Teaching children to love their bodies at a young age helps them grow into children and adults who want to keep their bodies strong, healthy, and safe so they can do all the things they love to do and so they place value on their health and wellbeing. Recently, the preschool room (Minke Whales) at Story House Mascot have been actively exploring the human body and body parts.
What started as a discussion about being safe in the classroom led to further curiosity and exploration of the parts that make up the human body, how they work and function together. To help the children learn more, educators launched the human body project.
Project-based learning provides an opportunity for children to learn about a topic in-depth. It motivates and engages children with a diverse range of abilities, while allowing them the freedom to explore their own interests, yet still provides enough structure to meet the outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework.
The Human Body Project has helped children to make connections across many of the learning outcomes. As a group, the Minke Whales worked together to create a 2D human body by tracing around their own bodies and using recyclable materials including yarn, straws, corks, bottle caps, plastic bag, balloon, cardboard rolls, rubber bands and black plastic strips to replicate the internal body parts. They quickly discovered the importance of each organ.
Children investigated, questioned, and talked about x-rays and how machines can take pictures of the inside of your body and they constructed their own x-ray images of their hands. The Minke Whales engaged in lots of early literacy activities too. As an example, the children practised their writing and letter identification through labelling the parts on the body they constructed and now they can verbally describe each of the body parts and tell you what they do.
Identifying body parts and being intentional about using them and keeping them safe is a cognitive, physical, and language-enriching process. It is important to communicate to our children that a happy body is a happy me. If we start reinforcing this in early childhood, children will be more inclined to cherish and take care of their bodies through life.