Saplings: The Trees Around Us

1 September to 20 October 2019

Goodstart Early Learning Muswellbrook

Artwork: Genevieve, aged 5

After we had received an invitation for our very own exhibition, we began discussing what theme we could have for our display. There were many suggestions such as buildings, flowers, people, birds and trees. Together as a class we decided that because birds nest in trees and they can have flowers, trees would be a great focus for us.

We started our project discussing all the different parts of a tree such as the roots, the bark, the trunk, the branches and the leaves. The children identified that not all leaves looked the same and this was due to different species. Looking at images of trees, the children were able to name a few - mostly fruit trees.

A teacher in our centre brought in bark that had fallen off a tree at her house and we investigated it closely, describing what it looked like, smelt like, felt like and what tree it may have come from. Some of the children identified that it looked “a little bit spiky” and had “little holes and cracks”. It felt “rough on one side but the other side was smooth”. “Fire”, “wood”, “chocolate” and “cinnamon” were some of the smells we recognised.

As we continued our investigation, Mick, Tracey and Gean from Muswellbrook Shire Council came to our centre on National Tree Day to speak to us about the importance of trees and how we care for them. Mick drew some pictures for us and showed us the different sizes of trees. He even brought in some branches where we looked at the different leaves and identified some species.

While celebrating tree day, we went for a walk to Karoola Dog Park to explore the trees that we were lucky enough to plant last year. We discovered many different species and took photographs to bring back to our centre and discuss with friends who couldn’t attend our excursion. We printed these photos and made a book from them for us to refer to when we were completing our artworks.

During all our excursions the children were on the lookout for all the different kinds of trees we could see. We even saw one with the roots sticking out of the ground!

During the process of creating our canvas works, each child was asked what materials they would like to make their artwork with. Some children wanted to paint their trees while others wanted to draw with pencils and Textas. There were many pictures of trees around our room, including trees in different seasons. The children used the book we had made and photographs from our excursion. We even had some bark left over and the children could feel the texture to assist their creativity.

Each child added their own unique aspect into their painting, including, ‘a tree that was melting in lava’, ‘a tree with some flowers growing in spring’, ‘leaves that have seeds on them’, ‘old trees with no leaves’ and even some ‘trees in the rain’.

We have had a great time doing our investigation and exploring all the different trees in our environment. As the seasons change we will continue to look at and discuss the natural changes of the trees around us.