Set up for the 5 - 8 year olds
Nurturing and Supporting new entrants
Learning through play
Learning about relationships
Lots of games
The Sun Room is set up primarily for the younger students in the school, however a wide age-range takes advantage of the varied activities available with-in this space, such as Lego, Play Mobil, Listening to Stories, Math Games, and Language games.
There will often be 12 year olds playing next to the 5 year olds. The older students, and parents, need to respect that this space is for the younger students and not ‘take-over’.
Mary is an excellent reading teacher and if your child wants to learn to read we recommend your child approaching Mary and asking her for reading, and/or writing classes.
Listening to Stories
There are a lot of stories read in the Sun Room.
The students get to hear a wide range of stories. They learn a lot from this kind of experience.
- They are exposed to hearing and understanding book language (which is different from how we speak in everyday life.) This helps give them a base understanding of books, how they sound and how they work. This will help them when they decide to read themselves.
- They learn a lot about people, the world around them, and the wider world as they listen to stories about people in different situations, and places.
- They get to share their ideas, knowledge and values as they discuss with Mary or the other children/adults what they think of the story.
- They are exposed to a wide range of art and different styles of art from looking at the pictures in the stories.
- There is a wide range of language used in the picture books. The students will be exposed to new words; which extend their vocabulary.
- Older children will read to the younger children. The younger students really enjoy this input. This can help develop confidence and positive self-esteem for the older children as they share their skills.
- They get to think about their ideas, and work out how to sequence what they want to say and how to phrase their opinions (oral language skills).
Junior language games and activities.
There are a wide range of language games and activities that the children can access in the sun room.
- Alphabet jigsaw, and other jigsaws – as well as practising letter recognition they help practice hand eye coordination and the skill for looking at detail e.g. telling the difference between b, d, p, q.
- Social activity games such as What Rubbish– which practise oral language and also teach the skills/values of recycling.
- Hand writing work sheets
- Project books – these are used for both drawing and or writing.
- Writing books – for the children to either copy or write in – they learn how to shape their ideas into a sentence.
- Handwriting – the children are able to practise shaping the letters of the alphabet and the sounds associated with the letters.
- Listening to story tapes and songs – the children are learning about language patterns and rhythms eg rhyme. They are also learning about shared culture eg stories which are shared over generations eg sleeping beauty, as well as modern literature.
- Oral language games such as off to the shops, tummy ache. The students learn how to take turns, recognise the sets which they need to collects, and to discuss the game with the other players.
- Word/letter recognition games such as word bingo, alphabet pairs, happy families – the students practise common words and the letters of the alphabet.
- Access to books -graded reading books and story books.
- Alphabet freeze on display – the children can practise their letters with this and can also refer to it if they need to when writing.
Junior math games and activities
There are a wide range of math games, and activities, in the Sun Room. These games help the children to develop skills such as:
- adding numbers. First the students may need to use their fingers, the dots on the dice, or counting the objects to help them count. As they play the games regularly they are able to develop the skills to work out the answers in their head (imaging.) eg Ooky Spooky, snakes and ladders
- takeaway or subtraction of numbers e.g. when they play the bus game they have to take the correct number of passengers off the bus.
- learning place/ size e.g. first, second, third etc, or biggest, smallest.
- estimating time – when someone needs to temporarily leave the game Mary will get the children to estimate how long the person will be away, and they will practise counting the seconds until they return.
- One-to-one matching eg triominos
- Rote counting and number recognition e.g. Skip Bo
- Place value understanding and recognition e.g. Dinomath
- Number sentences and pattern recognition i.e. how many different ways can you make 7 (6+1, 5+2, 3+4) e.g. Ooky Spooky.
Pre-school students will often utilise this space.
We love having the pre-schoolers around and being part of our community.
There is a play group on most Wednesday mornings.
If your pre-schooler uses any of the equipment in The Sun Room please ensure that you monitor them, and tidy up after them. Please make sure that the toys/games stay in The Sun Room. This is because the games can cost $50 each and if the games get ripped, wet, or lost, it is very expensive to replace them all.
Manipulative equipment/ imaginative play equipment
The Sun Room contains a wide range of equipment which is regularly utilised for building, creating, and using the imagination – either for someone working by themselves, or for a group activity. This equipment helps to:
- develop fine motor skills – as they put together the equipment eg connecting the Lego pieces
- develop the skills of estimating/ working out size – this may be with the actual equipment eg finding the correct sized pie they need to create the object they are creating, or it could be from the sharing out of the available space amongst the number of people playing, or it could be matching the size of the creatures/vehicles that they are creating to work in the same size of the imaginative world they have created with others.
- Develop cooperation skills – as there is a limited amount of each kind of equipment and also limited space and there may be several different groups using the Sun Room for different purposes. Due to this there is often negation which needs to happen to make this work for everybody. Sometimes the children will need the support of a Small Meeting to help them with this process and develop the skills and social awareness needed to successfully cooperate.
- Make scenarios – this is the foundations for storytelling and story writing because the children are orally sequencing their ideas and working with developing consequences and the outcomes for the actions they develop … “What if….”
- Developing the skills of negotiation – the children learn how to negotiate for the different playing pieces, or next step in the scenario of how the game is going to , or for more space etc.
- Children collaborate to create scenarios which evolve into stories. Often the game involves negotiating and trading as children want various pieces of equipment for their games. They are learning communication skills, sequencing, storytelling, and negotiation.
- For some children creating the scene is the object of their play. They have a vision of what they wish to create and set about step by step turning their vision/plan into reality.
- Learning the skills of understanding and respecting boundaries – either physical with the space available for the games, or the boundaries of the the rules for the the game.
- Learn how to make appropriate rules for games. These rules may undergo a series of modifications as the games become more complex, or add new players, or hit the limitations of the current set of rules.
- Learn about people’s personal boundaries – understanding how people work. They learn social skills and an understanding of how to socialise. The children learn to understand what different people can or cannot manage. They may require some support to do this eg with meetings.
- Some common maipulative equipent in the room is Lego, rods, Sulvanians, Play mobile.
Clean up time
At the end of the school day there is a reminder calling out of, “Clean up time.” The children who are 7 and under are expected to go into the Sun Room and help clean up.
Sometimes the youngest children find coming and doing clean up a bit daunting so this is encouraged but not strictly enforced, however it is expected that as the children get older that they will be willing to take responsibility for co-cleaning up the room. Mary usually finds that over time the children decide to take part and help tidy up. If no one turns up for clean-up, then a Sun Room meeting needs to be called to remind the children about the rules and the expectation that they help.
The school rule around games and mess is that the person/people using the game/activity/equipment are supposed to take responsibility and pack-up/clean up after themselves. In an ideal world this would mean that at the end of the day there would be no tidying up needed because it would have been done regularly during the day.
If an adult spots some people leaving a mess behind they can remind them to pick up after themselves by using the request system.
We greatly appreciate adults/parents input and help with tidying in the Sun Room at the end of the day as it has usually been a busy hub of activity throughout the day, and an extra hand or two helping to ensure the game pieces are back in the correct boxes and caring for the equipment makes a huge difference.