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Organising A Reception Day


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Hello everyone!

 

This is my first post and i hope i can explain what i want to ask without being too confusing! I am a nursery class teacher in a maintained class within a Primary School. We are lucky enough to share a large outdoor area with the reception class. After lots of hard work we have almost got the nursery set up to a place where i want to be... We have free flow in and outdoors with CI learning happening for most of the session, minimal stops and starts during the session, rolling snack, and next steps planning for individual children from observations.

 

In an ideal world I think it would work really well if the whole foundation stage were to work more closely together, in this kind of way, using the outdoor area together, running similar type routines. I feel strongly that we are ONE STAGE and that the advice in the EYFS is for reception as well. I know there obviously needs to be more emphasis on teacher inputs in Rec. but can there still be time for extended CI learning and free-flow? I would love the nursery children who move on to rec to have a similar kind of provision.

 

Are there any Rec teachers out there who have made this kind of set up work and how? How do you cover the outside supervision with just 2 adults? How do you fit in all the guided groups and phonics etc and still allow time for quality CI learning? Am i being too unrealistic???

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Our reception class works very similarly to your nursery class - free flow to the outside which is open almost all day every day, no matter the weather, rolling snack time, no playtime so as not to interrupt children's play so they can get more deeply involved and into their learning etc I came to my current school as a job share into a class where it was much more formal, as the reception class you've described. At my previous school I worked in a more age-appropriate way and I found the more formal way much less satisfactory and satisfying when I came to my new school. This year I am back to being full time FS coordinator and working with this kind of good early years practice and I am finding it so much better! The children are much more independent and are more involved in their learning, more enthusiastic and motivated.

 

I am a real believer that the EYFS definitely is for Reception, too - outside area should be available as much as is humanly possible - we always have focus activities outside, too, so the focus activities still happen but recognise the importance of the outdoor learning environment. We stop the children as little as possible - just at the beginning and end of morning and afternoon and a brief phonic slot mid-morning. It is different in reception in that there is a real pressure to think about KS1 and KS2 SATS - but the children are best served by learning in the play-based, child-centred way you describe. Personally I think this is how children should learn higher up the school, too, and when I taught year 1 I worked in this way as well, but focusing on the requirements of the National Curriculum.

 

It can be a really difficult change in reception teachers' practice, but your reception teachers are lucky that they have you to guide and support them! I would absolutely love to have a nursery class in my school - again in my previous school we did, and we all planned together and shared the same outdoor area - it was great! I hope you manage to convince the reception teacher to come round to your way of thinking. Perhaps she / he could go to visit another school who was working more in the way you describe? Good luck with it - it's ever so tricky as people think you are suggesting a dumbing-down , but there is just stacks of research to show that this is not the case - even quite the opposite! Let us know how it goes!

 

(i've written this post having been interrupted lots of times, doing a few things at once, so if it doesn't make sense, or you'd like more detail about how we work things in Reception, let me know - the point I was trying to get across is that it can, and should!, be done! :oxD )

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thanks for speedy reply! Its great to hear there is hope! Could you please describe how you delegate adults and a bit more about how you make it work? thanks

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thanks for speedy reply! Its great to hear there is hope! Could you please describe how you delegate adults and a bit more about how you make it work? thanks

Do you do guided writing and guided reading sessions, hear individual readers? Thanks

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Hi and welcome to the two new posters!

 

Emma, I'd be really interested how you made this work in year 1 as I have just moved to year 1 and am finding the "boxes" hard to deal with but also hard to get rid of and would like to work in a much more FS friendly way.

 

I do think you both need to be on board for this to work in reception but that it is and should be possible.

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Now, before we begin, I must say that es, I do find it tricky to fit everything in!! But I know that if not evrything I want to happen each week happens, that it is because the things that have happened have been valuable and valued and we've not rushed the children through everything - I have seen some very production-line reception classes!

 

Having said that, one of my key priorities is to give the same status to the indoor and outdoor learning environments. So my TA and I spend half the week each outside while the other is inside. Sometimes we will do alternate sessions, other times the sessions might work better consecutively - it really depends on what we are doing and alos on the weather - if it's really cold I make sure my TA isn't outside morning and afternoon, or sometimes we might swap mid-morning. (She doesn't really like being outdoors so much, but personally I really prefer it as I find it quieter as the children can still be enthusiastically-big-voiced bit it's diffused by the open space, rather than bouncing off and seemingly amplified by the classroom walls!! :o But basically we both spend 50% of our time in each area.

 

I also ensure that both outside and in, both myself and my TA do a mixture of focus teaching activities as well as child-led activities.

 

The thing I find trickiest is teaching reading because I really like to do most of the guded reading sessions, rather than have my TA do them, and they need to be inside at the moment because of the weather - this means that that dictates what I am doing for much of my time indoors, which isn't very 6-area friendly, or that formal guided reading sessions don't happen for every child every week. Their are lots of other reading opportunities, though, and I have more active, reading (phonics-type) games and activities outside, but I do worry a little bit about this. As soon as the weather is just a tiny bit warmer, though, i will be able to do my guided reading outdoors, so I'll be happier!

 

My TA has her break at the same time as school playtime, as she was unhappy about losing that social time and as she was quite....sceptical, shall we say(!) about lots of these changes, I wanted to make things easier for her wherever I could. While she's having her break, outside is closed and we do letters and sounds (although sometimes this is outdoors, too). Then I have my break and she has the whole class indoors for 15 minutes - outdoors is open again whenI get back.

 

I think that pretty much covers how we do it - we manage to cover adult-led and child-led activities and all the different areas and do a psrn focus activity, a guided writing focus activity which links to other curriculum areas, usually a guided reading session - or another reading-based activity, and one other focus each week. I also make sure that if we have had the maths focus activity, for example, indoors with me one week that it will be outdoors with my TA the next week, then indoors with my TA the week after, then outdoors with me. The same with the other curriculum areas, to make sure they are all given equal and balanced attention in terms of in/out, teacher/TA.

 

Hope this is a little bit of help - my husband just asked me why I was writing so much, so sorry for the waffle! xD If there's anything else more specific, I can try to help!

 

P.S. We only do guided reading - sometimes this is in groups as small as 2 if that's most appropriate, but I don't hear individual readers as I feel guided reading in a group is a more effective use of time, and tends to involve more explicit, focussed teaching rather than just listening and responding to what comes up.

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I am a Reception teacher in a school and although our situation is slightly different because we share our class space with the nursery, I'll give you an idea of how we work. Morning and afternoons work differently because of staff levels and number of children.

 

In the mornings, apart from the beginning and end of the session, we work as one big class with two teachers, a nursery nurse and a LSA (at times). We run a rolling snack bar and Reception only stop for 'big' playtime on a Friday morning and a Friday afternoon and Nursery also go outside at this time. One of us is outside (freeflow) sometimes working on focused activites and sometimes extending play, two people run adult focused activites in different areas of learning and one person acts as floater who trouble shoots, sorts out snack, extends play, carries out obs etc. All of the children can access child initiated continuous provision activities and any other activitis on offer.

 

The children have free access to both quiet carpeted areas- we usually have the smartboards on with a noisy activity on one and a quieter activity on the other- outside and inside. Reception spends a bit longer on the carpet at times and we have to go to assembly some mornings but other then that we all work together.

 

In the afternoons when we have less children (different nusery children) and different staffing levels we work in the same way with one outside, one focused activity and one floating. On the afternoons when we have a 'spare' member of staff, I get counted out of the rota system and can do additional adult focused activities just for Reception like guided reading.

 

The children love having the opportunity to 'chose' what they can do. As each session starts with adult input of some description, several of the children take the skills, vocab or learning intention from this part of the session and use it in their 'free play'. When they have choosing time, we call it Busy Bee time and at the end of most sessions we talk about what they have learnt and the children are getting good at identifying their own learning depending on the activity or resources they have taken part in. Also during this time children can be redirected by asking them to think about what they are learning, and if they are unable to identify anything then they are asked to change their activity. This works well particularly with the boys who just charge around as it makes them think a bit more about what they are actually doing.

 

Not all adult activities have to be inside, maybe the Reception teacher or TA could have a focused activity outside. Could you share the ouside focus with Reception staff covering some of the session and Nursery staff covering some of it? Timetables are a nightmare and I reckon I change mine monthly but at the moment I fit in phonics everyday, PE in the hall twice a week, guided writing with two small gps (who are ready for it), just about to start guided reading (again, two small gps who are ready), wake up, shake up (outside 10-15 min physical activity) as well as input for all the areas of learning (except PE that is covered through the PE, wake up and continuous provision). May be they need reminding that the six areas of learning need to be given equal weighting in the FS, and this includes Reception. I don't 'teach' (have planned adult input) for literacy and numeracy everyday, it works out about 3 sessions some weeks and 4 others.

 

Not sure if that is any help but it works for us :o

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I am a Reception teacher in a school and although our situation is slightly different because we share our class space with the nursery, I'll give you an idea of how we work. Morning and afternoons work differently because of staff levels and number of children.

 

In the mornings, apart from the beginning and end of the session, we work as one big class with two teachers, a nursery nurse and a LSA (at times). We run a rolling snack bar and Reception only stop for 'big' playtime on a Friday morning and a Friday afternoon and Nursery also go outside at this time. One of us is outside (freeflow) sometimes working on focused activites and sometimes extending play, two people run adult focused activites in different areas of learning and one person acts as floater who trouble shoots, sorts out snack, extends play, carries out obs etc. All of the children can access child initiated continuous provision activities and any other activitis on offer.

 

The children have free access to both quiet carpeted areas- we usually have the smartboards on with a noisy activity on one and a quieter activity on the other- outside and inside. Reception spends a bit longer on the carpet at times and we have to go to assembly some mornings but other then that we all work together.

 

In the afternoons when we have less children (different nusery children) and different staffing levels we work in the same way with one outside, one focused activity and one floating. On the afternoons when we have a 'spare' member of staff, I get counted out of the rota system and can do additional adult focused activities just for Reception like guided reading.

 

The children love having the opportunity to 'chose' what they can do. As each session starts with adult input of some description, several of the children take the skills, vocab or learning intention from this part of the session and use it in their 'free play'. When they have choosing time, we call it Busy Bee time and at the end of most sessions we talk about what they have learnt and the children are getting good at identifying their own learning depending on the activity or resources they have taken part in. Also during this time children can be redirected by asking them to think about what they are learning, and if they are unable to identify anything then they are asked to change their activity. This works well particularly with the boys who just charge around as it makes them think a bit more about what they are actually doing.

 

Not all adult activities have to be inside, maybe the Reception teacher or TA could have a focused activity outside. Could you share the ouside focus with Reception staff covering some of the session and Nursery staff covering some of it? Timetables are a nightmare and I reckon I change mine monthly but at the moment I fit in phonics everyday, PE in the hall twice a week, guided writing with two small gps (who are ready for it), just about to start guided reading (again, two small gps who are ready), wake up, shake up (outside 10-15 min physical activity) as well as input for all the areas of learning (except PE that is covered through the PE, wake up and continuous provision). May be they need reminding that the six areas of learning need to be given equal weighting in the FS, and this includes Reception. I don't 'teach' (have planned adult input) for literacy and numeracy everyday, it works out about 3 sessions some weeks and 4 others.

 

Not sure if that is any help but it works for us :o

What great ideas and really makes me think about what we are doing. I am constantly changing and adjusting every day/week to find a comfortable way of working but there always seems to be something else to fit it. I am definately going to start some kind of learning round up . Thank you

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kathyscitt and emmajess - do you have any examples of your planning and timetables we can all look at please????? cheeky but I am a visual learner and I am intrigued to see how it works in more detail :o

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I'm interested in changing the way we do our snack time - how do people manage rolling snack?

We currently hae foundation stage unit with 56 children in the morning - 30 FS2 and 26 FS1.

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I am a Reception teacher in a school and although our situation is slightly different because we share our class space with the nursery, I'll give you an idea of how we work. Morning and afternoons work differently because of staff levels and number of children.

 

In the mornings, apart from the beginning and end of the session, we work as one big class with two teachers, a nursery nurse and a LSA (at times). We run a rolling snack bar and Reception only stop for 'big' playtime on a Friday morning and a Friday afternoon and Nursery also go outside at this time. One of us is outside (freeflow) sometimes working on focused activites and sometimes extending play, two people run adult focused activites in different areas of learning and one person acts as floater who trouble shoots, sorts out snack, extends play, carries out obs etc. All of the children can access child initiated continuous provision activities and any other activitis on offer.

 

The children have free access to both quiet carpeted areas- we usually have the smartboards on with a noisy activity on one and a quieter activity on the other- outside and inside. Reception spends a bit longer on the carpet at times and we have to go to assembly some mornings but other then that we all work together.

 

In the afternoons when we have less children (different nusery children) and different staffing levels we work in the same way with one outside, one focused activity and one floating. On the afternoons when we have a 'spare' member of staff, I get counted out of the rota system and can do additional adult focused activities just for Reception like guided reading.

 

The children love having the opportunity to 'chose' what they can do. As each session starts with adult input of some description, several of the children take the skills, vocab or learning intention from this part of the session and use it in their 'free play'. When they have choosing time, we call it Busy Bee time and at the end of most sessions we talk about what they have learnt and the children are getting good at identifying their own learning depending on the activity or resources they have taken part in. Also during this time children can be redirected by asking them to think about what they are learning, and if they are unable to identify anything then they are asked to change their activity. This works well particularly with the boys who just charge around as it makes them think a bit more about what they are actually doing.

 

Not all adult activities have to be inside, maybe the Reception teacher or TA could have a focused activity outside. Could you share the ouside focus with Reception staff covering some of the session and Nursery staff covering some of it? Timetables are a nightmare and I reckon I change mine monthly but at the moment I fit in phonics everyday, PE in the hall twice a week, guided writing with two small gps (who are ready for it), just about to start guided reading (again, two small gps who are ready), wake up, shake up (outside 10-15 min physical activity) as well as input for all the areas of learning (except PE that is covered through the PE, wake up and continuous provision). May be they need reminding that the six areas of learning need to be given equal weighting in the FS, and this includes Reception. I don't 'teach' (have planned adult input) for literacy and numeracy everyday, it works out about 3 sessions some weeks and 4 others.

 

Not sure if that is any help but it works for us :o

 

Thanks for that - I'm a Reception teacher in a Foundation Stage Unit and up to now have been relatively happy with timetable but am now looking forward to changing timetable in keeping with EYFS as I think, due to school pressure, there is too much emphasis on Literacy and Numeracy. I listen to all 30 children read, individually, in addition to checking their key words weekly - very time consuming! I teach Literacy and Numeracy, directed input every morning and then a focused activity with one group of children, whilst TAs work in Continuous Provision Areas with children. I feel the Reception chldren are restricted as they are timetabled to go in certain areas, rather than be given free access to all areas! This I believe should be changed but there is the difficulty in the size of the area and having 54 children(Nursery& Reception) working together!

Any help with timetables and ideas would be beneficial - have you a copy of your timetable or planning?

 

Thanks again

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