Learning & Development: Bread-making - Flour power

Laura Wayman
Monday, August 22, 2011

A visit from staff at the local Kingsmill bakery helped children at Busy Bears and Busy Bees Children's Day Nurseries in Durham to explore the process of bread-making, as Laura Wayman explains.

As part of their explorations of the great outdoors, our children at Busy Bears and Busy Bees Children's Day Nurseries in Durham were able to discover some of the different aspects of farming from the visits and practical experiences that we have organised.

To demonstrate the different stages of bread-making, from seed to finished product, we shared the popular traditional story of the Little Red Hen (see box). The children loved this story and kept asking to hear it again and again. To extend their interest in this story, and answer some of their questions about making bread, we decided to ask the local Kingsmill Bakery in Gateshead to help us. It was happy to step in.


Five members of staff from the bakery held bread-making workshops for more than 90 children aged between three and five years of age. The children were all intrigued by their introduction to the basics of bread-making, not only as they observed 'real' bakers at work, but also when they took part in the practical exploration of the raw ingredients required for making bread and handled some real dough.

Following this, the children had the opportunity to explore a large Kingsmill van, which transports the bread from the factory to the local shops. What the children really loved was observing as the hydraulics on the van lowered the trays of loaves safely from van to ground. They thought that the van was dancing!

After this, the children had a teddy bears' picnic in the garden. They were all given a teddy bear, lunch box and lunch from Kingsmill, and sat happily sharing their sandwiches with their new teddies while they discussed the highlights of the visit with friends and special carers.


The following day, the children arrived keen and excited to recall the Kingsmill visit. As interest was clearly high among the children, staff recognised the learning potential of this and helped them to set up baker's shops at both nurseries. Those children who wanted to continue exploring how the bread is transported from the shop to the dining table could now do so through role play.

Small shopping trolleys and baskets were provided so that children were able to move their purchases from 'shop' to home area. Those who wanted to make bread again, explore the raw ingredients or simply play with dough had special carers there to encourage them to follow the direction of their own interests and shape their learning through self-initiated choices.


Staff at both nurseries were amazed at the way in which this simple event opened up opportunities for us to continue to further or follow the children's interests in an exciting and stimulating way. We never imagined that a famous bread-making company would be so eager and willing to assist us in this. The day truly captured the imagination and attention of staff and children alike.




How staff promoted children's learning:

  • By following the direction of children's interests to ensure that they continued to be interested, excited and motivated to learn
  • By extending children's vocabulary with the introduction of bread-related words, and by encouraging them to use language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences
  • By supporting the children's attempts to use appropriate mathematical vocabulary to compare quantities and to describe size and shape
  • By extending children's interest in the world in which they live, and by providing opportunities for them to ask questions about why things happen and how things work
  • By providing tools and malleable materials to develop children's control over small movements
  • By encouraging children to respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel.


  • Sanji and the Baker by Robin Tzannes and Korky Paul (Oxford University Press) - As enticing and mouthwatering as the aroma of freshly baked bread, this is a great cautionary tale!
  • Baker Cat by Posy Simmonds (Jonathan Cape) - Cat has to bake all day and catch mice all night or the baker won't feed him. Time to concoct a clever plan ...
  • Walter the Baker by Eric Carle (Simon & Schuster) - By order of the Duke, Walter the baker must invent a tasty roll through which the rising sun can shine three times.
  • Master Bun, the Baker's Boy (Happy Families) by Allan Ahlberg and Fritz Wegner (Puffin) - Bertie Bun was born to be a baker. His mum is a baker. His dad is a baker. Even his grandparents were bakers. But Bertie has a big problem - he's bored of bread!
  • Teddy Bear Baker by Phoebe and Selby Worthington (Puffin).
  • Your Favourite Seuss: A Baker's Dozen by the one and only Dr Seuss (Random House).
  • Bread, Bread, Bread (Foods of the World) by Ann Morris and Ken Heyman (William Morrow).
  • Loaves of Fun - A history of bread with activities and recipes from around the world by Elizabeth and John Harbison (Chicago Review Press).
  • Bread (I Know That) by Claire Llewellyn (Franklin Watts).
  • Bread (Starters) by Saviour Pirotta (Wayland).
  • Grains to Bread (Welcome Books: How things are made) by Inez Synder (Scholastic).



The day after the Kingsmill visit, one parent said of her son:

'It has to be said, Thomas is a boy of very few words. Never have I known him come home from nursery and spend the best part of two hours talking about one single experience, and he did!

'He absolutely loved the Kingsmill visit and fell asleep telling me all about it - he even woke up talking about it, too! It truly captivated his imagination and interest; it was a brilliant idea to get Kingsmill involved.'

Laura Wayman is the nursery manager at Busy Bears Nursery.

She talked to Jean Evans.

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