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Big Sort Through Of Resources - Tips Needed


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We have a big sort through of our resources planned in a couple of weeks time.

 

This has got me thinking about how and whether our resources genuinely support child initiated learning. And as an extra issue, it has got me wondering how far the learning in our setting is child initiated, because the resources are always selected and put out by the adults.

 

At the moment our setting is a bit 'stuck' in the resources department, with the vast majority of stuff being either toys or arts and crafts materials. I am thinking we need to get more imaginative and offer the children things like big bags of scrap material, junk modelling stuff, etc.

 

Could anyone give me their thoughts on:

 

(a) What the best resources are for children to initiate their own learning (some examples would be great).

 

(:o Where we do use toys, what the best kinds of toys are to offer.

 

© How to get staff thinking 'outside the box' about how resources might be used more creatively.

 

(d) How we can get the children more involved in choosing resources (especially given that we are a pack away setting and the storage is not easily accessed by the children).

 

Thanks!

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I always love a good clear out.

 

One way of doing this for us was to literally empty everything we had into the outdoor space (room space in your case perhaps?) and then ONLY put back what we thought was really useful. It was hard work but remarkably refreshing.

 

This the system that worked for us!

 

First, get rid of the obvious, the broken, damaged, tatty, not fir for purpose etc etc...

 

Then look at the larger items, furniture, cupboards, large play equipment. Is it really needed? What does ti do? Do we have too man tables is often a good question. This can lead to healthy discussions and therefore a very good CDP opportunity!

 

Move onto storage.. what do we need, do we have that already, do we need it (have an ongoing 'needs' list as you go).

 

Next, what are the storage units for? Eg craft materials, constructions, small world etc.. What do we have for these areas? Find all the relevant resources, stack them away, throw away or decide to add to. Then put that 'finished' unit out of the way. (if you don't have any storage units, it be on your wish list and you may need to work on this one next)

 

Next, what storage space do you have for open ended materials. With the best will in the world, if you don't have the space to store, you need to think carefully about what you provide. If you have a scrap store, join and use it, but if storage is an issue regular trips for smaller amounts are better than one enormous trip every term.

 

You should find by now that you're getting down to the smaller items, and boy do they take up a lot of room.

 

At this point its probabaly time for a cuppa.

 

Look at the pile of stuff left. Depending on the size of your team, you could in pairs, ask them to select the next 5 most important things left. Be prepared to say why! (some things have emotional attachment to us even if not much use). Any disagreements at this point, bring to the wider team.

 

Continue to do this, getting the pile smaller and smaller. At some point, someone needs to keep a check on what you have against what you think you need to keep that resources need list going. If you have too much stuff for say water play, then you need to decide what you really need and what can go.

 

At some point, you will end up with a pile which may be still pretty big that noone really wants or needs, and between yo you cant really think of a use for. Sort that into bin and recycle.

 

Now time for another cuppa, whilst you look at what your needs are. Put everything back in the cupboard,neat and tidy! and pat yourselves on the back for a job well done!

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Wow, thank you for that comprehensive reply!

 

We sorted out some new storage boxes/shelves at the end of term, so we do have space.

 

Can I ask how long you would anticipate that big sort through taking? There will be 3 of us involved plus maybe a few parent helpers.

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we are based in a church too and to get the children more involved we have a photo album that is out everyday which children can choose toys out of for the next day--this also works with younger ones who can point at what they want out :o

 

we have also purchased some units that have 9 boxes we have one in the mark making area and one in the creative area and daily we fill them with interesting resources.

 

samfrostie xD

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oooooooh i so need to do that!!!!! My playroom is full to bursting!

 

I have a problem with crafty stuff because as a childminder I deal with all ages of children from birth-5! At the moment I have a 1 yr old, 20 month old, 3 yr old and my 5 yr old when she's off sch.

 

So I can't have craft things out all of the time because some of it is not suitable for the baby (in fact i haven't yet found any suitable for a baby!) so craft things have to be specifically planned for when baby is asleep but that means i usually only have my 3 yr old there!

 

Good luck with your big sort out - let us know how you get on!

 

xx

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Well I am my own worst enemy for hoarding clutter the summer break is normally our sort out throw out time it normally takes the best part ot two days to get this task done mainly because we also take the time to give averything a good clean too

 

Mundia great advice we tend to empty the whole store cupboard sort out the old, the tatty and the broken and hold on to all kinds of stuff that really we dont need to, so I will be asking some fresh questions this time about what we have got and why we keep it

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Just home from day two of our de-clutter and everything looks FABULOUS!!!! Just me and another member of staff who is an inveterate 'chucker' against my 'hoarder' a good team actually and she actually got me saying 'chuck it, chuck it' when she asked me my opinion!!

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i always had that ..why did I start this feeling once the cupboard was empty, the room full to overflowing and wondering where it all came from and will it fit back in!

 

Last summer we had a big big sort out... remember it vividly, took us 2 days, and during that time had 2 van loads of rubbish to get rid of... (One of our staff called her dad and said can we have a van and driver for an hour... and yes one turned up... he took all the stuff and got rid for us... useful having staff with a dad running own business...he even turned up with lunch for us all one day)

 

and did we miss anything... no... but we did find some long lost treasures... we knew we had that somewhere was the cry !

 

and it stayed tidy.. well all of 2 weeks!

 

and now.. overflowing again, they are due another clear out soon.. without me this time.

 

As to self selection, the more the children can choose themselves the better, wheeled trolleys for everything, we sued veg ones until we sorted out what worked and then invested in better ones.. lots can go on them, sand, water, construction, puzzles, games, mark making craft.. all came out and allowed free choice... any big items we sued pictures, and they could swap items during the day. we did the put items out, but slowly changed until now the children can choose all areas- and we were pack away, found this easier than putting out items each day

 

Inge

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But here's a puzzle - we've lost the guilottine/paper trimmer - where on earth can it have gone! We were looking forward to doing the declutter as we were sure it would turn up - but EVERYTHING has been moved and we've not found it!

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But here's a puzzle - we've lost the guilottine/paper trimmer - where on earth can it have gone! We were looking forward to doing the declutter as we were sure it would turn up - but EVERYTHING has been moved and we've not found it!

Sorry Cait - I popped in and 'borrowed it' - will return a.s.a.p.!

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i always had that ..why did I start this feeling once the cupboard was empty, the room full to overflowing and wondering where it all came from and will it fit back in!

 

 

we are amazed that we can fill a hall with stuff that is contained in a 9ft square store cupboard maybe its a TARDIS?

(unfortunatly I havent found David Tennant in the store cupboard :o )

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What a brilliant answer, Mundia :o I tried to send you a PM but your folders are full!

 

 

Thankyou. How would I ever know my inbox is full? At work I get constant messages telling me? I only emptied it a couple of months ago..

 

Suzie, to get back to your question, how long it takes depends on how much stuff you have. I have been known to manage it in a day with grit determination that we're not leaving til its done. To give you a hand, have you considered getting in touch with your EY team, I have been known to go out and help settings have a big clear out and some of our most productive discussions have been over how many garages we really need!

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Thankyou. How would I ever know my inbox is full? At work I get constant messages telling me? I only emptied it a couple of months ago..

 

Suzie, to get back to your question, how long it takes depends on how much stuff you have. I have been known to manage it in a day with grit determination that we're not leaving til its done. To give you a hand, have you considered getting in touch with your EY team, I have been known to go out and help settings have a big clear out and some of our most productive discussions have been over how many garages we really need!

 

our early years team came out the one year and helped us, I think they wanted to be nosey at what resources we had but they where keen to help so dont be afaid to ask them especially during the summer break

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Good idea, I will email them and ask them along, they've been very helpful to us this year already!

 

Thanks to everyone who has replied.

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we pack away to tardis too!! and i too have not found the dr.

 

anything resource can be child initiated if the child so chooses and practitoners let

 

what i would ask myself is is my envoronment enabling? what would make it so?

 

go for real objects, real suacepans, utencils, real items in your shop etc

 

go for natural get people to collect

pine cones, rocks pebbles stones shells wood bricks

 

throw away those awful plastic toys

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we pack away to tardis too!! and i too have not found the dr.

That's because our deputy supervisor has him held captive in our tardis!

 

Since I took over the nursery I have been systematically been getting rid of toys and resources which seem to offer very 'closed' play activities to children. It is taking some time, but at each tidy up day we get rid of something else and get a bit nearer to my vision of a group filled more with natural products and less with plastic.

 

However I would say that plastic doesn't necessarily mean a toy is unsuitable. Our bilibos are probably one of the most versatile toys we've bought!

 

Maz

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However I would say that plastic doesn't necessarily mean a toy is unsuitable. Our bilibos are probably one of the most versatile toys we've bought!

 

Maz

WHO? WHAT?

 

What are 'bilibos' I feel I need some!!! :o

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However I would say that plastic doesn't necessarily mean a toy is unsuitable. Our bilibos are probably one of the most versatile toys we've bought!

 

Maz

 

WHO? WHAT?

 

What are 'bilibos' I feel I need some!!! :o

 

 

yeah - I looked twice at that too!!!

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Yes I couldn't resist having a look - the big ones look like fun

They are fab! The thing I like about them is that children can find so many uses for them: stepping stones, personal roundabouts, seats for them and their dollies, a means of carrying things from one place to another, hats, part of an obstacle course for cars, something to drag each other around in, the possibilities are endless!

 

here's a link - but I have to say none of our children has pretended to be a snail or a turtle by wearing one on their back. Yet.

 

Maz

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