EYFS Children Learn All About Dinosaurs at John Locke Academy

It has been a busy and exciting term for the children at John Locke Academy.  Early Years Foundation Stage have been learning all about dinosaurs with the help and support of the enthusiastic teaching team at this new school, which was only opened last September.  The Spring Term topic was entitled “Stomp, Stomp, Roar” and there were some very colourful displays of the children’s work posted up in the spacious classrooms.  A Reception class had even set up their very own dinosaur museum and the fossil expert from Everything Dinosaur who visited the school to conduct Foundation Stage dinosaur workshops, was lucky enough to be given a guided tour.

Visit our Dinosaur Museum (Reception Class)

Come visit our dinosaur museum

Come visit our dinosaur museum

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/John Locke Academy

The children’s interest in all things prehistoric had been sparked by the discovery of some strange and very large eggs. What sort of creature could have laid eggs so big?  This was one of the questions posed by the teachers, all part of an exciting, learning through play focused curriculum which is currently being rolled out across the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception).  Using the giant eggs as a stimulus, the teaching team encouraged the children to explore what sort of animals alive today lay eggs and to make links between the size of the eggs and the size of the animal that could have laid them.  Could a dinosaur have visited their school?

“Egg-citing” Discovery Made in the Classroom

Dinosaur eggs made from a balloon covered in paper mache.

Dinosaur eggs made from a balloon covered in paper mache.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/John Locke Academy

Dinosaurs as a term topic had certainly enthused teachers and children alike.  Prehistoric animals such as Stegosaurus, Triceratops and the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex are rarely out of the media spotlight these days, as our dinosaur expert pointed out when he explained that a new dinosaur species is, on average, named and described every thirty days or so.  The children demonstrated a remarkable level of knowledge, some of the Nursery class knew about geological periods and which dinosaurs lived in them.  In addition, the children were keen to point out which dinosaurs ate meat and which ones ate plants.

With all the wonderful examples of writing the children had produced, they needed somewhere to display them all, so one part of the dinosaur museum had been set aside as an area for showcasing all the books about prehistoric animals that the children had written.

Dinosaur Books Written by FS2 On Display

"Stomp, stomp, roar"!  Reception class make books about dinosaurs.

“Stomp, stomp, roar”! Reception class make books about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/John Locke Academy

The nursery children too, had created some wonderful and very informative dinosaur themed displays, all good examples of learning through imaginative, creative play.   If you are going to have a dinosaur museum in the classroom, then just like any other museum it might be a good idea to have a set of “Golden Rules” for visitors to follow.  The children were so engrossed in the idea of their very own classroom museum that they had drafted a set of rules to help guide visitors. This certainly demonstrates the children’s ability to apply what they had been learning to an appreciation of the wider world.

“Golden Rules” Designed for the Classroom Dinosaur Museum

Children design rules for their dinosaur museum.

Children design rules for their dinosaur museum.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/John Locke Academy

The concept of learning through exploring, developing ideas and allowing the children the freedom to challenge themselves is certainly a philosophy that John Locke himself, would have approved of.  There was lots of evidence on display demonstrating that this new school is certainly meeting learning needs, allowing the children the opportunity to fulfil their potential in a rich, diverse environment with plenty of support.

As part of the topic, the children in the two Reception classes have been working on a number of writing exercises, all aimed at helping them to develop their competence and to expand their vocabularies.  The visitor from Everything Dinosaur was presented with a large number of  questions that the children had written in preparation for the dinosaur workshop.  There were so many excellent examples that our expert had to use part of the school hall to lay them out so they could be photographed.

Dinosaur Topic Aims to Develop Writing Skills

Encouraging FS2 to write about dinosaurs.

Encouraging FS2 to write about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur/John Locke Academy

All in all, the topic entitled “Stomp, Stomp, Roar”, has been a “roaring success”, for the Academy.  A topic that has been enthusiastically embraced by children and teachers alike.  The children certainly enjoyed the Foundation Stage dinosaur workshops.

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