As soon as the weather cools we start to plan our fire days, fondly known by the children as ‘Fire Thursday’, due of course, to the fact that we hold our fires on Thursday mornings.
The creation of fire is an essential factor of a Nature programme. It is one of the four elements and provides opportunities for children to experience success and self-accomplishment when starting a fire from scratch that will ultimately cook food.
There are obviously significant risks associated with fires, and we take very seriously our roles as teachers to plan and manage for these carefully. We engage in a great deal of discussion about these risks for a few weeks before we begin our fires; the children sharing their ideas of what they anticipate as dangers, and the children who were at kindergarten last year remembering our all important ‘safety bubble’.
|Drawing the safety bubble|
Fire can provide a wide range of learning opportunities for young children including:
• Mathematical and science concepts - Preparing a fire with paper and laying
wood for a base.
• Science concepts – how heat changes objects.
• Cooking – with use of hand held paddles and pokers.
• Ethic of care in looking after your friends.
• Health and safety and how to manage risks.
• Working together as a collaborative community.
|Pikelets - delicious!!|
So far this year we have cooked some delicious homemade bread, toasted some marshmallows, made pikelets and this week cooked sausages.
|Time for tasting!|
|Lighting the fire|
It is always interesting to talk to the children after these events to hear their reflections.
‘Reflection is remembering with analysis. When we engage children in reflection, we encourage them to go beyond merely reporting what they’ve done. We also help them become aware of what they learned in the process, what was interesting, how they feel about it, and what they can do to build on or extend the experience. Reflection consolidates knowledge so it can be generalized to other situations, thereby leading to further prediction and evaluation. ‘ (Epstein, 2003)
|Madison's fire drawing|
Kayden ‘The wood makes the fire’
Madison ‘The flames make a tricky pattern’
Kayden ‘We have fires and we can eat things’
Emma ‘And it’s also so we get warm. If its cold and not sunny we make a fire’
Kayden ‘Fires are bright so they make light’Emma ‘Hey, but only the teachers put it out’
Kayden ‘You can’t go in the bubble, only the teachers. The bubble is a round circle’
Madison ‘And we put chairs around the fire, the flames look like they dance’
Kayden ‘I think the flames look like teeth’
Kate ‘Hmm, the chairs are so we get don’t get bored of standing up cooking’
Emma ‘And we mustn’t touch the fire or we’ll get burned’
Tyler M ‘We know a lot about fires!’
Ngā mihi, Christine