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This week at Red Bus – Understanding the World

This week Red Bus Coombe Dingle and Downend have been taking part in lots of activities relating to ‘Understanding the World’. This might seem like a big task for little minds! But children are naturally curious, developing their sense of wonder and curiosity about their own personal world and their place in it. By being shown different cultures and environments, we help children understand the world in a larger sense. 

People & Communities

Babies this week have been exploring their own ice cream parlour! The children explored moving the foam ice cream into bowls, and choosing from lots of different textures of toppings. Even at this young age children may begin to imitate the every day actions of adults, linking what they are doing at nursery to the things they’ve seen at home and elsewhere. We understand that children bring a rich variety of cultures to Red Bus, so the adults will always be inclusive of children’s backgrounds, and positive about differences between people. 

Kindergarten have been exploring lots of the small world resources, which are a perfect learning opportunities for understanding the world in a larger sense! At this age children begin to have a sense of their own identity, immediate family, friends and pets. As the children play they will each bring their own ideas and creativity, and begin to learn that other’s may have differing ideas and backgrounds to them! The adults support this by ensuring each child is recognised as a contributor to the group, and support their understanding of different and empathy through discussion and props – always ensuring the conversation is inclusive and negative stereotyping is avoided. 

Pre-School have been making maps this week, learning all about Bristol and their local community! Around this age children will be able to remember significant events, people and places that they’ve experienced, and looked through maps of of the area as they created their own. This activity provides children the opportunity to share their knowledge and personal experiences with each other, although the adults are always sensitive to the fact that some children may have complicated histories or home lives.

Experiencing different occupations and members of society is a big part of ‘Understanding the World’.  Pre-School have been learning about different jobs by looking at books and pictures, and getting hands on with a firefighting activity. The children learned about what firefighters do, and even had a go at stopping the painted fire with some water!


Technology can be a controversial subject with young children, as we balance between the concept of ‘screen time’ and exploring objects that will most likely be a part of their lives forever! Technology doesn’t always mean a screen though – babies have been exploring the non digital toys as well as the abacus. The repeated sounds and sights encourage the children to anticipate when it happens again, and by pushing, sliding and moving the various parts the babies will begin to learn how to operate them. 

Kindergarten have been looking into more modern technology, exploring the tablets and interactive screens! The children are always supervised whilst doing this, and the adults discuss with the children what the technology does and how to use it safely. At this age children can begin to understand cause and effect – that by pressing something on the screen can make something appear, disappear or change. 

Pre-School explored using the giant syringes this week, another example of non-digital technology. The children were encouraged to work out how the syringes work – pulling the stopper up to collect the coloured water, and pushing it out all to decorate the shaving foam tray! The adults talked to the children throughout to explain what they are doing, and encourage the children to speculate on why and how things work. 

The World

Nursery and Kindergarten have been exploring tuff trays themed around animals and the natural world! This is an opportunity for children to explore different objects, using and combining them in different ways. As children develop they understand that objects belong in certain places – for example, ducks and fish should live in the pond! The children are encouraged to explore the different textures, and by discussing natural topics such as animals, plants and trees we can introduce the principles of caring for our world. 

As children reach Pre-School age they begin to comment and ask questions about the world, and understand the process of natural growth and seasons changing. Some children got stuck into a natural tray full of leaves, bark and (toy) bugs! Activities like these provide opportunities for the children to observe, using the magnifying glasses to look closely at the patterns, colours and textures in the tray. 

Pre-School also been learning about other countries and parts of the world. The adults make sure to involve the children’s immediate environments, so that they can link the concept of their ‘home’ to the homes of others. The children read about Easter Island and the moai statues that are there, and then tried making their own out of clay! This gives children the chance to capture and represent what they have learnt, expressing themselves creatively through art.