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Thanks for pointing this out - Hali posted it elsewhere last week and I think it's a great document! Imagine my delight to see a case study of a deputy that I know from just down the road - fame at last! I too printed off selected bits for our staff meeting and emailed the link to everyone in order to save paper! Yay, something useful at last :)

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Thanks for this. luluj


Thank you very much!!! This is just what I need to support my own thoughts about play when putting it across to our TA's in support of child initiated play! This will also be useful for our students.



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Is there no way you can order these documents from somewhere? I would much rather pay for 3 copies for my staff than print off 61 pages 3 times.

It really annoys me nowadays that everybody is expected to print everything off them selves......

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Have just read through this document (perfect night-time reading for a Saturday night in with little boy while husband at the pub!). Really clears up some of the confusion that surrounds CI and TI activities and learning. The box on page 16 really got me thinking - if I've read it correctly it seems to questions whether having focused activities going on alongside CI play and taking children away from CI play is actually best practice? Is it suggesting that their should be an adult-led time of the session where all children are involved in an activity at the same time? Does anyone have such a time in Nursery apart from large-group time? I often do an adult-led activity on a 1 to 1 or small group (2-4 children) basis so I'm not sure how this would work? Just got me thinking???

Green Hippo xx

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I would never consider having focussed activities during child initiated I see the adult role during CI time as the lead learner playing alongside the children and scaffilding the learning. Getting involed and modelling how to play. So I have been arrested and had my head bandaged and many many other things over my years in teaching.


Also if we say it is CI and then take children away we are actually denying them the time to be independent in in control of their learning.


I would have Teacher Initiated activities which could look like free play but are designed by me and then I work with focussed groups.



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Could you explain in more detail how your focused group activities work. We have a class of 28 Nursery children with 3 staff - I'm just trying to get my head around it! We have always worked with focused actvities running alongside the CI i.e. 1 adult doing FA, 2 on CI play scaffolding learning etc - I have always been advised to work this way in both Nursery and Reception as well as doing teacher-led whole group sessions.


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green hippo we work as Lorna has suggested and we are a High/Scope school.


At Teacher Initiate time we can this small group time so all the adults are working with their key person group. We have 26 in nursery and 30 in reception so in nursery we will work with 2 groups of 9 and one of 8. We have a focus for our group time which is based on observations we have made or it may be some phonic work or at the beginning of a year it is usually about the routines.


So whatever I want to work on I have it ready and we work in different parts of the room and outdoors. Sometimes I will split my group into two and have half working on an independent activity related to my objective while i work with the other half but often it is that I am working with my focus group and so are the other adults.


In reception we don't always have as many adults so we always split the group at small group time.


We also have large group time where everyone is working together and this can be things like circle games, singing, parachute games etc and all of the adults will also be involved.


Hope this helps


some links you may find useful









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Thanks very much Emilia. Could you tell me how long your teacher initiated times last for and how you manage activities which need more adult involvement or where there are not enough resources for every child to use at the same time?

This has really got me thinking - thanks!

Green Hippox

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Hi Green Hippo


Ok it looks something like this

Children enter class and self register and have free flow 10- 15 mins


Plan/Do/Review - Child Initiated

Planning time (10–15 minutes)

Work time ( this is the Do part) (45–60 minutes; includes cleanup time at the end)

Review time (10–15 minutes)


Snack time ( 20 minutes ) Adult Initiated time


Small-group time Adult Initiated time

(15–20 minutes)


Large-group time Adult initiated time

(10–15 minutes)



This is a morning and the afternoon is exactly the same.


During small group time I will make sure I have enough equipment for each child and we have a lot of small baskets that we use to get ready for each child in our group if necessary. I will introduce the activity and then let the children work on it as I talk to them and scaffold the learning.


As we are in small group there are usually enought resources and the three groups don't need to be doing the same thing at the same time so over the week they will all have experienced the task. High/Scope do an excellent book called small group time activities. I know the High/Scope website is very American but I have adapted many of the small group time activites from there such as this one on bubbles.


Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!


Materials for each child: a small bowl of water with liquid soap added, straw, apron. Additionally, you may want to provide a tray for each child or cover the table with newspaper to assist with clean-up. You could also do this small-group time outside!


Beginning: Tell children that for today’s small-group time, they’ll need to put on a apron. Refer children to an experience they might have had with blowing (blowing out a birthday candle, blowing dandelion seeds, blowing up a balloon). Together, you all might try taking a deep breath and blowing. Give them each their bowl and straw and invite them to try blowing some more.


Middle: Observe children as they begin to explore blowing. Some children may need your encouragement to blow (rather than suck in). Move around the table from child to child. Notice their excitement as they make bubbles. You can use descriptive number language to support their discoveries. Use words like more, overflowing, enormous, few, several and multiple,. Try your bowl and straw to also blow bubbles. This experience might give you other ideas of things to comment on with the children.


End: After a 3 minute warning, ask the children to help you clean-up by throwing their bubbles in the bin and stacking their bowls. They may also need to wash their hands if they are sticky.


EYFS areas of development PSRN Comparing properties, Counting, Identifying position and direction, KUW Identifying sequence, change and causality.


Preparation is the ost important part of my day much more important than planning!!!!



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