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Team Planning-bit Miffed


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:(:(:( :wacko:

This is how I feel today!

Do any of you out there have days like this? I could really do with some advice because I don't want to start letting the pressure of it all get to me. I love teaching this age group and don't mind being flexible but with one thing and another this week (too much to go into here but changes/short staff/having visitors etc) I could just tear my hair out. I like the fact that now we are a unit the Reception chn have more access to a quality learning environment and we are very lucky in many ways because we have lots of space and 6 members of staff 4 days a week for around 67 chn but with our current situation it just makes things harder. We've have a joint planning meeting tonight and I just found it so hard. All staff are lovely and luckily we all get on but there are so many different opinions and personalities that its hard to just get things DONE. The nusery staff continually refer back to 'the past' and 2 of the support staff are not qualified-(they're fantastic workers don't get me wrong)-but haven't got a knowledge of the background/philosophy behingd the foundation stage. Does this make sense? I know I'm just sounding off here but I think I need to get it off my chest and would really appreciate any advice if anyone is in or has been in a similar boat. As I've newly been appointed FS co-ordinator I feel the pressure more but don't really see it as my job to educate people about the philosophies behind child initiated play etc. Ok maybe it is my job but when do I do it ? xD (any articles any where?) I think part of the problem is that I don't feel clever (for want of a better word) enough to be opinionated about these things. Today's discussion was the teaching phonics and writing thing again-we just don't seem to be fitting it in in a structured way the way we used to when we were just a reception class and my teaching assisstant would basically prefer to go back to the way things were-she feels as though they were learning a lot more and still had opportunities to play and basically isn't happy. I want to stay up beat and positive about the whole thing but because I haven't got all the answers (how are you going to fit a daily phonics session in etc) I'm really struggling. All I want to do is what's best for the kids but I've got the LEA advisor telling me you shouln't be stopping for carpet sessions more than 4 times a day-including hometime story (so I don't know when to fit everything in) and she also says that staff shouldn't be stopping for a morning break but there's no way I could impose this as I'm sure some would resign! I'm so sorry for waffling on but it really has just been ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!! I also have a meeting with the LEA early years advisor on Monday and she wants to scrutinise plans :oxD Thank god its Friday tomorrow :D Thanks for listening

ZimXX

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Don't apolygise, I feel just like this a lot of the time. Havn't properly been on the forum for a while because I don't even really feel as though I have time for this at the moment. We have 79 children at the moment and 6 staff and in January 13 more nursery arrive so there will be 93 in the morning, aagh.

 

We had a cluster meeting today of FS staff and they all came to look around our unit because my head thinks its fantastic but it was 2.30, all the children were wild and i felt more embarrassed than proud!

 

We fit phonics in at 1.15 on a morning and at 11.15 we do guided read/ write, etc. That seems to work fine but i feel reception miss out on the real follow up/ consolidation of their work.

 

Its so hard to do our best by all the children, i feel like nursery miss out a lot because I'm so worried about covering reception work all the time.

 

If anyone's got any answers please let me know.

 

p.s I'm sure i'll be more positive again soon, I hope!

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Well, here goes - I'm not a teacher, am a mature Nursery Nurse in a Day Nursery, but all this is dear to my heart.

When I read Zim's post, I knew exactly what I wanted to say...When I read Cazza's, it threw me. OK, will you guys read, accept what you like and respect what you don't? Of course you will!! You're on this site aren't you!!

 

My feeling is, these are still very young children - in the 'bad' old days, little more than babies! I can remember starting school and having rest (lying down!!) periods, morning and afternoon!! And I am below pension age ! :o I feel that having lots of varied experiences around and accessible for the children to access as they want is the best thing we can do for them. It's the FS, no one should be criticising you for this. Remember, and some forget (not us, of course) Reception is still part of the FS and some Y1s are also functioning within the FS, and it's important to make it 'real' for them. Keep pegging on, your TA will notice the children are learning, it may seem slower, but it's more thorough!

 

Your staff, or some of them, will refer back, you'll just have to nurse them through the transition... seems hard, I know, but it can be done. Believe me, I've been there! Some will make it more readily than others, you might even end up with the odd one who still resists - that's life! (Sorry, I had one nut I just couldn't crack, too !)

 

Your good workers, the unqualified ones, need to be encouraged to go on courses - there are enough offered by our EYDCPs to cover their needs! Sorry, I'm suggesting too much here, come back to me later, or pm me if you want to continue this....

 

Cazza, don't feel too down, you're bound to be doing a good job, but don't feel too pressured... But then, I'm a NN, not a teacher - my first concern is the children's well-being. (and that's not meant as a snide knock!!)

 

Sue :D

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It seems to me (and I'm not a teacher either) that when children go into a setting with rec children, formality creeps in. In playgroup, and yes we do qualify for NEG so we are doing whats required, we allow/encourage free play and move with the children, doing what they want and adapting our planning/obs to suit their choices. We do have focus activities during the week but not at the expense of the childrens own choices. A few weeks ago I planned a MD activity in the sand, a child came to watch bringing some pieces of train with him, which took the other childrens interest away from what I was doing, so I used the trains in the MD activity instead. Not what I'd planned and it took a bit of juggling but it was better to follow them. After all they always have better ideas than me because play is all they know and I sometimes get bogged down with the 'proper' stuff. Does that make sense? :o:D

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There seem to be a few of issues here. The provision for children and the management of staff being the major ones. The latter has been covered elsewhere and, as I also know from experience, causes endless heartache.

But lets not lose sight of the children!!! Surely the focus should not be so much what and when we teach but who we are teaching. All evidence points towards allowing the learning to occur through structured and guided play and whatever qualification or experience the practitioners have their presence in the situation and relationships with the children are vital. After all, we all have growing to do regardless of our age. And yes, I suppose it is the responsibility of all of us to make that growth possible for all the rest!

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Wasnt it Vygotsky who advocated that we observe children playing and intervene only when they need help or need moving onto somehing more callenging? 'What a child can do today with help, tomorrow he can do unaided'. Thats basically where I get lost on planning, how can I resonably be expected to produce a terms plans until I've observed the children at daily or weekly activities? To be honest some of my planning is written up retrospectively. :o:D

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Wasnt it Vygotsky who advocated that we observe children playing and intervene only when they need help or need moving onto somehing more callenging? 'What a child can do today with help, tomorrow he can do unaided'. Thats basically where I get lost on planning, how can I resonably be expected to produce a terms plans until I've observed the children at daily or weekly activities? To be honest some of my planning is written up retrospectively. :o:D

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I feel so touched by your replies. Thanks everyone. Feel a lot better today. When you said the management of staff has been covered elsewhere cas did you mean by sue or elsewhere in this site? If anyone could link me up to a previous discussion on this sort of thing i'd appreciate it. There is a general feeling of negativity in our unit at the moment and as we all know, positivity breeds positivity but negativity breeds negativity as well! xD I think I need to find some kind of informative/ inspirational article about the kind of things you've been saying.) Just because handwriting is done in a book or phonics is 'done' doesn't mean the chn are getting the most out of it. I am a great beliver in quality not quantity. However, I do see the other side of it-planning this way is SO MUCH harder but I do want to find a structured way of ensuring I have covered letter formation etc. At least then I can say that the chn were taught it-practically yes but I could prove that they weren't just playing (as I'm sure many of the school think is all we do :o ) and can't be accused of not giving them the opportunities to learn. Went to visit another school today and the year one teacher was discussing the abilities of her chn. They had and still are following the foundation stage curriculum but she was worried that they might be lagging behind. When she said that her top group were writing 6 sentences independently I started to panic because (and the schools are just down the road from each other) our year 1s aren't doing so well. They aren't writing 6 sentences put it that way! It upsets me because they were a lovely class last year but they have been thrown into a more formal environment (no WONDER their behaviour/abilities aren't so great) I know I shouldn't be comparing chn in this way but there are so many top down pressures and target setting. How are we ever going to have a foundation stage for key stage 1 as well as long as the year 2 SATS still exist? Its easy for people to say that year 1 needs to be organised like reception to ease the transition but when you teach in a formal school where things have been done in a certain way for many years its VERY difficult to try and change people's ways. Even the formal year 1 teachers want what's best for the children and even after seeing it being done in an informal way at another school successfully will still stick to their tried and tested methods because, in their opinion this is what's best for the kids. I've completely gone off on a tangent here haven't I? Anyway, back to staff and attitudes-our staff have a problem getting to courses beacuse they don't drive. When the course bookelet comes out I look to see what would be appropriate but the response is often 'how will I get there?'. To be honest I just didn't put any of the support staff on courses this term for that reason. Is it mean to say well that's not really my problem? (Not that i'd ever dream of wording it like that!) of course i'd offer lifts if I could but I'd be teaching....I think that if people are interested enough in the job they will make the effort themselves and not moan that 'in any other job an employer wouldn't expect you to make your way to a course without subsidising you'. Fair enough: this ISN'T any other job-we do it because we want to develop ourselves and keep developing ways of doing what's best for the children. Without going into too many details (is that possible for me?!) many of our support staff were originally parent helpers who were offered TAS jobs without interviews etc. There are 3 NNEBs with donkeys years of experience working in the juniors in some instances-is this fair? I hope the debate will continue. Going for a meal now, will check in tomorrow and look forward to any replies. Cheers! :D

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Hi again Zim, I too came home yesterday after a good crying session with my line manager!!! Is it the time of year?? I think we're all a little depressed due to a lack of sunshine - SAD syndrome!!!

I don't have the same problems as you, as all staff are on board with regards to CI play etc. but I'm stressed as I'm the only teacher and really can't cope!!! I'm having a meeting with Senior Management on Monday, so will be busy writing down all my worries. Support staff are also really stressed too as their roles have grown immensely!!

 

Cazza, I think the large numbers of children is the difficult thing to cope with in a FS Unit, you don't seem to develop relationships with chn. as you would in a class of 30 or less - we currently have 72 chn. per session - and as you say Nursery chn. do often miss out. Currently we only mix chn. for 1 hr CI play + music sessions - to give both grps time alone. Hopefully when Nursery chn. are more settled this will be able to change, but the majority of our Nursery chn. are extremely immature!!

 

Sorry I can't offer any solutions, but only add to the list of worries!!

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I know i'm not alone now. I have an 'expereince' TA who has been in the old stclasses keeps refereing abck to it and cannot see the point of floating or has no back ground knowldege of the foundation stage or chidl development eccept waht her child did. I keep telling her that her only child cannot be used as a referece point. But she has refused to go on courses or do any additonal training as she feels she is actually even better than qualified teachers!!

For example- she commented that she has been trhoguh so many oftsed inspections and cannot understand why people get worried xD - she was relaxed through it. I wondered aloud if it could possibly be bec she was NOT the tewacher and it WAS NOT HER teaching, class and methods that were uder scrutiny :o !! She said "never thought of it that waay"!! Perhaps thats why i'm always so relaxed with an OFSTED!!! what more can i say or coud i say to her? :(:(

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Zim,

I really do sympathise with your wish to have something tangible to show people to justify the way that you work. Have you heard of the High/Scope project in America? Back in the 60s they started an experiment with a group of African Americans born in poverty. Some of the children went through the normal educational route which included very formal teaching methods but the others were introduced to a program of learning which was very much child led, probably very similar to the approach we are all taking now. They are continuing the research as they have been so astounded by the results and it certainly makes for very interesting reading if you have the time.

 

http://www.highscope.org/Research/PerryProject/perrymain.htm

 

The problem with 'our' methods of teaching is that the children appear to 'fall behind' in the early years. Parents in particular push for their children to learn to read, write and learn times tables. :o These are things that they can measure and everyone is anxious to do their best for their child. However, in other countries where formal teaching is left till later, they have found that these children 'catch up' on all the academic areas but more importantly they also have much better social skills and are able to make decisions and solve problems more easily. This has a huge impact on their adult lives too. It's so important to look at the bigger picture.

 

Sorry, I'm rambling a bit now! :D Whatever you do, don't give up! You really are giving these children something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. :)

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Thanks for your replies-think the weather may play a part in in all! Thanks for the link Beau-will read up more about that project when I get time. Have you eard of Reggio Emilia pre schools in Italy? Here's a link:

 

www.ltscotland.org.uk/earlyyears/reggioemilia. Not sure if this links up properly...well just do a google search. They have a very child centered approach to learning.

Have a good week next weekX

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None of us are alone!!

 

Reading these messages has brought me some hope! I too am having problems trying to set up a unit and have previous staff 'referring' to how they did it before. One member of staff is dropping hints that they want to leave - and they're really good and wouldn't want to lose them but personalities do make a major difference in how smoothly things can run! One problem is the how the hierarchy has been set up witin our school with regards to the fs - and how those people work together (we would hope for democracy but get dictatorship!).

 

It would be so easy to go on and on about this as I've spent many an evening wondering if taking on the job was such a good idea. But i choose to do this career beacuse i love working with children as i suspect so does everyone who spends time on this site. Just remeber we are not alone, we cannot get on with everyone and things do tend to work out one way or another!

 

My aunt decided to share a technique with me to help me cope - dunno if it really worked but liked the idea of it! When you come across someone who is being negative look at them and imagine them surrounded by a pink light - this is supposed to be protective and positive. Apparently if you do this then you become protected as what you give out you recieve back! like i said dunno if it really works but it gives you a chance to take a step back and it gives you back some sense of control!!

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