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Stay And Play


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Hi there,

I am looking for advice and ideas for setting up and running stay and play groups at our children's centres. Has anyone out there got examples of planning, timetables etc and any general tips and advice?

 

Hoping to get a reply soon - Sue

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Hi Sue, the play and stay near me opens at 9.30 to give carers chance to get older children to school. It runs for 2 hours and offers a snack and drink to adults and children.

Think about what activities to offer and who they are going to be offered to, stay and play used to be mother and baby or parent and toddler but older children might have reason to be there so your activities are going to have to cover a wide age range. You might want to have low level dividers so that baby's arent trampled by toddlers or run over by the wheeled toys, this can be better for grouping aduts around the activities so that no little cliques appear and it makes the adults engage with the children. I know one group who still range the adult chairs around the edge of the room, and woebetide any new carer who sits in anothers choosen chair! Big cushoins are better, or low adult chairs for the less mobile.

You'll need to think about behaviour too, the adults that is. Small children wont be able to resist taking toys, hitting, biting and parents need to know that it happens and is not to be the start of anrgy gossip or worse.

Try to have some group time for singing, story time for the older ones and a quiet area for those who fall asleep.

The PLA have guidance on setting up stay and play groups. :o

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HI Rea, Thanks for that. You have raised some of the issues that I have been thinking about already. I have been talking this morning about managing the bahaviour of the adults and setting up some kind of "group rules" that would apply to all the adults at the centre taking part in activities. The main thing I want the sessions to develop is the adult/child engagement, and for parents to get involved and not just use it as a coffee morning.

 

I had a look at the PLA website but I think that you have to subscribe to that to get access to the things that I would want.

 

Sue

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Hi Sue

 

The PLA are useful for a lot of things...you might want to persuade your Centre(s) to subscribe? Publications are cheaper to members as well. I've noticed that they've just brought out a new set of books, linked to the EYFS which might be useful in your work with parents - I'm getting them for our Centre!

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We run stay and play 4 days a week, two in the afternoon and two in the morning, this is to make it fairer to those who can only attend one or the other.

 

We removed most of the adult chairs so the parents have to sit at child level or on the floor. (we know those who cant manage sitting at this height but most of our parents have got used to playing on the floor!)

 

The first part of the session is free activity of which one is often messy, where possible the other adult encourages the children and parents outside as they don't like going out at this time of year. We now expect parents and children to help tidy up an clear away. We have snack together for which we have just started a menu. We end the session with together time which is often story singing music activity all together on the carpet, along with any notices or information.

 

We are just beginning to put together a guidelines for how we work, its a work in progress, and that will include what we expect from parents. (like supervising their children)

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  • 1 month later...

I would definitely look into joining PLA. There are so many benefits not just the support you can receive. I don't know what area you are in but I know in Cambs and Essex there is stacks of support for baby and toddler groups and I should imagine most other regions are the same.

If you need any more help give me a yell!

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