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work in a preschool room children aged from just turned 3 to 4.2 months.

 

we're open 8-6, some do full days others do 8-1 or 1-6

we have contiuous provision and im very passionate about child led activities, alongside continuos provison we plan for 3 or 4 adult led or focus activities to run throughout the week, which we encourage children to take part in but again its their choice if they want to. we having a rolling snack, and stop for lunch midday and tea mid afternoon

 

 

i dont like to interupt children in their play, especially if they're engorssed but we do stop for singing time before lunch and tea- which they seem to love, and after lunch and tea we sit down all together for carpet time- which usually has been a story but trying to encourage my team to rotate this time for story, circle time(with our class teddy) and letters and sounds activities.

 

we have a number of class "rules" which the children had an input into which include quiet voices, wlaking inside, being kind, listen, tidy up, share. if we see these behaviours childrens photos go on our behviours board, we always praise good behviour when we see it, "good sitting" " good listening"

 

however im starting to get abit frustrated and kinda upset, the children just dont seem to listen to us. one point last week one little boy even commented to another, "we dont want to do things the grown ups tell us we'll do what we want to do" --- thought i may have a revolt on my hands.

 

after lunch/tea time they are encouraged to go to the carpet and to be honest this has been something we have done in order to get them out of the way so we can tidy up from the meal (as we are still quiet i am often on my own so this is something ive needed to do)- bad i know- so the children go and sit down and then some begin climb over each other, wrestle, throw things, shout, run around the room. when we have been ready to begin the carpet session they dont calm down, have hands allover each other, talk among themselves, grab toys/books from the shelf.

 

we always remind them/get them to tell us what good sitters look like and this works for maybe first few mins then goes wrong. they dont seem to care.

 

where are we going worng, what advice could you give us?

 

as we are becoming busier we are usually not on our own so ive now said someone should go and start the carpet session while another team member tidys up.

 

i just get the feeling that coz they have so much freedom the rest of the time they are not happy about being asked to do something for a small amount of time.

 

maybe i should give them a choice- if you want to join the carpet session you can- but i get the feeling hardly any of them would join in, and if some did they would be disturbed or distracted by those playing elsewhere.

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we have tried to stop our carpet time after dinner as we felt that the children were sitting for a long time (10 mins before lunch then the lunch time) we have found that the children are notgoing out as much now the weather is getting colder, as they are not wanting to be out. i dont know if this i the case for you. i also dont know if letting the children to have free flow child led time is alway the best thing for children but that is just a personal veiw i just feel that the child feel they can do as they want the whole time and not have to listen to anyone. sorry to rant. i know that the children do benifit for free flow but i do feel there needs to be some adult led activites for the the chilren. You are not alone in this situation I dont know if it is also the run up to christmas that the children know that the end of term is near. xx x xx x x x x x

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I'm with you both on this one. I have seen a change in behaviour too. I feel that children do need a definite sense of boundaries and horror of horrors - discipline. I think that children respond well to discipline, boundaries for behaviour etc and that it actually gives them a sense of security and helps them to settle well, as does a strong routine. As long as we are not expecting children to sit still for unreasonable lengths of time, i do think that at this age, children should be able to sit for the length of time it takes to read a story. They probably sit for longer than this in front of a TV!

 

When we have children who have problems sitting - usually because they are younger, or new, then their Key Person sits with them to support them during story and songtime.

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My children are loopy and poor at listening at the moment too. However I have to agree with Wellerkaren, although free flow is great and I do it daily. I also think that there are times when children should do things otherwise there are things that chidlren would never experience. I tell all my chidlren that they have to do the activity that we ask them to do and then they can choose. But we have to be careful not to give the chidlren all the decision making!

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Must agree with others at how strange children's behaviour is at the moment.

 

Today we had a boy who just poured water from the trough over himself......twice!! No apparent reason and "I don't know" was his reply when I asked him why he did it. Other stuff was children taking spadefuls of sand and chucking it on the book shelves, in the post office post box (home corner) and the parent/helper just managed to stop another child from chucking it on the keyboard of the computer. These are children who never normally act up and we just don't understand the reasons.

 

Yes, we also have the wrestling on the floor at singing time (never for more than 10 minutes), children simply refusing to sit where normally they would. Is there a full moon and or is there something in the water I wonder???

 

Can't wait for the holidays....just got to get through our Christmas concert. Singing songs on stage, everyone dressed up with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. Did I just say I was looking forward to this??? :o

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Well done for raising a difficult topic!! I think sometimes there is a danger of focusing solely on the child's interests and following their lead without balancing that with appropriate routines and boundaries. I have a child at the moment who is finding following any sort of restrictions on what he wants to do extremely difficult - I give him adequate parts of the day to follow his interests and plan adult led activities around his interests that he enjoys but he completely resists any attempt by me to do something he does'nt really want to do, such as, sit for snack (and eat the food the other children are eating - not shouting for cake!!), stories, not throw toys on the floor, help to tidy up, walk in the same direction we are walking etc. I know from my close relationship with the parents that there is minimal boundaries and discipline at home - not judging, just an observation - and I feel that this is making it very difficult for him to accept my boundaries in the setting. i've another example of a child in my son's reception class who has sworn at his teacher and apparently his parents think he's just asserting his character. Children need boundaries to feel secure, they need to know what's expected of them to be able to learn and feel safe and happy - I wonder whether what we are experiencing in settings is largely to do with the impact of the home environment on children. Hope this doesn't sound too preachy - just had a particularly challenging couple of days

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Yep I can identify with these posts - do you think perhaps in the future we may look back when children refuse to ahere to certain life rules and say that we gave children too much choice!!

We deal with the problem of poor sitters and make our carpet time short, sweet and interactive with a good story. We also have a few chairs around the back of the carpet where we sit children who need a bit of support :o

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Hi

 

Just a thought, are the children not getting as much outside time. I know at our setting we have had to limit the time because it is so cold. There is now point heating the building and then leaving the door open. Also the children don't stay outside for long when it's cold and I worry about fingers in doors. In and out in and out. (last week hospital heroes had a child with the top of their finger sliced off in a nursery door).

 

We had a child fill up our role play car today with a box full of puzzles. It took a member of staff 40 minutes to sort it out! I have decided to set up a physical area in one corner of the playroom. I hope this helps.

 

I think its combination of lack of outdoor play / christmas excitement / too many 'crafts' expected to be produced, taking up too much adult time.

 

Thanks

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Well done for raising a difficult topic!! I think sometimes there is a danger of focusing solely on the child's interests and following their lead without balancing that with appropriate routines and boundaries. I have a child at the moment who is finding following any sort of restrictions on what he wants to do extremely difficult - I give him adequate parts of the day to follow his interests and plan adult led activities around his interests that he enjoys but he completely resists any attempt by me to do something he does'nt really want to do, such as, sit for snack (and eat the food the other children are eating - not shouting for cake!!), stories, not throw toys on the floor, help to tidy up, walk in the same direction we are walking etc. I know from my close relationship with the parents that there is minimal boundaries and discipline at home - not judging, just an observation - and I feel that this is making it very difficult for him to accept my boundaries in the setting. i've another example of a child in my son's reception class who has sworn at his teacher and apparently his parents think he's just asserting his character. Children need boundaries to feel secure, they need to know what's expected of them to be able to learn and feel safe and happy - I wonder whether what we are experiencing in settings is largely to do with the impact of the home environment on children. Hope this doesn't sound too preachy - just had a particularly challenging couple of days

 

Yes it does sound very preachy! - remember that these are individuals and they are learning how to get on with each other! Why get so stressed over pre school childrern who are all delightful and learning? are youtr boundaries for good reason or just because you have said so?Some children are square pegs and should not be made to fit into round holes!!

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Hi

 

Just a thought, are the children not getting as much outside time. I know at our setting we have had to limit the time because it is so cold. There is now point heating the building and then leaving the door open. Also the children don't stay outside for long when it's cold and I worry about fingers in doors. In and out in and out. (last week hospital heroes had a child with the top of their finger sliced off in a nursery door).

 

We had a child fill up our role play car today with a box full of puzzles. It took a member of staff 40 minutes to sort it out! I have decided to set up a physical area in one corner of the playroom. I hope this helps.

 

I think its combination of lack of outdoor play / christmas excitement / too many 'crafts' expected to be produced, taking up too much adult time.

 

Thanks

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Sounds like adults dont want to go out! Put a towel over top of door to stop fingers getting hurt. Get real - life for children (and adults) doesnt stop in cold weather!!! And who is expecting so many crafts?? - adults again! Think as a child then you may get your answers!!!

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Yes it does sound very preachy! - remember that these are individuals and they are learning how to get on with each other! Why get so stressed over pre school childrern who are all delightful and learning? are youtr boundaries for good reason or just because you have said so?Some children are square pegs and should not be made to fit into round holes!!

yes, my boundaries are for very good reason. I completely respect each unique child that I care for and respect their individual needs yet I do not think it unreasonable to not allow a child to walk into the road when we are all walking along the pavement because that is the way he wants to go or to eat cake and biscuits instead of nutritional food or to throw toys and put younger children at risk of harm - I think this is the downside of replying on forums and not having a conversation with an actual person as often text can give the wrong impression of people. I'm actually a very laid back practitioner in a small setting - i'm a childminder - and fortunate enough to be able to run my setting in a very flexible way that takes into account the 'square pegs' but I still hold true to my initial post that children need appropriate boundaries to help them feel secure. Inever said I was stressed - children challenging me is all part of the job.

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Hi NorthernBird

 

I'm a student in a placement so if any of this offends you I will apologise now. I say this because I may be suggesting something you already have in place.

 

Just wondering if you have any picture signs around you setting? We have signs showing the 5 golden rules e.g. walking feet, listening ears, nice voices (as in talking not shouting), happy face and minds awake. We remind children of these rules when gathered for circle time. We have adjusted it for story time as this is in another room and changed walking feet to hands still (hands on their laps) and quiet mouths to still lips. Again we remind them of this when settling down for a story.

 

I also know that sometimes my supervisor will flash the lights off and on. She does this when she wishes to get the childrens attention such as when she wants them to assemble on the mat in preparation for going outside e.g. toileting and putting on coats. The children stop in their tracks. She sometimes uses it when the children are going a bit mad (probably the wrong word to use) and tells them when she has their attention that she has noticed that are some children who are not following our golden rules (she never singles them out in front of the class) and she then reminds them of the rules again.

 

I would agree that the kids are starting to get a bit excited about Xmas but thinking back to my childhood so did I and I now have a 6 year old son who feels exactly the same! Most conversations include Santa at some point e.g. do you think santa tidies his room? does he eat all his dinner? The catalogues are now out and we now have nearly every toy in the book on his list!!

 

On a completely different note, enjoy the season everyone, it only comes but once a year and its the children that make it all the more enjoyable!

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I'd like to suggest that giving children boundaries and expecting them to follow them CONSISTENTLY is the way to actually enable them freedom of choice. Without boundaries, and by these I mean ways in which to teach children respect of each other, respect of adults and respect of their environment, freedom of choice will be limited because the environment wouldn't be 'civilised'. In society we have boundaries, ones that keep us safe, ones that expect us to have consideration of others and our environment.

 

We shouldn't get the term 'boundaries' mixed up with having rules for rules sake, to teach children to conform, conformity is necessary to a degree bu within the context of understanding individual characters, in all groups we have leaders and followers, indians and chiefs, it's enabling both these characters to flourish, to not 'squash' childrens individuality that we strive to achieve.

 

The fact that the original query was raised shows that the challenge is sometimes difficult, the responses shows that we all strive for a calm, secure, happy atmosphere within our settings and that there could be a variety of 'external' and individual childrens reasons why the balance sometimes tips into unsettled behaviour.

 

As tessybear states childrens perspectives are part of the considerations when reviewing practice, but to blame adults completely I don't think is very helpful. As a parent advisor, telling parents what I think they are doing wrong ( and who am I to know) wouldn't help the problem, just exacerbate it and make the parent feel either worthless or defensive. Suggestions as to what to think about when reviewing practice, ie: how long are they sitting pre lunch, during lunch then after lunch is more constructive. Sharing ideas that we've tried and found works for us is helpful too, but doesn't necessarily mean these ideas will work in every setting.

 

In my setting we had a big space for indoor active play(some settings don't have the space). One thing we did do for after lunch is tat the children were involved in the clearing up process, with the adult, we placed a bowl of soapy waterand a drainer next to the lunch table, the children washed up their own plates and utensils, wiped the table cloth, then decided what activity they wanted on the cleared table. Maybe this is an idea you might like to try Northernbird. I would like to just reassure you that I think all settings have tese 'phases' whereby it feels that the children aren't responding as we would best like, the 'phase' will pass, I'm sure, because you are addressing the matter by reviewing what you do. So well done for that and for not just muddling through to end of term. :o

 

Peggy

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mummyspud, your post reminds me of when I used to use the lights off to gain attention, calm a noisy room. One day I had my advisory teacher visiting, the noise levels gradually got louder and it was a time within the session to get ready fo lunch, anyway I trotted off to the light switch, in a very large hall, turned the lights off, which evoked near silence and stillness, and then I said to the few children still moving around "Are you listening, Can you see me?". The teacher advisor looked at me with a broad grin, at which point I realised it was really quite dark and most probably the children at the far end of the hall couldn't see me. :(:o

 

We do ask children silly questions sometimes don't we. xD

 

 

Peggy

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Did I hear shouting just then? Tis the season to be jolly :o

 

I believe boundaries are needed, my usual response to bad behaviour is to ask 'do you do that at home?' Depending on the answer I reply 'well this isnt home' or ' dont do it here either then'.

I think this time of year is a time for the children to start getting hyped up and the adults to start feeling pressure, so while the children are acting quite differently we can also be responding differently.

For the children who dont want to listenor join in, dont make them. Give them a choice of sitting to eat, listen join in or doing something with an adult. I always explain these are your choices, choose one!

Have something exciting to show them a mat time. There was a programme on teachers TV a while back about an anticipation box. Someone would put an item in the box which was opened later in the day, but the anticipation of the children grew and grew and they were all eager to see what was inside, although I havent been able to do this myself so not sure how well it works in practice rather than with a hand picked group for the TV! You could try having your christmas list, or decorations, pictures of toys.

 

I work wirth a maximum of 7 pre-schoolers at the moment so while I can sympathise I can also smile. xD

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Don't worry Peggy, my supervisor always turns the light on again once she has their attention and before she starts talking!! xD

 

Agree with the advent calender chocolate, another girl on my couse said that one little girls mum had told them that her little girl refused to eat breakfast because someone had given her a selection box. The mum ended up caving in (as us mums sometimes do) and gave her 2 packets of sweets from it, as she didnt want her little one going to school on an empty stomach!!!

 

As much as love I sweets and chocolate, even I couldnt manage that for my breakfast! :o

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We had a serious problem of this kind a few years ago, and we took a long look at the structure of our session, and whether we could still do the altogether activities like Big Book time, singing, etc and also give the children plenty of time for child-initiated play. At the time, we had a music session (which always involved movement), then snack altogether, then tried to read a story afterwards. As you say, Northernbird, the children were all over the place, as if we'd given them all gallons of SunnyDelight! We swapped the activities round, had storytime before snack, and lots of dancing/movement/instruments afterwards, and all our problems were solved :o We kept to that routine for about seven years, until we closed in July. In our case, it was simply they had more energy and needed a more physical activity after snacktime.

 

I hope you are able to ride the storm; I know how stressful it can be when children are rolling over the floor, kicking children that actually want to join in with the activity on offer, and generally upsetting everyone else. I agree with the excellent advice from members above; they do need boundaries and it is up to us to set reasonable ones within the context of an environment that suits the learning needs of the children.

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just another thought - if it's the same children who are rolling around at carpet time could they maybe be given the choice to help the other member of staff clear away the tables or sit for quiet time. this would mean that the children who need the rest can enjoy the story/circletime undisturbed and when the other children have finished helping clear up they could then choose a more active activity with the other member of staff.

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work in a preschool room children aged from just turned 3 to 4.2 months.

 

we're open 8-6, some do full days others do 8-1 or 1-6

we have contiuous provision and im very passionate about child led activities, alongside continuos provison we plan for 3 or 4 adult led or focus activities to run throughout the week, which we encourage children to take part in but again its their choice if they want to. we having a rolling snack, and stop for lunch midday and tea mid afternoon

 

 

i dont like to interupt children in their play, especially if they're engorssed but we do stop for singing time before lunch and tea- which they seem to love, and after lunch and tea we sit down all together for carpet time- which usually has been a story but trying to encourage my team to rotate this time for story, circle time(with our class teddy) and letters and sounds activities.

 

we have a number of class "rules" which the children had an input into which include quiet voices, wlaking inside, being kind, listen, tidy up, share. if we see these behaviours childrens photos go on our behviours board, we always praise good behviour when we see it, "good sitting" " good listening"

 

however im starting to get abit frustrated and kinda upset, the children just dont seem to listen to us. one point last week one little boy even commented to another, "we dont want to do things the grown ups tell us we'll do what we want to do" --- thought i may have a revolt on my hands.

 

after lunch/tea time they are encouraged to go to the carpet and to be honest this has been something we have done in order to get them out of the way so we can tidy up from the meal (as we are still quiet i am often on my own so this is something ive needed to do)- bad i know- so the children go and sit down and then some begin climb over each other, wrestle, throw things, shout, run around the room. when we have been ready to begin the carpet session they dont calm down, have hands allover each other, talk among themselves, grab toys/books from the shelf.

 

we always remind them/get them to tell us what good sitters look like and this works for maybe first few mins then goes wrong. they dont seem to care.

 

where are we going worng, what advice could you give us?

 

as we are becoming busier we are usually not on our own so ive now said someone should go and start the carpet session while another team member tidys up.

 

i just get the feeling that coz they have so much freedom the rest of the time they are not happy about being asked to do something for a small amount of time.

 

maybe i should give them a choice- if you want to join the carpet session you can- but i get the feeling hardly any of them would join in, and if some did they would be disturbed or distracted by those playing elsewhere.

 

Do we work in the same setting? l really have no answer, but l am hoping someone would give advise on what to do with the children after tea/lunch time when tidying up l can almost read Ofsted report ''children are not adequately controlled after lunch time with some displaying bad behaviour''. Do you take them outdoors,? we tell the children they must relax after lunch so that thier food can go down nicely. But like you wrote some would jump, kick run. On another matter entirely, can you mop the floor with disinfectant whilst the children are in the room Advisory Teacher said no because of the fumes that might come out and Ofsted would not like it, also read in one Ofsted report that mop and bucket should not be kept in the children's toilet.

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Sounds like adults dont want to go out! Put a towel over top of door to stop fingers getting hurt. Get real - life for children (and adults) doesnt stop in cold weather!!! And who is expecting so many crafts?? - adults again! Think as a child then you may get your answers!!!

 

Actually, today six out of 14 children chose to stay in. I think that's the children choosing. Others asked to go in even though they has coats/ hats/ mittens and lots of room to run about. Putting a towel over the top of the door won't allow me to close the door. Staff already wear thermals and children are advised to wear layers. I can only imagine that you work in a nice brick building.

 

Parents expect a certain amount of christmas crafts, which the children all want to do, they have loved the mod roc and throwing glitter everywhere / papier maiche. Our only problem is stopping them taking it home before its finsihed. I think everyone who has completed a FD, has learnt to see it all through the children's eyes however this has to be conbined with a little health and safety.

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Hmm..

I think it's important to remember that we all work in different physical environments with lots of different constraints on us. I remember working in a sessional group years ago when to keep the doors open to allow free-flow would have been like having the side of the building hanging off, with all the dangers of slamming 'house sides' taking hands, not finger ends, off! We got round that by having a staff member stationed at an activity near the outside access, so children that wanted could join the 'out' group.

We all know how desirable freeflow and outdoor access is, and I'm sure we offer it, where we can. However, when children are making it clear they want to be inside, I see no problem with allowing them to be. Certainly, I respect children's ability to make their own decisions as to comfort and preferences.

In my experience, although parents may like to see a bit of 'craft', happy children is the aim - as I said before, if they choose to participate in these activities, I see no problem.

 

Sue

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I think we're in danger of taking the 'child choice' too far. Yes to outdoor play often and yes to child chosen activities but I do sometimes wonder whether we're storing up trouble by not making demands on childrens time. Do we really want a generation of children who think they can do exactly what they want? I wont tolerate rudness, I never did with my children and I wont with anyone elses. If a child is disrupting the rest of the group while having a story or by wanting to do something that its not a suitable time to do then I'll tell them. Rules and boundaries are needed as is the ability to understand that everyone is involved in the group and it doesnt revolve around their likes and dislikes.

Obviously we will make allowances for the children who arent developmentaly ready to sit, listen, chose, but for those who are ready then I fully expect them to be part of it.

 

I sound harsh and I suspect from the tone of some of the posts that I'll be berated but I'm a really fair, fun person who just happens to think children shouldnt have all their own way whatever the EYFS might say.

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No reason you should be berated for giving a point of view Rea - we very rarely have berating at the FSF! :o

 

In all seriousness, the discussion above did get out of hand at one point, and the best way of shutting down the free exchange of views (and I reckon most of us think the free exchange of views is a Good Thing...) is to mock or scorn another's contribution. Engaging constructively with a point of view you disagree with is fine. Attacking it with a verbal sledgehammer isn't.

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I always find that behaviour goes downhill at this time of year, it could be the fact that we have a very :o decorated nursery, loads of glitter, tinsel etc. etc. added to the creative area, carols playing......but I think it is chocolate ( advent calenders) eaten so early in the day that can make them a bit lively!!!

 

Julie

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Oh I do so prefer improperly :o

 

Now now you two!

 

I do agree with Rea that children have to learn to follow reasonable rules. This is part of socialisation and learning to consider others as well as oneself. Children who understand the boundaries feel secure and are more open to learning, laughter and the joy of being part of a group.

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