Wednesday 5th September – Five go to the arboretum   Leave a comment

So ….

…… today is the day ……

………………………the day that I have FIVE mindees in my care

Am I worried – am I concerned for their safety and well being?

Of course not – I would not be doing it if I had any doubts

Therefore today we are off to Arley Arboretum – a favourite regular outing for both the children and myself – in fact I have a season pass.

As the Arboretum does not open until 11am – we have plenty of time for play in the setting before we go – and today the doctor / vet play continues – all 5 children have been enjoying this play all week as all have attended on different days – the only difference is that today there are 5 of them together rather than the usual 4.

While the children are fully engaged in their free play, I take opportunity to make the picnic, pack the outings bag and generally get ready – as the children are in sight and hearing distance.

Just after 10am we start to the process of going out, we of course have to toilet – one using toilet, four using potty – mainly independently but still  needing support. we need sun creaming, to find the hats (not needed for a while) to pack the pushchair – mainly to transport all our belongings but also as part of emergency planning for if a child falls and unable to walk, or a child needs a sleep, or a child’s behaviour becomes dangerous to self or others – of course not expecting any those possibilities to become a reality but it is sensible to be prepared. We need the picnic bag, the drinks bag, the outings bag , the picnic rug and the all in one rainsuits – and of course the potty

Having done all this we need to put shoes on – time is allowed for the children to do as much as possible themselves – most can now do this independently but still need encouragement and support about left and right feet and shoes. Finally as we go out of the door the children take their laminated name cards off the self registration board and put them in the outings bag – the reason being that each child’s card has their picture and their name on the front and their emergency contact details on the back.

On the journey we observe lots of ‘nee naws’ – and I start the process of pointing out that ‘nee naws’ have blue lights and ‘others have orange lights and do not go ‘nee naw’. I also verbally tell our new topic story ‘ The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, all 5 children join in with various aspects of the story – and we all have great fun

Once we get into the countryside the children start pointing out the farm animals and the tractors – not a word from me apart from acknowledging what they say. This is part of our normal routines and was started by the children themselves one day and has just continued. Today they noticed that the cows were not in their normal field – concern was expressed and they continued to look for cows – finally spotting the cows 3 fields further down the road. As we turn into the drive of the arboretum there is lots of shouting – look no little lambs – they are all big now.

We arrive in the car park just before my friend Carol and her minded children – and as an extra today – her adult daughter coming to see the arboretum for the first time.

We arrive and we use the toilet facilities – being an arboretum there are only the one set of toilets just as you enter – hence the need to take the potty.

We pay / show pass – turn left and straight away see  our fist discovery of the visit. There is a man in green wellies and green waterproof trousers standing on a box that is on a plank and doing ‘something’ to the fountain. I ask the children what they think the man is doing – ‘playing’ they think. We watch for a while and through discussion and input from the man – the children work out that the man is ‘cleaning’ the fountain. As we watched from the bench, the man moves to clean some weeds from around the edges of the pond.


We walk past the big fountain and observe how we are getting a bit wet from the spray of the fountain – Mia also observes that the plant in a pot that she just touched is prickly.

Through the arch and in to a walled garden area – now that we are away from the water the children are allowed to let go of the pushchair (yes you can have 5 all holding on to my pushchair) and run and squeal with delight. Lovely to see.


Then the children remember the chickens and run of to find them – the first pen is empty – so they run to the other pen – and yes there are the chickens – they stand and observe – then start to run up and down the length of the large chicken pen. The next bit was so funny – the chickens started to do the same – running up and down inside their pen. Children and chickens running up and down together – the children thought it very funny.

For me though, the next bit was even funnier – my friend Carol was showing the children how to pretend to be chickens – nothing new there – both Carol and I are what you might call hands on – but then Carol was ‘strutting up and down like a male chicken’ (and dressed all in black with her hair piled up high – she looked the part – a black chicken) – shame she has refused permission for a photo of the event to be posted.

Leaving the chicken area we set off to explore – there are lots of pathways and my children decide what direction to go in – to the left on this occasion. We observe trees, touch them, talk about them, we find pine cones and a sign about the dinosaur trail.

Chinzia was keen to have the picnic, so I ask the children to find a good picnic spot – they know that Penny considers a bench to be vital for ‘a good picnic spot’. They  find such a place – we discuss the size of the bench – decide not big enough, so off the children go again – success a large bench and lots of grass – perfect! But what’s this – all the children are climbing on the bench ‘Penny sit on grass’ they say, laughing at their joke.

Picnic eaten – then the children all explore the area that is in sight from the bench – they always respond if told if wandering out of sight. They find sticks of varying lengths – and want their photo’s taken, they try to climb the huge trees and then when can’t because no low branches   they hugged the tree instead.



By now picnic things all put away – and time to go off and explore – children lead the way – just in front – always in sight. Children stop and stoop – what have they found – small heaps on soil on the path – they look and then move on – all except Shona who  wants to explore further and so picks up some of the soil. However she notices her friends have found some thing else to look at and hurries to look as well – it is a beetle.

We spot a fairy in a tree – not a small one, a huge one in bright colours. For my mindees this is great because they are in the process of giving up dummies and think that the fairies look after the dummies while they are at Penny’s Place . Alex’s mummy tells me that Alex’s fairy is blue, he can see her / him (not sure if has a gender) and he talks to his fairy, Bless – love it when imagination starts to develop into imaginary friends – or fairies.

Then they spotted a tree with thousands of spider webs all over it. Where are the spiders they ask, why do they like this tree more than the others? They stand and look for ages.


Then we are off again looking for more fairies – and the ‘spotty birds’ (these are the guinea fowl that we sometimes see when at the arboretum).

We find another fairy – take a good look – then off again – through the arch – noting that some pruning has been going on – so not the usual fantastic display of yellow flowers.

And then in a flash  – Erin spots a pheasant and is off to try and catch it! She stops when called, and gives up the chase.

The children now recognise where we are – near where we can watch the Seven Valley steam trains coming in and out of Arley Station (although at this time of year the station is hidden in the trees) – but we still have a really good view of the track. They hear a train in the distance and I have to speed up to keep up with them.

But as often happens with young children the are distracted – and this time by a group of 3 ladies.’Hello Ladies’ they all say ‘ We see trains (pointing in direction we are going), ‘we have picnic’. The ladies stop and talk to them for a while then say their goodbyes – and of course the children all shout goodbye and wave.

As soon as we reach the train watching place they all want to sit on the picnic blanket and wait for the train. Fine by me (and Carol who has now caught up with us) this is one of our favourite places to sit as well. So we wait and before too long we hear the train coming – and then see it. So much conversation about what we hear and see – they think it might be Thomas the Tank Engine coming (some of the children rode on Thomas last time he visited) – but as Mia observed ‘Not Thomas – maybe later’

After a rest (and use of potty) we set off again to where a miniature arboretum is being created. We watch the men and the lady digging and chat to them for a while – because we are regular visitors  we are well known and staff often compliment the children on their excellent behaviour. The man tells us if we walk a bit further we will find more fairies – so we do – and find two fairies in the same tree.

Sharp turn then and up hill (not good when pushing pushchair but we manage )- we look at the hedge maze and note how much it has grown – and make plans to go in the maze next time ( oh goodness –  is that forward planning?).

A bit of a long walk then but through a lovely avenue of trees – heading towards the ponds. As we get nearer the children all hold on to the pushchair again.

Our luck was in – I had hoped that the bridge we had  seen being built last visit was finished because of course we could pretend it was the ‘Rickety, Rackety’ bridge from the 3 Billy Goats Gruff story – and it was finished! So we went ‘Trip, Trap, Trip,Trap’ over the Rickety Rackety – and stopped in the middle to look for the Troll – who thankful had popped out and was not there. More Trip, Trap, Trip, Trap over the Rickety, Rackety bridge.


And then on the other side of the bridge we saw huge dragonflies and orange and black fish in the pond. And off we go again – once beyond the ponds the children lead the way again back towards the car park – but on the way we have to stop and the children go round and round the grass circle – some do cheat and cut across rather than going round and round to the center.

And then as we reach to entrance / exit- we spot them – yes the ‘spotty birds’

All that was left to do was sit at the picnic bench for snack time / visit the toilet before heading back to Penny’s Place.

A lovely, lovely day out – and the learning outcomes ? Well if I was inclined to record them, I would be there all weekend at the table / computer – because there were lots – and there will be lots the next time we visit the arboretum – and the next time.

Will it ever get recorded? Yes – already has – in the photo’s, in the children’s evidence diaries, in my evidence  diary, in conversations with parents – and most importantly in that ever expanding data base – the children themselves – and will be evidence in this year’s powerpoint of their year at Penny’s Place, in due course their  leaving record for Penny’s Place and their profile when the enter Year One.

Posted September 6, 2012 by psw260259 in Daily blog from my childminding setting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: