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Hi, would just like to get some feedback regarding worksheets!

I am quite strongly opposed to them, and have been trying to suggest that we no longer use them in our pre-school setting as I think they stilt creativity, and we should be play-based, and not working!

However, a lot of our staff seem to be of the opinion that children should be doing them as preparation for school, and because parents like it.

I'd love to know what thoughts everyone else has on this, and what you do in your settings, as it's become very controversial in ours!! Thanks

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Hi Senlgh -

Good to hear from you - it's been a while! :)

 

There's been quite a lot of discussion on worksheets over the months - jury seems to be open and a lot of opinion revolves around whether or not children are allowed to choose to do them or if they are compulsory.

 

One of my favourite discussions on the topic is here - hope it helps! :)

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Hi,

I think the really pertinent question is "What's the worksheet for?"

Mostly I'd say not but there can be a place for a colouring sheet-to develop hand eye coord, or practise pencil skills, for example.

 

Name writing is better done on a white board or laminated sheet.

In fact a lot of my pencil control sheets and letter formation sheets I laminated so that they are reusuable.

 

As for preparation for school, so is learning through play and far more profitable.

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I think Susan said it all really when she asked 'what is the worksheet for ?' If you can answer that and the wroksheet you are using actually reflects what you are trying to chieve, then I dont have a poroblem with their occasional use. For example, we do things sometimes that are photocopied that the children can cut out and they really enjoy doing this. They may be practising fine motor skills by colouring. Sometimes children will concentrate on these things where they wouldnt on other activities, so i think they have a place along with all the other things we provide. But I also think the early years world suffers terribly from 'slippage'. So we may think that a sheet is doing one thing when it isnt. Maths is a a really good example of this, where colouring a picture of 3 ducks doesnt tell you anything about the childs ability to count or recognise numbers. Ask the children what they have done, and they have coloured a picture. So they may have developed pencil control but they havent done any maths!!

 

So I wouldnt have a blanket exclusion personally, but we do need to think about their use in the same way that we think about all the other things that we provide. Variety is te key if we are to meet the needs of all our children.:o

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Just had to add my two penneth worth ( sorry senlgh !! ) As long as the child isn't spending all day every day doing worksheets and not participating in anything else I can't see a problem.

I do one worksheet once a week . often the child spends only a couple of minutes on it , the rest of the time they are joining in with whatever else is going on around them.

They have lots of choice regarding being creative, free drawing, painting, gluing , activities etc so I really feel a few minutes a week will not stifle their creativity.

Also many children enjoy doing them so why should these children lose out because some children don't want to do them.

If any of my children don't want to do a worksheet then I say thats fine and they are not forced to do it.

I do feel that pre-schools should be involved in getting children ready for school. Obviously the little ones are too small but as they become rising fives then I think it is needed as otherwise school is one big shock to the system !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ask yourself if the worksheet is the best way for the child to learn what you want to teach? If the answer is no then don't do it. Who is the worksheet for? If you feel doing it for the parents is valid then thats your call. As for preparing for school - well many schools don't have worksheets and as far as i see it they should be learning for now. No-one says to year 3 that they are preparing for y4. This is the first year of the Foundation stage which will lead into the second if the CGFS is used. Transition activities with the school will ease entry to the school, not a worksheet. Thats my 2 pennyworth, for what its worth!

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When I say preparing the children for school , I don't just mean worksheets. I mean getting them used to sitting in small groups. doing pe etc etc , I meant it as an overall thing not just the worksheet side of things.When the child is in year 2 of the infants I feel the school does start to get them ready for the juniors as a child learns to become more independant in the juniors. When they reach year 6 they are starting to be prepared for senior school. Our local school puts them into sets for maths , english and science and they have different teachers for those subjects to their normal teacher.

Now my son is nearing the end of senior school I would like to hope he is being prepared for the world of work ( although I think he has one big shock coming to him , but thats a different story !! ) He has just done work experience and has study leave soon which hopefully will get him to plan his time more carefully and take responsibility for himself as he will have to when he goes out to work, so yes I do think it is an ongoing situation that helps you albeit in small steps to prepare for the next stage of your life.

I know of one boy who has never been to pre-school , nursery etc and has now started infants and is finding life very hard indeed. So although our job is not purely to prepare the children for school I do feel that we play a big part in making the transition easier for them.

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Hotgoss,

 

on the contrary, I feel my nursery chidlren are more independent than the YR 2 or YR 3. They know what the routines are, can organise themsleves and tidy up after themselves which is more than the YR2 chidlren in my school do. The wrok is set out for them. when its art- the table is organised and they often stand in front of me when i supply teach and ask- what do I do now? and what do i do next?(after an art session)i often say ' look at your hands. what do YOU think you must do?'

 

Work sheets are a very easy and safe method of showing evidence. I does not usually show any learning bec quite often has to be explained and even then before the child does the work sheet, you often know whether he has understood or grasped the concept. or the workshhet is then surplus to requirment.

 

Being creative does not always have an end product the process being more important than the end. So the worksheet is................

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hi all,

 

I too am not keen on worksheets. I believe that children learn so much more from play activities.

 

In regards to getting them ready for school, we work on more of the social skills side such as changing for PE, taking themselves to the toilet, becoming independant with getting their own drinks, putting their shoes on and off, waiting in a line, asking questions, problem solving etc.

As full day care, they also gain skills in preparing themselves for lunch, and understanding the routine of a lunch session.

 

I personally think children go to school too young, we have one child attending school reception in september who will only of turned 4 years old three days before he starts.

 

All areas of development can be achieved through play, I will not use worksheets in my setting, as the children do not understand the concept of them.

If a parent requests us to use them, I will invite them into the setting to show them how much more their child can learn though play activities.

 

There is plenty of time for children to sit at tables writing, they will be doing it till their 16. So I want my children to learn how to play, make freinds and learn about everyday skills. If they wish to write, draw or mark make, their is always free choice of writing materials in the home corner or shop area, to encourage them to see writing as an everyday activity.

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As a reception teacher I take exception to the asumption that the use of worksheets is to prepare children for school.

I will not have worksheets in my classroom, all learning is done through play and all writing is emergent. As far as I am concerned worksheets are lazy, and unimaginative.

As for parents demanding them, it is our job as pratictioners to educate parents in how children learn. We have an open door policy were any parent is welcome at any time to see and become involved in the childrens learning as well as open evenings were the learning styles are discussed and demonstraited. Be firm and remeber the principles of early years.

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Hallo Hope and welcome aboard. It looks to me as if you are the last member to join on our old style forum so hope you will return with the new one now in place.

 

I am not completely adverse to worksheets used with purpose but the homework sheeet that my 5yr old nephew returned home with this week is an excellent example of a worksheet missed used. And did he want to complete it? NO. And it became an issue between his mother and himself, so I would question its validity on that alone! But thats another story.

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The previous group I worked in, used worksheets a lot, mainly as evidence for OFSTED, this was a while ago when worksheets were the in thing, I myself devised many a worksheet and eventually got the courage to send them to Nursery world for publication, but alas, it was lousy timing as worksheets had fallen out of favour! I have activity sheets in the mark making area, and children are free to use them as they wish, they all corespond to our theme or topic of the month, and I find that most of the older children will show an interest. I devised an activity sheet using the digital camera and photos of the children and the days of the week, the older children had great fun matching the children to the days they attended.

 

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules with regard to this subject, just go with what you feel is appropriate for your children. I have many parents asking for worksheets to take home, but I must say I have drawn a line at this!

 

Oh and Rooney has just scored...... Come on ENGLAND!!!! :D:o:DxD

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Hello all, and thanks for so many speedy responses!!

This obviously is a controversial subject everywhere!

 

Having read all your responses and examined how we use our worksheets, I realise that they are predominantly used by keyworkers in their allocated time slot each week, meaning that a child is suddenly taken to "do some work" because it's their one-to-one time! So just to add to the controversy!-does anyone else have a set time to spend with their keyworker children?

 

-Leo, I completely agree with creativity being about the process and not the end result. I think part of my problem is that I am currently having all these ideas reinforced as I study my level 4, yet don't seem to be allowed to put good practice into practice, which is SO FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Never mind, I shall persevere!!!

Once again, thanks to you all Senlgh

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i observed a child today being encouraged to complete the work sheet on the table he had gone to. he had completed the first bit and had basically had enough.

he then sat for a further 10 mins looking at the junk modelling table, or staring into space.

i moved him on ,as i could`nt watch him there any longer looking so fedup.

maddy.

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Hi, we dont use work sheets at all. A few years ago, before I took over the running of the playgroup, the then boss would take children in small groups from a game or activity, make them sit with her for about 10 mins and then allow them to go back to playing. Luckily my appointment and the demise of worksheets coincided, but I wuld never of used them. As for using them by the keyworkers, cant they just go to whatever activity the child is at and interact with them during their play? I find you discover an awful lot more this way. :)

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Hi guys, very interesting discussion.

 

In my setting children have access to worksheets from a shelf by the writing table should they wish to take one. There is always an adult stationed near by who can then help a child understand the content of the sheet to enable them to do the activity. This is great as it allows freedom of choice and supported learning of a specific concept/area of the curriculum.

 

Just to be a little controversial though. Much discussion has gone on about the difficulties of observing children (especially when trying to fill in the dreaded FSP's) wouldn't life be easy if there was a worksheet for everything and then you could just stick them all in the FSP as evidence. :o

 

We all surely from time to time engineer an activity with the sole purpose of observing a child's progress in a specific area of development. If we can do that through play that's great, but if we are really selective about the quality and content of the worksheets we offer then aren't they of use sometimes??? :(

 

Just to be clear I am not suggesting the children sit and do worksheets all day every day or even once a day for that. As practioners trying to give our children a whole range of experiences and skills to enable them to make the transition from pre-school to school shouldn't they do a bit of everything. As long as they are supported by us and we make it fun and a positive learning experience can the odd worksheet really be so bad. xD

 

Sue

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Yes Sue I agree with you. Worksheets suddenly became very popular a few years ago when Ofsted expected young children to be receiving "formal education" during part of the mornong. I think they have realised this is not good practise to replace so many restrictions on a childs creativity and the ability human beings have to learn the formal things in a fun way. I think worksheets are O.K. to use if they are not replacing the fun spontaineous activities. I must say this is the way that playgroups have always run. The old P.P.A now P.S.L.A always advocated Learning Through Play.

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Sue you are so right , of course we all engineer activities to enable us to record a childs progress. I can't see any harm in the way in which I myself use worksheets. Once a week the children in my group do a worksheet which I have selected personally for each child to tie in with somthing they need to practise ie a colour , a number etc etc they spend a few minutes doing it , I always give them a sticker after doing it to say well done ( probably start another debate now ) the majority enjoy doing them ( so if its somthing they enjoy doing why is it so wrong !! ) the rest of the week they are free to join in with whatever they want to do. How can a few minutes out of every week do them any harm at all, and the fact that I do them as a one to one activity can only be a good thing surely ???

The majority of the children in my group enjoy sitting with me and we have a chat while they're doing their worksheet so I feel its a nice one to one time.

Don't get me wrong I spend time with the children during the rest of the week playing , drawing , painting etc and I like to get to know the children in my group so we're always talking about anything and everything !!

Someone made a point of saying that a few years ago worksheets were the 'in thing' which I think is a valid point , give it another few years and we'll all be raving about them again.

I do feel that as long as they are not replacing freeplay and the children are not expected to sit day in day out doing them that there is a place for everything and as I have said before if a child doesn't want to do them they don't have to.

More damaging is the fact I feel that some people ( and thankfully they are the minority ) will tell a child during an activity for example making paper plate faces where to stick the eyes , nose etc rather than let the child create their own. I feel that this stifles a childs creativity much more than a few minutes a week spent on a worksheet and gives the child the impression that they can't do it properly without an adults help.

I always feel that if the childs creation doesn't look like what we had originally planned for it really doesn't matter as it is the childs interpretation.

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My sentiments exactly, Hotgoss!

 

Unfortunately, the word "worksheet" immediately makes you think that a child is made to sit for a long time completing a piece of work that they have no interest in and that gives them no enjoyment. We have "worksheets" (perhaps they should be called something else???) which are an extension of a particular activity we have been covering and we use them to promote discussion, thinking, fine motor control, colours, counting, number/shape recognition, etc. in the same way we would use any other resources/activities.

 

The majority of children enjoy these; if a child didn't, they wouldn't be forced to do it. In fact, we sometimes have trouble getting children to leave the activity!!! :)

 

Really, the problem is not the worksheets but how they are used.

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Hi

 

To those who supported my views a big thanks :D It is so nice to know that you are not going mad and having wierd ideas, unless of course you are also going mad and having wierd ideas. If this is the case then we make a merry little group I'm sure. :o

 

Libby, I think you get the prize for the most appropriate phrase

 

' Really, the problem is not the worksheets but how they are used.'

 

Sue :)

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As leader I encourage my staff to spend some 1:1 time with each child in their keworker group. It is usually only about 5 - 10 mins every two weeks but it could be for a vareity of reasons and longer if need be:

 

general chat with them about what they like in our group or have been doing at home

 

time to do a detailed observation/assessemnt

 

time to PLAY!!! yes play with them at an activity of thier choice

 

read a book with them of their choice

 

do a work sheet if the child wishes

 

go for a walk around the school

 

recently a child asked me if I could show her how to do her laces up so we spent 5 minutes playing with laces and now she will happily 'have a go' at attempting to do her own laces up :)

 

We always ask the child if they would like to have some 1:1 time (they know what it means) and after 12 months of doing it I have never had a child say no as they really enjoy the special time they have. If a child did say no then we would let them have their time later when they were ready.

 

We keep very brief notes to ensure every child has the opportunuity to have 1:1 time.

 

Carol

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what a super idea carol! :D

I'll be trying it from the new year. I think we will learn a l;ot form a child by actually speding time with him/her. How often we get bogged down by delivering the lesson plan that we say "tell me in a minute" but we never get the time.

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I totally agree !! I learn so much from my keyworker children just by talking to them . Quite often the quieter children 'get lost ' in a big group discussion so I try hard to have one to one time with those children whether they are in my group or not. I have gone through life labelled as a quiet person ( not that the people I work with will agree , but you gain confidence with people that you know !! ) and I would hate to think a quiet child is ignored in busy playgroup life.

I talk to the children about anything and everything and its lovely when a previously quiet child actually talks back to you.

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what a range of views here!! I haven't had any work sheets until now, when we have started a 6 week jolly phonics plan with the rising 5's. We learn the letters and then the colour in sheets are in the writing area for free access, for a couple of sessions only. The adults talk to the children as they do them and reinforce the phonemes/graphemes and actions as they work. But I won't have them out all the time and I do agree that it is the way work sheets are used that is the key to their value. In the same way I have to make sure that my TA's understand that although I have planned for a particular group of children, the fact that one of them would rather do something else when they start that activity is OK, and that my planning will reinforce the same objectives,skills etc at other times so they are not missing out! :o

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