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The cafe

Five year olds Islay and Steven are making recipes and meals in the outdoor area. The teacher encourages Steven to write down what he's been cooking. This develops as more children join in and making the meal turns into a cafe. They make a menu and lots of experimental meals. (The previous day the children had been creating mud recipes in a playful activity initiated by the teacher).

Good for looking at

  • Pretend play
  • Early literacy
  • Writing
  • Cooperative play
  • Communication
  • Socialising

Five year olds Islay and Steven are making recipes and meals in the outdoor area. The teacher encourages Steven to write down what he’s been cooking. This develops as more children join in and making the meal turns into a cafe. They make a menu and lots of experimental meals. (The previous day the children had been creating mud recipes in a playful activity initiated by the teacher).

Notice

  • What cues can you see that show what the children are interested in? (Look out for non-verbal and body language as well as spoken language)
  • How are the children learning? Which areas of development, engagement and characteristics of learning can you observe?
  • In what ways do the adults support the children’s learning?
  • How do the environment and the materials support the children’s learning?

Reflect

What are your thoughts about:

  • How and what were the children learning?
  • The children’s levels of involvement? How engaged were they in this child initiated play?
  • The role of the adults in this interaction – how did she support the children?
  • The value of this type of activity for the children?
  • What role did the environment, materials and resources play in this interaction?

Respond

What would you do to:

  • Support the individual children’s interests you might have spotted during this play?
  • Encourage the children’s efforts at producing a menu for the cafe?
  • Support the children’s game and cafe further? Where could it go from here? What do the children think?

What next:

  • Do you need to encourage more of this kind of pretend play in your setting? How could you inspire the children? Do you know what they’re interested in and what will get their imaginations going?

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