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After a long struggle and a new head later I have finally got my own way and am allowed to have things like sand and water out all of the time. I am planning a different activity for each area every week. For example we had floating and sinking in the water the other week and I provided the items to facilitate this. I put away all of the other toys/equipment.

 

One of my local advisory teachers came and said that that the children should be able to access all of the equipment all of the time?!!?

 

What do you think? Please bear in mind our furniture/storage does not allow us to have everything out for the children to access!

 

Zoë

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Difficult one, it's about maintaining a balance, I think.

 

Maybe you should ask your ADVISORY teacher to give you some ADVICE of ways in which this could be carried out IN PRACTICE.

 

I can see the point that providing just sinking and floating materials for all the session may restrict a childs inclination to access the water play if his/her interest is currently blowing, or pouring etc.

 

consider having just a few items, maybe placed in a tray alongside the water which can enable the children to use the water in a variety of ways, observe and then plan short periods of time for focusing on individual childrens specific interest in using the water, such as floating and sinking.

 

In other words did the idea of floating and sinking come from you or from observing the children.

 

Hope this all makes sense.

 

Peggy

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You dont say type of setting but in pre-schools which do not have storage or easy access shelving it is usually fine to have a selected activities for areas rather than free choice all the time. we tried free choice and found that the water and sand usually had everything available put into the trays and filled them up leaving no room to play. giving access is fine if you have room, facilites and children are able to put away everytime they finish using it. not always practical.

 

we decided it was better to give partiular toys with aims or objectives set , more play resulted and better learning opportunities. This has been fine with all inspections, particularly as we do planning to support our choices.

 

Ours are changed daily or boredom sets in and the area is not used fully, but that is our children and situation. This also means that the children usually find that during the week they have somthing to interest them in each area. we also take thier lead and if needed change mid session and give furhter opportunities or extend the play with additions mid session.( pre reception - Church hall rather than school)

 

This may not be much help, but every setting has its own problems and sutrely better to have sand and water with choice of using it than none at all.

 

well done on managing to persuade the use daily. Hope the childrn are enjoying it.

 

Inge

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forgot to say, well done for persevering and getting your heads support in allowing sand and water throughout the session. The children are obviously benefiting from this. :D

 

Peggy

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Sorry should have said, I have a Reception class. I guess i was really disapointed by the advisory teachers comments, coz I had felt that particular activity worked really really well, the kids stayed on task and they seemed to be getting loads out if it. I understand though that its important to facilitate equipment so that that the children can move their own learning on.

Like you say Inge the kids would throw everything in all at once and yes, last week I noticed the kids found a net which they loved, so this week we have little nets and plastic coins. would love to hear any other ideas.

Zoe

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maybe you could adapt or add to your ideas daily . ie we have done sinking and floating with objects then the next day we made margarine tub boats that the children could float. the children then came up with the idea of sinking the boats with small world people and animals great fun.

the reception teacher at my school has had some great ideas with the water tray. eg wash tub with baby bears clothes , teapot and cups and teabags to make tea for the teddy bears picnic and it was full of glitter on friday for fireworks.

maddy.

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Yes I did the whole glitter, sequin and lametta thing in the water and got told off for wasting the sequins before Christmas!!!!!

But thanks, I do need to spend more time observing and moving on from the kids ideas and interests.

I'll get there eventually!!!

 

zoe x

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Zoe, as a reception calss teacher, I think what you are doing is ok!

I would allow some free play and some structured/ focused play but if your emphasis is floating and sinking then you have floating and sinking toys etc available not bubbles!

You can build on the childrens responses after observation but I do think that sometimes you need to offer things quite specifically so I cant see that you are doing anything wrong.

Children dont always know what interests them until something new or different is offered, do they?

Good luck and have fun, youre braver than I am if you offer sand and water every day!!! (but perhaps thats why the sand is always over the floor and the children always soaked!) :o

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I allow the children to access the sand water equipment freely. Yes they may get everything out at the start but the novelty soon disappears and they become more selective. However if my focus was at the water tray I would not allow them to freely put resources in the tray. The children would not stay 'focused'.

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Good point there, nicnic, differentiating between child initiated and 'focus activity'. Normally our children are allowed free access to everything, so they understand that if the activity is a focus, it means we are just using 'this' set of equipment for now. They know that later it will go back to 'normal', so don't make a fuss. The older ones help the younger ones to understand, as well. Nice bit of peer coaching.

 

Sue :D

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Hi Zobo,

I don't agree that we should have evrything out at once - how boring - I get things to fit into the topic, sometimes extend something if the children are really interested. Everything would get recked if we left all out and it is very hard to replace broken things as it is with no money.

I have sand and water alternately because although my mucky area is very large I have this huge table which is great can get 10 children around it comfortably but no room for both sand and water. Our school has been renovated and I asked for a big table but didn't specify a size so I got a big table.

Anyway I think R teachers have to be very strong and stick to what we know is right. A bit at a time when you are trying to get your own way.

After 12 years in the same school with same head I know how to get my own way and he generally leaves me to it. We are in a successful school though.

Someone else said it add a bit at a time and noone will notice.

Abi

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Hi again,

Forgot to mention that I read somewhere that the first term should be 75% child initiated and 25% teacher initiated activities

2 term 50 50 and 3rd term 75% adult initiated 25% child initiated can't remember where though but I try and stick to that roughly of course. It seems to work.

Abi

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With a reception class there will be some children who still need to investigate a range of materials depending on what sort of pre school experiences they have had, many playgroups are not allowed water because it damages the floor. - have your floating and sinking out as part of your focus tasks but show in your planning that your differentiation would be access to additional resources for those who still need access to a wider range of experiences.

We select a themed activity, bathing babies, boats, pouring, water wheels, but children can access other materials but they rarely do.

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I must admit I tend to admit with abi - plus children can be put off by 'too much choice' and not want to play in the water at all!

 

I normally put the things that I want the children to focus on 'in the water' however they do have access to boxes (slgihtly out of the way) but they have to make the concious effort to think about what they want next rather than it always all being to hand (they are labelled with lids on) children tend to pull out things then that will extend the way in which they are playing with the things that are already in the water at that time (e.g. funnels to help pour water down pipes)

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Guest Little miss perfect

I agree with abi and ladybug. I work in a 2 class Reception area. We use our water tray each afternoon in Creative and Knowledge & understanding sessions with items relating to the part of the topic being covered that particular week. The water tray is used in the mornings as part of maths work, again having a focus related to the main objective of the week. We use the sand in the same way and find that the children develop their PSE skills very well, which lets face it is a very important p;art of their development.

Karen

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My reception class is organised into areas of learning (continuous provision) and each area has basic equipment which is always available. Initially the children get everything out, but soon they become more discriminating, especially when they realise how long it takes to put everything away. We then add items to these areas depending on our focus or their interests. These are enhanced provision. Whilst we have adult directed activities, we do try to go with the children's interests and respond to them using them to teach. If you hang on in there you will find that the children soon get bored with messing around/exploring possibilities and begin to concentrate and develop their play.

I have just been on a wonderful course at Early Excellence run by the teachers from Wingate Nursery School. Their approach is very much influenced by Reggio philosophy. The depth of learning demonstrated took my breath away! We are trying to work towards this approach at school, but fitting in literacy and numeracy requirements is a bit of a stumbling block a the moment. We will persevere.

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