Over the past month, the children have watched the leaves change colours, fall off the trees, and then explored the different textures they can have.
After a weekend home with our families, we came back to find our tree lost all its leaves. The children and educators gathered rakes to collect the leaves. Being the first time some of the toddlers have seen rakes, the educators modelled how to use them by making a pulling motion when gathering the leaves. The toddlers then followed suit. We began raking the leaves into piles for the toddlers to explore. In the beginning, the toddlers sat in the piles, picked the leaves up feeling them with their hands, moved them to the side, and tossed them up in the air. As they tossed the leaves, they were able to feel what used to be smooth leaves turned into crunchy fall leaves. While feeling the leaves, the toddlers have described the leaves as “wet,” ”crunchy,” ”smooth,” “dirty,” “big,” and “small.”
Educators expanded on this experience by having the toddlers help move the pile. The toddlers used gross motor muscle groups to pull the rake through the leaves and were able to move our pile in front of the stumps. Matilda immediately climbed up onto the stump by pulling her body up. Next, with the help of educator Vanessa, Matilda leaped off the stump into the leaves smiling! She then did it all by herself! Some of her peers watched her and followed her lead by jumping into the pile with no help of an educator as well. This demonstrated an example of Deep Play from our RisingOaks Early Learning Playbook. This risky play may include gross motor, conquering fears, or taking safe chances.