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Tips For Managing A Large Class Effectively Please


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I have 29 children in my reception class with me and a full time TA. Quite a few of the children are not used to socialising with other children. 3 children have huge tantrums; loud screaming, kicking & slapping me, throwing chairs and toys. Space is also an issue as is the pressure of having 2 govenor's children, 1 child of a teacher in the school and a child with reduced mobility. The KS1 teachers are 'commenting' on the noise level. Last week I tried increasing the adult led activities and splitting into 2 groups with 1 group/1 adult inside/outside it helped with the noise and less disputes between children but wasn't workable in the end because one of us has to deal with soiling, first aid, arguments, tantrums, a child that keeps disappearing. The other TAs have all had their hours cut so there is no chance of any extra help. The TA and I seem to spend almost all day ping ponging between problems instead of engaging the children, we're exhausted already and the class resources are getting trashed. If anyone has any ideas please, please let me know.

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I dont have to deal with such a low staff ratio but I recognise the problem of not being able to get on and work with the children because of spending more time chasing the problems, is there any way you could rally some parent/carer volunteers or students?

 

We have found some times when resourses are being trashed, its because the children are overwelmed with the choice of stuff and want to see and do everything, what should be a stimulating environment is for some children a distracting environment.

We have in the past taken things back to basics put the majority of resourses away and then at the start of the session asked the children what they want to play with. That way everything out is child inititated but only a minimum of stuff is available to mess up or distract the children, as soon as resourses start to be trashed put them away and ask the children to choose something different it helps to set the ground rules as the behaviour improves more resourses can be left out and available to choose.

 

Im speaking from working with mostly 3 and 4 year olds in a pack away preschool not 4-5's in reception so im not sure how practical going back to basics would be for your lessons?

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Hi, there, sorry you're finding it so tought at the moment - I can sympathise! :(

 

I am in a Pre-school with 2-4 year old so while it isn't the same as reception we are experiencing the same problems.

 

We have 32 children on roll, 15 of which are a new intake (never had so many all start at once!), and 3 staff, we too are all exhausted and seem to spend a good portion of our morning changing nappies!!

 

I don't really have any tips but:-

 

  • everytime you deal with a problem you are actually 'teaching' the chilren strategies to deal with it themselves.
  • noise always seems less when outside, and the children have more space to run about/use up that energy.
  • I forget that when I ask the children to come to the carpet - only about a third of them actuall will - :o but this is getting better by the day.
  • sit and reflect on the first week - what progress has been made? every step forward is a positive one
  • If you review some of the other threads you will see that most people seem to focuss these first weeks on rules, behaviour, ways of working, without making

 

remember and repeat to others 'it's still early days, we are getting to know one another and how we are expected to behave so that the classroom runs smoothly"

 

When we find an area constantly being 'trashed' we make sure an adult stays there during a session (no always easy but we try) to keep on top of the children/play, prompt them when playing to act appropriately, tidy up when finished, etc.

 

SMALL STEPS MAKE BIG DIFFERENCES

 

 

Good luck!! xD:(:(

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I have 29 children in my reception class with me and a full time TA. Quite a few of the children are not used to socialising with other children. 3 children have huge tantrums; loud screaming, kicking & slapping me, throwing chairs and toys. Space is also an issue as is the pressure of having 2 govenor's children, 1 child of a teacher in the school and a child with reduced mobility. The KS1 teachers are 'commenting' on the noise level. Last week I tried increasing the adult led activities and splitting into 2 groups with 1 group/1 adult inside/outside it helped with the noise and less disputes between children but wasn't workable in the end because one of us has to deal with soiling, first aid, arguments, tantrums, a child that keeps disappearing. The other TAs have all had their hours cut so there is no chance of any extra help. The TA and I seem to spend almost all day ping ponging between problems instead of engaging the children, we're exhausted already and the class resources are getting trashed. If anyone has any ideas please, please let me know.

 

littlebigpaws I do know where you are coming from and it does sound as if your children are very young. My experience is that if I increase my child initiated time and spend more time playing with the children i get less noise, more involvement and then I can find out what makes the children tick and meet their needs more. As others have siad it is 'early days' and it takes at least the first half term to get routines and systems into place.

 

We work as Key persons even though we are only 2 in reception and we have 30 children but we do not have them all in full time we bring them in as a gradual process. As for KS1 don't let them get you down. Either ignore them politely or ask if they would like some experience of YR and swop for a day!

 

You will get there give it time and keep to your principles remember these children are betweem 50 and 60+ months old!

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I can't honestly see how it's possible to use the EYFS child initiated approach with such a large number of children and such a low number of adults. I suspect the children themselves are also finding it confusing and consequently needing lots of reassurance.

 

I'd definitely agree that you need to limit their choices as to how many resources are out. I'd plump for some whole class stuff like you have done - a few stories, maybe listening to some tapes, some quiet time to balance the noisier times.

 

I think I'd also have a chat with your line manager about how difficult it is for you to follow the EYFS approach (and consequently please Ofsted) with such poor ratios. Mention the big O and they will probably 'find' some money to get you extra support!

 

Good luck.

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I can sympathise with copletely-I only have 26 ( I say only as if it isn't enough!) and they are a difficult cohort. Luckily (not sure thats the right word!) I had a VERY difficult class of 27 last year and have learnt a few survival techniques which are making this year much easier! I don't know what your intake is like but mine come from quite deprived backgrounds and haven't had the usual preschool experiences we would hope for. I found this was causing problems during CI time becasue the chn simply didn't know how to play with each other and were overwelmed by the amount of resources etc available. We found that spending a lot of time 'monitoring' throughout the session paid off big time. By this I mean picking out any 'trashing' or reminding a child to tidy something away when they had finished before moving onto something else, and also idenitfying where the particular 'trashing' problems were occuring- usually the role play area! I have to admit that I probably wasn't (and still aren't!) especially EYFS friendly in my approach- we had/have a few short CI times dotted throughout the day with some whole class and small grp activities in between. This was much more effective- we noticed that they were beginning to kick their heels about 30-40 mins into CIT so we made this the cut off time. I would idenitfy a particular issue and make decisions about how to tackle it then really push and focus on this until you feel you are getting somewhere then move onto another issue

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Do you think the children would have been 'better behaved' before the EYFS? or is the EYFS making life more difficult for a teacher and one helper? If they were better behaved - what made the difference then?

 

I wonder how we are seriously expected to make the same 'curriculum' work with 30 chn and 2 adults as with a much smaller ratio in a nursery/preschool and even maintained nurseries are restricted to 26 and still expected to make it work as effectively. I do sometimes question how we can realistically interact with, support, question, extend children when there are only 2 adults to do so.

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Thanks for your advice and support everyone. It's both reassuring but also alarming that I'm not the only one having difficulties. Had a good day today and feeling more positive. I've talked it over with our senco and we found out and applied for first funding for the most challenging child. If successful this will provide 15hrs a week funding for an extra TA for the rest of the year. I've also removed most of the resources from the role play area and planned in extra psed activities.

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Thanks for your advice and support everyone. It's both reassuring but also alarming that I'm not the only one having difficulties. Had a good day today and feeling more positive. I've talked it over with our senco and we found out and applied for first funding for the most challenging child. If successful this will provide 15hrs a week funding for an extra TA for the rest of the year. I've also removed most of the resources from the role play area and planned in extra psed activities.

 

That sounds much more positive - I'm glad you've managed to sort a few things out that will hopefully help. You really aren't the only one struggling to make it all work. As you say, its wonderful to make connections with others who are having the same difficulties - you know it is not through your own failing but rather that of the system you are trying to work under. If you feel the need for more support then feel free to vent here. :o

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