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Setting Up 6 Areas


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Hi, I wonder if any of you could help me a bit?

 

My EYAT wants me to set up areas within the Preschool tied to the six areas of learning. She has been unable to convince me of her reasoning behind this - and I have been unable to make her understand why I really don't think this is a good idea.

 

She has now written it into my EYQISP as an area for action, so I'm not a happy bunny.

 

So my question is this: Do YOU have your Preschool set up in this way - and if you do, what benefits does it bring?

 

My own personal feeling is that children should feel able to get what they want and take it to an area where they feel comfortable - for instance, to take dolls etc from the home corner into the book and quiet area to 'read' to them, or just cuddle up. Or take pencils and crayons into the home corner to write or draw - -or whatever, you get my drift.

 

Surely setting up the six areas is a retrograde step?

 

I look forward to your replies!

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Does she actually mean you have to set it up as in put out certain resources or may she mean set it up as having the six defined areas (although how you have a PSE area is anyone's guess!) We have clearly defined areas but they can take things to different areas too. If she means you putting things out then that would be a backwards step and goes against CI in my opinion.

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Am really surprised by your EYAT advice...especially as the EYFS ethos is that no one area of learning or development is in isolation of others. Do you think the EYAT could have been referring to clearly zoned areas, eg messy play, immaginative play, construction , book corner, small world etc etc, and just got a bit confused? If I were you, I would email and ask (politely) for clarity.

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I'd be inclined to think that she means having clearly defined areas like kittycat. We have those too with a maths area next to sorting sets, number puzzles and all sorts of counting and measuring games and stuff. Mark making and craft stuff area has easy access to paper, paint, pens and a load of other stuff for the children to access themselves. Kuw is usually in a similar area too. Of course children have to be able to take their play wherever they want and they can.

 

Having these clearly defined areas was a recommendation from Ofsted about 5 years ago and they are still working well.

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I do have fairly defined areas, but children may move items from one area into another at will. So whilst there is a home corner they generally go and set up home elsewhere in the setting. I do have a PSRN area, that's where the resources are kept on a trolley for the children to help themselves from.

 

I have a CLL area, there is a table, there are chairs, there is a trolley loaded with paper, mark making items, scissors, etc. there is a tape recorder, cd player, tapes and cd's to choose from and the book corner incorporated there.

 

I have a wet/messy area, so sand, water, malleables, design and tech trolley.

 

I have a role play area

 

A physical area, climbing frame, corner unit with steps/bridge/tunnel/slide

 

I have a small world area.

 

These areas are loosely divided up by a couple of screens or the trolleys and the children can access everything they need. There are a few items left in the storage cupboard when everything is out, but that's just extra jigsaws, games etc.

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I'm with you Cait.

 

You cannot put out specific resources and prescribe in which areas of learning the children will develop when using them. Child development is a holistic (or is it an holistic?) process and they will cover all areas of learning in every activity in the way which is right for them at that time. As 'every child is unique' they will each get something different from every resource.

 

I'm quite sure your obs planning and assessment show the children and the activities covering all areas of learning and that makes much more sense.

 

I think 'retrograde step' is a very good description.

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You are all sort of seeing it how I do I think. We have quiet area, book corner, role play/home corner, a small world area, a place where all the mark-making resources 'live', jigsaw area, computer area, sorting area (where the sorting trays & resources are, plus the weighing scales and magnetic shapes/letters/numbers and boards) a construction area and a wide play area (where they can spread out a lot or use the parachute or the bubble machine)

 

She has written '6 areas of learning' - so I assume that's what she means.

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OO errr Cait, sounds like you need to put your boxing gloves on and stand your ground :o

 

I think as someone has mentioned earlier you need some more clarification here.

 

Please, please, please don't return here and say there are changes afoot xD

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You are all sort of seeing it how I do I think. We have quiet area, book corner, role play/home corner, a small world area, a place where all the mark-making resources 'live', jigsaw area, computer area, sorting area (where the sorting trays & resources are, plus the weighing scales and magnetic shapes/letters/numbers and boards) a construction area and a wide play area (where they can spread out a lot or use the parachute or the bubble machine)

 

She has written '6 areas of learning' - so I assume that's what she means.

 

I am 100% with you on this one Cait. I can't quite get my head around a PSED 'area' :o

I would be really interested to know how she would do it.

 

I did visit one setting ages ago and they had very defined areas and heaven help a child who moved a book from the book corner to read a story to the 'babies' in the home corner - it simply wasn't allowed - it was awful

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Just had a quick look at EYQISP here http://publications.everychildmatters.gov....-2008BKT-EN.pdf

It says:

 

securing high quality environments for learning and development – focusing on the

enabling environment (including the physical and emotional environment), which promotes

children’s well-being, nurtures children, and fosters positive relationships between children,

parents and adults, and where children are valued for their uniqueness and individuality.

Further details of these elements can be found in the Early Years Consultant's Handbook (Reference

00127-2008BKT-EN)

 

I can't see anything that suggests she should be so specific and anyway surely at the very least she should be able to support her argument for suggesting such (or any!) a change.

 

Do stand your ground :o and let us know how it goes,

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I worked in a nursery a few years ago with a real problem that had been handed down from manager to deputy to all staff. Mess, was not allowed!

 

As I walked into the room one morning, 2 lads, all dressed up, ran across to me shouting my name. The staff member in the room shouted 'boys, get back down there with the dressing up on'.

 

I kid you not. The dressing up was not to be moved from the dressing up corner. :o

 

Your EY person has obviously got the wrong end of someones stick. I'd stand your ground, its your pre-school, your children and families and your staff who all have to feel comfortable with their practice. Or lie, and tell her you tried it, shame she missed it. xD

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I think you should stand your ground and as long as you can justify what you do and why it suits your children in your setting......... don't worry about the advisor!

 

At times I feel the advisors have to write something down to keep themselves in a job!!

 

And not wanting to generalise (but here I go anyway!!) many are not practising practitioners......... and it is so easy to spout on and forget about the practicalities when you don't have to do it yourself.

 

I would want from an advisor very specific reasons to change something that was suiting my children in the setting!!

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Does no-one have any respect for all of the training we do? You're right it is someone justifying their job. absolutely ridiculous.

 

All areas are covered throughout our setting, bothinside and out in a huge variety of ways, as they should be!!!

Please let us know how you get on Cait - this sort of thing just makes me mad!

Sam

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Yes do stand your ground .They really often don't understand the practicalities. I had a little "difference" with our EYAT the other day. I told her that I will only take try her recommendations if i feel they benefit the chilren. I think she got the message because she dryly said "You are only interested in the children aren't you"

Hmnnnnnnnnn I thought that was the idea of the whole thing and I told her that I was pleased that she understood our ethos!!!!!!

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Phew - thank goodness for that - I thought you were going to post a quote from the document that I'd missed :o

 

I'm so pleased that you are all 'with me' on this, it makes it easier to stand my ground. I've not heard back from her yet - I wrote on the EYQISP document she sent, 'Why?' next to where she'd recommended it (I was meant to sign agreement and return it - I didn't sign it). So we wait and see what she comes back with......

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I 'ran this past' my deputy this morning - thought I would share her reaction with you!

 

"Oh for goodness sake, are they mad, thought the EYFS was all about getting away from that sort of thing! If they (children) have resources available to them and they can self-select who gives a **** where they are using them". These blessed people have to keep interfering, why, what for, load of job justifying going on there"

 

So I think it's clear from that - that she is in agreement with you too! :o

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Yes do stand your ground. My EYAT even said my planning sheets were messy until i told her that its a working document and sometimes it gets changed if the children don't "agree " with it and sometimes it even gets childrens mark making efforts on it!!!!!!

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stick to your guns....

 

ask back how it will benefit the children, and how will they learn more by having it set out the way she wants..

 

if there is no benefit for the children no need to change it... and make sure it is the child and not adults which benefit.. if the reason is so you know they are covering all areas that is not a child benefit but an adult one! and it is our job to do this in a way which will benefit the child.. ( my favourite phrase that one!)

 

also its the way the children want it set out these days that should have the greatest impact... do they actually realise that playing with something in an area is maths, just because we label it so.. sound like it is more for the adult than the child...

 

sorry I get a bit 'heated' in this one fits all approach some have , we changed every year as children changed.. what was good one year could fail the next..

 

Inge

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I'm totally in agreement with everyone on here when I ask "why?". One trick I have found works well with advisors is to turn the tables on them and when they suggest/recommend you do something I ask them to come along for a number of sessions to model how they would like me to do it. This tends to either send them running scared or else they genuinely do come and support us in trying out some changes. I'm not saying I would always keep their changes but it makes me look like I'm accepting support and at the same time I ensure we trial things in exactly the way they want us to. Then we can make a more informed decision about whether it works for us or not. Stick to your guns though unless she can explain herself better, and let us know how you get on.

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Hi Cait

 

This might sound a little on the harsh side to some but I made a stand about this time last year and have not regretted it for one moment. We have not looked back and have been able to embark on a QM programme using our own agenda and areas we know we need to make improvements, without staff worrying that an EYAT, EYFSC, SIP or LPSA will be "back any day now and I've not done the twenty things each one of them wanted me to".

 

I banned all LA advisors from visiting us! Its a long story that I will try to make brief. I asked for some financial support for a specific reason and was, I think accidentally copied in on an email between LA staff which said that there were "issues" with our setting - red rag to a bull that.

 

So I went to the top and insisted I was told what the issues were; they were not having a "fluffly enough" (curtains, soft furnishing, frilly bits of net etc) book corner, a dirty floor (can't keep it clean through the whole day) and wanting to put babies on the first floor of a wooden building (ours building is made of bricks).

 

So you see where I am coming from don't you. I am, and I am sure you are too, far better qualified and have much more experience of working in your environment and with your children.

 

Don't let anyone bully you into submission, they are there to advise and we do not have to take their advice if it is wrong. We are under no obligation to let them in.

 

Very sorry this is a long rant, but I wanted to share the feeling of freedom with you all. Might I start a rebellion?! :o

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