In the lead up to Remembrance Day Class 1 learnt about the role of animals in wars throughout history. They began by thinking about items that they treasure and why they like them; they recognised that these special objects help them to remember special times. The children discovered that they are all the same in having memories that are important to them and enjoyed sharing some of their favourites, reflecting upon how they felt on these occasions and how they feel thinking back to them.
With so many happy memories to share the children drew pictures on a personal collage to depict their memories and annotated them with labels, speech bubbles, notes. They designed symbols to represent particularly meaningful memories. Following on from this, the children thought more carefully about the poppies that many of us were wearing and what they might represent.
The class read ‘Where the Poppies Now Grow’ by Hilary Robinson & Martin Impey to learn more, discussing the clues in the pictures on each page. In Literacy sessions the children completed research into the role of a wide variety of animals that have served during different periods of history, across different parts of the world.
They heard the stories of some of those that became famous and were honoured with medals for their participation. They were particularly interested in finding out that animals are remembered with the symbol of purple poppies. Using the skills developed in our Literacy unit the children wrote non-chronological reports to share information on how pigeons, dogs, horses, dolphins, elephants, camels and more, were used to support the war efforts.
The children enjoyed participating in a carousel of creative activities to mark the occasion, remembering the dreadful effects of war, and honour the men, women and animals who serve their country during times of war and other conflicts. Some of these activities were based around the artwork produced by a variety of both older and modern day artists who have used poppies in their artwork. They enjoyed finding out about the work of Paul Cummins and Tom Piper who had the idea to make 888,246 ceramic poppies and installed them around the Tower of London and looked on their blog to see photos of the art installation, Scarlett Raven who painted pictures like ‘ 11th hour number 1’ and painted a field of poppies in the style of Monet. They also made poppy wreaths and our EYFS children painted fields of poppies using thumbprints. The children enjoyed admiring their completed artwork and listening to the poem ‘Scarlet Poppies’ in which the first half of the poem ‘Poppies for Remembrance’ is about real poppies in which the poet describes their movement as fluttering like fragile butterflies and dancing like graceful ballerinas, whilst the second part ‘Red poppies’ is about artificial poppies and how we use paper poppies to remember. They talked about how their paintings captured the words of the poem.