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Armed Forces Topic


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Has anyone ever done a topic based on the Armed Forces ?

 

I have a lot of boys interested in Army, who have been making guns !! and I am considering looking at this in more detail to look at the different Armed Forces. It is only an idea and could lead into Super Heroes etc as when they have made guns they have been encouraged to use their imagination, e.g firing bubbles to turn everyone pink etc !!

 

I know that there are those teachers that would not consider this type of topic and I can see the arguments for and against. It could lead to imaginative roleplay, especially by the boys and a great deal of roleplay writing. Some ideas I have linked to this:-

 

- Colour mixing - looking at green colours and camouflage

 

- Animals that can be camouflaged

 

Any ideas would be appreciated

 

If anyone has done it do they have any planning or ideas.

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Good luck with it I'm sure there will be some good ideas coming your way and your starting activities look interesting.

Can I ask how your parents would feel? I'm sure you will tackle it sensitively and with great thought to the learning value but will you be explainning that to parents? I would have been concerned if my daughters had come home from nursery doing this topic although every single time my daughter does a future career questionaire it comes back as a variety of Armed Forces. :o

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I think you are on sticky ground here. As a parent I would be horrified if my child was doing this topic. I have friends that wouldnt allow a toy gun in the house and would be queuing at the HT's door if their child was taking part in a topic of this name.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

It is only something I am looking in to and the topic will probably be " Super Heroes " which will stimulate the boys interests. The problem is that many of our boys are using different construction etc to make guns, esp in the outside area. As you know this is hard to stop as when you say no guns, they turn into light sabres from Star Wars !

 

I have been in other Nursery settings where they went with the new EYFS of planning from children's interests and had an outside roleplay area of an Army HQ as some boys and brought in army clothing and hats etc and were playing it outside.

 

It is a dilemma - especially as in Reception it would amount to looking at the Forces ( a great book from Rising Stars ), junk modelling, roleplay and probably looking at World War Two - which would probably lead into a nice week of work on what it was like in the past

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As a parent I wouldnt have had a problem with it at all. I've got 2 boys who were always playing army or fighting games of some sort. I think the fear that these kind of games might lead to darker things is unfounded. I read an American study that supported the idea of this type of play and in which they found children who were prevented from playing them were more likely to be violent in later life than those who were allowed to play them.

Your parents will need reasuring though. The media has fulled peoples fears and if they were to think back to their own childhoods they would see that there is very little to fear in actual fact. The violent crime thats around today is due in my mind to lack of community and lack of adult responsibilty not due to childhood games.

Good luck with the topic, I think its great. :o

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I personally don't have an issue with children making their own play but I wouldn't like to see it encouraged in a school setting. It is a very emotive subject and best kept out of school. Teachers should be showing children right from wrong and it is wrong to shoot and kill people with guns. I don't think we will ever stop young children from making guns etc due to them watching inappropriate television programs.

 

Also I wonder if the Dunblane families would see the encouragement of this type of play as appropriate in a school setting? Just a thought!

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I think it's a really interesting idea. If you have any parents or family members of children in your setting who are in the Armed Forces it would really value the impact that they make to our world. It is important to think about the reactions of different people. How do your other staff and Head feel about the topic?

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Could you come at it from the 'people who help us' angle?

'Sailors' generally could generate some floating and sinking, predicting, boatbuilding and things. I think there's a lot more to the topic than the gun aspect, although I can see why it would concern people. Our armed forces spend a lot more time doing other things too - map reading, cooking outdoors, survival skills, making tents, reading charrts, camouflage, stealth.

Target practice could be throwing beanbags or balls in a bucket. Someone could guard keys whilst blindfolded and see if he can hear children tiptoeing up to take them. I'm sure there are lots of things it could cover, rather than just be about guns. Maybe an opportunity to educate the children that there are lots of things the armed forces do, other than shoot guns.

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Thanks for the reply Cait

 

I agree with your thoughts and if we go ahead with the topic it is to show all the other jobs that the " Forces do " - and not to focus on guns at all !! It is the children who make guns and get involved n the roleplay and when you discourage it only makes them want to do it more.

 

I like the ideas and would do things like camouflage ( great for colour mixing ), map reading ( maybe a maths treasure hunt ), making own trails to run round cones etc ( to use with the bikes ), junk modelling

 

It is just weighing up the positives and negatives - as there is good history content to use World War 2. We did Rememberance Day and this provoked lots of discussion

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As a woman who has lived all of her married life as a wife of an airman, and having worked on many nurserys and preschools on bases around the uk and abroad i can understand where your coming from and once a child starts its like the chicken pox!!! gun making spreads like wildfire. Have you got a local army camp or airbase near??? If so phone up their leiason person. You can normally find a number for the camp which will put you on to a swich board. They have very friendly opperators all are millitary and will help you find the person your after. I would ask for a liason person or community development officer. Then may be you could arrange a visit to the base they can suggest many things that would interest you and the children.. I took my group to see a group of visiting hellicoptor piolets last year and the children went in hellicopters and saw them take off and land. We all had such a good time.

Just a suggestion

 

Kat -x-

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just thought I would update you on the Armed Forces topic. I discussed it with the Head and did it as a 2 week topic. As mentioned in previous posts I based it round a Rising Stars non fiction book and information / videos from websites.

 

I must say that the topic was thoroughly enjoyed by all the children who learnt a lot and went home and explained it to their parents. As it previously posted it was not all about " fighting ". Yes children were involved in roleplay as they do anyway with Knex and different construction. We also looked at camouflage and were able to focus on colour mixing, animal camouflage and fun outdoor activities such as den building. The 2nd week we were able to look more at history and we did some work on the Vikings.

 

Many parents commented on the topic during the week when I saw them in the morning/afternoon and on parents evening so many them said how their children had really enjoyed the topic and had told them all about it and clearly the learning objectives were achieved as they were all telling me that the army was not just about guns and fighting etc

 

It has helped the children to realise that they can use their ideas to stimulate learning in school and they are already coming up with further suggestions - pirates, knights etc

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It has helped the children to realise that they can use their ideas to stimulate learning in school and they are already coming up with further suggestions - pirates, knights etc

I'm not sure how I missed this before, but what a really positive post, tricky7!

 

I think you've shown that with careful planning you can come up with experiences which take children's interests further and develop into other areas which extend the learning but are also enjoyable for the children taking part.

 

Well done you - I can imagine that you got lots and lots of good observations from children really engaged in the learning!

 

Maz

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Excellent news! Well done you, it just goes to show that your instinct was right, and it looks as though you achieved your objective of convincing the children that it's not all about fighting

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I too missed this topic originally. Glad to hear it was a success. :o As I was reading through the posts I was imagining an end of term marching display for parents, and how the children could learn about the freedom they have due to the bravery of our soldiers. I too think there is a lot to learn from this topic, and the emphasis could be put on the armies main role as 'defenders' of peace rather than as 'killing' machines. I imagined lots of designing and construction, how does a tank manouvre on tracks and how does the turret rotate a complete 360 degrees?

My husband is an ex Army Warrent Officer, the tales he has told over the years are fascinating, from all the different countries he's been to, the real cultures he's learnt about (not the tourists view). He joined at age 15 into boys service and stayed for 20+ yrs, leaving as a Master Chef. The banquets and social and charity events he worked hard for and the sense of comradeship, development of self discipline and pride in ones appearance and pride for ones country, I think are valuable lessons for any aged child. xD . Even in conflict he tells about the problem solving skills such as the deployment of troops to the Falklands, how he nearly didn't even make it there, the boat that was taken out of decommision to get them there nearly sank in the roaring 40's gales, and then once the conflict was over, how they cleared all the beaches of mines. In the same context of 'war' his comrades 'adopted' a stray cat which was found to have cancer, they fed and looked after it, then made sure it had a home before they left.

Children see 'Army' on TV, in the news, and army recruiting adverts etc, and as you first said, you embraced the childrens interests, in a positive light, rather than sticking your head in the sand, well done. :(

 

Peggy

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Well done to both you and your head for taking this forward in such a positive way. And many thanks for letting us know how you got on with it. Hopefully this will inspire others to really embrace children's interests in their planning, even if there are difficulties to overcome on the way. :o

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Like you said it was a good to get observations of the children, both indoors and outdoors. There was a lot of creativity in roleplay, included creative use of different construction. So I was able to observe points such as CD 7 and 8. The children played nicely together so a lot of the LCT points were observed.

 

It was a type of roleplay that engaged the boys obviously having an army HQ indoors and making dens outside with a large tarpaulin net but the girls enjoyed dressing up and joined in.

 

I finished the topic with a junk modelling of army vehicles which the children needed to design first and then make. They thoroughly enjoyed it and it has helped to get some boys into wanting to make further models after half term !

 

I think it has been nice planning a new topic totally from their interests and would definitely do it again

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I think you are on sticky ground here. As a parent I would be horrified if my child was doing this topic. I have friends that wouldnt allow a toy gun in the house and would be queuing at the HT's door if their child was taking part in a topic of this name.

 

Girls make babies out of anything they can get their hands on - or even forks for combs in the hairdressers - boys and girls I have to say make guns - that's life - it s how we talk about it that counts my children make guns all the time - so we spent a lot ot time in Cirlce time talking about the effects of guns on other people and how we feel when something is pointed at us, be it the blame, a finger or a piece of lego, and decided that if we wanted guns we should have targets so that's what we did. as for talking about the armed forces - good for you - I was a forces child and was asked when I attended a girls grammar school if my parents had charis to sit on and what did we eat off and drink out of - I kid you not, thank goodness those days are long past!! the armed services would fit into a topic about People who help Us' as that's what they do - next time your bins are not empitied or the ambulances or firemen go on strike just say a thanks for those men and women in uniform - oh and yes they do defend our freedom and laws even if at times we don't agree with our Government sending them where they do - they are as helpless as us - after all who wants to spend their days target setting and tracking and assessing children's progress endlessly but that's what our government wants us to do - Sorry got me on a sore point there -

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