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Students ‘Rave’ about Play at Ravenscroft!


It was with great enthusiasm that BEd Year 3 students who have chosen the optional module ‘Learning through a Play Based Curriculum’ visited Ravenscroft Nursery School in East Belfast, accompanied by their lecturers Jill Magennis and Diane McClelland. Student Victoria Sheeran reflects on this valued opportunity:

‘On arrival at Ravenscroft Nursery School, the Principal, Nuala Symington greeted and warmly welcomed us. The entrance hall was bright and inviting with displays including children’s work, parental information, the school’s ethos and a digital display showing many of the play experiences at nursery. With excitement we explored both classrooms to engage with a range of play activities where we took notes and pictures of the wide variety of stimulating resources which were set up for the theme of ‘Autumn’/’Halloween’. We investigated a range of activities including sensory areas with sand, rice and jelly, a water tray filled with pumpkin juice, a creative monster-making table, counting activities using spiders/spider webs and a sensory box containing autumn leaves and pine cones. The inside environment provided endless opportunities for purposeful learning through engagement and imagination.

Everyone thought that these activities were amazing and it was brilliant to see the learning mirrored in the outdoor environment also – it was my personal highlight! Where to start?…. there was a sand house, a climbing frame, a mud kitchen, a dressing up hut, a mini assault course and a range of trikes, bikes and scooters. We really enjoyed playing with all of these resources and the benefits were clear to see. The Principal finished by giving us an inspirational presentation on how to make planning effective in line with the Pre-School Curriculum, and also gave further advice on effective play strategies for children aged 3-4 years.

Overall this experience was highly enjoyable, fun and relaxing and I left wishing I was a pupil at Ravenscroft Nursery School!’

Jill Magennis (module coordinator) comments: ‘This experience enabled the students to see in practice a vast array of play resources in this outstanding nursery school. Thank you to Ravenscroft for having us, it was a wonderful opportunity to engage with an enriching early years environment. The students raved about this visit and through their upcoming school placement it is hoped that pupils will be raving about their play too…’

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