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Help With Next Level On Integration....


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We had an Early Years visit this morning, and we are currently operating as F1 in the preschool terrapin, and F2 in the school reception/FS area, with our F2 preschool children (of which there are 10 this term) attending mornings only in transition for them starting on the school roll in January. Our outdoor areas are joined by a gate and this is opened morning and afternoon for an hour each time to allow free flow play between F1 and F2 but they do not go into each others buildings (we assumed due to ratio's/insurance but Early Years seemed to think this wasn't a problem)


So I started this september as manager of the preschool and great steps have been taken to thinking as a unit. We now use the same planning documents, we plan similar adult led activities around a loose topic, with differentation for F1/f2 and child interests in the 2 seperate areas. Eg dinosaurs is currently integrated in our plans in F1 and mini-beasts and paper aeroplanes in f2! All our children in F2 have the same opportunities where as before the F2 preshool children were in the building with the F2 school children, but the preschool staff kept them very seperate.


Early Years today were talking about the preschool planning in set letters and sounds sessions in line with the school, I explained that we cover phase one letters and sounds throughout the sessions not in a set time, but she seemed to want us to have it set at the same time as the school, and then suggested if we had F1 children that were showing signs of being in phase 2 for example they could go over for the 10 minute session with the F2 children in the 'right' group, and any F2 school children still needing phase 1 could come over to us. But for one, we have ratio's in our terrapin, we are only allowed up to 24 children at a time - so if we kept all our F1 children and 10 more came over from F2 for nursery rhyme letters and sounds for example, would implications would this have ? Also the preschool and school aren't that close, they aren't that far away either, but to herd children between the 2 for a 10 minute session would take some planning and man power...


Then there was talk about our terrapin being a 4th base room and the children free flowing between them all but again, the entrance to the terrapin is no where near the entrance to the school even with the outdoor gates open, how could you keep track of how many children were where, and F1 children need greater adult input, and even operatng 1:6 ratio's it is hard enough when we get an influx of F2 children into the outdoor area, it takes a lot of our staff away from observations etc of our F1 children just to keep an eye on safety etc outdoors.


I don't want to come across as negative, because I would love us to work together more, we are at least 2 years away we think from the new purpose built building, which would obviously make things easier, so how can we think outside the box and take our partnership to the next level. Those of you in a fully integrated FSU building, how much do F1 and F2 children integrate, do you do things seperatly at any time and how do you manage the free flow time ensuring every child gets as much adult time to scaffold their learning etc. I just need some working ideas as I know it will be hard enough for me to implent any changes of this nature within the preschool setting, they are all very wary of being 'swallowed' up by doing it the school way if that makes sense.



Clare xx

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