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Please Help Me Spend Some Money!


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I've been given (well not personally of course) some money to spend specifically on 'tansition' equipmenet with a view to extending good FS practice into year one.

There are a couple of issues though.

1. convincing the year one teachers that life doesnt revolve around the worksheet.

2. lack of space! The year one classes are tiny for classes of 30, no support and mostly EAL.

 

I know that we have discussed this before but I cant use the search faciltity yet. I also cant access th 'smooth transtiions' book either.

 

so for those of you thqat like a challanege, what would you buy?

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Sorry cant help, committee tightened and then knotted purse strings so I've even given up looking in catalogues and most shops. Bet you're excited though. :D

When I have got money though I show the children catalogues and let them decide, obviously I dont get everything they suggest but they're ideas are sometimes better than mine and can they can see different uses. Some of the equipment we've bought over the years has been useless at engaging the children, I'm sorry to say staff sometimes got taken in by the pretty packaging. :o:D

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Hi Mundia,

How about storymaking stuff to encourage language development. I'm thinking about books with accompanying puppets, (like the Storysack resources) or felt storyboards with little felt characters to stick on, etc.

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Hi Mundia

 

Hudersfield early excellence are running some fab courses on transition and have bought in some excellent consultants to deliver it. We, as an authority, access their centre a lot.

It's like everything else we do, if the understanding or the commitment is not there then any amount of resources you put in could end up in the cupboards, unused. Working with the staff to look at the principles of Foundation Stage and the Excellence in Enjoyment document i found to be the best place to start .training our Reception and Year 1 staff together(at the same time) has had great results across all our schools.

We had Ros Baily up recently to deliver her smooth transitions course and the book does give a pragmatic approach to transition from reception to year 1. It is a good place to start.

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Hi Mundia,

Ive been thinking about this alot since we first spoke about it and I think possibly the place to start is, what do your Reception classes have that your Yr1 classes do not? Without a doubt your answer is going to be role play resources and sand and water.

You have already mentioned that you are space restricted and you need table top resources for sand and water. I saw a set of 4 coloured water/sand trays in one of the catalogues (NES?), but could you use the tuff spots/ builders trays? Im not familiar with the latter!

Role play corners are also quite space consuming but could you make tabards of various colours and textures etc for children to extend their speaking and listening/ drama?

 

Then perhaps you need to to look at the resources that are already in school. What do you use in the Nursery and in Reception already that could be extended into yr1?

There is a wide range of supplementary material available for unifix, linking elephants etc and I think " numicon" has alot of potential but to resource for that will swallow up a greatdeal of the money I know you have.

Perhaps you need story tapes or other reading resources, dominoes, lottos etc. What does the reading scheme provide in this way? Many of them are now producing supplementary materials to use interactively. Big Books are coming with packs of activity ideas?

 

If you are working to undo the worksheet dependence then perhaps you need whiteboards and pens. Many handwriting sheets can be laminated and used with whiteboard pens and this is a much easier medium to work with than pencil and paper.

Perhaps you need clipboards for the children to use?

Perhaps you need to resource with paper, pens, pencils, crayons etc and paint, scissors and glue and materials for sticking etc to encourage a more creative, practical approach?

 

Malleable materials like dough are almost certainly extinct in the classroom too? Boards, tools, cutters and such might be useful?

 

Small world toys.

 

I know that am talking to the converted and that you have plenty of ideas, what I think you want to know is how to prioritise your spend so that the most useful resources are bought?

When we resourced for a more play based approach in yr 1, we concentrated on the role play and the sand and water provision. Most of the other things were already in school somewhere but it was in these areas that over the years the resources had disappeared.

I also like to have a wide variety of pens and paper in my classroom etc and have become a white board fan! I also think dough is very versatile and an important medium and in my travels this week, I easily identified the children I would be encouraging with dough activities!

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I think this is an issue that lots of us are starting to think about... although we do not all have some extra money to help support it......LUCKY YOU !

 

I think Susan came up with some great ideas and it does depend on your physical set up I think too. We have started sharing some of the Reception resources with Year 1 and are turning a large unused corridor area into a large role play area where in a planned way some Reception and Year 1 can play together which helps with the 1:30 ratio in Year 1... but this is tricky. (Persuading the Year 1 staff that it is important and working it into the way the Foundation Stage works)

 

I think Outdoor Play is an important area too... can the Year 1's use an Outdoor area as the Foundation Stage children do... their own area and equipment ? What happens there ?

 

I think ideally the Year 1 environment should have a lot of similarities to Reception... ours does not but I'm trying to inspire change ! ... it is a huge task to change the way of thinking about Year 1. The attitudes of the Year 1 staff are important because if they don't buy into the value of learning through play any resources will be misused ! Before you spend any money I think it would be worth the Year 1 and Foundation Staff having time to observe life in each others area and then sharing ideas about how transition is supported e.g. socially, language skills, environment etc.

 

I was also just thinking about a pack we have started using from Stockport called 'Speaking and listening through narrative' which was intended to be used for SEN children but we are using it with all of our Foundation Stage children as their language skills are quite poor. It has lots of practical activities and games around the storycomponbents of 'Who ?, where? when ? what happened ? and The end ?' The ideas in it have helped our Year 1 teachers take a more creative and fun approach.

 

I would be really interested to see other peoples ideas for Mundia with a budget and for those of us with a zero budget for the forseeable future !

 

Galleon :D

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HI Galleon, thanks for that. I am sure Mundia will find your thoughts very useful.

 

As I understand it though, her budget is not bottomless but well defined and she will need to prioitise to maximise it! The budget is also time limited.

 

Mundia herself has been given the task of implementing change and has her headteacher on board. She will be able to lead by example and needs to influence the year 1 teachers to abandon the worksheet with the provision of alternatives!

 

Any other thoughts anyone?

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Thanks for the responses everyone so far, yes I would like some more.

 

I have asked the year one teachrs to ask the children what they would like, but they have a tendency to throw their hands up in the air and say..'yes but when?'. Story sacks were at the top of the list in my head but can anyone point to a web site please?

 

We have the builder's trays in FS but they are too big for the year one classes, we need to think on a much smaller scale.

 

Year one dont have access to an outdoor area other than the usual 'playground' which is shared with year 2.

 

One of our teachers went on the smooth transitions course last year, but it deosn't appear to be running this year, as that was also high on my list.

 

Galleon, I am interested in your 'Speaking and listening through narrative' . Do you have any more info? Or a web site?

 

Thanks but keep going?

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Not really much in the way of inspiration, sorry mundia, but if you want to stretch your budget a bit further and have 'handy, helpful' parents or colleagues, it's usually much cheaper to make your own storysacks and boxes - more fun, too! A local Beacon Nursey school has implemented this idea very successfully, creating a core of committed, supportive parents which has virtually become self-perpetuating. Good for relations, as well as transition!

 

I know that's not really what you want from us, but it's my well-meaning contribution!! :o

 

Sue :D

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Hi there, Mundia

Susan's ideas seem to be fairly comprehensive. I would add some decent construction equipment to that, particularly anything that encourages co-operative play. The main thing is to help the Y1 teachers to see how the children can use the equipment to support their learning. That way, they may be more inclined to use it. You could also find lots of equipment to support investigation and inquiry, for instance, torches, magnets, mirrors etc, that the children could use independently. If they have a computer in their classrooms then some fun programs might be in order. My boys (age 51/2) love to experiment designing games. I agree with the others that it is not so much a question of spending lots of money on equipment, but more a case of upholding the idea that children are capable of taking charge of aspects of their own learning. I will be interested to know how you get on

 

SalHowe

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