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#1 shirel

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 08:39 PM

Ok here goes.... I have taken a supernumary Preschool leader role until September which is lovely as I can see what is being done well and what is not working and make notes to bring in GRADUAL change in September.

At the moment as it is a village hall setting the room has to be set up every day, well the very first thing I have noticed is that staff are laying out a different set up every day - I have suggested that the layout should be the same in September - every day (but with obviously different activities but main areas of learning)- so as to offer a familiar environment for the children and offer the security that they need when settling in, however no-one has objected but they're have been some odd looks, :o
I am really trying to hold back but this is one feature that I am sure has to happen and will implement it but just to get some reassurance or advice - I am not mad to think this will be a good idea am I?. I have never known an environment to be changed everyday?......................

Edited by shirel, 03 July 2007 - 08:41 PM.

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#2 Wolfie

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 08:45 PM

No, you're not mad shirel and it's exactly what I'm working on to implement at the nursery I support at the moment. I ddi a brainstorming session with the staff last week, talking about the areas of learnign and development in the EYFS and how we could possibly arrange the room under those headings...what sort of resources could we provide in each, etc.etc. They've all gone away with a room plan on which I'vr asked them to draw where they would like to see the different areas. That's as far as I've got so far.....

#3 Anita

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 08:52 PM

We are a preschool in a Church hall so we have to get out everything every day and always have the same arrangement, but change the resources. It would be chaotic if we had to decide where to put everything each day!

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#4 shirel

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 08:55 PM

Thanks Anita, and that is indeed what I have witnessed huffing and puffing and having to ask all the time 'what goes where today?'
It makes the morning quite stressful.
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#5 hali

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:22 PM

we are also in a church hall setting up each day but have a 6 weekly rota for the different activities - sounds like a good idea of yours wolfie :o

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#6 louby loo

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:23 PM

Right, just to put the cat amonst the pigeons!!

I'm in exactly the same postition- and have spent the last couple of months trying to address this issue - HOWEVER ofsted have just been, and would you believe it- she said one of our strong points was how the room was set up 'different and exciting' each day.
That really helped my case that the children need to return to activities...etc

The room is set up each day from scratch - we cannot leave anything either out or up on the walls. Now I don't know what to do!!!

I might add we do have an hour and a quater to set up before the children arrive, so time is not an issue as such, but I do feel that non-contact 'time' within a pre-school is so precious and that we could/should use it more effectivly than trying to arrange a different setting each morning!

Might add the previous manager was such a 'control freak' she had each day planned to such perfection she would just come in with the days 'orders' for each member of staff, and she would dictate the room set-up and what the staff would observe that day too!
Staff are now having trouble with indvidual planning, and were quite shocked when ofsted pointed out they all need to participate in the planning process!!!!!



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#7 Alison

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 10:09 PM

its hard work every day setting up and one thing that makes it easier it the routine of knowing where to put every thing we are on automatic pilot setting the room up and during this time we can have a good chin wag befor sessions. Once all the furniture is in place its the activities that make the day different

each term we have a change around but tend to keep to the same layout for a term at a time

#8 shirel

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 07:10 AM

Loubylou we have 15minutes to set up! :(
So you see my dilemma....but I do feel strongly that the environment needs to remain familiar especially for the first two terms, I think if we find we need to change the set up I will involve the children so as not to disorientate them, we could do it together.

But everyday a different layout I feel will not work for us, as for Ofsted saying it was exciting :wacko: (Wonder if they appreciate how much physical exertion that takes to set up and then find time for paperwork as well :lol: :( ) - well they never cease to amaze me :o - but then you know the scenario that was YOUR inspector and as they are all often singing from different hymm sheets who knows what ours would say!!! :lol: :(

Sorry i have used lots of icons got carried away.. :unsure: :rolleyes: ;)
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#9 Beau

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 07:29 AM

We are in a hall and things remain pretty static in terms of where we put things. As the others have said, it makes it much easier when setting up as everyone knows where things are going to be put without having to expend time and energy talking about it. Sometimes things are changed around a bit if we feel the activities are not working well where they are. Obviously this is largely dictated by the children, their interests and which activities they tend to seek out and those they need more encouragement to access.

I also feel that it is good for the children as they know exactly where to go if they want to play with something. :o
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#10 Running Bunny

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 07:56 AM

I too think familiarity is a good thing - especially if children and parents are leaving each other for the first time they know where the painting is going to be or the train track etc.. which will help them to settle in.

I think that having a familiar layout but with new and exciting things as part of that layout is the way to go. Imagine the children's excitement when they think they are going to the construction area and there are additional boxes, tubes and bricks to add to the usual blocks they have or when they go to the home corner and there are stacking boxes with things hidden inside them.

This is the whole point of observational planning - you notice something the previous day/week and then put additional resources out for targeted children or groups of children according to their current interests to extend their experiences.

#11 bubblejack

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 12:00 PM

We have our learning areas in the same position. This is necessary not only for familiarity but the fact that we have lino areas along the edges of wooden floor for messier activities.We vary the resources on a rotational basis taking into account childrens wishes.
I think its also important to store equipment away in the same place. All staff have then easy access to equipment, know where things are kept when children ask for them without having to ask me.

#12 Deb

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 01:54 PM

I think having the layout the same every day makes children feel secure because they know where things will be. It must also help staff. We can offer exciting by providing different resources. Every now and again we will change something around if we don't think it's working but not everyday.
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#13 Inge

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 02:20 PM

our room layout is basic as everyone else having to move stuff daily... but we do have 2 days a week with a different layout as we then have a large area for children to spend time playing on floor allowing them to spread as they would at home with a mixture of toys , or setting up a large physical area with lots of variety, children love to see this when they come in and always spend long times there when it changes.

we do like to change layout but it just seems to happen according to the children which is the key, we find that as we move items daily it is not a chore to change layout , ours is always evolving, so children become flexible and willing to change, as well as finding things in different places so they rediscover things which became unexciting or not used as it was always there.

This is usually once the children have settled , know the building and the routine.

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#14 biccy

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 03:25 PM

Why not have say 3 different arrangements as somethings work better or add different weight to areas of development in different layouts.

Red Week (room set up leans toward knowledge and understanding etc)
Yellow week
Blue week

should satisfy both arguments

Create a floor plan so everyone knows which layout for which week.Allocate set up areas to people for each week.Eg red week-Alice sets up water + construction Blue week-Alice sets up books and paints etc.Have copies laminated so any extra people helping know as well and can follow the plan.A4's best so they can walk around with it.Add details like dough-3 chairs, 3 rolling pins...

We always start by drawing up a rough sketch of the room before setting up in September.We have a basic plan with positions of plugs, display boards, etc which we have photocopied as a starting point.

It's my first post on the board so I hope I don't sound like I'm preaching :lol:

and just to make you think our nursery is circular :o

#15 Wolfie

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 04:38 PM

Welcome to the forum biccy! A circular nursery...that sounds interesting!

Time to set up is also an issue at my nursery - staff arrive at 7.45 and open at 8.00 so have 15 mintues to prepare everything including the room and breakfast. At the moment, staff literally grab anything from the cupboard, with no forethought, so I'm trying to introduce some structure to help them plan more effectively and ensure that all areas of learning and development are covered.

#16 Helen

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 05:43 PM

Welcome biccy, and thanks for making your first post :o
You're going to have to explain.....circular?!!

#17 louby loo

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 06:11 PM

I agree with you all, especialy Shirel - I think the child feel more secure if it's a bit more routine set-up - I also think they get a deeper focus with stabilitiy. thye may be excited but often flit from area to area and by the time they fully settle the morning gone!

It just makes my efforts to try and change things far more difficult after the ofsted inspector made her comments - believe me at that point I felt like smacking her in the gob! and the thing is we got a very very good report-- so were's my argument for change?

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#18 biccy

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 06:54 PM

Its a long story............

It's a new build extention on an old middle school.2 schools have closed/merged and openned as a 'new' school.Because our old school had a nursery part of the deal was that the new school would have a nursery-hence the new build.

The story goes that someone in the architects office put a cup of coffee down on the plans and when they lifted it up it left a ring on the corner of the building and they thought it was a good idea :o no imput from practitioners.

The best way I can describe it is:
Imaging one of them cushion corners you put on a coffee table for toddlers-thats how its slotted on the building.
The inside is like a trival pursuits gaming piece.One segment is toilet, 2 kitchen,1 stock room.The nursery floor area is 45minutes worth of a clock.The cloakroom wraps around the outside so its curved.All walls are curved, all windows are curved , the playground is around the building with no clear view of the whole area.There are no kitchen units just worktop as they don't make curved units.There are no corners or angles to create 'areas'.The only straight wall has a viewing window from the kitchen.It faces north so gets no sun.It has a high vaulted ceiling that has light tunnels in it so everytime a cloud goes over on a bright day the nursery dims.The main lighting is wall lights.We have managed to get some display boards up but they are curved which is restrictive and difficult for mounting etc.

Its all a bit of a nightmare really and we told the authorities but you guessed it there doing it again!!! a case of once you have the plans draw up its cheaper to build 6 nurseries the same!

#19 Wolfie

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 07:26 PM

So what are the positives to having a circular room? There must be some really?!

#20 louby loo

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 08:17 PM

..........and I thought I had problems!!!

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#21 Peggy

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 08:17 PM

ShireL, I think you are on the right track, as others have said, familiarity / consistency will support the settling in period, I also agree that involving the children in changes, when required, is a good method, this will help them deal with change and they will also get a sense of ownership of their surroundings if involved in decisions / ideas toward the changes. Is it possible to get more time for set up if required?
I am in a large rectangular hall and set up every day. It takes 2 people 30 mins although we have done it in 15 mins at a rush. Our tables and draw units are on wheels which helps. We do change areas sometimes ie: recently purchased a sack of logs to enhance construction area, found it needed a larger space so swapped it with our role play office area. Sometimes we will change an area if it appears to be less used than others. We have curriculum areas ( for want of a better term) and a clear runaround area, sectioned off with furniture and screens. Last year the devision was 2 X squares of the rectangle, in September we changed it to 2 x rectangles ( ie divide down the length instead of width of the hall) this enabled the children to have a longer area to ride bikes or run 'lengths' in. We changed because the children were previously running or riding into the 'we can walk' curriculum areas, obviously showing they didn't have enough room. The new layout works well.
I wonder if others agree, when changes are made I get a 'feeling' that the environement is better, or a 'feeling' that it doesn't 'feel' quite right. I think children must have this sense as well, a sort of spacial awareness sense, like if someone is too much in your own space.
This 'sense' helps, to feel if the arangement is alright. Also I have to remind myself to go down on my knees and 'see and 'feel' the room at the height of a 3/4 yr old. ( something I learnt at college many moons ago and sometimes forget. It definately gives a different perspective.

good luck with your developments, keep us informed how it goes won't you.

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#22 louby loo

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 08:23 PM

Very true Peggy.... plus I always think how annoyed I feel, and how much time it takes when I walk into 'tescos' and they've mored the stuff around!.... however if they're clever enough to put some of interest right next to my usual 'stopping points' I'm a sucker for the specials :o

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#23 Peggy

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 08:38 PM

great example louby loo, I'd forgotten how it feels when supermarkets change their layout, mind you hubby does all the food shopping in my house. :o
Almost forgot to say WELCOME TO THE FORUM BICCY :lol: Great description of your setting, can almost visualise it, and certainly the notion that more nurserys will be created exactly the same. My preschool children love to run in circuits so I imagine If I had a circular room I would have a running 'track' around the circumference and a 'play' area in the middle, would need a zebra crossing and maybe even traffic lights to get from the middle to the exit door though. :(

How do the children cope/respond to such a different shape, do they get giddy?

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#24 SmileyPR

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 08:50 PM

Girls... my hat off to all of you :o !

I really admire those of you who have to set-up your class every single day :lol: .

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#25 Deb

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 10:39 PM

Feel dizzy just thinking about a circular room or is that the wine! Wonder how lighthouse keepers felt?

I too admire all of you who have to set out everything every day. We start at least 1/2 hour before the children do and we still rush around. You must be very fit! Who needs an exercise class!
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#26 shirel

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 06:55 AM

Thankyou all so much that turned into a really interesting thread and i was hesitant to ask.....should of known you would all be full of advice and support, thankyou again.
I raised the matter yesterday and two members of staff were reluctant to have a 'home corner' as it takes quite a lot to set up every day -
preschool without home corner - (I am on edit so can't do a shocked looking face!)
guess I better work on my 'sorry-that -is-what-we-are-paid-for-in-a nice-kind-of-way-smile' I have all summer to master it!! :o

Edited by shirel, 05 July 2007 - 06:57 AM.

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#27 biccy

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Posted 05 July 2007 - 04:23 PM

I couldn't think of a positive to having a circular nursery so I waited and asked my collegues

"none"-overwelmingly

The only thing we can say is that we had the same worries about behaviour-running round etc but that hasn't happened.Behaviour is no worse than our old L shaped room.I suppose thats a positive :o




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