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Planning And Structure Of Week


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We have a new deputy starting at our pre-school in 3 weeks time. She came in for a visit today and had a look at our planning etc. She is lovely and is coming from a day nursery and she obviously has high standards which is great.

 

She has said that OFSTED will not be happy with how we run our weekly rota of toys. Currently we have the same toys out all week, so this week we have had Peak Road and Rail, car mats, garages etc, easels with chalks in our messy area, home corner in our role play area, and a colour matching game on our table. Obviously the normal book corner and mark making are out all the time. Craft this week is free painting. Our afternoon activities are different.

 

Next week the main floor area will be farm, role play area will be vets etc etc, you get the idea. We have 5 different rotas for toys. Of course the children are free to ask us for something they would like, but being in a rented hall things are mostly stored away and they do not have completely free access. We sorted that partly last year by having 2 large units that are all labelled up in the role play and main room area that the children can use.

 

Now, we tend to have children coming 2 mornings a week, funded children usually do 2 full days and an extra afternoon or morning. Our argument is that it is ok to have the toys our like this as most children don't see them every day. It would be a logistical nightmare having to have a different set of activities each day, plus then we would have to rota them to be on a different day each week so that all the chldren would see them!

 

What do other settings do? Our new deputy is coming from a nursery where the chldren come every day so obviously it makes more sense to change toys more often in a week. We have always run in this way and have had no mention of it from past OFSTED's or advisors.

 

My other question is how many plans do you do a week? We were told that 3 or 4 planned activities was plenty a week by our county advisor. We have continuous provision plans in place and we also have play plans, so there is a play plan for other general activities such as sand, floor play, homecorner, vets etc. These give the general curriculum areas they cover and key questions and ways of using the area for staff to follow. We also have game plans and how to adapt games for abitilities.

 

So in this weeks planning there are 5 structured plans, play plans for other areas, and game plans. However our new deputy said that we should have at least 10 'proper' plans.

 

We are due to have our OFSTED in the next 3 months and my poor mum is getting so worked up about it. I don't work at pre-school but being a teacher I advise them and spent all christmas doing all the planning, plus updated the operational plan, SEF, and any policies. I am able to go in fairly often as I work part time so I see the day to day running and can't see a problem.

 

Do you think that OFSTED will be unhappy with how we do things? Someone please reassure me!

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We work in a similar way to you ie plan for the same construction etc for a week. Our children come for 2 sessions and our view is that it enables the children to develop and consolidate skills.

We used to change daily but it became difficult to ensure all children had an equal chance to play with the various toys.

We had OFSTED in Oct and this way of planning was not a problem, the inspector was more concerned to see that we were assessing focused activities and planning next steps (we were!).

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Thanks Rainewood

 

I'm sure that for most pre-schools it is the normal way of working. Our Children's Links lady is visiting us next week as she is trying to help all settings that got good in the old OFSTED to get outstanding in the new one so I'm hoping to pick her brain!

 

The staff have really got the hang of observing and assessing now so that's good. We were saying this week that before all the day nurseries started up in our town we would have 40 a session. Monday is now our biggest session with 34 and it is so hard to get evrything done. There is so much paperwork that has to go on during the session, it certainly has changed over the last 5 - 10 years.

Edited by laura
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The trouble is different inspectors say different things! A friend of mine said their inspector said they changed their activities/toys too often there for not letting children consolidate their learning/play and returning to resources that followed their interests.

During our very recent inspection (not had our feedback yet) I was asked this very question!! So i'll let you know if I gave the right answer lol! :o

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Well, I still haven't found the full answer yet, but apparantly we should have 10 activity plans a week. This is not what we were told on our planning course a couple of years ago, but there we go.

 

We had our children's links advisor in today who was very happy with what she saw and said we would definitely get a good, and gave us a few things that need to be tweaked, so you never know. Apparantly 3 settings in lincolnshire have got outstanding over the last few months.

 

Just one little niggle I have is that a trainer has printed out my post and used it in their training session which 2 of our staff are attending. Now they didn't know I had made this post but are aware that I use this forum. From reading it they guessed it was me. I don't mind it being used but perhaps a polite pm would have been nice as my location is showing as south lincs and this is where the training is taking place.

 

Perhaps it's just my pregnancy hormones making me over sensitive, lol.

 

Laura

Edited by laura
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I must say I think 10 focus activities is far too many, especially if your children have a very fluid pattern of attendance. We have one a day, the same am and pm. Just got through Ofsted OK!

 

Oh, and I think you're quite right in thinking a pm request would have been at least polite!

 

Sue

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Ten focus activities is so much. That would be one for each am and pm session would it?

 

Well you live and learn, we used to have a plan for each sesison, but if a child didnt come on their usual session and the focus was for them, it meant the rest of the week went off too.

We ended by having a focus for half the week and another for the other half and that worked well, everyone got to join in, had a chance to consolidate. The split week affected the toys too. Home corner/books remained fairly similar, but construction, small world, physical, craft/creative, would change as would water, sand, dough.

We aslo changed things a biot in the pm sessions as this was when we tended to have the younger children.

We opened for 5 sessions and as far as I'm aware its how they still do things.

Ofsted have never mentioned the lack of focus activities nor the rotation of the equipment, so I took it to mean it was ok. :o

 

Oh, and I think you should have had a pm too!

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Just an after thought, I used to be in a Pre-school and am now in a DN - I would suggest that this keep changing is very prevalent in DNs, it's taken a while for me and my lovely Manager to get the staff to understand you don't need to keep changing things - sometimes the children need time to revisit and consolidate learning.

 

Rea's idea sounds good for children with varying patterns of attendance.

 

Don't be in too much of a hurry to change - after all, you're the one that knows your children and what's best for their needs.

Let me know how things go on!

 

Sue

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Thanks for your replies Sue and Rea,

 

I did think I was being a bit funny about the PM thing but you have reassurred me that I wasn't.

 

As for the planning, well yes that is one for each session, I also think it is far too much. When the children attend so many different sessions it is hard isn't it. Well we'll see. We certainly aren't going to change our toy focus everyday but carry on as we have done. Our afternoon sessions have different activities to the morning so its not like the children have the same thing all day. The littlies are separated as well in the afternoon with activities more appropriate to them.

 

We put 'The Poster' up last week so now we are expecting 'them' to arrive any day now.

 

Laura

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