Thursday 7 April 2022

Hybrid Learning with Healthy Habits - Apple Green School

Early Years

Due to the Pandemic, we have been shuttling between online and in person classes. There have been many challenges, however after persevering we are now delighted on the return to the ‘norm’ (however slowly it may be).

At the Apple Green School, we have a growth mindset within the teaching team and despite the switching of in person to online learning we managed to resume the new International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC) Healthy Habits unit. We began with the vision of reinforcing the core lesson of the unit, which is to inculcate healthy habits. The updated IEYC Process to Facilitate Learning is wonderfully designed and through the ‘Ready Steady’ resources we were able to channel children’s curiosity by steering it beautifully towards the learning idea of the unit.

We were conscious that online learning would take longer, and the activities would have to be curated, keeping in mind the limited screen time. So, we incorporated a wide plethora of activities that created excitement amongst our young learners. Here’s a sneak peek into what we did!


Feeding the Brain

As we prepared the unit, one of the main aspects to think in depth about was the ‘learning link’. How could we further the children’s learning experience at home with their parents? How could we create a connection to the local culture of Oman?

As a team we decided that ‘Waking up to a healthy breakfast’ would be the perfect opportunity to provide children a chance to learn at home. The local breakfast includes khubz (a flat bread), honey, beans, yoghurt, fresh fruits, fruit juice, eggs, and milk. We asked parents to keep each ingredient ready for each day of learning.

To further the learning even more there were virtual tours to farms and bakeries. The children then shared their experiences of visiting these places with each other. The children watched videos of healthy breakfasts across the globe and our classes resonated with other children around the world as they saw mums and dads encourage their little ones to also have milk! This entry point culminated fantastic experiences, and to top it all off we had an online breakfast extravaganza, where the children also learnt the vocabulary of ‘Nutrition for the brain’. The importance of having a healthy breakfast for a healthy start of the day was reiterated, the children had fun and learned important healthy habits.

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Waking up to a healthy breakfast


Fabulous Fruits

We took a virtual trip to Africa as we explored fabulous fruits within the story of Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Brown, some familiar and some strange. We learnt that the fruits found in local supermarket food shelves go through a long journey before reaching the food shelves. We had a fruit hat day to resemble Handa’s basket of fruits. A showcase of creativity and playful learning experiences followed as children constructed fruit faces.


Eat Your Greens

We introduced a relatable story for the children as they learned about a picky eater, in Oliver’s Vegetables by Vivian French. Children explored the different vegetables and luckily, we were able to resume in person learning during this time and we took this opportunity to visit the backyard school farm. Through the week we saw green tomatoes become big and red and green chillies grow longer and red too. Little scientists were in action as they explored and drew in their journal which vegetables will sink and which of the vegetables will float. They were in awe of the butterfly lifecycle also, a delightful bunch.

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Exploring fruits and veggies


The food parade

Look! A walking watermelon and a jumping strawberry. For our unit Exit Point each child wore a fruit or a vegetable costume to school and spoke about the relevance of them. We held a fruit parade and pledged that we will eat healthy and respect all fruit and vegetables. We learnt that fruit and vegetables grown locally leaves less of a carbon footprint than the vegetables that travel around the world to get to the supermarket. We talked about being ‘green’ and sustainability with the children. For an activity, classes made leaf prints on recyclable cloth grocery bags. The Exit Point week gave plenty of opportunities for the children to reflect upon the leaning block about feeding the brain.Healthy Habits is very well structured and apt in a time when nurturing ourselves to be healthy and immune is the need of the hour. The unit was much appreciated by parents and children as their food platter looked healthier than ever. We hope to continue to be healthy and include these new habits throughout the children’s time at Apple Green School.

 

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The food parade 

Healthy Habits is very well structured and apt in a time when nurturing ourselves to be healthy and immune is the need of the hour. The unit was much appreciated by parents and children as their food platter looked healthier than ever. We hope to continue to be healthy and include these new habits throughout the children’s time at Apple Green School.

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Alpa Rupesh Toprani

An early year’s educator since 2009. Alongside achieving a Master’s degree in education from the University of Dundee, Alpa was previously part of the IEYC curriculum steering committee for Fieldwork Education. Presently she is the IEYC coordinator at Apple Green Private School Oman. With a vision to see a robust early years setting, Alpa’s expertise lies within designing engaging lessons for the early years in all areas of learning. The lessons are to inculcate moral values and make learning subliminal through the preparation of a stimulating environment.

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