Reception Classes Explore Dinosaurs

Manor Primary and Dinosaurs

Friday was yet another busy day for the young learners at Manor Primary School (Coseley, West Midlands).  The three Reception classes had embarked on their first ever term topic and to cap an exciting week, the children were visited by one of the dinosaur experts from Everything Dinosaur.  With three workshops to deliver over the course of the day, the teaching schedule was quite tight, but within minutes of arriving our team member had settled in and prepared the spacious dance hall in readiness for the first of that morning’s dinosaur workshops.  There was plenty of time prior to the arrival of the children to conduct a briefing with one of the Foundation Stage teachers.  This helped establish learning objectives and intended outcomes for each class workshop.  In addition, our dinosaur expert was given the opportunity to view some of the excellent preparation that had been undertaken by the teaching team in this Ofsted rated “outstanding” school.

RLC Class Children Had Thought About Dinosaurs Prior to the Workshop

A simplified KWL chart with Reception children.

Reception children think about dinosaurs. What can they tell the teacher?

Picture Credit: Manor Primary/Everything Dinosaur

First Time Dinosaurs

This was the first term topic for the three Reception classes, the autumn term marking the transition from the Nursery programme onto the more structured learning associated with Foundation Stage 2 on the national curriculum.  It was also the first time that the teachers had covered dinosaurs with their charges, our handy phonetic pronunciation guide was greatly appreciated, we know how challenging some of those dinosaur names can be!  The extra resources that we had provided were well received and there was even an opportunity to inspect the organised and tidy classrooms prior to the start of the school day.

As a teaching school, providing support and training to other schools in the area, Manor Primary sets high standards for both pupils and staff.  Emphasis is placed on developing confident, enthusiastic learners and the stimulating activities that the children had been focused on in the first few days of this term topic provided plenty of evidence of a thoughtful and well-planned scheme of work.  Some of the children had made clay fossils, whilst others had been constructing dinosaur teeth.   One class had been excavating their very own set of dinosaur bones in the classroom sand tray.  Dinosaurs and fossils as a topic certainly gives plenty of scope for exploring the properties of materials as well as for creative, imaginative play.

RAB Class Had Been Making Their Own Dinosaur Land

A Reception class dinosaur themed creative play area.

A creative play area with a dinosaur theme in the Reception class.

Picture Credit: Manor Primary/Everything Dinosaur

Dinosaur Drawing Challenge

Plenty of space had been set aside in each of the three Reception classrooms to allow the children’s work to be displayed.  We challenged the children to have a go at drawing their very own dinosaur, but we also wanted to see plenty of labelling of the dinosaur’s body parts.  Could they label the dinosaur’s head?  Lots of pre-knowledge was demonstrated by the children, they certainly know their dinosaurs, but our workshops also focused on developing vocabulary as well as exploring the differences between people and prehistoric animals.  Plenty of good listening in evidence, which was quite remarkable given the fact that some of these enthusiastic palaeontologists have only just turned four.

RKM Class Take Up Palaeontology in the Sand Tray

Reception class dig for dinosaurs.

Digging for dinosaurs with a Reception class.

Picture Credit: Manor Primary/Everything Dinosaur

The children certainly have access to diverse and varied dinosaur themed activities.  All learning styles seem to be well catered for.  We hope that our novel way of demonstrating the size of a Tyrannosaurus rex, part of the extension resources that were provided, helps the FS2 children to appreciate that some dinosaurs were very big indeed!  Or were they massive, giant, huge, bigger – just some or the words the children came up with when we examined fossils and challenged the children to describe some of them.

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