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Daily Adult Focus Activity


Guest Wolfie
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How many of you still have a daily adult focus activity?

 

If you DO have one, how do you document it? Do you identify specific learning outcomes for the activity? And if so, are these linked to the Development Matters statements or something else? And do you change that activity every day or repeat the same one over a few days?

 

If you DON'T have one, do you have ANY activities for which you identify and document specific learning outcomes, e.g. Letters and Sounds activities?

 

If you use some form of Continuous Provision planning sheets, do you identify specific learning outcomes WITHIN that planning for specific activities, e.g. identifying specific outcomes for, say, when whisks are added to the water play, or do you leave the sheets as they are for all water play activities?

 

I have inherited a staff team that, although very skilled and passionate about their job and role, are compltely split about the approach to planning, routines, layout in the room, etc. At the moment, they have a "keyperson group time", which is expected to last about 20 minutes, during which each group leader is expected to lead a planned group activity to "meet the needs of their group". I've observed this in action and, in practice, it is often no more than a carpet sitting exercise and a time when every member of staff struggles to engage the interest and attention of all the children in their group. But a couple of the more dominant members of staff stress that they want that time with their group, carrying out an activity with a specified learning outcome, as during the rest of the free flow session they may not have contact with their key children.

 

I know these kinds of questions have been asked so mnay times before on this forum but I would welcome your most up to date thoughts on the matter! :o Any examples of planning proformas, relevant to the 3-4 age group, would also be most welcome!

 

One other thing, in case it's relevant to your replies...there are between 40 and 50 children during each session and some children stay all day!

Edited by Wolfie
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Hi Wolfie,

 

We have a short adult led activity each day (one activity each week). We try and allow each child to access the activity during the week (some children only come in on one or two days), but if the child does not want to take part in the activity we don't make them. We link our adult led activity to the development matters statements. We very rarely plan for circle time although we have lots of conversations/discussions with small groups of children during the course of their play. Our Early Years team keep emphasising how important it is for children to have a substantial amount of time to play. We only get together for snack and story/singing at the end of the session now, the rest of the time is free play. Still not sure if we are getting it right but staff and children seem happy (hope this makes sense), mrsW

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We link our adult led activity to the development matters statements.

 

Thanks for your quick reply mrsW. How do you decide which development matters statements, and in which areas of learning, you link your activity to...which comes first, the activity or the statements? And if it;s the activity, how do you decide upon it?

 

Sorry for all these questions, I'm having a "will I EVER get my head round this planning malarkey" day today! Every setting does it differently, which I quite understand and am sympathetic to, but having just changed settings I'm having to shift my thinking and methodology and need lots of input to think about! I'd rather start from what they're doing, which has lots of good practice at the heart of it, than from where I'd like to be! If that makes sense! And if that means developing and implementing a system that I've never worked with before then so be it!

Edited by Wolfie
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Hi,

Before all the change we use to do one focus activity each week led by a member of staff. Since September we have changed things slightly we now to one everyother week. This way we can spend more time interacting with the children and extending their learning by going around all the other activities that are just child led. This gives us more time to do language observations and also more lengthly observations. We plan the focused activites on what the children need and around our topic. We have a set out planning sheet and we link the activity to the new EYFS depending on what activity we are doing in which area of learning. Whoever is doing th activity makes notes and assess the children to what they can/cant do. Hope this helps 0258 x :o

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I plan an adult led activity each day, sometimes they can be 30 minutes sometimes 10.

For example todays planned activity was to talk about what we did during half term, but as they always 'talk about home and community' I made it to cover the PSED about feelings, so asked them what they did and how they felt (not actually worded like that!). Most felt happy, altough there were some who visited relatives and felt sad when they left.

I extended this later in the day to talk about things that made us frightened, excited etc.

Worked well and all happy to contribute, although I'm only talking about 15 children here not 50! For that amount I'm thinking you'd do that particular in activity smaller groups.

I'm sure i've read or been told not to use the development matters statement as a planning document, but surely when planning you need to see which skill you are planning for. Well that's how I'm working.

My continuous provisions tend to be spontaneous observations, although I do also plan literacy and numeracy activities each day, although these only last about 15 minutes.

I guess I do plan a fair bit really, but go with what they are playing/interested.

Some of the boys are really into star wars so am thinking of seeing if I can come up with something along those lines!

 

Really hard to know if it's correct or not, but we'll slowly work towards the skills that are expected of them, in a practical and fun way and to be honest if they're happy and learning hopefully it's ok.

 

jackie.

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Just like to add that we also have planned pe session once a week, ict once a week. Literacy and numeracy group three times a week fo 15 mins and children are split into groups according to ability. Hope this helps too.!0258

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Thanks for your quick reply mrsW. How do you decide which development matters statements, and in which areas of learning, you link your activity to...which comes first, the activity or the statements? And if it;s the activity, how do you decide upon it?

 

Sorry for all these questions, I'm having a "will I EVER get my head round this planning malarkey" day today! Every setting does it differently, which I quite understand and am sympathetic to, but having just changed settings I'm having to shift my thinking and methodology and need lots of input to think about! I'd rather start from what they're doing, which has lots of good practice at the heart of it, than from where I'd like to be! If that makes sense! And if that means developing and implementing a system that I've never worked with before then so be it!

 

I decide on the learning objective first. For example the children were using shape stampers on the painting table one day. As I passed the table I commented on their wonderful works of art and asked them if they knew the name of the shape they were using. Some children knew the names of some of the shapes and some didn’t. I decided that it would be good to incorporate shapes into the following weeks planned adult-led activity. My Learning objective was To match some shapes by recognising similarities and orientation and I linked this to development matters statements. My children range from 2 to 4 years of age so I look at a cross section of development matters statements such as How children match some shapes by recognising similarities and orientation (40 – 60 months), Children’s skills in matching shapes (30-50 months). I provided the children with lots of everyday objects and we looked together at each of the objects and sorted them into shapes. We had a picture of a letter box that went with the car registration plate etc. I really hope this is making sense because the more I write the more I think I am waffling. Probably not a very good example of an adult led activity because once the children were involved there was little adult involvement except for observing.

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We plan the focused activites on what the children need and around our topic. We have a set out planning sheet and we link the activity to the new EYFS depending on what activity we are doing in which area of learning.

 

So you don't plan to rotate the predominant are of learning covered by the activity you plan then, i.e. one day a K & U, next day a creative, etc.? Is there any chance of seeing an example of your plannign sheet if I ask really nicely? :o

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How many of you still have a daily adult focus activity?

 

we still have one.. but it is not usually very structured.. in fact more an adult initiated activity

 

 

 

If you DO have one, how do you document it? Do you identify specific learning outcomes for the activity? And if so, are these linked to the Development Matters statements or something else? And do you change that activity every day or repeat the same one over a few days?

 

Ours is different most days, depending on the children and uptake of the activity and child interests etc etc.. we have just a simple sheet which covers a week, with headings for activity, area of learning.. ( just state CLL, or PSE etc no detail and most cover several areas) target child/ children/ observations on who did it, what learning went on , this is often in sticker form for files, cannot remember what else goes on it, but not very much , as it changes anyway, and these are not pre-planned , but done a day or two in advance depending on children etc. But children have the choice of joining or not and it is not specific groups targeted.

 

If you DON'T have one, do you have ANY activities for which you identify and document specific learning outcomes, e.g. Letters and Sounds activities?

we do letters and sounds regularly and during play etc. no specific planning .. (perhaps we should do.. will discuss with manager)

 

If you use some form of Continuous Provision planning sheets, do you identify specific learning outcomes WITHIN that planning for specific activities, e.g. identifying specific outcomes for, say, when whisks are added to the water play, or do you leave the sheets as they are for all water play activities?

 

we use continuous provision.. ones I found on here and adapted to our setting.. no we don't change it with enhancements,

 

I have inherited a staff team that, although very skilled and passionate about their job and role, are compltely split about the approach to planning, routines, layout in the room, etc. At the moment, they have a "keyperson group time", which is expected to last about 20 minutes, during which each group leader is expected to lead a planned group activity to "meet the needs of their group". I've observed this in action and, in practice, it is often no more than a carpet sitting exercise and a time when every member of staff struggles to engage the interest and attention of all the children in their group. But a couple of the more dominant members of staff stress that they want that time with their group, carrying out an activity with a specified learning outcome, as during the rest of the free flow session they may not have contact with their key children.

 

Know the feeling on this one, took me 2 years to gradually change the thinking of the other staff who felt that they liked the pre planned structure, but we did not do Key person time, so not quite the same battle.

 

If staff want to work with their key group could they plan something relevant to the children for a shorter period 20 mins is a long time for this age group, Lucky if we get 10 mins concentration , and if it is not something they want to do,.. no chance! When we do a group time/ activity small or large we tends to try to have 2 staff , one to concentrate on the children and the other to record, and observe, this then shows them that the activity was worth while or not, what children's attention span was, did they feel the child learnt anything from it etc.

 

This highlighted that it was not working well, children did not benefit, and so things slowly changed... we did same thing observing and noting learning during a free activity and this showed they learnt more from that than the planned one..

 

It was getting across that the child needed to benefit from it and how/why they did

 

Inge

 

reading this back doesn't seem too clear! sorry if it confuses just ignore me! Sorry dont have the planning on my PC so cannot post it, but it is adapted from the one on the EYFS CD and one found here somewhere!

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I'm having to shift my thinking and methodology and need lots of input to think about! I'd rather start from what they're doing, which has lots of good practice at the heart of it, than from where I'd like to be!

 

 

I think you were answering your own question, you can't change everything at once and especially if you feel it is good practice at the heart of it. Why not see it as a development for you and your team, praise the good practice but get them excited and involved in the changes you want to make. I think it will work better if they feel they have input...........good luck. Having changed my planning every week since sept I know what you mean

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This thread is making me think - some of these children are 2. I teach 4 and 5 year olds so I know it is different even though we are all grouped together now but I have to be honest do these children really need adult focus activities? Of course they need all the language development skills but as someone else said if they are happy and having fun. Especially if they are away from mum and dad all day they are only babies. I know it is very idealistic

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Hi Wolife, I agree with ger, Its really important that you start with where they are, and work from there. Have you had any opportunities yet to get together as a team, and look at some of the good practice and get everyone talking about the routine/structure.

 

With such a lot of children I think SOME keygroup time is really important, we used to have a rota of focussed 'group time' running through the week which we covered on different days. Havign said that, I did want more flexibility than I was allowed to have in this and when I moved on, I was able to use this time much more informally and call it 'chatting time'. We used this opportunity to do exactly that, chat about what they were doing, wanted to do, what had happendd at home, in the playground etc, they led the conversation. Some tiems we would make up stories and sing songs and rhymes, but it was led by the children as much as possible.

 

In terms of focussed activities, we were flexible about this, there was never a 'set' number each week, some weeks we may have had one every day, some we would carry on through the week as it was more involved. They usually came from observations of the children and could cover any or several areas of learning. In these we did have a leaning objective as these were adult directed with a purpose in mind.

 

I think we all have those 'I cant get my head round this' days but getting your team on board is pretty big and so slowly does it, it will pay off in the end.

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For those of you who read my endlest boring posts on planing you'll know I am forever confused on planning!

 

I was at the end of my tether last week and called in my EYAT (Early years advisory teacher) give her credit she came in straight away. She has said

 

Group time- maximum of 10 minutes -

if we really feel we need to do one! She says there is no reason why we cant have mini group times going on as and when required throughout the morning in free flow - this way we wont be interupting the children.

 

Free flow all morniing without stopping is the way to go

 

I was concerned that we planned no activity with a learning intention anymore she said we dont need to, just plan activities for the individual children observe them and link to learning afterwards.

She said if we are proactive playing with the children we will be extending and covering all areas oflearning

 

I asked about celebrations and events -example Christmas we might of linked to areas of learning and provided lots of activities for the children to do, she said there is no harm in still covering this theme as no doubt all the children would be interested in it but we dont need to link to learning, as for activities let the children decide .

If we are going to add resources for example shaving foam (pretend snow) in the malleable area record this on a planning sheet apart from that no need to plan further.

 

Still feels as though we arent doing enough tho!

 

hope this might help a bit x

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That is basically what our EYFAT said to me recently whilst attending a course. Have made an appointment for her to come into our setting. Its getting staff to change their thinking along these lines as they seem to want to do alot of focused activites based on development matters statements.

 

smiles

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For those of you who read my endlest boring posts on planing you'll know I am forever confused on planning!

 

I was at the end of my tether last week and called in my EYAT (Early years advisory teacher) give her credit she came in straight away. She has said

 

Group time- maximum of 10 minutes -

if we really feel we need to do one! She says there is no reason why we cant have mini group times going on as and when required throughout the morning in free flow - this way we wont be interupting the children.

 

Free flow all morniing without stopping is the way to go

 

I was concerned that we planned no activity with a learning intention anymore she said we dont need to, just plan activities for the individual children observe them and link to learning afterwards.

She said if we are proactive playing with the children we will be extending and covering all areas oflearning

 

I asked about celebrations and events -example Christmas we might of linked to areas of learning and provided lots of activities for the children to do, she said there is no harm in still covering this theme as no doubt all the children would be interested in it but we dont need to link to learning, as for activities let the children decide .

If we are going to add resources for example shaving foam (pretend snow) in the malleable area record this on a planning sheet apart from that no need to plan further.

 

Still feels as though we arent doing enough tho!

 

hope this might help a bit x

Sounds good to me what age children was she refering too. I am in a mixed nursery/reception class but only a small group.

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Sharon, stop stressing :o !

 

Your EYAT has given you sound advice, so go with it in this instance. Follow the children, that's what it's all about - you'll enjoy everything again then! xD

 

Sue xxx

 

PS -I'm considering ditching our one-a-day focus activities myself, in favour of even more specifically tailored support and stretching.

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Thanks for posting the suggestions of your EYAT Sharon.

 

I like the idea of linking to learning after children have participated in an activity but would you do this for every child or document the general learning of the activity (e.g. on focused planning sheet) and write individual significant observations for the necessary children?

 

Thanks

Green Hippo x

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This thread is really interesting, my Head Teacher asked me today whether it was enough only having 1 focused group a day for Nursery chldren. She'd been to visit another school who have much higher children to adult ratios than we have and they managed to give every child a focused activity per day. I just couldn't see how we could manage that. Thanks - it's good to hear what happens in your settings.

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For those of you who read my endlest boring posts on planing you'll know I am forever confused on planning!

 

I was at the end of my tether last week and called in my EYAT (Early years advisory teacher) give her credit she came in straight away. She has said

 

Group time- maximum of 10 minutes -

if we really feel we need to do one! She says there is no reason why we cant have mini group times going on as and when required throughout the morning in free flow - this way we wont be interupting the children.

 

Free flow all morniing without stopping is the way to go

 

I was concerned that we planned no activity with a learning intention anymore she said we dont need to, just plan activities for the individual children observe them and link to learning afterwards.

She said if we are proactive playing with the children we will be extending and covering all areas oflearning

 

I asked about celebrations and events -example Christmas we might of linked to areas of learning and provided lots of activities for the children to do, she said there is no harm in still covering this theme as no doubt all the children would be interested in it but we dont need to link to learning, as for activities let the children decide .

If we are going to add resources for example shaving foam (pretend snow) in the malleable area record this on a planning sheet apart from that no need to plan further.

 

Still feels as though we arent doing enough tho!

 

hope this might help a bit x

 

 

Hi,

this is all really interesting - it is something we have just been having big discussions about in our setting - we felt that we should have a "learning intention" for each activity and we have always done a focus activity (same one each session for 1 week).

 

We have now decided that we are going to stay free flow as we have been for years and introduce key worker time each session. Each keyworker will get at least 1 session per week (some work more sessions than others and have more children according to hours and experience) and this will be different days each week as not all children attend every day varying from 2-6 session per week.

We decided it was impossible and impractical to see all key children at once - it could be 10 children at 1 session for that keyworker so keyworkers will keep a record of who so they can cover all children in their group at least once per half term - depending on how many sessions they attend.

During keyworker time it is up to them what they do - either get a small group together, focus on a particular area or activity or observe a particular child or prepare resources to add to continuous provision for 'their children'.

 

We have some experienced and some new/less confident practitioners so it will be something to monitor to see how everyone copes.

Hope we've cracked it this time! we have changed something about the planning virtually every week since September!

 

Hope that all makes sense.

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It does make perfect sense benny - thank you! Your situation sounds very similar to mine so the ideas are easily transferable!

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