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"the Perfect Day"!


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I'm at the very start of a long process of developing the learning environment indoors and outdoors, in our room for 3-4 year old children.

 

At the moment I'm gathering the views of all the staff in terms of what works well and also what they would like to change/develop/introduce in order to make the environment/routine, etc. more effective and responsive to the needs of the children, in line with the EYFS framework. Following that, I want to create some kind of "vision" document which looks at where we are now and a series of steps to take us to the environment that we all ultimately want to create. Within this, we will obviously look at any documentation/paperwork to do with obs/assessments/planning that we feel will support and evidence our work. I shall distribute this discussion document prior to a room meeting where we can set the wheels in motion and do some action planning.

 

So...my question is.....what would you see as "the perfect day" for you and the children you care for......

What sort of routine, if any?

How would the room be set up for the children at the start of the session?

Are any adult focussed activities planned for each session or would the children take the lead in everything?

Would you have whole/large group activities during the session?

Would you all sit together for snack or have a snack bar system?

Have you ALREADY got the perfect day sorted and if so, what do you feel are the key elements that make it perfect?

Are you happy that your paperwork is adequate/effective/manageable?

 

I would be very grateful for as many views and ideas as possible - so that I can give my staff a lot of food for thought. I'm very excited about writing this document but also feeling a bit daunted at the moment! :o

Edited by Wolfie
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owww my own office with nibbles and a glass of wine xD:(:(:(

 

opps sorry - is hard to say as im not in perminent premises which does hamper our provision.

 

But what works well for us is a mobile coat carrier we wheel about thats made the coat and wellie business much easier and quicker. changing my planning to cover all ELGs inside and outside - so dosnt matter where the child is playing they are acessing the cirriculum as a whole.

im still a stickler for group snack time as its a lovely time where staff and children interact and chatter.

 

:o

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Oh how I wish for a perfect day in the nursery! We do individual plans for all the children for the week and also add to our continuous provision every week/2 weeks several activities to do with either a general theme or to do with interests that we have observed. The children can access these activities by themselves so they are child led. We tend to have a couple of art activities going on - these may be adult led but if the children do not want to do them they do not have to. The individual plans have adult led or adult/child activities. We do still have circle time and within this there are usually adult led activities not just songs but psed activities, story bags, maths (sorry PSRN - I can't get used to writing this - usually end up putting PSED instead!). I still find circle time really valuable in terms of teaching - we do do some smaller group activities within the session such as Kims game etc. We haven't quite been brave enough to try free flow yet - have many reservations about this and the complete lack of structure - I do worry that it will lead to no routine and also the practicalities are mad. It was freezing today - how are we going to keep the door open. Also I think that children sometimes socialise less outside as they become quite involved in their own little worlds. We have changed to a cafe style snack though which has been a great success - the children picked it up so quickly and are much, much calmer - they still sit and chat and their table manners have improved. When we did group snack they banged their bowls about, shouted and were generally silly and the mass handwashing was horrendous. I also find that the we are not rushing about trying to get everything done during our free play time as this now goes on for much longer because the children are able to do this. I was very reluctant to try cafe style snack and only did this because the group snack did not suit the children that I have at the moment as they are much younger and we have several lively boys. It's all so hard trying to get the perfect day - I think I try all the time and get so tired and confused about what is the best thing to do. I think the best thing to do is to trust your instincts and go with what you believe in after all you know your setting and you know your children. So take a little bit from here and a little bit from there and make your setting unique!

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I am not sure about "perfect days" in nursery, but some days are pretty darn good!!!!

 

I think few rules.

 

BUT those you have should be consistent and fair and there for a good reason. (ie aprons for painting / water play. kind hands. no running inside etc)

 

Door open ALL the time.

 

Access to outdoors 99% of the time........

We open the doors directly after registration or story or activate depending on whats going on and it is only closed when tidying up is done and we come together on the carpet before lunch or heading home.

 

Tuck in a cafe style environment

Everyone eats and drinks to suit themselves.

 

Lots of exciting activities out to have a go at, but space, time and flexibility if someone comes in wanting to be red riding hood!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Look forward to hearing how your vision comes aong! :o

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I was very pleased with the structure of our morning that we eventually arrived at about three years ago and stuck with it to the end :o

 

We had three rooms;

1) Main playroom (carpeted) with role play area and space for floor activities. We used to put our a couple fo things but mainly let the children make their own decisions.

 

2) The sunroom; graphics and puzzle tables which we set up, but which also allowed a change of resources by the children. Book area with floor cushions, and space for the children to move stuff around from other areas.

 

3) Creative workshop; water and sand tables or other malleable stuff, painting, sticking. Sometimes we had something in mind, but most often, we put out materials as suggestions, but the children had free access to the art shelves and chose what they needed.

 

All this was available from 8.30 to 10.30, when we then tidied up and all had a Big Book together, followed by a music session. Snack next, altogether (I loved it that way, too), and then another PE/dancing/movement session because they were all energetic after their snack!

 

We then divided the children into two groups (between 7 to 10 children), and one did circle time and the other did another movement/dance/drama session. The groups then swapped, and then we went outside for the rest of the morning, until 12.30.

 

If the weather was great, we'd go outside much earlier, and do most of the activities there. Freeflow in and out was never really an option for us because of the layout of our driveway, and the fact that the garden could not have been managed safely by one or two members of staff. It really needed three or four members of staff.

 

I felt this routine was really well balanced and it fitted the children's general energy levels. xD

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Surely the perfect day depends on what each individual child and member of staff views as perfect? and is there any such thing as perfect?

What is good for one will be bad for another....

 

I think if you have the right balance of fun and laughter, the ups outweigh the downs, and everyones input, advise and knowledge is valued - you will achieve something that is individual to your setting, your children and your team....trust your instincts....I am sure that there is a lot of good in what you are already doing...I have been out of day care for over 12 months now and have finally remembered my own thoughts!!!

 

I know this doesn't answer your questions but it's a little insight into how I plan my 'perfect' programme now :oxD

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My perfect day started before arriving at preschool, I would blast "My Perogative, by Bobby Brown" from the car stereo, or some other 'motivational' upbeat music. xD

 

I asked that all staff left their 'home worries' at the door.

All staff clear in their roles/tasks and supportive of each other.

We made time to talk about and share the funny things, the good things, the cute things, the positive things about all the children.

We were a set out and pack away group, we didn't have free flow to outside but went out for a walk every day, sometimes twice (am & pm).

Some variety in how room (large hall) was set out but 50% clear space for physical activity ie: bikes/ scooters available every session. 40% floor space for playing ie: floor puzzles, construction, small world etc. 10% tables.

Every resource out all the time, self select furniture. However, tables were empty for children to choose what to put on them. The only thing we had in cupboards were variations of say construction equipment, jigsaws etc.

Routine was based on childrens rhythmes of the day, we would try to ensure a group hello, a group story (but sometimes in two smaller groups), and the group walk. Timings dictated by children, if engrossed in play we didn't interupt to form large groups.

Snack bar self select open all session. Children involved in setting out / clearing and washing own plates/cups etc.

Sand and water (or varients of) available everyday.

 

WE never restricted children from taking resources to different parts of the setting, we helped them to decide if safe, suitable, and to be responsible for how the use of resources affected the environment rather than just say no. For example if they wanted to transport water from the cloakroom to the water tray, we would move the water tray nearer and place towels. rubber mats down along the 'route'. If they took playdough to the role play area and some got on the carpet, we gave the child a blunt knife to scrape it off, or gave them the clothes to take home and wash if they wore a dressing up outfit at the art area and forgot their apron. I have seen children head for the art area, to be stopped to change, then they lose the impetus (spl) and decide not to do whatever they were originally inspired to create / represent at the art area.

 

Time to 'just be' for the children and the staff. No 'agenda, goal, outcome' at an activity or in the play space other than to enjoy each others company. To just chill out and be together.

 

Each member of staff had a 'working buddy' with shared same responsibilities.

 

just some of the things I enjoyed.

 

 

I personally think it is less about the resources, the end results be it evidencing what has been taught / learnt but primarily about attitudes, how lucky we are to have the privilage of sharing this important time in every childs life. So to try not to complain because what other job gives so much satisfaction, the children appreciatte us unconditionally.

 

I did used to complain about 'external pressures' on my work, maybe because I felt there wasn't much I could do about it. So a perfect session for me would also include no visits from any 'advisor' however well meaning they are, I don't need them, I have enough advisors here thanks. :o

 

Peggy

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Nice to know I am not the only one xD:(:(

I also prefer snack all together!!

 

At our last ofsted it was 'implied' that we couldn't get an outstanding without snack bar as they felt it wasn't a child chosen 'activity'. Children shouldn't be taken from a task/pack up to have snack. :(

 

We tried the snack bar, but it just didn't work for us/our children after we evaluated it fully, I will have to wait and see if this satisfies Mrs O, but the chances of getting the same inspector is so slim and it wasn't a problem the inspection before!! Oh how I wish they all sang from the same song sheet!!

 

My perfect day?! I am unsure about this. Loads of child initiated activities/continuous provision and time to observe what is going on. And no one being sick!! But thats a whole other story!! :o

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I know this doesn't answer your questions but it's a little insight into how I plan my 'perfect' programme now :oxD

 

Thank you Jayde - it does answer my question - I'm as much interested in the principles and philosophies underlying people's practice as in the practice itself, so every comment helps! You're right, there is a lot of good practice going on already and the staff team are a very skilled and dedicated bunch, for which I am truly thankful - it's the "shared vision" leadership that I think is missing and which I want to develop.

Edited by Wolfie
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Oh how I wish for a perfect day in the nursery! We do individual plans for all the children for the week and also add to our continuous provision every week/2 weeks several activities to do with either a general theme or to do with interests that we have observed. The children can access these activities by themselves so they are child led. We tend to have a couple of art activities going on - these may be adult led but if the children do not want to do them they do not have to. The individual plans have adult led or adult/child activities. We do still have circle time and within this there are usually adult led activities not just songs but psed activities, story bags, maths (sorry PSRN - I can't get used to writing this - usually end up putting PSED instead!). I still find circle time really valuable in terms of teaching - we do do some smaller group activities within the session such as Kims game etc. We haven't quite been brave enough to try free flow yet - have many reservations about this and the complete lack of structure - I do worry that it will lead to no routine and also the practicalities are mad. It was freezing today - how are we going to keep the door open. Also I think that children sometimes socialise less outside as they become quite involved in their own little worlds. We have changed to a cafe style snack though which has been a great success - the children picked it up so quickly and are much, much calmer - they still sit and chat and their table manners have improved. When we did group snack they banged their bowls about, shouted and were generally silly and the mass handwashing was horrendous. I also find that the we are not rushing about trying to get everything done during our free play time as this now goes on for much longer because the children

 

 

 

 

Hi quackers, How many children do you have in your nursery and how do you manage to do an indivdual plan for them each week and are they enhancements you add to your continuous provision every two weeks.. Thanks Ger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

are able to do this. I was very reluctant to try cafe style snack and only did this because the group snack did not suit the children that I have at the moment as they are much younger and we have several lively boys. It's all so hard trying to get the perfect day - I think I try all the time and get so tired and confused about what is the best thing to do. I think the best thing to do is to trust your instincts and go with what you believe in after all you know your setting and you know your children. So take a little bit from here and a little bit from there and make your setting unique!

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