On Wednesday 15 February, a very excitable group of Foundation Stage 2 children visited Al Khor Park to observe the park’s small collection of animals. Prior to visiting the park, the children had read a book called ‘Dear Zoo,’ in which a zoo sends a child lots of different, but unsuitable, animals to be pets. The children talked about the kind of animals that they would like as pets, thought about how we look after animals and where the best places are for them to live.
Visiting the park allowed the children to see first-hand the kind of things animals eat, how they behave naturally and how they live. They were particularly amazed by the goats who had lots of babies and were looking after them. The goats also had a particularly strong and memorable smell! The children liked the ostriches, and while scarily tall, had a nest of the biggest eggs they had ever seen.
Visits such as this are important because the experience will resonate with each child in a different way. They will remember different aspects of their day and make links that they would not have made by simply looking at pictures in a book or on a screen. Real experiences allow the children to hear the sounds associated with the experience, distinguish the smells and explore things in greater depth and detail. This in turn means that children talk in greater detail and with much more enthusiasm about what they have done. There is no doubt that Wednesday’s trip has really encouraged children to speak with an eagerness that makes a visit so worthwhile.