Here is my favourite EYFS/Year 1 scheme of work. It is based around the beautiful children’s book ‘Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffers. To keep the post manageable, I’ve just listed activities – you know how to adapt them to your own settings. Pick and choose from them.
A little boy finds a penguin at his door and decides to return him home. Together, they row to the South Pole. But when they get there, the boy realises he has made a terrible mistake…
My mind is like a little star,
Shining with ideas.
In my mind, I travel far,
No worries and no fears…
Off to Storyworld I go,
A world of my creation,
Off to Storyworld I go,
In my imagination…
Sprinkle the story dust, close your eyes tight….where will we be when I turn on the light?
Setting out the room:-
Role play area – a suitcase, two hats (one a penguin hat), an umbrella, a torch….
Water play area – lots of containers and objects to see what a good boat should be made of…
On display, lots of maps of the world, globes and pictures of marine wildlife. Pictures of the South Pole and its fauna.
Start to read the story with the children and stop to ask them where they think penguins come from. Let them share their penguin knowledge. When you reach the part of the story where it says that they pack, stop. Show the children a big map of the world and give them their own little paper maps (or blow up globes). Point to Britain and then the South Pole. Explore what is land and what is water and ask them to draw what they think the best route would be from England to the South Pole. Spend a little time looking at pictures so they can see that when the boy passes through the equator, it will be hot, but that when he comes to the South Pole, it will be very cold. Give them paper and pens and ask them to draw (and try to label) one item that they would need to take with them on this journey. When they are done, ask each children to pack it into your suitcase explaining to the others why they think this is an important item and carefully add the item to your list which you’ll keep displayed throughout the scheme. If in the future, they need something, you’ll have to check that they packed it! One of the children can wear the penguin hat and decide whether items are a good idea or not.
Check the items off and see if they have forgotten vital items – for example, have they brought food? If they wanted to bring a phone, how will they get a signal? How will they charge it?
If they offer water, ask them “why would I need that? Can’t I just drink the sea?” – assess whether they know if human beings can drink salt water and explore it with them.
Let the children play and observe them – are they using the story? Are they exploring how these items might be used?
Over the coming days you can:-
1. Spend a day in ‘France’ – stopping off for supplies. Learn a little French, sing French songs, eat French food. You can do the same for Portugal.
2. Think about weather, as the boy travels south, will the weather change? What items does he and his penguin have in their suitcase to help them in the open air in hot weather?
3. Send postcards home.
4. Visit Morocco – learn some Arabic. Look at lovely photographs of Moorish buildings and Art. Eat some Moroccan food. Learn a sufi dance. Listen to arabic music. Send a postcard home!
5. Out at sea, the weather can be very unpredictable. Compose and soundscape a big storm and look at the pictures in the book of the terrible waves. Compare size of waves and think about ‘bigger than’ and ‘smaller than’. How would the boy comfort the penguin? How do adults comfort children?
6. The boy told stories all the way…what are their favourite stories? Can they make story maps/boxes/bags for their favourite stories. Could you place story sacks in the classroom, and costumes and encourage them to tell each other favourite stories?
7.The boy and the penguin will see some amazing wildlife out at sea. Let the children make up tales of encounters with whales and sharks, dolphins and flying fish. Use clips from Blue Planet and from The Life of Pi to explore what marine life is like.
8. Have a stop-over in Ghana – tell Gahnese dilemma stories to the children – The Rains is a great one. Explore the idea of rainforests. Explore African dance and song. Send a postcard home.
9. What does it feel like to row and row for days and days? What happens to muscles when they are used over and over again. Will the boy have changed? Could they draw before and after pictures.
10. Stop off in South Africa. Go on safari – how do the animals of the Savannahs differ from those of the rainforests? Which are predators? Which are prey? Send a postcard home!
11. The South Pole. What is it like there? Will the boy be dressed differently now? What is left in his suitcase? Look at the pictures of the penguin. He looks sadder than ever. What do the children think is wrong? How can we tell when people are sad? What can we do to help them? Finish the story with the children….then…
12. Write the sequel – the journey home. What kinds of adventures might happen on the way home?
You could also :- link this to a mantle of the expert exploration in which the children are sealife experts – for example, what if the boy and the penguin encounter an oilslick on the way home? How do we care for birds damaged by oil? Call in the experts! Or what about a mantle for an ‘Immigration service for penguins and other flightless birds’… or an English Language School for immigrant penguins….or… well you get the idea.
What if when they get home, the boy is told by the local authority that he can’t keep a penguin – that it must go to a zoo? What would he do?
There is a whole world in every book – these were just some of the ideas we played with. I hope they inspire some of your own!