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Circle Time And Hall Time

Guest colechin

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Guest colechin

Hi everyone, hope all your nurseries are open. We have not had to close due to the snow. All parents and children disappointed, so we have been playing out in the 'little' snow we have during session time.


I would like to run something past you all. I'm sure I will receive different views, but I would like to see what the majority of you have to say.


We operate from a rented portacabin (one large room) on a school site. We have 18 children each session. We have been given permission from the headteacher to take our children in to the school hall for music and dance and also the use of the school library to hold our circle time.


Circle time is offered 3 times per week. We take 6 six along at a time. The member of staff who runs our circle time has been on all the courses and we have built up alot of good resources. The children love it and some children will participate several times in one week.


The library had been offered for our use, due to the lack of carpet/ quiet area within our portacabin. We have had the area SENCO and Pre School Adviser sit in on various occassions to watch our circle time and we have received great feedback from them about how engaged the children are and how my member of staff runs the circle time session.


We have now been informed by the schools KS1 teacher who has now taken on the reception class. (Reception, year 1 and year 2 are now run by 1 teacher with 2 assistants). That she does not want us to taken the Nursery children from our unit and bring them on to the school premises. The reason behind this is that she feels we are taking them from thier comfort zone and causing them upset by taking them to an alien environment. (We have been running circle time for the last 2 years this way)


We have assured the teacher that no child attends if they do not wish to (but we have never had a refussal), we would not upset any child and each child has a choice, also the children love visiting the hall and library.


Over the last 2 academic years. The children that have left us and started this school, we have received positive feedback from the 'then' reception teacher.

The KS1 teacher has been attending courses on the Foundation Stage. As she had no knowledge about how it all worked! (This she said to all the reception parents just before Christmas, before they laid the Reception Teacher off, due to financial issues)


The teacher would like us to come in line with the school. They want to gradually introduce the other areas of the school to the children when they actually start with them in Spetember. She also informed me that this is the way forward and all nurseries/pre-school settings that are on school sites have to stay within their own premises as this is the Foundation Unit.


I did bring this to the Headmaster attention and he informed me that I should still visit the school premises as agreed with him and this was a 'storm in a teacup'. Now it has all blown up again. The headmaster has now informed me that if she feels this strongly about us not visiting the school site then we shouldn't, as she is the KS1/Foundation Teacher.


I feel let down, I had spoken to my Pre School Adviser and she said that some schools who have nurseries on site are keeping the children within the 'foundation unit'. but, I thought that pre-school and reception should have time together and that this is the foundation unit? (I could be wrong).


At the end of the day we have been praised by many outside professionals regarding our committment and what we offer the children at our setting. I feel because I am only (at the moment a level3) and not a qualified teacher that I must be doing something completly wrong, and should keep the children in our Nursery and free flow area. But, what happens when we visit the Park, Farm, Post Office etc are these things not allowed as we have to leave our unit?


I'm rambling, and find it hard to explain everything in writing. (Much prefer face to face talking!)


So here goes, I could be setting myself up here for someone to say ' your wrong, the children should be remaining within the setting' but, I would like to read other views instead of just going with one persons views. Thank you

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Oh my I wonder what is going on here? These are my opinions as a pre-school leader, and I know there will be teachers along soon who will put in their two pen'orth!


I think there is probably little you can do about it if the KS 1 Teacher really doesn't want you there, and the head teacher supports this decision. From our point of view I would have thought that enabling children to visit their school within the safe, non-threatening framework of a circle time activity (and in the company of their key person) would do wonders to aid transition when it is their time to leave you.


Personally I think this would be just the sort of working in partnership model that Ofsted would love, and is just what the EYFS calls for - settings working together to make transition from pre-school to school more successful. So I would be as puzzled as you are!


However, this view doesn't recognise the challenges faced by the KS1 teacher of having you in school - or what their views of successful transition are.


I'll be interested to see what others think - especially teachers!



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Unfortunately I have had a similar experience.

Iwork as an Early Years practitioner within the Foundation class of a small primary school (30 children - myself and a teacher only).

After working at the school for 6 months, I queried the fact that there was no relationship between the pre-school and the primary school.

(I thought this was madness as they share the same site)

I have my NNEB as well as currently doing my BA and having 15 years of nursery experience get a little vocal about the value of pre-school education.


It turned out that in the past, a previous headteacher worked extremely hard to build close links but this disintegrated completely when a new head took over.


The teacher I worked with was only in her 2nd year of teaching and I have to say, was desperate to create good links but very nervous about how to go about it.


She insisted that we both worked together to achieve this - the results were fab, she said she felt more knowledgeable, I felt valued but most importantly the pre-school

children had no difficulty making the transition to 'big school' because of the close links between the two.


Is there a happy ending then ? devastatingly no.

The teacher has moved on and the subsequent one has little experience within early years. The situation has disintegrated once again.


My advice - would be stay positive and calm but try your best to keep the relationship going. It sounds as though you have a good relationship with the headteacher - just keep reiterating the benefits to the children.

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Does the Head know the KS1 teacher's views? I think possibly a 3-way meting might help, with possibly your Early Years Advisor along as well to support you. Find out what this teacher's problem is with the way you have been working - she may be jealous of your knowledge and skills within the EYFS and feel a bit threatened. In which case it's something she's going to need to address rather than make everyone suffer!

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Haven't really got an answer for your situation i'm afraid, just to say that as a reception class teacher I would be very happy if this was happening! It would surely be to everyone's benefit! We are building links with our on site pre-school and are setting up situations where small groups can come to the school and become familiar with it, and have found it really helps transition, as it sounds like you have been doing already! Think Cait's suggestion of involving the head in meetings is useful. Good luck! X

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Guest colechin

Thank you for your replies. Others have suggested the 'threatened' words before but, this teacher has been teaching for 20+ years?


I have been on the site for nearly 4 years now and we have always had 'why are you using our premises?' 'we need to us the hall/library at that time' 'If you were in the village hall, you wouldn't be using these areas, so what would you do?' from this teacher. So we have been using these areas when the school children and staff are on their breaks. So we are not in anyones way.


The teacher keeps informing me that we now have to work together. which I agree. She has asked me to inform her of all our progression skills we have in each area of learning, as she would like to look at each area in detail. I do feel at the moment that it is all one way. and will be a lot of work for me and also feel intimidated.


At the end of the day I have asked the staff to stay positive. We have a fantastic Nursery and the staff are great. Parents are happy with what we offer and we are the only Nursery in the area that has a waiting list of children to attend. We have had to open afternoons, and also increased the number of children able to attend in the morning session by Ofsted.

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Really feel for you and I hate to say it but - the sad thing is, it seems you will have very little 'say' here!


Having said that, you should feel happy that you really are doing all the very best you can for your children - your reputation clearly shows that.


Maybe this teacher has had very little experience of close links with pre-schools in her previous positions.


From my experience, it very much depends upon the teacher and it is a struggle if you don't have their support.


Just hang in there and keep trying the 'gently does it approach'.

You have absolutely no reason to feel intimated- remember that your pre-school team are really good at what you do :o

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I am only guessing but I would imagine that their not wanting you there is more abut you using 'their' space than it is about taking the children out of their comfort zone.


I would also ask for a 3 way meeting between you the Head and the KS1 teacher to clear the air clear up any issues, maybe there is a niggle somewhere that they're not saying, and hopefully you can come to an arrangement everyone can live with.

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