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Tapestry

I Could Cry


littleanna
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I work in a setting that is open 51 weeks of the year but have term time only children too so from next week will be much quieter so we have begun to put our house in order.This is where the problem lies.In the past we have rotated the toys available to the children while still giving choice within the toys that are out.This year we really went for the children helping themselves as much as possible and having available all resources at all times for them to self select.In over twenty years of working I have never found so many broken,missing bits and pieces and 'trashed'items.The children have not been running riot but are just not looking after resources and the staff do not sem o be able to keep a close eye on all areas at once.What is the solution ?Do I go back to working the way we used to?Do I put some sort of control in place for the amount of stuff we have on offer?

We talk to the children about how sad I will be to find broken toys etc but things do not seem to improve.I can't afford to keep on replacing equipment and am really fed up.

End of moan .

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All I can suggest is regular circle time activities to bring up the subject of looking after the toys. Also, encouraging the children to tidy away as they play and take more pride in keeping the place tidy. Unfortunately nowadays toys are seen very much as a throw away item. Children have so much stuff at home and one or two broken ones make no difference to them whatsoever. It may just have been with the particular mix of children and things will be better next year. You can hope! :o

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This is a problem we have had recently as well. A while ago we had more 'settled', older children, but as they have left us the mix has changed with the result that our current children don't care for the toys so well. Beau's suggestion is the best approach, we have found, and having staff encourage putting away as they go along is certainly a must. I agree, though, it's disheartening when we encounter the breakages.

 

Good luck.

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I agree, many of the children are thoroughly 'spoiled' by having so much at home, that toys are seen as disposable items which are replaced on demand.We have one child, who has a mum who leaves him with the parting words......................'mummy is going into town darling, what shall i bring you back??'...........and this is DAILY!!his demands start from anything such as a tractor book, to a digger.....there's never any 'please', and he always gets what he wants.............mummy is now going mad trying to find him a purple dragon..............'cos the red and the green ones she bought him, just won't do................nice for us though, because once he's 'fed up with them'(sometimes this is only the DAY after purchase.).............we get offered them, free of course, as they're 'only some old thing he's tired of'...............but yes, we get things broken, the most recent being a pirate ship (£50 worth).......i despair sometimes, truly i do! And like littleanna, we have always looked after our toys, some of which are beautifully aged (some belonged to my own children, the oldest of whom is 35......)it's really distressing

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I thought it was just me with this problem, Little Anna

 

 

its horrible to spend time "nagging" the children to play with the toys nicely and make sure they are put away in the right place, we are in a church hall and have to set up and tidy up every day and its a nightmare some days yesterday the children played well with the toys and the mess wasnt too bad the children helped tidy up at the end of the session, but there was still another half an hour of sorting and tidying up to do before I could go home we used to be able to leave within 10 minutes of the end of the session.

 

we recently introduced more free choice for the children and we dont seem to have the time like we use to because we are constantly sorting and tidying the toys up even with the "put one thing away before you get another thing out" rule its next to impossible to get all children to do all the time

 

I understand the reasoning behind free choice for the children but im begining to wonder if it is developmentaly appropriate for all children all the time? especially when there are younger children in the group who dont play with activities for a long length of time and dont understand or remember that they need to tidy up

 

dont know the solution.. just wanted to say your not alone

 

on the point of trashed toys... I do remember watching a super nanny program ages ago where there were two children who had lots of toys and trashed their room and super nanny took all the toys away gave the children ten toys each and said that when children have too much stuff they have no reason to value or respect them, if one thing gets broke there is something else there to play with and Im not a super nanny fan but I do think she had a point...?

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know how you are all feeling......we too have noticed more broken and missing pieces to our toys since doing free flow. Yes, I can see the benefits but on the o33ther hand not teaching them how to respect toys etc. There must be a half-way solution to free flow and a little bit of structure. Anyone found it yet?!!!! :o

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We too have found this a continuing battle in our pre-school.

 

We rotate toys, have a large cabinet of 'extras' from which children can self-select and both children and adults take part in a joint 'tidy up time' before snacktime. It is hard sometimes to help children take better care of our toys and resources - for all the reasons stated by everyone else contributing to this thread. We generally work on a ratio of 1:5, but even so we can't be everywhere at the same time and so often we find at the end of our free play session the place is strewn with discarded toys and resources!

 

We find that when an adult is actively involved in helping children tidy away (we allocate certain children to certain aras of the pre-school to support an adult in tidying up) toys tend to be better cared for, and small items less likely to be lost or 'mis-filed'. However, I'm always amazed at the number of felt tipped pens I find without lids, or pieces of jigsaw puzzles I find under tables etc at the end of the session.

 

We also find that whilst it is tempting to buy toys from high street stores such as ELC, these items are generally aimed to be used by one or two children at a time and not by larger groups over a longer time period. Often what seemed to be a good buy turns out not to be able to withstand the rough and tumble of life in pre-school, and they get broken more easily.

 

Its a conundrum that I'm not sure I have the answer to.

 

Maz

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I wish my problem with broken/spoiled things was down to the children in my case it's down to another member of staff who has the attitude "we can get another" I find it really frustrating that she is wrecking so many of our resources by her careless attitude.

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I wish my problem with broken/spoiled things was down to the children in my case it's down to another member of staff who has the attitude "we can get another" I find it really frustrating that she is wrecking so many of our resources by her careless attitude.

That's a tricky one. Perhaps she'd like to contribute to the "we can get another one fund" from her wages..

 

Maz

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purely by accident, well by following the childrens interest, or should I say near obsession for power rangers, at the beginning of term we invited our children to bring in power rangers related toys. Initially it was to be for one week only, the toys bought in on their first session of the week and to stay at the preschool overnight to go home on their last session of the week. We ensured there was a 'storage' space ( material hanging pockets and a small suitcase with pictures of power rangers on it)

 

The children embraced the ideas other than 'just fighting' with their toys but also we found that they were 'concerned about the 'well being' of their own, and their friends toys. They would look after each others, because the rule was they could 'borrow/play with each others toys even if the owner was not in that day. They learnt that because they wanted others to look after their prized possesions that they in turn should look after their friends. The week started by going over ground rules about 'sharing' that everything, including toys bought in from home, whilst in the preschool 'belong' to Peggy, and Peggy is happy to let 'everyone' play with all the toys.

 

So, totally unplanned for and through self need rather than understanding 'others needs', the children expected respect of their own toys and equally showed respect for others toys. This has had ongoing change of attitude towards all the preschool equipment. I don't think we could have ever planned for this to happen in this way but it was a joy to witness the evolving development of respect for others belongings, including preschools. :o

 

Hope this helps to give some ideas to try.

 

Peggy

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It is always hard when children are new to the class to instill in them the need to look after resources and put them away when they have finished but if you persevere they will get the idea in the end. I think one of the secrets is to limit the number of resourses out at any one time and make sure that every thing has a place on the shelves from where children can access them easily without moving other things. I have recently, at the suggestion of one of the children put photograghs of each activity on the shelf where it belongs to help them when putting away. I have been using free flow choice for 20 years and can't envisage using any other method.

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This seems to be a problem 'across the board' of settings. We have found that since we have begun admitting two year olds, more and more of the equipment is getting lost and broken (just had to have the whole schools drains cleared - the men working on them said there were 'a lot toys that had been posted down the toilet!' - do you think this is as a result of a enveloping, trajortory or spiral schema?).

The problem has been that the less mature 3 year olds follow the two year olds rather than the other way around. So we have had to start reducing the equipment out on the open shelves and rotating it on a weekly basis.

Also agree with Marion, if all staff (and students) do not have the same expectations of the tidy up time routine, problems are greater :o

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So pleased that i am not the only one with this problem. I think that most of you are saying that i could go back to some choosing by the children from a more limited amount of toys.is that right? That is what I am feeling and it must be right if Super Nanny says so!! I just have to persuade the powers that be when they come round to pass judgement.

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purely by accident, well by following the childrens interest, or should I say near obsession for power rangers, at the beginning of term we invited our children to bring in power rangers related toys. Initially it was to be for one week only, the toys bought in on their first session of the week and to stay at the preschool overnight to go home on their last session of the week. We ensured there was a 'storage' space ( material hanging pockets and a small suitcase with pictures of power rangers on it)

 

The children embraced the ideas other than 'just fighting' with their toys but also we found that they were 'concerned about the 'well being' of their own, and their friends toys. They would look after each others, because the rule was they could 'borrow/play with each others toys even if the owner was not in that day. They learnt that because they wanted others to look after their prized possesions that they in turn should look after their friends. The week started by going over ground rules about 'sharing' that everything, including toys bought in from home, whilst in the preschool 'belong' to Peggy, and Peggy is happy to let 'everyone' play with all the toys.

 

So, totally unplanned for and through self need rather than understanding 'others needs', the children expected respect of their own toys and equally showed respect for others toys. This has had ongoing change of attitude towards all the preschool equipment. I don't think we could have ever planned for this to happen in this way but it was a joy to witness the evolving development of respect for others belongings, including preschools. :o

 

Hope this helps to give some ideas to try.

 

Peggy

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Hiya Peggy - long time no speak - hope you are fine.

I think that's a great idea - I try and make sure that the children do not bring in things and if so they go on the table but if everyone brought in something as you experienced there is a good lesson to be learnt by the children - will suggest that to my old group as i think this would be great.

Nikki

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I think that what a lot of people are experiencing here is that giving children a wide range of choice is causing them problems and some people would advocate that this means that limiting choice is a good thing because children are not able to make and deal with a range of choice. Is this so or is this what would be easiest for the adults? I don't know - just asking the question. My own experience has been that choice is generally good but as a setting in a shared building choice is limited, since we can't possibly let children choose everything. I think that we are in the best of situations - we can offer limited choice and swap and change depending on the children's interests.

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