In Y6 this year, children will be keeping nature journals throughout the different seasons. I was initially inspired by a fellow teacher, who teaches in a small village school with access to extensive woodland and fields, and whose class keeps a detailed nature journal throughout the year. I was at first a little disappointed, as I thought that being in London my class would miss out. However, on scoping out the masjid grounds I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of flora and fauna within-I just needed to observe closely!
Before going out for our first nature walk, we discussed what we would be looking for in the green areas of the car park and closely observing nature, collecting leaves or twigs, making bark rubbings, sketching what they see, writing their observations and taking photographs of anything they wanted to document.
Armed with clipboards, nature journals, a camera and pencils we made our way outside and spent a very enjoyable hour looking at the nature around us. Children were interested to discover a variety of trees, plants, fruits, insects, grass and flowers and we set about identifying and naming what we could and taking notes about what we couldn’t. In groups of three, children chose a tree that they would “follow” throughout the seasons and note down and photograph any changes.
Children stuck the specimens they had collected into their nature journals and children decorated their journal covers. They also did some research into the tree they had chosen- sycamore, oak or silver birch- and found out their Latin names, life cycles, seeds, fruits etc from the Woodlands Trust website and noted this information down.
It has been a fantastic opportunity for children to learn more about the nature around them and it has been a joy to see their very obvious excitement and pleasure in it; I have seen that their newfound knowledge has started to slip into conversations.
Y6 is really excited and looking forward to our next nature walk when we will be able to examine the changes that have taken place as the season has changed from autumn to winter.