First published in 1947 Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown is a gentle story aimed for very young children. How can this be used to promote learning? In this instance the examples of activities are related to the revised Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage as the book is relevant for this particular age group.
Communication and language
Once the teacher has read or shown an animation of Goodnight Moon, then the children can develop their communication and language skills by forming opinions about the story. Questions can be asked such as “Did you like the story?” The children can then talk about why they liked or disliked it. There are also opportunities for role play in the home corner where the children can imagine they are telling a story to a young child. Where the language is repeated the children can join in with the story to develop their confidence levels. Simple questions and answers will also aid understanding and develop speaking skills. Exploring the illustrations and talking about what is happening in the stories will help children with their communication and language.
The children can also look at the characters in this book that are from other stories or tales they have heard of for example there is the cow who jumps over the moon and the three bears. They can think about the kinds of stories or rhymes they enjoy. When showing very young children the book, observe whether they hold the book in the correct way and begin to adopt reading behaviours such as looking from left to right, using illustrations to help them talk about the story. Activities to see if they can recognise rhyming patterns can be adopted e.g. “brush” “mush.” All of these help to promote literacy.
The story provides opportunities for the class to develop their counting skills. For example the children can count the bears or certain objects on the page. Positional language is also an area that can be explored. Asking questions such as “What is on the table?” or “What is next to the fireplace?” or “Where is the clock?” helps children to become aware of what they can see and where something is. The book uses mathematical language such as “pairs” which can also be used within school. Colours and shapes are also areas that can be explored by asking questions about the detail in the illustrations.
Understanding the world
The story may be about animals but like many good picture books the characters are relevant to the children’s knowledge of the world. Like the rabbit the children will have experienced someone putting them to bed and they will also be aware of how things look different at night time, such as the stars and the moon shining. Like the rabbit in this book, some children may also have struggled sleeping at some time in their lives.
Expressive arts and design
The bold illustrations, can be used to encourage children to express themselves. A wide range of materials can be used to explore the colours in the book, whether it is paints, crayons or pencils to create black and white shades used in the book. More able children might draw or paint the room used in the book, whilst others might explore colours and shapes. Salt dough can be used to create 3-D objects or miniature characters such as the rabbit.
In conclusion, Margaret Wise Brown’s book, Goodnight Moon has many aspects, mentioned above that can be used in class. What it offers is a gentle read, an enjoyable story and a character who has had similar experiences to them.