Children from the Dolphins group aged 2-3 years visited the Natural history museum in April. The trip was undertaken as part of the group’s long-term project ’animals travelling around the world’. The Natural History Museum in Helsinki houses various exhibits centering around the theme of biodiversity in Finland and around the world. There are exhibits that showcase the history of life on Earth. Therefore, the teachers decided to visit this museum as they thought it would make an ideal place to extend children’s learning on their project ’animals travelling around the world’.
Getting to the museum
The children and teachers took the metro to reach the metro station closest to the museum and then they walked from the metro station to the museum. Since the group consists of children aged 2-3 years, there were some younger children for whom the teachers decided to use the pram. The older children in the group walked holding the rope along side their partners.
Children found the sight of the orange coloured Helsinki metro rather exciting and sitting in the metro with friends added more thrill to the whole experience. The short walk from the metro station to the museum was also filled with interesting observations by children on the various sights that they passed by. These observations gave the children and teachers various opportunities for having interesting conversations.
At the Natural History Museum
Children appeared mesmerised by the the model of the big tuskar elephant that welcomed them at the entrance of the museum but the fun had just begun. After a snack the group was ready to explore the different exhibits. There were various displays that the children enjoyed looking at. Children were rather fascinated by the exhibits on sharks and marine life. There were also exhibits on bears, lions and various animals, birds and insects from different parts of the world. The big exhibit of the dinosaur skeleton was the one where the children and teachers spent maximum time.
Trip as a learning experience
Apart from giving children a chance to see exhibits on different animals all across the world, the trip also offered various other learning opportunities to children. Children learnt simple rules of keeping safe while on a trip. Inside the museum, the children climbed steps to reach the various exhibits on different floors of the museum and this also offered them many opportunities to gain confidence with moving around and keeping safe. At the museum the teachers also discussed keeping soft voices and not talking too loudly. This aimed at developing children’s sensitivity towards other visitors at the museum.
Children’s reactions and observations on the various displays also offered them many opportunities to express themselves both during and after the trip. Children also drew pictures of the animals, talked about what they liked at the museum and even pretended to be some animals during free-play. Therefore, the trip offered them opportunities to express themselves in various ways.
Last but not the least the trip gave children and teachers some very joyful memories.