changes that happen around us provide a great opportunity to introduce children to change and the life cycle of various plants and trees. Aistear’s Theme ‘Exploring and Thinking’ Aim 1 states ‘Children will learn about and make sense of the world around them’. The Learning Goals of this Aim are to ‘Develop an understanding of change as part of their lives’ and to ‘Learn about the natural environment and its features, materials, animals, and plants and their own responsibility as carers’. What better way to link in with these Aistear Themed Learning Goals than to use what is outside the front door to engage with the children. The children can be observed during this time and the children’s emerging interests should be used to guide your future curriculum planning.

Use Your Senses!

Ask the children to think back to summer. Can they notice a difference in the weather now and in the nature around them? Use their senses to see what they can notice – sight to see different colour leaves, hearing to listen to different sounds such as the rustling of leaves. Smell to smell the colder air, touch to feel the warmer clothes they are wearing and taste to try some of the familiar autumnal foods. Wrap up, go outside with the children and let them collect some leaves, pine cones, conkers, seeds or nuts and begin to open their little minds to the change that nature brings at this wonderful time of year!