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How Formal Should Reception Be?


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Hi Everyone

 

I am quite a new Reception Teacher and was not early years trained!!! I work in a single form entry primary school. Nursery and Reception are in a portacabin but due to building constraints we are unable to turn it into a foundation unit! I have tried a few different ways to structure my day and have not yet found one that I am 100 percent comfortable with! I am currently have free play form 8.45-9.05. We then have phonics input and a literacy input. From that, a group per day have a lit focus-adult led. We then go out for morning break, come in, have num input and each day a different group has their num focus session. This then leads to dinner time. Whilst I am doing the focus group sessions, my TA works with the ch in the continuous provision. After dinner we have a topic carpet input session then a focus session where each child gets to join in throughout the course of the afternoon. Teaching in this way takes a lot of planning and I feel that I am missing out on children's spontanious learning and missing out on taking this further! I recently visited another setting and their day is set out similarly but instead of every child having to take part in the focus sessions, they only take part if they want to. And their numeracy sessions are much more informal eg numeracy through number rhymes rather than teaching the ch to write calculations etc!!! I feel as though every one has a differnt opinion on how formal/informal Reception should be! Please help!!!!

xx

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Hi,

 

I think I'll start by saying that I wish I had the answer to your question!!

 

When I first started teaching (4 years ago), the set-up I inherited was really quite formal - Lit and Num hours every day, with KUW sessions throughout the week split into Science focus, geog focus, etc. Each session started with whole class inout then all chn would do a related activity (or half would choose, ad then they would swap over). The Lit and Num sessions were more formal in that 2 groups would be working with an adult, and those not would be doing indpendent but related tasks.

 

I have changed it a lot since then (many times, and at the moment I am trying to change it again!). I have tried still having Lit/Num sessions every day where 2 groups work with an adult and the others do related activities, and also with the 'others' choosing from continous provision - this worked better as chn were more on-task when choosing and disturbed the group work less often.

 

At the moment, I have set times in week for PE, music, etc, (hall type stuff that can't change), and I have phonics every day. I also have 4 whole class Lit inputs a week (introducing text types, shared reading, writing, purposes for writing) that are about 20mins each, and same for maths (where we do mental maths and introduce concepts such as subtraction). During the rest of the time, my TA and I work with groups (in rotation) on whatever areas of the curriculum fit best at that point in the week, and the others access continuous provision. For example, last week we made pancakes on Monday morning and did some guided writing about it on Mon afternoon - but Mon afternoon is not necessarily 'literacy time', if you see what I mean. I have found that things have been much more cross-curricular since I have been working this way.

 

Anyway, no idea of it's the right thing to be doing (if anyone has the magic answer please tell me!!) and it's made harder because I have a few Y1s in my class, and I constantly feel that what I'm doing might not be right for them....agh!

 

Sorry to have waffled on and not really answered your question but hope it kind of helps!

 

purplemagic x

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Hi there chocolate24 welcome to the Forum (and to purplemagic - I'm not sure I've welcomed you before!).

 

I'm a pre-school person so I'm not qualified to answer your question. There are lots of experienced early years teachers on here who will no doubt offer words of wit and wisdom!

 

Maz

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Hi Chocolate24 and purple magic and welcome.

I would like to think that Reception isnt formal but is play based although within this you can be reasonably formal with your rules and routines. I think you need to find a working style that suits you and your school. There are so many different ways of doing things but ultimately it has to wrk for you or it wont work for the children ie they will not be learning. I like to have a fairly formal register followed by a teaching focus with CI and an adult focused activity (relating to the teaching focus) following. After whole school playtime, I like to gather again on the carpet for a teaching focus and some CI and AF activity afterwards. The afternoon usually follows a similar pattern.

Shared space activities, such as PE and ICT are quite tightly timetabled but otherwise things are reasonably flexible and I try to do a phonics session every day and some number work. At the moment my class is part time but when they become full time I will introduce other literacy activities. I do not like the numeracy/literacy hour structure in reception. Hope that helps a bit.

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Guest tinkerbell

Hi Chocolate24 and Purplemagic

I have a r/yr1 class and the 6 year1 .I am in a similar position to Purplemagic and I do tend to structure my day the same way.There is still space for spontenuity (can't spell) and going off timetable when neccessary eg pancake day as Purplemagic said.

It all boils down to your school and what your children need.

Tinkerbellx

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Thanks everyone- I will take on board what you have all contributed.

I have been to see my head this morning and she is going to make it possible for me to visit a number of different settings to get a clearer picture of how others practice.

Thanks again x

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What a good idea - there is always something to be learned from going and have a nosey round another setting. Not least the great ideas you can steal!

 

Good luck - I hope you manage to arrive at a happy medium!

 

Maz

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