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Help Child Initiated Learning In The Eyfs!


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hey guys Maria here new 2 forum!! i love the idea of child initiated learning i think it's great!!!just people a work don't.I work in a Pre-schhol.There is 2 ofus with about 14-16 children.The deputy loves sitting them down whenever possible doing focus activities.she keeps saying she's sick of the children running around!! they are now numbered to areas ie 1 child at the paint easel,2 children at tuff tray,4 children at water tray,5 children at the table etc.I think they should be able to choose their own activities a lot more and explore and create their own learning.The cook has cmmented saying she doesn;t like this new eyfs saying its not learning any moreit's just a playgroup if we are going to let them run around but they are learning because we are asking them questions and offering them ideas for them to solve.

I think they would just be happy if we sat the children down all afternoon the owners now saying we should be teaching the children to writetheir names but how do you do this-it would have to be a focus activity!!! oh my word i am stressed out how often do you people do focus activities!!and what constitutes child initiated learning and how much should be done of it thanks any advice at all !!Maria xx :o

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oh my word i am stressed out how often do you people do focus activities!!and what constitutes child initiated learning and how much should be done of it thanks any advice at all !!Maria xx :o

Hi Maria

 

Firstly, welcome to the Forum!

 

My you do sound stressed! My immediate reaction is to say two staff to 14 children? Wow! This may be why the deputy wants the children sitting down - more controlled than when they make their own choices and freely access resources.

 

In my group we have one adult-led activity which goes on all week so that all children have an opportunity to take part no matter when and how often they attend. The rest of the adults are then free to play alongside children to do the kind of 'teaching' you describe. We also have a variety of planned activities/experiences for children to access during free play, but in addition a wide range of resources which are available for them to self-select if they don't fancy whatever else is on offer. And often they don't - they are able to follow their own interests and lines of enquiry!

 

What is your position within the group? It sounds as if the training you've had in the EYFS hasn't quite hit the mark with your colleagues - can you seek help from your Local Authority?

 

Hang on in there!

 

Maz

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Hi Maria, A warm welcome from me too. xD I wonder what the regime was like pre EYFS :o . Agree with Maz, get some support from the EY advisory teacher.

Good luck.

 

Peggy

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Oh that sounds like such a good idea- one continuous adult-led activity!!

 

How does it work? do you add bits to it during the week? Is the activity left out over night? What type of activities do you do?

Does one member of staff do the activity all week? and observe the children? Do you plan other activities linked with the adult-led one ?

 

Sorry so many questions x

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i know its just getting harder and harder!we were so happy like last month because i got booked on an eyfs course but then that got cancelled!!the deputy does really try her best but she hasn't worked in preschool before!The previous manager who is no longer with us didn't really go through the planning with us i think her words were gwt stuck in and she didn't want us to do snap shot observations.Now we do snap shots but no focused observations-just when there's a need for them!!then we're told its supposed to be 80 percent activities to child's interests and 20 percent from us so everytime i think of doing an activity am like oh no i shouldn't be doing this because they haven't chosen it so do the learning through their play and just one activity each morning because we're told that'sall we are suposed tp do.The cook comments how last years pre-school were so much more ready for school because ours are just playing as she says last year they would come in sit down for activity play again for a bit then an activity and ofsted are due before end of feb and it doing my head in because i don't know whether im supposed to be doing what i'm doing like because of this child initiated learningwe're just doing guess work really-it is hard work because im on my own in the afternoon sometimes because the other member of staff has to go to babies when they are over ratio if i just knew the balance and waht I can do and can't do id be alright like are you allowed to do letters with them now because the previous manager said no no yeah definitely need some advice like!!im a Nursery Nurse and Maz your adult led activity all week do the children who are in everyday coose it agai n and are your planned activities to the children's interests??

thanks Maria!!

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Hi maria, welcome to a great place for support.

 

How many children are you left on your own with in the pms?

You mentioned the cook so are you in a day nursery? Are you the room leader? Sorry lots of questions

 

It would be OK to do some focused activities, during the week and the EYFS talks of a 'balance' which is not given as 80/20.. there is some confusion over that I think.

 

 

Can you give us an idea about how your session looks at the moment? It's good for us to get a picture in our heads as to how you work at the moment. Then we may have some ideas for you to try.

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Our adult-led activity is planned in response to a child's interest (we plan around two 'superstar' children each week - but I won't bore you with that now!).

 

Our children are aged between two and five, and our adult-led activities can be anything, really. We try to plan and resource the activity so that it can be developed over the course of the week, however the younger children tend to like to repeat activities and really wallow in the experience (especially if it involves lots of 'hands-in' mess!).

 

Maria - I gather you're in a day nursery then? Originally I thought you were in a pre-school like me but I guess you mean you're in the pre-school room. Does your cook have any childcare qualifications/experience? It can be draining to listen to such negative comments all the time, can't it?

 

When you say you're on your own in the afternoons do you really mean on your own in the room? How does that work? :o

 

Maz

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hi thanks for the comments!! oh soory I didn't say.Yes I am in a day Nursery in the Pre-School room one member of staff is key worker for younger ones ie the 3s and im key worker for older 3s and 4s.Ive worked here for 4-5 months now i really like it its just this child initiated learning and all because i remember when the previous manager was here she was sat down with the Children counting and then she was like im not supposed to do this you can't sit them down you have to do it through their play 80/20 etc and now our planning has changed ie all our continuous provision is done through snapshots and our ideas for next week like and when they say its meant be a lot of child initiated activities but then when their sat down with children-contradicts what i'm being told-like if we're sat down with them doing an activity and ofsted came in would we have to change it because it's a play based curriculum!!

the cook is nice but no shes not worked in a nursery before she just says its stupid how are they able to know whats good for them she says-she just saying they shouldn't be able to make loads of noise and run around m on my own in the afterrnoon from 215 with normally 7-8 children has sometimes been 9 but it is 8 now!!It is a lot better now i used to be on my own full day on somedays

right on a day to basis this is what occurs

7am-835 Free play

835-900 breakfast

915-945 free play or we might do an activity

1000-1035 may go outside

1035-1115 free play

1130-1200 dinner

1200-100-quiet time

100-215 messy play often

215-315 free play

325-330 story time/singing

330-400 snack time

400-415 teeth time

430-615 free pla

 

i just think we need more routine or structure know what we are doing more and if we can do it ie with eyfs!!we are still getting to know the new planning like we used just do random activities so we have to link it to planning now i don't know jut this adult led/child initiaion confuses me!!!thanks 4 ur help btwx

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We still follow themes with our 3-4yr olds but only for the five adult-led activities a week (one each day).

 

Our Continuous provision ie home-corner, messy play etc is based on two childrens interests per week!

We ask the parents of these children to fill in an "all about me sheet" on there childs special week to also help us with the planning!

Seems to be working well......just thinking now whether to have just one adult-led activity per week and extend it day by day?

This might encourage certain members of staff to be more creative and also create opportunities for more learning journeys!!

 

Would be interested to here more about how you do it Maz?? Pleaseeeeee x

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why are you not supposed to be on your own!well the office is near pre-school room so i get the deputy to cover me often or one of toddler staff!!if i can't because they might not be there i bring all the children into the other room where the toilets are and they play in that room why I change the child.It can be mad sometimes!! is that really bad or something!!

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Maria,

our session planning is mostly continous provision the room is set out in learning zones and we record the childrens achievments in their learning journals, the focus activities are few and far between typically 1 or 2 a week the activities are either to introduce a new idea/ theme or to fill in a gap that staff have identified isnt being covered during the normal session

 

Im concerned about your staffing situation your employer is leaving you in a VERY vulnerable position and shouldnt ask you work shifts where you are left alone with 8 children its not good practise,. I always understood it that there should be 2 staff on duty having a member of staff in the office or another room isnt a practical solution I could write a list as long as my arm of why its not good

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Hi Maria :o Just like you I was/am still in a tizwas about all this child initiated stuff. My line manager wants children being 'directed' most of the time. The EYFS is so confusing as its all about interpretation, how 1 person sees it ,it maybe different from another!

I work with 3-4 year olds I now do

1.An adult led activity that runs all week where we get through about 6 children in a 2 1/2 hour session. This activity is in response to the childrens interest ie trains so because their knowledge of shape was poor I used shape printing blocks and because the boys rarely came to the painting table we made a train carriage using the printing blocks. It was a great success.

2.Also once every day there is a group activity of 4- 6 children this is targeted at their needs/abilities etc which lasts for about 5-10 minutes max. this could be cutting skills, taking turns/using conversation in the roleplay area etc. other than these 2 activites with a snack time/a whole class welcome first thing and a sing/story time the rest of the time is child initiated where the children can access equipment that is set out or is made available if it isn't

 

I still don't think I have got it quite perfect but if you are happy to keep evaluating your practice and try out different things you will find a best fit for you and your manager

 

Best wishes

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hello and welcome

 

the eyfs is not very much different from the foundation stage

 

its unbeleivable that in this day and age (god im sounding old) that there are people in authority making children sit and do adult led activities for most of the time and even more frightening that she doesnt like children making a noise!!

 

it is hard when you are not able to alter what goes on but i would go above her and see your manager

why in your time table is it you only go out sometime ?

 

one of the biggest change was access to outside

 

you can see what is happening is not right dont get like them stand up for what you feel is right and seek other help even maybe asking for eyat to come and give you some pointers

 

good luck

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I can appreciate with you fully that it is difficult when you ownly have limited staff and often it can feel that children are just enjoying emptying boxes running about etc and if your staffing is limited you often can feel that it gets out of control all you need is one child who requires extra attention eg behaviour issue etc and you can feel very disheartend that things are very difficult to manage. We currently do 2-3 focused activities a week linked to childrens next steps and interests we to do superstar planning weeks ( When parents bring back the sheet) I also find it very difficult where parents are concerned recently we sent out a questionnaire and had comments back like why dont we make any thing any more and why dont we do phonics etc , sometimes i feel like im fighting a loosing battle. How many times can you explain the importance of play based learning.

 

Im sorry to change the subject completly but regarding my comment on phonics im just curious to how groups implement activities from letters and sounds document do you do one planned one each week? Or do children choose it during free play? Are children assesed individually?

Sorry to go off on a tangent.

Thanks

Sarah

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can i just ask a question, we have been told by our EA that we should leave the tables empty and nothing on the floor etc and children choose when they arrive, we have tried this but it doesn't seem to work, we do have trolleys all around the room with resources in that children can access, we have now started putting items out like a selection of collage resources, scissors, glue, pens etc on one table, paint on another, either sand/water or something similair, then allowing the children to choose the rest, we dont tell the children what to play with, so they do have free choice in what they do... we are a pack away pre-school, when we gave them free access they always got the cars out and played with these all morning we extended play by providing junk modelling, making roads etc but this went on from sept to dec.... we then decided to change the way we do it, as we felt the children were missing out on parts of their learning, children now access the other activities and move around the room trying out different things... surely we need to have a balance... when we had the large space with nothing out another problem was the children just running up and down and behaviour was worse, some children just went around the room emptying one box after another and the adults were just going round after them trying to encourage them to put them away.... i do feel that the EYFS is good in someways and that children should learn through play but i also think there needs to be some input by the adults to ensure children do try out new things.....sorry to rant but my EA is really trying my patience at the moment......

 

we do do the letters and sounds, we usually cover this in small groups at circle time...

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We don't get things out ready, and never have. Children DO tip boxes out, but other children are quite happy to point out the 'tipper' to put them away again. I also have a good team of older children who are glad to help at a request from me. We take into account that a messy floor is part of experiential play - I can't imagine that they are allowed to do it at home! It also teaches them about risk assessments after they've stood on a Duplo brick a couple of times!

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really well I am in Pre-school so you are allowed 8 alone so i think that's why i am!! i have been working here snce october was a student before habd

BUT

 

OFSTED CAME 2 2 DAY!!!!

omg 9 am knok at d door was awful she asked me everyquestion under the sun when she came to observe my room i was alone because the other girl had to have her break and then cover toddler rooms break so i got all questions asked at me!! neway she said to the manager that all the staff worked really well with the children and all we did good however as we got inadequate last time-due to staff ratios we could only get satisfactory this time-but then due to their being no depuy manager we only have a manager-we got inadeqaute-neway nothing for me to stress about ofsted said we worked well- due to management woooh!!

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I think the ratio thing is quite common, in my nursery we would only have 2 staff for 16 preschool children. We split them and have 8 each, so someone would be alone in the room with 8 children - but our nursery doesnt have any doors only low level gates so its all open plan. When you work in a private day nursery you struggle to have free staff..we occasionally do..but its normally to cover breaks or for profile time.

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