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Free Flow - Children Learning Through Play.....


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xD please put my mind at ease.....we have been totally free flow for a while now.....yes it does work for some children but I am still having second thoughts. I can see where the free flow is coming from, and feel that to have a structured routine is just giving adults 'power' (if you see what I mean).

 

I was wondering how you all run your settings....free flow or a structured routine??? Would you please share your thoughts and maybe a sample of your day and how you deploy your staff.

 

I feel I'm losing grip on things and am desperately trying to find the fine balance :o

 

 

mrsb

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Hi

 

We have been doing free flow for 18 months now and we are still working on getting it right. We have had ups and huge downs and we are still working on planning formats. We have gone back to using topics after being told not to use them-more for wall displays and trips ie summer -beach trip.

Have you been given the workshop area sheets from west sussex eydcp? As they show how to resource the workshop areas?

 

We are struggling with not putting anything out on the tables for the children as we have been told they should have free choice, the nursery just looks like a bomb site as they empty all the boxes and with all the will in the world we only have 1 pair of hands, maybe we have too many resources out?

We used to split the areas of learning over 2 years so we would cover x amount of stepping stones each term, only to be told not to do this as the children would be covering all the stepping stones if the areas are resourced properly? The staff dont sit in certain workshops, we may have 3 or 4 in one room but only 8 children flowing with one member of staff.

 

I really would like to visit a setting that has successfully got this up and running and working"

 

I Know I have spoken to you before you ! For all of you out there we have had no mentor in West Sussex for absolutely ages!!!

I really think if we had had more support from our eydcp we would have been much further down the line now and much more confident and enthusiastic! Also training courses- we cant get on any- every time we call there is a huge waiting list!

 

Mrsb you are more than welcome to come and visit us and have a chat? Not sure if we would be any help?

 

 

I really would like to visit a setting that has successfully got this up and running and working"

 

sharon x

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We too are struggling with this xD

 

We recently received an inadequate in our education and are in the process of implementing new systems in the room.

 

We have been freeflow for approx 2 years, which worked fine to start with but as we got more children in the room it became more and more unmanageable.

 

We too find the room gets trashed, the majority of the resources have been broken and don't ever seem to be used for their purpose.

 

We have tried baseing staff in certain areas to enhance the children's play and have also tried them moving round the room. Neither seems to work for us at the moment!!

 

We understand the philosophy regarding free flow but sometimes it is nice to bring the children back to small groups where they are all focussing on the same thing :o

 

Sorry not much help, just wanted to say i feel the same!!

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We have free flow and group times but the group times are dictated by the children and not the adults.

 

Our resources are self select from draws and boxes. The children arrive, self register then free play. During the course of the session we aim to have a small group hello/news/good morning time, a group story, and group activities such as team games, PE, circle songs etc. However, the timings of these are judged by how the children are accessing the setting, if the noise levels rise, the children are wandering, then a 'group' time is called ( after a warning, in a few minutes we will be....) If a child is engrossed in a puzzle etc then that individual does not have to join the group.

 

During this last term we have observed that the older children, soon to leave for school are actually directing the other children to the mat and initiating their own story time, role playing our roles as teachers. It is amazing to watch when a child calls her friends to the mat and others follow, she sits in the teachers chair, asks if her followers are "ready to listen" thenproceeds with a story, once the story ends she asks the children to another part of the room and initiates action songs, normally 5 little men in a flying saucer :o , the children listen for their turn to fly around the furniture then return to the group. I am seriously thinking of employing this girl in the future xD

 

Our routine is basically, arrive, play, hometime or lunch - then when most appropriate to the children we have our group times, sometimes we go a whole session without having group story time, but this doesn't matter because the children access books on an individual or small group basis throughout the session, songs are also sang during free play to cover if group songs are not done. Some days we are outside for the whole session, on long walks, to the park or beach or just outside the premises. If the childrens play is purposeful then we don't interrupt it.

 

The staff sit at various activities during the session, we find if staff are moving around too much then the children will too. Still staff = still children.

 

Peggy

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We have free flow and group times but the group times are dictated by the children and not the adults.

 

Our resources are self select from draws and boxes. The children arrive, self register then free play. During the course of the session we aim to have a small group hello/news/good morning time, a group story, and group activities such as team games, PE, circle songs etc. However, the timings of these are judged by how the children are accessing the setting, if the noise levels rise, the children are wandering, then a 'group' time is called ( after a warning, in a few minutes we will be....) If a child is engrossed in a puzzle etc then that individual does not have to join the group.

 

During this last term we have observed that the older children, soon to leave for school are actually directing the other children to the mat and initiating their own story time, role playing our roles as teachers. It is amazing to watch when a child calls her friends to the mat and others follow, she sits in the teachers chair, asks if her followers are "ready to listen" thenproceeds with a story, once the story ends she asks the children to another part of the room and initiates action songs, normally 5 little men in a flying saucer :o , the children listen for their turn to fly around the furniture then return to the group. I am seriously thinking of employing this girl in the future xD

 

Our routine is basically, arrive, play, hometime or lunch - then when most appropriate to the children we have our group times, sometimes we go a whole session without having group story time, but this doesn't matter because the children access books on an individual or small group basis throughout the session, songs are also sang during free play to cover if group songs are not done. Some days we are outside for the whole session, on long walks, to the park or beach or just outside the premises. If the childrens play is purposeful then we don't interrupt it.

 

The staff sit at various activities during the session, we find if staff are moving around too much then the children will too. Still staff = still children.

 

Peggy

 

forgot to mention the children are encouraged to tidy up as they play rather than have a tidy up time. :(

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we are a Montessori Nursery where the children access their own resources for most of the day. We insist that they put away their activities when they have finished, ready for another child to use and once they have got used to the idea they do it automatically. We have two group times during the day (8-6), outside play, walks and free flow snack time. we also have small group activities in introduce new materials or as a child initiated group. It is hard to start with and you feel like you are always nagging them to put away activities but it is definitely worth it in the end as the children are always involved in purposeful work and play which interests them.

 

You are welcome to visit our setting if you would like to, we are in Surrey.

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We are returning back to 2 reception classes after 1 year of trying freeflow-didn't work for behaviour and that was just the staff!! :o

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