Case study: ZSL London Zoo for EYFS

Date Posted: 12/08/2016

Newnham Infant and Nursery School at ZSL London Zoo

Newnham Infant and Nursery School at ZSL London Zoo.

Nursery teacher Wendy Walker from Newnham Infant and Nursery School in Eastcote Middlesex explains what her class learnt on a recent trip to ZSL London Zoo.

Why did you choose ZSL London Zoo?

In nursery we have recently been looking at different types of animals for our animal topic. Many of the children have seen domestic animals or farm animals, but a visit to ZSL London Zoo gave them the opportunity to see a wide range of animals both large and small from across the world.

As our children are three and four-years-old, this is an educational visit which the children can enjoy with their families at the end of the academic year.

For many of the children this is their first ever visit to the zoo and so is very exciting. The parents take their children to the zoo the nursery staff welcome them and give them information about the education sessions we’ve booked. Families then have the whole day to spend at the zoo at their leisure, apart from the education sessions when the nursery team look after the children.

What did you do?

We took part in the new education session There’s A Lion In My Garden!, an interactive story-time session.

The story follows a little girl in India who is desperate to spot a lion in her garden, and engages the children to help identify lots of the different animals that she sees. The children really enjoyed the story and video in the session, as well as the learning of a new song. They were shown real artefacts to help them recognise the different animals.

The session was a great opportunity for speaking and listening, as well as extending descriptive vocabulary. One parent said this was the best way for the children to appreciate how big the animals were.

We helped encourage the children to join in during the session and then accompanied parents and children as the explored the zoo. Each child had a map and a tick list of the animals mentioned in the session that they had to find.

The parents had some great comments too, such as: “Nothing beats the excitement of seeing animals yourself” and “it makes the learning memorable”.

Why would you recommend it?

We’ve done educational visits to ZSL London Zoo for several years as it’s a great day for our young children, and families really appreciate the opportunity to engage in their child’s learning with the nursery staff. We always organise the visit to take place on a Friday as it is a tiring day for young children!

The zoo is a brilliant, safe learning environment with good facilities and a wide range of activities which cover a range of assessments from Development Matters guidance for EYFS.

When we returned to school we spent several days linking our learning to the visit, recounting the day, describing the animals and creating maps.

The education staff are always very efficient, friendly and helpful. They also have a very comprehensive website with plenty of information to share with the children and parents before the visit. The education sessions are always excellent and the children always enjoy taking part.

Best part?

They were fascinated to stroke lion and snake skins, and after the session they were really keen to find the real lions and snakes.

To find out more call 0344-967 0831 or visit www.zsl.org.

School Travel Organiser's Guide