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Staying In Areas Of Provision


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Hi again!

I have our classroom set up in areas of provision and we are finding ourselves constantly reminding children to stay within their area especially for constructions and role-play. We are flexible with this e.g. if they are engrossed in creating a model which is taking up more room than normal or are testing their cars I allow them to spread out but if they've just decided to build their model on the play-dough table I ask them to go back to the construction area. Similarly the role-play tends to spread itself around both rooms often developing into children running (which is dangerous in our smallish rooms) so we ask them to go back to the role-play areas. I am just not sure whether we're doing the right thing - are we interrupting their playing by making them confine it to a small area? Or is it that 'playing within the areas' is part of the classroom rules which they should be learning to follow?

 

Any suggestions/advice appreciated!

Thanks

Green hippo xx

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How old are your children?

 

I think it may be that you are going to have to adapt your expectations rather than expect the children to conform to your rules without inhibiting them.

I hate having to restrict children in any way, ie only 4 can play here although for safety reasons it is not always possible to allow free access.

 

Good luck.

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We just have two 'ends' named by the children 'play end' and 'work end' As far as the adults are concerned one end is open floor space and the other end is where the tables and writing/painting/creative whatever things are. The only 'area' is the quiet area with the book corner and soft seating, cuddly toys, treasure basket etc are. Within reason (no running about in the table end) children can move wherever they want with whatever they want. They may want to take their role play into the book area to be mummy reading a story or whatever, and that's fine so long as they 'understand the needs of others' who may want to be quiet there.

Have you tried seeing what would happen if you allowed free flow between the areas - with the no running indoors bit still in place. You could observe the play for a while and see what's going on, my Mum used to say 'don't sweat the small stuff' and I try to use this too, if they aren't actually upsetting anyone else's play by building on the playdough table, why not let them see what happens, and then let them wash the playdough out of the duplo and then they might understand why it's not a brilliant idea.

Just a thought, I'm sure someone else with other thoughts will be along in a moment!

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Within CI I have always let children choose where they wished to play and not expected them to remain in one area for a given length of time. I have found that this works well. They may also choose to move from inside to outside. If they are restricted to playing in a certain area then it isn't child initiated. I have never had 4 in the role-play etc. and have never really had many problems as children seem to learn how to manage this for themselves. I have controlled the number in the water play or painting area by the number of aprons available.

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greenhippo i do feel they maybe a little restricted - is there anyway they can have a little more freeflow?

 

i know it can be tricky we had lego, fresh fruits and vegetables all mixed up on Friday afternoon in different boxes - nightmare to sort but children had a brillient time. :o

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Hi again!

I have our classroom set up in areas of provision and we are finding ourselves constantly reminding children to stay within their area especially for constructions and role-play. We are flexible with this e.g. if they are engrossed in creating a model which is taking up more room than normal or are testing their cars I allow them to spread out but if they've just decided to build their model on the play-dough table I ask them to go back to the construction area.

I'm not sure if you've heard of Buytendijk? We researched him at college the other week, and his theory says that children will take objects from one area and play with them in another, like playing with construction on the play-dough table, because they haven't got the knowledge yet to understand that objects "belong" in places.

 

Or is it that 'playing within the areas' is part of the classroom rules which they should be learning to follow?

So, once they've learnt and begin to understand why things are in certain areas, they'll play with them in those areas.

 

I couldn't actually find anything else apart from this on the internet:

(Buytendijk)

 

The child plays because he is a child and because his cognitive dynamics do not allow for any other way of behaving. Play is an expression of the child's uncoordinated approach to the environment.

Does anyone else know anything about Buytendijk's theory?

 

Not sure if this is much help really - I'm hoping somebody else will know something about his theory?!

 

Mrs Weasley

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Hi again!

I have our classroom set up in areas of provision and we are finding ourselves constantly reminding children to stay within their area especially for constructions and role-play. We are flexible with this e.g. if they are engrossed in creating a model which is taking up more room than normal or are testing their cars I allow them to spread out but if they've just decided to build their model on the play-dough table I ask them to go back to the construction area. Similarly the role-play tends to spread itself around both rooms often developing into children running (which is dangerous in our smallish rooms) so we ask them to go back to the role-play areas. I am just not sure whether we're doing the right thing - are we interrupting their playing by making them confine it to a small area? Or is it that 'playing within the areas' is part of the classroom rules which they should be learning to follow?

 

Any suggestions/advice appreciated!

Thanks

Green hippo xx

hi i feel it is a bit restricted, you could observe children to see what they like to move where, s well as doing individual obs we have an area tracking sheet which is fillied in daily to see how children use the areas then adapt it to meet their interests i.e one day a child kept bring cars over to thr mark making area and running across it so se introduced large sheets of paper where the cars and garage wher and he stayed i that area and drew "roads" for the cars to go on another child kept putting the home corner equipment and dolls in the water tray so we introduced a baby bath into the home corner and also asked the child to wash up the snack pots in a washing up bowl on a table, also paper and pens inthe consrtruction area worked wll as they tried to draw and write what theey were building-hope this is of use to you

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I once worked in a setting where the children werent allowed out of the role play area if they were wearing dressing up clothes and were told to sit up when they were playing with the train on the floor and to not 'lollop'.

In another setting I watched a child at the dough table, kneading and rolling and pressing the dough. He then took the dough to the sand where he coated it on both sides and then he took it to the home corner and put it into the oven. It was so lovely to watch him working. In the same setting I saw a child take a carrot from the home corner to give an injection to a poorly doll.

I do think we need rules that keep everyone safe, i.e, we dont want to be falling over the bricks but we do need to acknowledge the learing that can take place when children are given freedom to move with and without equipment.

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I once worked in a setting where the children werent allowed out of the role play area if they were wearing dressing up clothes and were told to sit up when they were playing with the train on the floor and to not 'lollop'.

There's nothing I like better than a good lollop - somehow the floor was always the best place to read when I was young... :o

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I believe unless theres a safety aspect involved, children will and do move from place to place, or area to area with their toys in tow....... hopefully without interruption from staff.

 

As said previously maybe the tidying up is a little hairy.... but if you talk to the children and explain how they have mixed up the toys so they have to help tidy them I don't think theres a problem!

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We take the stance that if, for instance, a child takes a lego brick to the dough, perhaps it is because there is a lack of appropriate equipment at the dough table? They may be following a schema? Perhaps the area they move from is too small for their play, too crowded with other children, too noisy for their chosen activity, etc........

 

We had a recent discussion about children using the corridor area between 2 rooms for their play - previously "against the rules" but, as long as all the children are not running to and fro out there, practitioners are aware they are there, and keep a discrete eye on them, we have decided to "chill" about it. Children do sometimes want to be away from adults' gaze, not to do anything they shouldn't, but to feel more independent.

 

I do have to say that we do all need to ensure practitioners work together with this, and think about why we want to stop a particular behaviour - is it to make our lives easier, or just because we've never let them do it. The instance with rolling the dough in sand before putting it in the oven would have given some of our practitioners palpitations!!!!

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Some people really do think only of their own problems. The doughs messed up, theres dough in the sand, theres sand in the oven! But all of it can be repaired or remade. Its not the end of the world, and I take the view that if the children are happy, learning, discovering, exploring and working together then a bit of sand in the oven is a small price to pay.

 

I once heard Alan Titchmarsh say 'weeds are just plants growing in the wrong place'. I see mess in a playroom as 'toys in the wrong place'. Everything can be soon put right.

 

When I was in playgroup, in a rented church hall, I used to dream of having a place where I could leave work out. Now I go into nurseries and see rooms having to be tidied up, all equipment put away and so theres no chance for the children to consolidate their learning, to continue a project or to rethink an idea. All the toys are packed away before snack, before they go outside, before lunch. Nothing is left to continue with. All playing is in fits and starts.

I always ask myself, and those I work with, can it be fixed, is it permenent, is it a danger? If the first 2 answer yes and the last one no, then theres no reason it cant continue.

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Thanks you also so much for your advice and ideas - it has just consolidated my own thoughts. I think maybe the real issue is helping the children to 'understand the needs of others' (e.g. if role-playing in the book corner) and to put things away when they have finished with them (which I have to say they are getting quite good at). The last thing I want to do is restrict the children's play and learning. Fortunately I have a great TA who takes on board everything I ask her and comes up with many ideas of her own - I will share our new 'rule' with her first thing tomorrow!

 

Thanks again

Green Hippo x

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Well... I didn't "sweat the small stuff" and have had a lovely day with the children. My TA also commented on how well the children were playing! I had planned for myself to be involved in role-play to encourage and demonstrate how to 'add a story-line or narrative to their role-play' - reading Fairy stories, talking about characters and events, then children "acting out" (nobody wanted to be the wicked stepmother so that role came to me!!). WE were all so involved in what we were doing (I had to write all my obs down afterwards because I there was so much happening!! - hope I've remembered them all!) What was really nice was one of the girls said "princesses have flowers" holding her hands around a pretend bunch of flowers and off she went to my TA (who was on the workshop table) to make flowers and so did most of the other children!

The children did their role-play around the classroom but always came back to the castle area - may have to re-think the location of the construction and small-world areas as this is the walk-way from role-play to rest of classroom so possibly a bit disruptive for children playing there. It's amazing what happens when you view things from a different angle - i.e. instead of saying "come back to the role-play area, you're standing all over Johnny's model" I think "possibly need to make a better defined walk-way between construction and small world so access in and out of role-play is less disruptive to other children".

 

Thanks again for all your help

Green Hippo xx

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Actually I just re-read your post and I think is is inspirational. I would be really interested to see what the long term benefits of this approach will be - children seem much more deeply engaged and you sound a lot happier already. Who knows where this will take you? Keep coming back and tell us how things progress won't you?

 

Maz

Edited by HappyMaz
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What a lovely post green hippo! I think if more people relaxed and really started playing with the children they would actually find that the rest of it just flows into place more easily. Well done and keep up the commentary! :o

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