Bubbles, marbles and dens in the Virtual Nature School.
In response to the need for quality nature-based learning resources for families during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Claire Warden and Living Classrooms created the Virtual Nature School. Through this innovative, inspiring and engaging approach we help parents support their children's inquiry-based learning inside their home and outside in their garden or local park.
The Virtual Nature School is about building relationships through an online community and establishing some rituals and routines that are being missed during the lockdown. At its heart is an affirming process for children. Open-ended inquiries are explored through each child's individual thinking. There are no right or wrong answers! The children drive the focus of the explorations through their play and inquiries are directed by their interests.
Bubbles, marbles and dens were the inquiries of the first three weeks of Virtual Nature School. They offered different ingredients for young children's inquiring minds and they certainly fired their imaginations!
Thomas, who is 4 years old and lives in Perthshire, Scotland, has attended each of these weeks and has the photos to prove it!
During "Dens" week, you can clearly see his progress throughout the five days.
Monday's inquiry led to Thomas making a micro shelter for one of his toys. He made an igloo-style den for his Lego toy Chewbacca with a paper mache frame.
On Tuesday, he chose to add furnishings to his toy's dwelling, so Thomas got creative both inside and outside the den.
Wednesday's focus was on securing the den which led to the addition of a door, doorbell and placing the den in a secure location to be accessed by a ladder.
Storytelling and community building took centre stage on Thursday, and Chewbacca was soon joined by a friend - Luke Skywalker. Thomas' den was quickly turning into a settlement.
The grand finale was on Friday, when all the children (and parents!) were encouraged to bring their toys and stories to life using stop animation technology. This was the first time that most had attempted this, and you can see from Thomas' impressive video that it must have been lots of fun.
So that's what a typical week of Virtual Nature School looks like. As you can see, it's filled with creativity and fun - with an emphasis on inquiry-led learning and being active away from screens.
Take a look at upcoming themes for the weeks ahead and book your place by clicking "Enroll" on the menu above.
Great work Thomas!