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Limiting Number Of Children Using Area


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We've briefly discussed this in the FSunit section but I wanted to open it out and get more opinions.

When I started working in our foundation Stage Unit it was the old nursery and the only limitation children had on using areas was in the house where only 5 children can play and they put a bead necklace on and in the water and painting easel where they are limited by the number of aprons. Our LEA adviser helped us make changes to turn the building into a FSunit and was very keen on this system. I'd always known this system but hadn't been really srict about it-just had signs-eg 4 people can play here because that's all there was space for. However, that was when I just had reception in a classroom and things were a lot different then as they had a lot less freedom/choice than they do now.

So the advisor very specifically got us to make a decision on the exact number of children allowed to use each area-be that limited by chairs/aprons/necklaces or whatever. The idea was that there should be an even spread accross the 14 areas of indoor learning and to allow too many children in one area wouldn't be fair. If I said 'yes but they love the writing area-its very popular' her response would be that they could be writing in other areas and that if not enough chn were using these areas then it was our fault for not making them inviting enough xD (she didn't directly say this buts thats the impression we got!) we made and laminated signs but I'm so annoyed now at the waste of time and resources because a lot of it has gone out of the window :wacko: We had 'Four children can play here' for the writing and malleable but as there was space for more chairs they were dragging them over from the snack and chat area. Think it was Magenta that said it would be unfair to stop one friend out of a group playing and I really agree. On the other hand though, with areas like the sand (we now also have beads) as it is so small there is only room for 4 chn and it wouldn't be fair to let more play as a 5th child would get in the other children's way. I tend to 'turn a blind eye' to the children not following the limitation systems as long as they are not doing anyone any harm but do find it useful if there are arguments 'Miss! he won't let me have the hoover!' 'Well he was here first as he has a bead, you go and find something else to play with' and am conscious that its not fair to 'train' the children how to use these sytems (lot of good maths opportunities1) and then forget all about them. :oxD:(:(:( What do you all think?

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This is something we are going to be looking at tomorrow. Last year we had a system with signs for all the areas like you, for the past two terms we have been letting the children self regulate and it has worked with the exception of one area ....construction when sometimes there has not been enough of the materials to go round, then we have to intervene.

We have found that it has increased the children's negotiating skills and allows them to be flexible and access each area for their child iniatiated play without having to check how many children are already there.

However the member of staff who is really keen on restricting how many children are in each area returns after half term so it may all change again!

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Hi!

I can really sympathise with the space thing - our sand and water areas are just not big enough, so are limited by the number of aprons and 'sand hats' (really just baseball-type caps), but I resist formal limitations in other areas, just because, as has been pointed out, the children learn to negotiate this way. Also to reason! Who can resist the logic of a new pre-schooler, fresh from the Toddler room, who sees a table he wants to join, but is told there is 'no room' (and there really wasn't!!!) who will drag a chair, half wedge it in and say 'But I've got a chair here'.

Fortunately, our Advisor thinks the same as us, but I would be prepared to 'fight', if I had to!!

 

Sue :D

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Agree with Sue R - we only restrict in 3 areas where there is insufficient room, sand where we too use hats, water and paint where we use aprons, different ones for each activity. The children are all aware of these 'rules' and are happy to follow them, when we forgot to put out the hats the children all asked for them and they watch for a free hat or apron to use the area. we have also had a lot less sand in the hair or face since using hats an added bonus.

 

 

Inge

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We have mixed success limiting children in specific areas (Reception class) - generally they are very good about the sand and water (4 in each area) and we only put out 4 aprons for each. There is usually someone who is only too willing to reinforce the rule very vocally! :o However, our sand and water are outside so there is loads of space and lots of physical activity available (trim trail, cars etc).

Indoors, though, there is much less space and the children frequently pull chairs over to the dough table, despite the 4 children rule (and 4 mats on the table!) Sometimes I even get two children trying to sit on the same chair! I think the answer is persistance in reinforcing the rules and expectations :D

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I dont think we actually restrict them. We will help them to wait for a turn at something, like easles, cos there's only 4, but if they go and fetch an apron, or chair for table top stuff and the others at the table are happy to squish up, then thats fine, same with the sand, water, dough anything. I've never even thought about restricting them. :o:D

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I'm definitely starting to change my mind now about restricting children using an area. Our LEA advisor had us resrict for EVERYTHING even jigsaws but surely the number of jigsaws themselves is the restriction and some jigsaws are lovely for doing in pairs or small groups i agree with Rea if the others are willing to 'squish up' for someone else then why not? Like sharon says-its a great opportunity to develop negotiating skills.

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And if you restrict, then what happens to child intiated play and being able to access resources as they want? :o:D

How many of you, just out of interest, restrict where the dough can be used?

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We try not to restrict numbers with any activity unless to have too many would make it unsafe. Our dough table is in our home-corner. At the end of each session the children gather it together from the cooker or washing machine!!!!!

We have 4 chairs around each table activity at the start of the session but at the end of the session they could be anywhere. Their favourite at the moment is to line them all up to make a bus to sit all the bears on. Children will stand or kneel at an activity if they don't have enough space to put another chair.

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We just have a 'malleable' area where dough is used Rea. They're not allowed to take it anywhere else. I've never even considered it. Where else for example? What a great idea using it in the home corner bubblejack-I hadn't even thought of that one but it makes perfect sense. We sometimes have the microwave in the malleable area but it would be much more in context in the house. Only trouble is-that area is carpeted and its a nightmare to get out of the carpet!

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I think we all need to use a bit of commonsense when restricting numbers. It really depends on the children and the mood they are in that day. I would prefer to remain flexible so that if 7 children are sqashed around a table but interacting well, then I wouldn't feel pressured into moving one child away just because!! But I do reserve the right to change my mind at short notice. xD:o

 

As to the dough Rea. It depends what they want to do with it! I have one little girl who loves to put it in boxes and carry it around with her - abit difficult for the rest of the children to access it then though. :D

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Definately an enclosure schema. Every opportunity she has she puts things inside other things. She even made a picture with magnetic shapes - all the shapes were round the edge of the board. :D Hadn't thought of the transportation though - will keep an eye out. :o

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I agree with Rea and Beau,

 

I wonder what the advisors rationalle is for "adults" restricting how children access areas of play and I would refer her to FSC - Physical_ Aspect 2 - Sense of Space,

 

Yellow - Judge body space in relation to spaces available when fitting into confined spaces.

 

Blue - Show respect for other children's personal space when playing amongst them.

 

Green - Move body position as necessary.

 

ELG - Show awareness of space, of themselves and others.

 

How can children develop awarness of others space unless they "go into it" or others enter their space.

 

Today we changed our climbing frame and put the top platform lower down ( 1st rung off the floor) to represent a pirate ship, the children discovered that only so many could fit onto the frame at any one time ( we had 16 at most, clinging on dearly to the frame) because if there were too many, at least one would overbalance into the sea and get eaten by sharks :o . It was great to watch how they solved the problem of staying on the "ship" and how to help their friends stay on too :) . If I had restricted the numbers then this scenario would not have taken place, but then no-one would have been eaten by sharks xD:(

 

 

Peggy

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I believe High/scope principles are not to limit access but to let children arrive at their own solution to this problem. If we are keen to encourage the children in taking responsibility for their own learning then doesn't this fit well. I thought your advisor would be pleased to see this!!!

 

That said, I do limit access to some areas because for example, when something new comes on the computer I've had 10 children drag up chairs & just sit & watch - not a very productive use of time, so I said only 1 to play & 1 to watch at a time. They are far better moderators of this thing than me on this, & love to enforce the rule on each other!

 

Dianne

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I hear what you're all saying about restricting numbers of children and I agree that in an ideal world they should be able to negotiate for space but, basically, our sand and water trays won't happily accommodate more than 4. However, we are lucky enough to have a large sit-in sand pit, which is unrestricted in terms of numbers.

 

The dough is generally restricted to encourage wider use of other areas of the classroom, though I do sometimes allow more children (probably a bit of a mixed message no, no here!). We ask the children to try and keep the dough off the carpeted area, for obvious reasons, but they naturally like to bring it into the role play corner if it's set up as a kitchen/cafe etc. We also allow them access to dough outside.

 

Incidentally we have just invested in the little book of messy play (Featherstone) - the first one we've purchased- and it is GREAT! I've ordered another 6 titles! :D

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I think its best to have a balance ( just like your pirate ship peggy! :o ) we can still encourage them to have a sense of space of themselves and others and be flexible but every setting is different and certain restriction rules are sometimes necessary. I'm just going to keep what you've all said in mind next time this is brought up with the adviser-I'll let you know what she says.

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I think its best to have a balance ( just like your pirate ship peggy! :o ) we can still encourage them to have a sense of space of themselves and others and be flexible but every setting is different and certain restriction rules are sometimes necessary. I'm just going to keep what you've all said in mind next time this is brought up with the adviser-I'll let you know what she says.

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We use High Skope system in our setting, but only partly really, because it is only adapted in certain areas, like everybody mentioned above. In sand and water area and sometimes painting activities, because they CAN be messy, but all other areas are just normal. In this way children still have write to decide what they going to do and choose an area for themselves, but they on the other side still follow Curriculum plan (Adult led, circle time) . We using colored bands and is only 4 of them for sand area. If is not any bands on the little hook then children know that they have to wait for the turn taking. You could measure the time with egg timer.

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Peggy - I loved the idea of moving the top platform of your climbing frame down - is it the sort with a slide attached?

 

It sounds as if this change to the normal routine offered great learning opportunities to the children - and more importantly, it was great fun!

 

These are the days I say "I wish Mrs Ofsted was here to see this!". These are also the days when you think you've got the best job in the world...

 

Maz

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Its a whole different philosphy Zim, based on the principles of plan, do and review as far as I can assertain and very appropriate for FS but something I know very little about and would love to know more!

 

Anybody?

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The whole point of high scope is that it is very child orientated. The plan, do and review cycle refers to the children rather than the adults. So the children plan what they are going to do, carry it out and then reflect on it with adult help. There is a big emphasis on helping the children become independent and also exercising and developing gross motor skills. It seems to have a huge impact in America, particularly on children who come from poorer backgrounds. :)

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Hi,Zim and Susan!

Carol already answered to you. Sorry I forgot to check this topic

:o. Basically, high scope is this: children come in the morning and sat in the circle where one by one decide where they going to be.Then they going to play and after they finished they sit down again and do rewu? what they been doing.

 

I like it for short term but would not use it like it should be used a half of morning. It does give children Independence and free choice. In my setting we have welcome and what'new ,independent play, and snack is run in cafe stile.

 

Rest off morning is planned by adult. Only thing is we do not discus who want's to play were and children do not do rewiu. But they still have free choice and decision making! Hope this will make it more clear for you.

 

Sory for spelling

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Mazlittle,

 

yes, it has got a slide attachment but my climbing frame is a bit worse for wear. The slide and steps attachments have both broken xD , the hooks to the frame have snapped.

 

It stayed in the cupboard for ages until we realized we don't need these attachments to use it. It has been used as a house ( drape a curtain around sides) a pirate ship :D , a "Bear Hunt" cave, the children often carry play food over from the "house" and have a picnic seated in the base. I often squeeze inside and have been known to have a (pretend) kip on the small lower platform :o.

 

Next week "Garden topic" we will transform it into a garden shed. The uses are endless and the children haven't missed their slide yet. Also without "steps" the children concentrate harder at their climbing skills up the sides.

 

Peggy

 

p.s. One christmas the children decided to "decorate" the climbing frame by wrappiong different coloured masking tape around the framework....it stayed on for months, it wasn't until a parent asked me if it was safe that I realised she thought the frame was broken and had been "taped" together again :D:D

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