Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Child Initiated Learning


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

I recently put a post on here about short term/ long term planning but didn't have my questions completely answered so am trying again! When planning activities in a reception classroom- do you let children have free choice of where do go or do you set up activities where the children could lead their own learning? I work alongside two other teachers who group the 30 children into 6 groups. 2 groups would have a focussed acivity with an adult and the other 4 groups have 4 activities- e.g. construction, maths area, role play and small world. The children would move on when ready and the 6 groups would each have a chance to spend time on each activity throughout the week and more may be set up.

 

I am wondering if this is giving the children enough of their own initiated learning. If I let them all choose where to go then how would I record who has been to which activity and how could i guarantee that every child is getting a balance of activties? In my last school they followed abacus plans which give adult led activities and 'free choice' activities, which are activities that have been set up by an adult but the child leads their own learning- so the actvities have some adult input.

I am afraid of becoming too structured but at the same time want some organisation.

 

I would really just like to hear what some other people do! I am new to teaching reception so want to be doing things correctly.

 

Thanks, Smiley.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Smiley24

I responded before and I still think that you will have to make your own mind up on this one.

 

Personally I dont like working in the way you describe your colleagues working but that doesnt necessarily make it right or wrong! Do you have the freedom to work differently? You need to work in way that is right for you.

 

Why do you need to know where everyone has been? If the adults rotate and focused tasks are broad and balanced children will have the opportunity to learn appropriately. Use your teaching time to ensure coverage.

 

I always think independent activities are more productive if the child has chosen where to go rather than being told to work independently in the home corner etc. For that reason I do not like limiting the numbers in any one area either although sometimes this is necessary to avoid a free for all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi!

Personally I would say that if you have asked a child to go and work in an area or at an activity then it is an adult led or initiated based piece of learning, which obviously has it's place but if your whole day is structured like this i would be thinking about the quality of your observations and if they are then truly child initiated.

 

I don't know if this is right or wrong, but this is how I structure my Reception class...

 

We have a small input first thing, completing the time table, counting, singing, days of the week etc and pick up on anything of interest and then I have one adult led activity (small group) that is usually maths or phonics based which the children rotate over the week and all have completed by the end of the week (we are a relatively small class and i have a full time NVQ3 trained TA). I then rotate this activity with my TA daily, so when that adult led activity is being completed the rest of the class have opportunity for independent learning and the other adult completes snapshots and then can have the opportunity to intervene and bring learning forwards.

During the small input first thing i will tell the children what is available in the classroom for example, there are cards on the writing table, maybe you could write a card to your mummy etc... so i plant an idea but never actually tell them where to go. (I obviously try hard to link continuous provision to the teaching objectives for the week, so in theory the children have the opportunity to apply what they have learnt in independent learning...). This first session is, apart form the small group working with the adult, purely child initiated and we gather fantastic snapshots and ideas for next weeks planning from these pure child initiated sessions.

After snack and break, I then complete a more formal lesson when i will have differentiated adult led activities and 2 adult initiated (so I will say for example what patterns can you make with the beads? And leave the children to their own devices).

Followed by phonics, which is differentiated. Then in the afternoon I tend to complete a lesson that is less formal often with an adult led activity whilst the other children are again in child initiated learning. I always try to ensure that if the children are independent learning there is an adult there to observe and potentially enhance the learning.

 

I hope this makes sense. I have only had a pure Reception Class since September, before i had a mixed YR/1 so i have had to revise the structure completely, but i've found this works for me and my Early Years Consultant seemed very happy with it! I do in some respects have it quite lucky because I work in a tiny school and can pretty much do things how i like.

I hope this helps! (and makes sense, I have a tendency to ramble!) Queline x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I tend to agree with Susan in that we have to make our own minds up with our own classes in mind. I spent a long time thinking and trying out new things (mostly ideas from all the fab people on this forum!) and it really has to be what you and the adults you work with believe in too to a certain extent.

I have a large Reception class and am lucky enough to have a very large room and access to outside freely accessable each day. Due to the high number of children we are well staffed and I tend to run things along the same lines as Queline in that I have a small whole class input at the start of the day after normal daily stuff (counting children etc etc) and that whole class input will be foucussed on the area of learning for the day. After this one adult will lead a group activity which all children will do through the day one adult will be outside (free flow) and another adult will be observing/focussing on certain children or extending play as necessary. We do phonics after lunch and the rest of the day rolls into one. I ensure I am offering the children activities which will cover all six areas of development each day but they are also free to develop activites or select resources of their own choosing too. It works for us - nobody has told me it is wrong yet(!!) and I feel so much less pressure than I used to and most importantly I have noticed a distinct improvement in the children's behaviour and looking around our area most children are normally fully absorbed in what they are doing. Sorry if i have rambled and it doesnt make sense - hope it is of some help! xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This definition is from the NAA and is likely to be the one used by OFSTED for inspection purposes.

 

It is not truly CI when adults

set an agenda or suggest what children are to do

send children to a particular area

limit what they can use

organise groups to "play" together

limit the time children can spend in an area

rotate groups around provision

 

When children are initiating their own learning they decide

where to go

what to do within boundaries of expectations of behaviour

who to collaborate with

how long to be there within the boundaries of the day

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This definition is from the NAA and is likely to be the one used by OFSTED for inspection purposes.

 

It is not truly CI when adults

set an agenda or suggest what children are to do

send children to a particular area

limit what they can use

organise groups to "play" together

limit the time children can spend in an area

rotate groups around provision

 

When children are initiating their own learning they decide

where to go

what to do within boundaries of expectations of behaviour

who to collaborate with

how long to be there within the boundaries of the day

 

 

Thank you, this is very helpful. I also like the other suggestions given. As I am working alongside two other reception classes I want to keep a similar routine to provide consistency. I have sketched out a rough timetable and am going to include an activity session each day where the children can choose without any direction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I tend to agree with Susan in that we have to make our own minds up with our own classes in mind. I spent a long time thinking and trying out new things (mostly ideas from all the fab people on this forum!) and it really has to be what you and the adults you work with believe in too to a certain extent.

I have a large Reception class and am lucky enough to have a very large room and access to outside freely accessable each day. Due to the high number of children we are well staffed and I tend to run things along the same lines as Queline in that I have a small whole class input at the start of the day after normal daily stuff (counting children etc etc) and that whole class input will be foucussed on the area of learning for the day. After this one adult will lead a group activity which all children will do through the day one adult will be outside (free flow) and another adult will be observing/focussing on certain children or extending play as necessary. We do phonics after lunch and the rest of the day rolls into one. I ensure I am offering the children activities which will cover all six areas of development each day but they are also free to develop activites or select resources of their own choosing too. It works for us - nobody has told me it is wrong yet(!!) and I feel so much less pressure than I used to and most importantly I have noticed a distinct improvement in the children's behaviour and looking around our area most children are normally fully absorbed in what they are doing. Sorry if i have rambled and it doesnt make sense - hope it is of some help! xx

 

Hi, this sounds similar to what I have in mind-although we only have 2 adults. How many children do you have in your class? how many groups do you have and how many children do you have during an adult led group activity? Also, how many literacy and numeracy adult led small group activities do you have a week? sorry for the lst of questions! I have a literacy and numeracy short whole class session each day and letters and sounds after lunch but as i have the class of 30 split into 6 groups of 5, i was wondering how many small group sessions i would manage to fit in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This definition is from the NAA and is likely to be the one used by OFSTED for inspection purposes.

Thanks for this Marion - I shall use this at my inset training day on Tuesday. Can you point me in the direction of where exactly the quote comes from please? It would be nice to be able to show the staff that its not just me on my high horse again! :o

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for this Marion - I shall use this at my inset training day on Tuesday. Can you point me in the direction of where exactly the quote comes from please? It would be nice to be able to show the staff that its not just me on my high horse again! :o

 

Maz

 

It was in a hand out from a EYFS course I attended and the acknowledgement only said NAA I'm afraid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was in a hand out from a EYFS course I attended and the acknowledgement only said NAA I'm afraid.

Well this is interesting - I did a quick search to see what I could find and came up with a Pre-school Learning Alliance newsletter which quoted Marion's post exactly. The newsletter also quotes the NAA for the statement of what consitutes child initiated learning, but thanks the Foundation Stage Forum for the article! I've had a quick look to find the article on here but have had no joy.

 

I thought I'd upload the newsletter for you to read so you know I'm not just going a bit mad... :o

 

There's also an interesting article in the newsletter about policies on nappy changing too so its well worth a read! I'm hoping that since the newsletter was freely available on the internet and the source is acknowledged that it is ok to upload here - but a friendly moderator will no doubt remove it if not!

 

Maz

Spring_2008_PLA_Newsletter.doc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I cant quite believe that Im awake or that Im posting at this hour of the morning but its fine to make the link, Maz, that does not infringe copyright. Unless, Im not as awake as I think I am!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it was a really good newsletter, I wish our county did something like that - no, i'm definately not volunteering!

 

I too have seen the info in a thread on here this year

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The PLA Newsletter was great wasn't it? I followed the link to the flu outbreak guidance and have downloaded the posters to display next week, plus the summary guidance. Ours were dropping like flies before Christmas!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, this sounds similar to what I have in mind-although we only have 2 adults. How many children do you have in your class? how many groups do you have and how many children do you have during an adult led group activity? Also, how many literacy and numeracy adult led small group activities do you have a week? sorry for the lst of questions! I have a literacy and numeracy short whole class session each day and letters and sounds after lunch but as i have the class of 30 split into 6 groups of 5, i was wondering how many small group sessions i would manage to fit in.

Hi - I have 30 children in my class and I dont group my children at the moment - I tend to allow them to complete the group activity as and when - I do call them over when interest gets lost though otherwise some of the would never do a group activity! I tend to make sure my group activity covers lit or numeracy outcomes even if the focus in K&U if you see what I mean but I also count what is going on in the sand tray/water tray/play dough so it varies each week -Sorry cant be more detailled than that! We also dont go to whole school assembies anymore and staff take their breaks on a rolling basis through the morning which frees up a surprising amount of time I have to say - although that was more difficult when there were two of us that is easier with three! I have so far always managed to get all the children done during the day working in small groups and havent found it a rush - I also try and offer something along similar lines to go on outside/in cont. provision so if a child has paticulary enjoyed an activty they can develop it further themselves. Dont know if it helps - let me know if you want me to be a bit clearer Ems

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget there is a difference between adult led and adult directed. Adult directed is where the adult has planned the activity where you are probably teaching a skill and adult led is when the child has chosen the activity but the adult is playing alongside the child, following the child's lead and engaging in sustained shared thinking - the adult is scaffolding for the child and moving the learning forward without setting the agenda.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)