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Hi we're setting up a unit but are wondering how to organise day effectively. We want to ensure that children have access to all 6 areas of learning but also that both the needs of reception and nursery are met. There are 6 adults but 3 rooms and a large outside area. Can anyone give any advice? Thanks

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Hi cazza -

I'm not a Foundation Stage Unit guru - sadly mundia who knows quite a lot about these things is in hospital at the moment - but I wanted to welcome you in as our newest member, and thank you for your first post! :)

 

You will probably have looked at some of the other topics in this forum - the last one is a very good recent one - just here.

 

You might find you've got a lot in common with kavmar and magenta who are both newly involved with FS units. I'm sure you'll find a numbe of others with whom you can swop experiences over the next few days - although at this stage in the term and year the forum is a little quiet as people frantically tie up loose ends before the holidays.

 

Welcome again - please make yourself at home! :D

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Hi Cazza, and welcome to the site. :)

Are you going to always mix the nursery and reception children, or have you got plans to segregate at certain times? This decision may influence your layout. How many children are you going to have? What strengths/curriculum interests do the staff have? And, finally (!) is the outside area going to be accessed all the time, or only at designated times?

Sorry for the flurry of questions, but I think these answers may help when other members start offering their advice.

Thanks for making your first post....the first of many, I hope! :D

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Hi Cazza,

As Steve said we're setting up a FS Unit in September with exactly the same layout as yours!!!!(3 rooms, 6 adults and a large outdoor area)

 

You're not coming to work with us in September are you???

 

We're still unsure about layout, movement of children etc.

We will probably start with Lang/Lit room, Creative room and Maths/KU room.

We would love to work a free-flow play system but as yet have not had enough staff to work this properly.

If anyone has any ideas about how to manage this I would be grateful - our main problem has been that everyone wants to go outside - this is great but we have found it difficult to set up enough activities for everyone. Has anyone any ideas for semi/permanant activites for outdoor area - we have chalkboards, digging area, playhouse, climbing/balancing equipment.

 

We are planning to segregate chn. for parts of the day e.g. F1 Small group activities, F2 Larger group activities - ICT Suite, circle games, Library.

 

Hope this is of some help - if you have any ideas please share them.

 

Magenta

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I wouldn't worry too much about all chidlren wanting to go out at the same time. It does level itself out and after the initial thrill of having ouside access, chidlren begin to choose where they want to be. Honest. i didn't beleive it when our Early Years consultant siad so but it's true. If you have a snack bar system, that itself is enough incentive for hanging around indoors!!!!

 

We used to use scrunchies as a way of regulating traffic. Children wore a scrunchie band on theri arm when they went outside. If there were none in the basket, it meant waiting till you got your turn.

 

Do ensure that when you do have a FS unit, you do get dedicateded time to discuss and plan with other mmebers of staff. From what i've heard, that seems to be the underlying issue about how sucessful the unit is.

 

All the bset with your unit and i hope things go smoothly.

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Hi Leo,

I do agree with the Snack Bar, we set ours up this half term and we have been amazed at how well it works, but when they are outside our children do sometimes forget to have their snack!

Scrunchies are a good idea, we have used pegs, but they can be difficult to put on.

 

I agree too about planning time, this is certainly going to be a lot harder to fit in as there will be a great deal less time without the children - I currently work in the Nursery and our lunch is 11.30 -1.00 - next year this will be 12.00-1.00!!

We do have a very good team though, everyone is on board about FS Unit and all are extremely dedicated.

 

Magenta

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Hi again,

 

Thanks for all the replies. In reply to Magenta's questions and to clarify we will have 50 reception children and 39 nursery children on the morning and 26 on the afternoon. We plan to segregate children at times for small group work i.e register, snack and small group work at 10.15 and 1.45 and the reception children to have time in ICT, Library, etc when afternoon nursery have their registration.

 

Our main worries are ensuring that all children are able to access all areas of curriculum and having an easy way of managing this. We also wonder about planning formats, etc that will be useful for both nursery and reception practitioners. How do you manage to get all the children to access focus activities as well.

 

We are also planning to have a lang room, maths/KUW and a creative room. We are not sure whether to have outside accessible at all times or not. This is one of the areas we are unsure on. Any suggestions?

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Hi Cazza,

Your set up seems very similar to ours though we will have silghtly less Nursery children.

We have the same worries about chn. accessing all areas - one of the units I have visited rotates chn. around each room during the day. We wanted to do this though are a little concerned about F1 chn. with short concentration spans being in a particular area for an allocated time - to be fair the Unit I visited did have other activities in the 'Literacy' area e.g. sand, small world, art activities - but we are a bit limited for space.

We thought we might send mixed groups to each area initially then allow free flow after a certain amount of time??!!

 

Planning!!! Another nightmare!!! - We thought we might have separate plans for each room - very simple stating resources on offer - which allow for changes due to child interests etc. Then plans for teacher directed activities which will be different for F1 and F2. I haven't taught Reception for 13 years so not really sure if this will be acceptable, but we are following FS Curriculum and not NLS and NNS to the letter.

 

All this will probably change when we start but we have to have a starting point. As we have very similar set ups please keep in touch so we can share ideas - what worked/didn't work for us.

 

Magenta

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Hi there - just found your post.

 

We are setting up a unit sort of - we will have 24 fte nursery children (in each am and pm sessions) and 22 reception chn in one big open plan space and a class of 28 rec chn in a separate large space which is on the other side of the school hall. Currently we shall have 2 adults attached to each reception group and 2.5 daults attached to the nursery group.

 

We have sorted the planning format kind of but we haven't sorted out the logistics of how the sessions will run and how we will staff it etc also we don't have the chance for the new system to evolve as we have the 'you know who' inspectors coming in the last week of september!!!

 

Also we are supposed to be a single intake from september yet i will get some more nursery chn in january!!!

 

Good luck with your setting - would love to swap successes and problems and share ideas with you!

 

:o

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  • 2 months later...

Hi there, We are into our 3rd week of a newly opened Foundation Unit with 26 Nursery children and 1 class of 30 reception children. We have 4 staff and so are working in 4 family groups. We have got planning etc in place but we are still in the process of tweaking it to make it as workable as possible - very difficult when we are still settling Nursery children and they are coming and going at odd times! We feel we have achieved lots in a very short time but have along way to go. People I have spoken to who have done the same have taken up to 2 years to set up and are still developing ideas - so we have along way to go yet. :o It's great to be able to read about others ideas and problems.!

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Hi sss65,

Welcome - my computer has been down for a few days so just catching up- read your post after I replied to your e-mail, thats why I asked questions that I now know the answer to!!

We won't really know whether its working properly until all of the Nursery children are in and settled - probably half term the way its going!!!

I find that at the moment I seem to be neglecting the Nursery chn. a little - its a struggle fitting everything into the timetable, but as you say 2 years down the line we will still be tweaking things!!

Look forward to 'talking' to you.

 

Cazza, how is your Unit working? How are you organising staff, groups etc.

Would love to know how its going!!

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Hi Magenta,

I have emailed you as I don't seem to have had a reply from you yet. As you say it's hard at the moment to see how it's all going to work itself out. We too are still having new Nursery children in and we are finding that some of the Reception children are reacting "strangely" to the newcomers and have taken to forgetting the rules. However, generally they are being brilliant and are good role models to the younger children - most of whom are settling in very well. We now have the next hurdle to get over DINNERS! Although we are supposed to only have part time children we have low numbers at the moment and so it is going to be better to offer all the ones we have got a full time place! (I think?) I am in the middle of trying to sort out the arrangements for this now. What about you? How do your dinners work? Are your Nursery children full or part time?

 

AND to make matters even better -- we had our Ofsted letter on Friday!!!!!!!

So I expect I will be on line a lot for advice and help. It will be my 4th in 4 different schools but it's still very nerve racking as you know!

 

Ps What are you doing with your F2 children about reading schemes etc? I have very mixed feelings about their use and how to match up these to the Foundation Stage good practice. Any suggestions?

Sorry lots of questions in one but can anyone help?

 

Sue :o

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Hi sss65,

Hopefully you'll recieve one of my e-mails!!

Our Nursery children are all part time. Both my head and myself have decided against this as we don't feel we can offer the social side of care needed for chn. of this age - my son goes to a day Nursery, but is able to sleep in the afternoon etc.

Our F2 chn. stayed dinners from day 1!! But at least they are all settled now!!

 

As far as reading schemes go????? We have decided on the synthetic phonics route.

Our children are generally of very low attainment on entry so our borough Sandwell - introduced 'Salley' - Structured activities for language and literacy in the early years - for Nursery children. This provided activites for phonological awareness, letter sounds, syllables, beginning and ending, rhyme etc. The results at the end of Nursery were amazing so we have decided to follow this with Jolly Phonics - so by Christmas we will have reviewed/introduced all 42 sounds.

 

The parents are really on board with this - the children take home a sounds book every day and parents are now helping chn. to learn the sounds and to blend them together. They now know that we won't be sending home reading books until they can sound out and blend the sounds, but the way they are progressing many will be using a decodable reading scheme by Christmas!

 

I know that this doesn't necessarily fit in with FS philosophy, but our children are loving it and are getting such a boost to their self-esteem because they are progressing so well.

 

Sorry to ramble - I'll get off my soap box now!!

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Hi Everyone !

 

Its good to read how your all getting on. We seem to be getting on OK-ish. We've adopted the same kind of approach throughout the unit that was already happening in the nursery and this has meant that the children in f2 have settled really well, they've been in full time from the very beginning, stressful to begin with but the settling in happens much quicker.

 

I've posted our timetable on a previous post and we are largely still following this with only very slight amendements. The children have free choice within play sessions within all 3 inside rooms but we are now limiting who goes outside and when. We have 4 play sessions and it has worked out that reception children are able to go out 2 of the 4 sessions and nursery can go outside 1 out of 2 sesions. This has meant that children are accessing a wider curriculum. We have struggled with staffing but r working it that there is 1 member of staff in CLL room, 1 in MD/KUW room, 2 in CD and 2 outside. We try to ensure that 1 of the focuses in CD and outside are literacy or numeracy based but r struggling to ensure that all children access the focus activities.

 

Planning is still a nightmare so sharing planning would be very useful I am sure. Would be good to hear how others are getting on

 

Cazza

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Tried to post a copy of my plans but the files are much too big!! They're not that detailed!!

 

We're in temporary accommodation at the moment (nightmare) so are unable to access outdoor area diring CI play, chn. therefore only get a chance at physical play outdoors.

Cazza are your rooms very big? We're finding it very noisy and a little hectic with so many children in the space. Do your staff have time for breaks? I'm finding it hard to fit them in, staff say they are happy to work through as we did in Nursery, but if you have any ideas???

Are your staff rotating rooms weekly/daily?

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Rooms are not that big. Nopise levels and organisation are good when children are half in and out of doors but can be hectic and noisy when youngest nursery are in, its improving though.

 

We have decided to move rooms on a two weekly basis but have a different focus am and pm so staff remain motivated and interested. If you are in MD or CLL rooms you spend half the day outside.

 

Breaks are very difficult and aren't happening. We are working through at the moment but lunch time is only 3/4 hour so day ends up feeling quite long, not sure what to do about this to be honest!

 

Magenta will you email me your plans if its not too much trouble. I will send you mine if they are helpful but keep in mind that they need improving!

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Hi sss65,

My e-mails are obviously not getting through so we'll have to chat via the forum.

Our school is in Smethwick, you are very welcome to visit at any time if you are close enough - but bear in mind that we are in temporary accommodation at the moment, but at least our heating has been put on today! Our refurbishment should be completed by the middle of November.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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  • 4 months later...
Hi we're setting up a unit but are wondering how to organise day effectively. We want to ensure that children have access to all 6 areas of learning but also that both the needs of reception and nursery are met. There are 6 adults but 3 rooms and a large outside area. Can anyone give any advice? Thanks

hi my names Jill I currently own and run a private nursery attached to a primary school. For 18mths we have been discussing how we can become an integrated foundation unit i would love to hear from anyone in the same position - the hardest problem to date that we have encountered is how two teams of staff will work together given that one team is employed by myself and the other by the school this is proving very challenging - different pay scales terms of employment etc..

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Hi Jill -

Welcome to the Forum! :D

 

There are quite a few FSU members here now, and hopefully you've had a chance to read through some of their conversations. Co-incidentally, we'll be publishing quite a large article on Foundation Stage Units here this week, so hopefully you'll find this of value - and hopefully it will also provoke some ideas and issues for discussion!

 

Best wishes,

Steve. :)

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Hi Jill, welcome!

 

We have just amalgamated a nursery with a reception class, a few years ago the nursery was a nursery school on a different site and it was relocated to the school premises. I find having just started in Septemeber at this school, where the nursery has been run as just a nursery, that staff keep referring to how things 'used to be done'; they are much better now at looking forward but change always effects people and not everyone can see the potential!

 

I hope things go well and if you manage to sort the teams working together let us know the magic formula!!

 

:o

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  • 3 weeks later...

Although I've been visiting FS forum for some time, I've only just registered and was interested to see the chat about FS units. I'm FS co-ord and recep. teacher and the decision has been made to merge our 52 place (26am-26pm) nursery with our two reception classes (expected approx 24 each class in Sept.) We will have 7 staff, 3 rooms and an outdoor area at our disposal but I am very anxious about the planning, assessment, progression etc. etc. and looking at all of your emails these are all big issues. How are your units progressing now that we are half way through the school year?

In the summer term we start to move our reception children towards Lit and num hours to prepare them for year one- I can't see that this will be possible next year, yet my understanding is that yr.R children should have some experience of the lit/num hours before the end of the school year. How are others getting over this and do they feel confident children will be able to work in a year one environment without this familiarisation period? I can see we'll have problems persuading colleagues from KS one if we don't do this.

Also, we have always given 'equal opportunities' to both nursery sessions, ie. setting up and doing the same activities am and pm. How will we manage this? We can't set up again as in the morning - the reception children will need a change! Oh dear - even though I believe the FS curriculum is right for young children, and can see many advantages of a FS unit, I am very concerned about how we can do this.

 

I'd love to visit a FS unit - there don't appear to be any in our locality (Kingston upon Thames/Surrey borders) - is there anyone out there who wouldn't mind a visit please?

 

Thanks - look forward to seeing your emails!

Jacky

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  • 4 years later...

Ah, it sounds like everyones in the same boat with organising a foundation unit. Its so mind boggling and even worse when you are the only teacher in there with 2 teaching assistants. I am starting my FU in September and desperately trying to balance out my time with the nursery chn. I'm not in the opinion of 'letting nursery just get on'. Organising the timetable so that i have a balance with f2 and f1 chn is proving to be quite difficult.

 

Its a great challenge though and its great to know that there is a wealth of knowledge, ideas and dedicated teachers out there with really great advice. Anyone out there that has organised their 'timetable' and is working successfully, I would love to see it for ideas.

 

Keep up the ideas and if i get any sudden inspiration with all the answers I shall pass it on. Great thread.

 

xx

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