Juliet Robertson is an education consultant who specialises in outdoor learning. Before becoming a consultant Juliet was a head teacher at three schools, making her more than qualified to help others improve their practice. She also writes a popular education blog I m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here! where she illustrates her ideas and enthusiasm for learning outdoors. @CreativeSTAR
I warmed to this book as soon as I picked it up. It has a soft cover which you know will be ok if you take it in the garden and it gets a bit wet and muddy! The layout too is extremely user friendly with an abundance of ideas set out like recipes with photographs to inspire and motivate teachers. As an experienced teacher myself it can sometimes be rather galling in ‘activity idea’ books when there is a series of ideas, however good, that are as old as the hills. I know that less experienced staff need these important ideas to help them develop their own personal library of excellence, yet this book offers something quite different. Even I, a cynical old teacher, found myself thinking “Wow! I want to do that” and “The children are so going to love this” – this was a refreshing change and I am genuinely inspired to try out some of Juliet’s ideas.
The book is written to encourage teachers to take children’s learning outside. We often see in inspection reports recommendations that settings “(further) develop the use of the garden area to facilitate those children that prefer to take their learning outside.” Messy Maths will really support teachers to recognise and plan for the distinct Characteristics of Effective Learning that they see in their children. We are constantly reminded of the need to engage children in terms of ‘school-readiness’ and we must work hard to develop mathematical skills in pre-school children. This book takes us beyond the simple building of towers, measuring in hand spans and spotting shapes in the environment. With this book, mathematical teaching goes to a whole new level – who could fail to be excited about making a number line with dandelion flowers, petals, small stones and blades of grass (idea 3.26).
There is a wonderful resources list at the beginning which will help staff see how they can always be prepared for a sudden maths activity. The ability to embrace spontaneity is always going to make for memorable activities.
I loved this book, you should buy it!
Edited by Rebecca