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Child-initiated Play Time


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I'm really reorganising my timetable this year as this year the children haven't had enough time to really get into their play so its been a bit superficial and not such good quality play as it could be. I think they need more time and not to keep having to stop and start, so... I'm scrapping playtime and snacktime and having a rolling snacktable.

 

I just wondered, before I do the rest of the timetable, what amount of time do you think would be the right amount of time for reception children to be able to play for extended periods without losing their focus? I know it would be different for different individuals, but for the average kind of group, what would you think?

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Anyone?

 

I think it's a bit of bad timing, but it generally goes quiet around about now.....

 

People who work in schools are off on hols, etc - you'll probably get an answer, but you'll have to be patient - and you need to leave more than a couple of hours anyway! - Chill out time !!

 

Sue :o

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I'm in pre-school, Emma but we've had similar concerns about the length of time children spend sitting and the effects of this on the quality of their play. We've been under a lot of pressure to start a rolling snackbar but our parents really don't want it. So rather than making children sit and wait for others to finish we let them get down from the table and resume their free play as soon as they have finished eating (once they've cleared away their things :o ) We have been surprised at how the children have reacted to this: we thought that as soon as the first child went off to play the others would gobble up their food to join them. However they don't: they take their time and in fact our new arrangements have enabled some of the children who eat more slowly to spend much longer over their snack than before.

 

I'll be interested to hear the views of reception/year one teachers... xD

 

Maz

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I am getting my head around this too, I am trying to think about the over all picture and not think of it in slots like I used too. I haven't done my timetable yet. I think it's also trying to see "play"is what they do. Being prepared to take the children's lead. In the past I feel when others in schools used to comment and say things like oh their playing again or don't they do anything but play. I think we can now say exactly what they are doing. hope that makes some sense.

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I am going to try 9.15-10.45 (90mins) C.I. time in September as a trial from September in preparation for our FS Unit which we are opening later in the year. This will include a rolling snack bar.

 

The theory is that we can meet lots of objectives during this time while supporting the children's play.We will then have review time and all do teacher led activities at this point as we have 3 point of entry so only 12 children means everyone can do it at once. We will then do some whole class activities again before lunch. Being very open minded about how it will work but looking to use same routine for when pre-school children mix.

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I think you need at least 30 mins and preferably longer for quality play. I often have an hour in the afternoons.

Just interested Susan when you say you have an hour in the afternoon, is there an adult focus going on then as well? or do you use this time as an opportunity to observe or get involved. I have mostly activities from the continous provision or children's interest running alongside adult focus.

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Hi

 

Our nursery age children that are moving school in September would were very happy to play outside all morning. We usually have a snack bar from about 10am until everyone has finished and an adult led activity taking place aswell. We normally tidy up later for circle time and or story.

 

 

thanks

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Thanks so much for all your replies - it's really interesting to hear all your thoughts. I believe that more child-initiated time will make the play calmer and more productive, but I know my TA will worry that they'll be being silly and my head will have concerns that there's not enough teaching going on, so I wanted to run it past all of you first to give me a bit more confidence! I'm hoping it will prove itself and that i'll be able to show my head all the learning that's going on.

 

Oh, and sorry for being so impatient!!!

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A teacher of ours went on a course recently for being 'new to foundation ' and if I remember she said that Ros Bailey had said that children needed an hour of uninterrupted play in a session' ( oop spelling a bit dodgy I think !)

Edited by suebee
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Oh, and sorry for being so impatient!!!

 

No problem, I know how hard it is to post a query and then sit, waiting for the responses!! But that was a good, topical one! Made me think a bit, too :o

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A teacher of ours went on a course recently for being 'new to foundation ' and if I remember she said that Ros Bailey had said that children needed an hour of uninterrupted play in a session' ( oop spelling a bit dodgy I think !)

 

So does that mean an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon in reception? I probably do an hour in the afternoon of uninterupted play but definately not in the morning!

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Hi - new EYFS does state that children should not be interupted in their play and not stop mid morning - very different I know for reception - worth giving it a go and see what happens :o

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Hi - new EYFS does state that children should not be interupted in their play and not stop mid morning

 

I know it says about uninterrupted periods of play - does it also actually explicitly say about not interrupting mid-morning? That's great! Whereabouts? (Then I'll be able to pass the buck to the DFCSF when parents and other teachers are negative about me getting rid of a scheduled playtime on theplaygound with KS1!!)

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I'm in pre-school, Emma but we've had similar concerns about the length of time children spend sitting and the effects of this on the quality of their play. We've been under a lot of pressure to start a rolling snackbar but our parents really don't want it. So rather than making children sit and wait for others to finish we let them get down from the table and resume their free play as soon as they have finished eating (once they've cleared away their things :o ) We have been surprised at how the children have reacted to this: we thought that as soon as the first child went off to play the others would gobble up their food to join them. However they don't: they take their time and in fact our new arrangements have enabled some of the children who eat more slowly to spend much longer over their snack than before.

 

I'll be interested to hear the views of reception/year one teachers... xD

 

Maz

 

i agree with your snack time, this is very similar to how we work in our nursery. over the last few years we have been put under pressure to change to a roling snack/buffet system.

but we are standing firm.

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i agree with your snack time, this is very similar to how we work in our nursery. over the last few years we have been put under pressure to change to a roling snack/buffet system.

but we are standing firm.

We need to stand together, Lynne!

 

I do get a bit narked when advisers seem hell bent on promoting their "one system fits all" approach - just because something works well in one setting it doesn't mean it will necessarily translate to another. I think we all need to keep our routines under review and if it seems not to work then we can make changes until we reach the optimum environment for the children. And that can change from one cohort to another (and from one day to another, in some cases!). :o

 

Maz

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We have tried rolling snack at our setting several times but it just dosent seem to work for us. We had thought about trying tit again in September but have so many young ones starting. I like the idea of allowing the children to resume play once finished there snack and tidied away. Our parents dont like the idea of a rolling snack either. i think as long as you can say you have tried and justify your reasons for doing it a certain way Ofsted will hopefully be happy. I think I will add a question about sanck to my parent questionaire in September.

 

smiles

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We have tried rolling snack at our setting several times but it just dosent seem to work for us. We had thought about trying tit again in September but have so many young ones starting. I like the idea of allowing the children to resume play once finished there snack and tidied away. Our parents dont like the idea of a rolling snack either. i think as long as you can say you have tried and justify your reasons for doing it a certain way Ofsted will hopefully be happy. I think I will add a question about sanck to my parent questionaire in September.

 

smiles

Hi I am new to EYFS and eager to try a rolling snack time with no set playtime which has caused 'waves' already in my setting as Yr1 also use the outside area for their playtime. Thanks for all the comments I feel encouraged!

Sue

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We need to stand together, Lynne!

I will stand with you too Maz!! We have been put under pressure, tried and unfortunately failed with snack bar. We have upto 40 children per session, and ensuring everyone has washed their hands (facilities out of the room) and eaten snack takes a member of staff, which we cannot afford as there is 6 of us in a session. We have 3 areas, 2 staff outside, 2 staff in messy room and 2 staff in quiet room and doing toilet run!!

 

We action planned this, observed and evaluated and wrote a report on why we continue to do the 'all sit together' way.

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i spoke to my recent ofsted inspector about rolling snack time and her reply was if it dosnt suit your setting - dont do it !!! so i wont!!! xD

You've got so assertive lately, hali! :o

 

Welcome to the Forum, sgibbins!

Edited by HappyMaz
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