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PGCE and Fane Street Pupils simply having a wonderful Christmas time!

PGCE student Katy Savage-Miskimmin reflects on the planning for and delivery of Christmas workshops for around 90 children from Fane Street Primary School which took place in the Early Years Centre at Stranmillis on the 4th and 7th of December.  

‘As part of the assessment for the PGCE ‘Implementing a Play- Based Curriculum’ module the PGCE class were required to design fun and engaging Christmas workshops for three Foundation Stage classes. 

The PGCE class was split into three groups and were allotted 45 minutes per session, making sure that all areas of the N.I. Foundation Stage Curriculum were embedded within the activities.  We all knew that these sessions would be busy, so planning was instrumental to the success of all our workshop sessions!  We were all very excited at the prospect of creating an activity each (five per group) for the children coming; ideas and themes were abundant! We all put ourselves back into the tiny shoes of a Primary 1 or 2 child and we all reminisced fondly of how we loved Christmas.  The children from Fane Street Primary School had the opportunity to play and engage with some beautiful activities based around Christmas Eve, Christmas around the world and Santa’s reindeers.

We decorated the Early Years Centre in the Orchard Building to capture the children’s imagination and also to make the morning more magical for them.  During the workshops, the children had a short introduction to their morning of play, followed by the play session where they could choose freely where they wanted to play. This was followed by a quick plenary and of course a Christmas song of the children’s choice! Over the three sessions the children had the opportunity to make reindeer food, play in Santa’s Winter wonderland, make Christmas wreaths and decorations and they even had the chance to be Santa’s star bakers! The overarching aim was to highlight the important role that play has in a child’s learning and how it is the ideal medium through which children can learn.  All of the children involved were completely enchanted with the activities, and some even wanted to come back the next day! 

The play workshops provided such a great learning opportunity for all involved (children and adults!) and we would like to extend our thanks to the children and all those involved for making such an experience possible!’

Fane Street Foundation Stage teacher Joy Irwin commended the morning: ‘The PGCE students were fantastic!  They were all very well prepared and provided a wide range of age-appropriate activities for the children.  They used good questioning techniques to develop the children's expressive language, and the children were all very engaged in the activities’.

Some of the children also shared their feedback on the morning:

Child A – ‘I like to make letters for Santa and posting them’.

Child B – ‘I made a decoration.  I put more glue on, it fell off, I tried again and then it worked!’

Child C – ‘My favourite thing was … everything!’

Lecturer Jill Magennis concluded: ‘These workshops bring together much of the learning that has taken place during Semester 1 of the PGCE programme. Well done to each of the students who put in such effort to plan and implement imaginative play experiences to help both children and adults prepare for Christmas!’


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