Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Garden Centre - Summer Term Socio Dramatic Play

The Garden Centre

The children have been very involved this year in choosing their socio dramatic areas, and this topic was no exception. I'm blessed with a very creative little bunch this year, who are nature mad - bugs, flowers, creatures great and small - they're obsessed! So a theme like the Garden Centre is just perfect for them. It's quite open ended, it leaves lots of scope for Oral Language, Writing, Reading and Mathematical skills - great for this late stage of the year when they can put all their learning from the months past to use. I'm also finding it very helpful for our current topics in Maths - Addition & Money!

Flashcards, signs, language, banners and labels - Twinkl have it all in their Aistear Garden Centre Resource Pack. 
You'll see some homemade flower decor beneath our language posters - the children make these at our creative station or when they have time to spare throughout the day.

The check out desk, more language and a butterfly number-line for any help needed with number formation.

As I haven't actually done the Garden Centre before as a role play area, I had to start from scratch with resources, which sometimes is a breath of fresh air. I sourced lots of bits, such as this trellis and lots of the artificial flowers seen below, in Dealz for next to nothing. I spent the grand total of €20 and got more than enough and when we're finished I'll be boxing it all away for the next time! 

Purposeful over pretty - one of my favourite play statements! Obviously we needed a display area for our flowers and plants, so taken from the mountain of cardboard boxes we've been hoarding, a few upturned with holes punched through are perfect for supporting our fauna! Easy peasy.

Flower pots & gloves - essentials! On day one, the children chose the prices for each item of stock; hence the handwritten signs - again, purposeful over pretty!

Always have materials and a little space for emergent writing & mark making. 

Find of the month! One of my lovely friends was in recently picking up some supplies and she spotted these great squares of artificial grass. We've got great use out of them already for Small World Play and now they're ideal for setting the scene in our Garden Centre.

The canopy has gone through another transformation - this time with the help of a few plastic aprons, all to create the illusion of a greenhouse!

Currently, I've set up an empty sandpit to display some more of the fiddly bits that we have for sale in the our Garden Centre. These little plastic seed labels are from Dealz and are handy for a little bit of subtle counting and calculation work.
They're loving handling the plant bulbs and counting them out for the customers. 

What else is going on?

Well apart from socio-dramatic play, we have:

  • Junk Art / Creative Play: Here the children are working on crafting their own mini-beasts, plants and flowers. They're free to add to the decor in the Garden Centre too.

  • Playdough: As well as free flower \ plant \ mini-beast themed playdough work, the children also have a series of playdough challenges to work on. I just find these useful for integrating some of our SESE, Literacy and Numeracy work.
These are my own playdough mats, purposeful activities which my pupils really enjoy- nothing fancy! 

  • Small World: We're using our picture books as the basis for a lot of our Small World Play at the moment. We've used The Bad Tempered Ladybird and The Very Hungry Caterpillar so far and next up is The Very Quiet Cricket. We've gone Eric Carle mad! If you're following me on Instagram, I cover a lot about our Small world set ups on Instastories most weeks! 

Stick puppets and wordmats from Twinkl.

I love finger puppets, I use them a lot in my teaching. These little ones are reduced to €1 in Penny's at the moment.

  •  Construction: The children are making the most of what they've learned about various mini-beasts and garden creatures and have been crafting them from lego. They're free to go to and from our reading area for inspiration from books related to our theme too.

  • Messy Play: Later this week I'll be adding in our sandpit, but instead of sand it will be full of compost. Here our little gardeners will be digging for bulbs, bugs, letters, words and numbers! 



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