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It’s all in the story

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By Jenny Morriswriter and teacher who has run her own nursery school

Books are an excellent educational resource. Jenny Morris explores just how much young children can enjoy and learn from a simple story book

Peek-a-boo Penguins

I cannot think of a better early book for young children than Matt Buckingham’s Peek-a-boo Penguins (Little Tiger Press). It is such a rich source of educational value. The children will experience handling the book, turning its pages, touching the soft penguin bodies and counting the penguin friends, as well as looking carefully to see where the penguins are hiding on each page.

The following activities demonstrate how many different areas of the curriculum can be covered in just one book. Far more important than the stories they tell, books give information, promote language development, rouse emotions and social awareness and stimulate the children’s imagination for creative ideas and role play. They are the starting-points for problem solving and understanding the world we live in.

The story

This wonderfully simple story is about a game of hide-and-seek. Penguin’s friends find numerous ways of hiding among the ‘local’ animals. The animals can’t help Penguin find his friends because they are also joining in with the game. What a surprise there is on the last page when all the penguin friends are found hiding in a very unusual place!

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • The penguin friends love playing together. Ask the children who they enjoy playing with and why. l
  • Moose grinned when Penguin asked him if he had seen his friends. What do the children think Moose found so funny? Encourage the children to talk about what makes them laugh.
  • Polar Bear grunted and chuckled at Penguin’s question. Suggest that the children make noises to demonstrate their feelings and see if the rest of the group can guess what they are.
  • Penguin was really surprised when he found his friends hiding in the igloo. Invite the children to talk about things that have surprised them. Do they like surprises?
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