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Planning For Mixed Age Class


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Hi, does anyone have any ideas on where to start planning / setting up the classroom for a mixed age rec / year one class? The class will have 20 new starts in reception and 7 or 8 of the youngest year 1s. The tricky thing is that these year ones will then be on year 2 doing SATs the following year, and we need to get them prepared, while they are mainly summer born boys and I feel they could well do with another year in FS..

 

Any tips? / people in same situation? Issues also with sensitive parents- feeling that the children have been 'kept back'?- tips on how to deal with this?

 

Thanks

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Hi!

The whole point of the FS curriculum is to continue to use it for planning for those chidlren have not yet reached the ELGs. So if your yr 1 need time to paly and learn by active participation then you are justified in planning using the FS curriculum.

 

But surely all this information from the Transition report is that there is too much formality expected (and seen) as soon as the chidlren move to Yr 1. There appears a move towards planning using topics rather than the QCA schmes of work and you should be able to plan both both rec and yr 1 by planning through topic using the FS area of the curriculum cross referenced to the traditional KS1 subjects of hist, geog etc.

 

Planning for both age groups would be differentiated by outcome, tasks or expectations then- What do you think?

You should not be worried about getting them propared for yr 2- let them enjoy yr1 first!!! :o

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Well said Leo!

although I must say that I understand Mharhi's concerns about parental expectations etc. We have only ever kept a child out of year group with parental consent and only in exceptional circumstances, so rarely! I think we've also had Ed Psy. support for such a move. We're also ususally too full to allow this anyway.

 

Is it essential that you do this? Can you not change the expectations or make it appropriate for these children to move up to yr1? This would allow them to develop alongside their peer group which I would have thought was more beneficial for them and your new reception children.

 

Last September my school was more 'child friendly' for the very reasons you describe in the transition to yr 1 and it has enabled teachers and children to make progress during the year in a much more appropriate way.

So yr1 content alongside FS principles has benefitted all!

 

Some small schools have no choice but to implement this sort of class structure and there is a book from Featherstone Education that I have seen which matches FS to NC in a 2 yr cycle. Not sure its really what you need though at this stage.

 

Good luck.

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OK, you asked for it...

 

 

Parent's opinion....

 

 

My oldest spent 2 years in a reception class (mixed yr groups in those days).

 

It was tremendous for my child and for me. The class teacher knew how to handle it.

 

There were 7 YR1 in with 20 YR. All 7 came out with reading age 8+ (mine and others were 11+).

 

No detriment to the YR.

 

She used volunteers and parent helpers to achieve this for the YR1 children. They were not just competent in literacy. Children (but not mine) also made leaps and bounds in maths.

 

As a parent, I am Ok with mixed year groups. So long as each child's development is targetted.

 

Diane.

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I've taught mixed age Yr R & Yr1 classes both before and after NC but personally wouldn't wish to do this nowadays, at least it wouldn't be my first choice.

Nor as a parent, would I wish my child to be taken out of age group when I think provision in yr1 should be such that this is not necessary.

I do recognise that different schools have different reasons for doing this, however, and in that situation the children should have what they are entitled to- a good quality education that enables them to progress to the best of their ability.

 

When KS1 becomes more in tune with FS then it might be a more viable option. As it is the developmental needs of little children vary greatly and so do the rates at which the children progress.

Not all schools are lucky enough to have the parental expertise or ability to work in the classroom and in the current culture of CRB clearance it has become more difficult to enable those who will.

 

Mharhi, if you are going to be teaching a mixed group such as you describe I do not doubt that you will make it a success but it may be harder work than you envisage and both you and the children will benefit from plenty of support. I hope your school can give you that support.

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I'm currently teaching R/Y1, but the opposite mix to your class. I have 20 Y1s and 9Rs (1 R left and 3 new Y1s on monday take me upto that number)The school is a 40 intake, hence the mix classes throughout school.

I took over in January, so I can't comment on how they were at the start of the year, but I shall still be in that class come September, so I will have my new lot. My classroom has lots of play opportunities in it, and my reception children have access to outdoor provision. It also means that my less able year 1s or the least mature also have access to this play provision and many of my independent tasks during my lessons are play-based. It is a VERY difficult mix of class, but it's a challenge I quite like. I'm being a bit of a champion for the extension of the FS style of curriculum and teaching, and in my class that is what the Y1s get, whilst still covering the objectives for the NC. Having said that, it's not ideal and I don't get enough TA support, but I do my very best for the children in my class.

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Thanks for all your very helpful replies. It is all very useful to share with the other teachers. This 'being ready for year 2' push is coming mainly from the y1/2 teacher who i think feels responsible for SATs.

 

I think as happened this year we are to have another teacher to take out the 20 reception 3 mornings a week. Then we have the year 1s together for lit and num on these mornings. this was a planning nightmare this year and I am wondering how else better we might do this...

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Hi, i'm teaching a mixed Rec / Y1 class next year - because of the intake. My sister in law also teaches this age group and seems to manage it very well, so i'll be going in to her for inspiration, but i do worry that either reception or the year 1s are going to get neglected a little in terms of needs and opportunities!

 

I'm also quite looking forward to the challenge but do appreciate how difficult it will be!

 

If anyone has any tips on how to organise such a class then i'd be really pleased to read them - or any planning formats!

 

Thanks and anything new i find i'll post too! :D

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I'd be particulary interested to get some tips on how to structure the day, also to hear from any teachers who have been involved in trialling a FS approach to Year One ( a nearby school has been doing this as part of a QCA Pilot and I will try and get in touch with the advisory teacher as to how this was practically done)

 

I'll report back with any info I find out!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi i went to the mixed age planning course on Friday and it was really good. Try the small schools site on Lancashire website.It has examples of planning for literacy and science and if you keep checking it the advisors are going to put a fab document on with planning for Science, History and Geography on. It has matching objectives to ELGs, appropriate activities, and a plan for Continuous provision. It isn't on yet, but will be soon apparently.

Hope it helps a little. It was really interesting to hear how many mixed R/1 classes there are and different ways of doing it - age / ability / maturity etc. and that everyone is thinknig about what to do and how to 'get it right'.

Here's the address:

 

www.lancsngfl.ac.uk/projects/smallschools

 

Sian

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  • 1 month later...

Returning to topic of mixed Year R/1 class, I am hoping to give my Year 1s a more informal timetable this coming year, thus more play opportunities. I would be interested to hear how other people are structuring their day with this mixed age group, given that we are being encouraged to extend FS practice into KS 1. I have had this age group (15 Year R, 15 Year 1) for many years but it doesn't get any easier.

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I'm going to try doing it in a less formal way with my class in September (20Y1s and 10YRs) School does topic cycles anyway for Science, history and Geography as well as the Art and DT being on a 2 year cycle.

I don't get much TA support (10 hours a week) so it will be difficult, but I'm going to do the best that I can, especially as I believe some of my Y1s are still working within the ELGs and I see no reason for me to leap into a formal style of teaching. If I could I'd have it more informal all year, because that's how I learnt, not so many years ago, and it never did me any harm!

We've got OFSTED the week before half term, and I still intend on doing all the aspects of literacy and numeracy (eg big book, shared reading/writing, mental maths, main teaching and then some independent/group activities during the day) but not in the formal literacy and numeracy hour way. I'm going to stick to my guns on this, no matter how unpopular that makes me at school, as I believe it's what is right for my kids!

Hmm hope that makes sense, cos I'm rambing! :)

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You are working the right way Nichola. I had some challenging boys in my pre-school but I motivated them and made the curriculum interesting,Hands-on with lots of work experiences and when they left us they would have a go at all activities. I made lots of role play scenarios to suit boys and girls to gain their interest to write and count. Unfortunately the school was too formal for them and they are not moving forward.My own granddaughter went to the same school full time at 4. She hated every day spent there. She changed from a confident 4 year old to a depressed,miserable child. It has taken her 2 years to get back on track. Keep the good work up children can learn anything through play. I plan using my observations and try and think of ways that children can absorb it.I have even taught my children to speak some basic French through role play.

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Thanks Nichola and Bubblejack

Several of my year 1s are still working within the ELGs too. I have been trying to work on a timetable to include all aspects of Literacy and Numeracy, also topic work, and to include child-initiated time for year 1s. I have been asking during the last year, to visit somewhere (within Kent) that works this way. However, nobody is able to suggest anywhere, especially with equal numbers like I have. I am going on a Transition course early next term, which I hope will help.

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Thanks! Nice to know someone thinks I'm going down the right road! It will be difficult though. I'm really trying to sort things out in my head in terms of planning, as most of the school have no idea about how to plan for my class because of the mixed curriculums.

My first role play which should be ready in September is an opticians, so plenty of opportunities for writing and reading (eye chart set up on the window ready for them to read, prescriptions to write, appointment cards etc) It's something a little different, and I hope they like it. Our topic for the 1st half term is Ourselves, so we will be doing all about our senses, so thought it was a good one to do. I've also got my big art display sorted too, I've got 2 places to cover. The first will be portraits of them, in lots of different mediums- paint, crayons, digi pics, computer paint programmes etc etc and the other will be something I've done at my previous school with reception which was a huge face, made up week by week as we cover each sense, or maybe quicker, not decided yet. We're going to do mosaic eyes using squares of paper, a tissue paper collage for the lips, hand print hair and sponge print nose. Not quite decided what to do for the ears yet, so if anyone has any suggestions, they would be most welcome! Hoping that the display will look great for when ofsted come in the last week of the half term and the kids will be able to talk about how they made it and the stuff we've learnt, although I know already the person they will approach first, the one with the least clue about what will be going on- why do people like that make a beeline for children like that?!?!?!

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You sound so much in a similar position to me, Nichola. Everybody is quick to say that you should be planning for the whole class, but not being able to help much. Our topic too is Ourselves and we will have a baby clinic for role play. The senses display sounds brilliiant. We are going down the road of lots of writing patterns leading to early joined script (like the French system), so maybe ears could be filled with those, or cork printing which is supposed to be good for wrist muscles. Hope the planning goes well! :)

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Sounds interesting! The school I'm in doesn't do joint script till Y2, which I'm very glad of, as I struggle to write joined upp writing! I blame it mostly on being a lefty, so doing joint up writing is crappy for me! I do join my writing, but if I had to teach it I'd find it very very difficult to show the standard I would expect them to look at! I do like the idea of the corks though, or some form of printing for the ears, thanks.

I'm really struggling with the planning, banged my head against the wall. I wasn't happy with the planning I took over, but as it was the middle of the year, I just tried my best to sort out in my head what was working and what wasn't, and really start afresh in September! If anyone has any ideas on this mixed phase, please share them!!!

I go on holiday a week on tuesday, so I am hoping to get some done before then, as I've only a week when I get back, but I just keep looking at a pretty blank page.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nichola, cant work out if you are on holiday yet or not?

if you are hope its a good one, if not have you checked out the small schools site for lancs that was referenced in a post in June, it has the theory mapped out so could be helpful!? And if youre still around I wish you a good holiday when you do go. Youve worked hard and need to relax! :D

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Hi,

 

I have just escaped from teaching a rec/Y1/Y2 mixed class and after 4 years trying to find an answer it never came. I did though pick up the belief that you are the professional and those children should be working at the level they are able to make good progress in. Being honest with parents and making sure they are well informed about how your classroom works and that they are not 'reception and Y1' they are class 1.

 

I found featherstone eduaction provided excellent resources for planning in the different mixed aged classes.

 

As i am a new member i'm not quite sure how to attatch things. But once i can i shall dig out my long term planning and post it on the site.

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HI Verityn & welcome!

If you have escaped your mixed age class what are you going to be doing?

I bought the Featherstone book for yrR &yr1 to aid transition, but unfortunately it didnt really help as I had hoped!

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Welcome from me too. I'm sure people will be delighted to look at your planning if you can work it out! When you are writing a post there is a box under 'File Attachments' (underneath all the icons) and if you know where to find the file on your computer you can attach it. Clear as mud!! :o

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:D Thank you for all the welcomes.

 

In reply to you susan. I shall be teaching a reception class in a village school in Derbyshire. This year so far i will only have 15 children and full time TA support, in comparison to my mixed-aged class of 28 and part-time TA support. I am really looking forward to the new challenge and the opportunity to get back into early years teaching.

 

The featherstone book helped me as a start point but it took me a year to get my head round it. I liked the idea of themes rather than having to juggle all the different curriulum areas. The Hamilton Trust website also supported me in planning for numeracy which has dedicated lesson plans for mixed aged classes.

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