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Easter/mother's Cards?


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Hi,

 

How do you feel this kind of activity fits in with the EYFS?

One of my staff is fixated on doing these kind of makes and whenever we begin planning for the next term always suggests a list of such things.

I find it so hard saying no to ALL of her ideas....

These would certainly never be child-initiated activities, although sometimes children do choose to make a card for someone.

I have really cut down on our focused activities and only plan one a week which we offer each day (only open in mornings)

If it was up to this member of staff then this term's 6 focus activities would be make a mother's day card, make an easter card, make chocolate nests and decorate an easter bonnet etc.

I am trying to find a balance between some of the above (which the parents seem to expect) and asking myself 'why are we doing this, what is in it for the child?'

I would like to incorporate an Easter activity as it is a festival so may just do one of the above but don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

What do other folk do when faced with these kind of expectations from staff and parents?

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It doesnt fit in with the EYFS in my opinion, but I have no answers I'm afraid Edlee :o

 

If you could talk to the children about the whole event and what happens around it, you could then offer the card making as one activity, but even then, would your staff member want only yellow things for the easter cards or egg shapes or screwed up tissue flowers?

My heart's sinking as I type. xD

Its a difficult area to address especially if the staff are good in other ways. Like you say, you dont want to say no to everything.

I'm thinking out loud to be honest, I've just seen valentine cards being made and its screwed me up and I know easter and mothers day will be the same and I'm wondering how, or if, to address it. I used to be the playleader and now I'm chair and I really dont want to cross any lines.

Its needs to be tactfully but firmly done and I'm wimping out at the moment, so I'll watch everyones responses with great interest. Glad you posted this.

Edited by Rea
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we offer the activity, this year we'll be doing the same as last "I've got some lovely pansies if you'd like to pop one in a pot for Mummy, Miss xxx will be holding the bag of compost for you and helping if you need it"

 

With the cards, I have to say we don't do them for everything, if we do Easter we don't do Mother's, Hanukkah then not Christmas, or vice versa unless a child asks. But the materials are readily available for a child if they want to. They often come in and say things like "It's Nana's birthday can we make a card?" and we get the whole load of stuff out and have great fun with feathers and glue and glitter and sequins etc and often other children come and do it too, just for the sheer fun of it. It does cover some aspects of EYFS, the exploratory, creative aspects, and often some of the social aspects too, so no, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, there are things to be gained if you let children have fun with it, and don't expect a perfect end result!

Edited by Cait
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OK, so with a very deep breath, here's what I think.

 

We have long since done away with having an adult led activity on our creative table. When I first joined the setting there was always what I call a production line activity - you take this piece of card that an adult has cut out for you, stick it on this piece of card that an adult pre-folded for you, then place this tiny shape (unsurprisingly that an adult has cut out for you) and you must put it here or it won't look right. Then the adult will write a message in the middle for you, and won't mummy/daddy/grandma be proud of what you've done?

 

Oh, and let's not forget the "one I did earlier" to show what it was supposed to look like - just in case some poor child might think their own ideas were valuable.

 

I'm sorry. I'm clearly in a grumpy mood today! But its my birthday, so please forgive my outspoken and controversial views.

 

We now have an Ikea wire basket trolley thingy which is stocked with all sorts of bits and pieces that children can self-select to make something of their own design and they are free to explore and let their imaginations take them wherever seems important to them. So we have two year olds who just like to watch the glue drip from the spreader, or who want to sprinkle glitter onto a piece of paper with no glue on, or older childrem who want to make another model of a car using sellotape to join the pieces together. There is an adult nearby who can support and help children develop their skills and thinking, but they are there to enable and facilitate children to turn their own designs into reality and not to stamp their own personality on any end product.

 

Obviously we can give children a bit of a steer in the type of resources we add in - so for Easter no doubt there will be egg-shaped sprinkles and ribbon, and fluffy yellow chicks etc. There might even be yellow tissue paper Rea but if the children want to screw it up then that will be left up to them! It may be that these will be used by children in the course of their favourite creative activities, or they may decide to make an Easter bonnet or a card for Grandma.

 

I set the scene by reminding staff of the criteria for a truly creative, child-led experience and so we as a staff team aren't tempted by the predictability offered by 'fluffy duck' activities. Parents' expectations are a different matter though, and we do spend time and effort explaining to parents what the creative process was behind the tatty bit of paper covered in dried but undecorated glue, with snips cut into the edge that a child proudly presents to mum at the end of the session. When I show parents round the nursery I do explain quite carefully that they can't expect their child to bring something home each day, and nor can they expect 'perfectly' executed pieces of artwork.

 

If your staff are used to providing activities along the lines of the adult-directed kind I outlined at the beginning of my rant, then perhaps you can reach a compromise by providing the basic ingredients for a card but leaving the design to the children and not cutting out or pre-preparing anything in advance. However it is worth thinking in advance about how the children will respond to this if they are used to having everything done for them, so it might be worth considering how to move towards a truly free creative activity one step at a time.

 

Good luck, Edlee. Sorry to go on so - but you can see this is one of my hobby horse subjects!

 

Maz

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I find Mother's Day an issue at my school, especially as 'historically' Father's Day cards are never made and sent and a good majority of our children come from 2 parent families. This really gets me. At other festival times (Eid, Diwali, Chinese New Year) I just add bits and bobs to the writing table provision for the children to use independently.

Christmas is the traditional production line, which I hate but it is hard to change staff perceptions when that's what they've been doing for the past 20 years. Having said that, the cards that the children made this year did all look different to each others because I made sure that there was none of this "I'll unstick it and re-position it". So what if the robin's leg was coming out of the side of its body, rather than helping it perch just right on the branch, or that the position of it's eyes made it look angry, that's where the child wanted to stick / draw it, so that is where it stays. On the other hand, maybe there is a place for children to learn about the positioning of different body parts to each other in order to help them develop their knowledge of what a bird looks like!

 

Its a hard debate, but in a 5 week half-term there'll only be time for 1 or the other to be made!

 

Also the writing of the message inside inspired one of my boys, who was 3 at the time to attempt writing inside his own card that he made independently at the writing table. Inside the production line ones was stuck a piece with text saying 'To my family, Happy Christmas, Love from ...' where we 'wrote' our names. This little lad came along and wrote 'To m fme, Lv fm and his name' (which he wrote starting on the right with the last letter and writing the letters in backwards order, because that's what he likes doing!

 

Utterly amazing writing in my opinion initiated from a production line!

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I am with you HappyMaz but unfortunatly there are still many people out there who still go along with the full production line, My friend has a 3 year old who returned from nursery at christmas (outstanding when inspected last year) with a perfect christmas card that apparently he had made :o My friend also works in early years and knew that there was no way this perfect card had been made by him.

 

 

Tink69

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I'd go with a baking activity if it was me, such as the chocolate nests, as the children will really enjoy it and they will learn an enormous amount from it as well. That is an AI activity which will appease your staff member and keep her very busy.

I've never gone in for Easter cards anyway as I think they are a construct of the card companies. I don't remember them being around when I was young.

I do think Easter should be experienced as it is a major religious and cultural festival and fits is well with Spring and new life. For Christians it is far more important than Christmas and thank goodness it doesn't get as out of hand.

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I teach Reception but this is what I do:

 

- we make Christmas, Easter and Mothering Sunday/Mothers' Day cards. Sometimes do Fathers' Day but it depends what else is going on at the time and we do Mothers' Day as it comes from the church celebration and we are a church school. We make the cards as part of celebrating the festivals.

 

- Sometimes I have a particular skill that the children incorporate in their cards, such as using folded bits of card to make a raised 'thing' on their card, but the design and choice of materials is their own.

 

- Sometimes they just do their own, choosing from a range of materials. I usually have several that I have made as ideas, but we actively encourage chn NOT to copy them (one or two usually do but then I guess that is their way of being confident)

 

- Most do seem to find it hard to choose and have complete freedom with their resources/design ideas (particularly for their Christmas cards), but once we get round to Easter they have got the idea! I suppose this will be less of a problem where children have been able to do this in their previous settings as some of you have described.

 

There are some lovely designs of cards I have seen for Mothers' Day/Easter, and would love to use them....but I don't like them all to be the same.

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It's definitely a quandry!

 

I think it does depend on how you approach the events.

 

Last Mother's Day the children made chocolates and we posed the challenge of making something to carry them in. Lots of children got into it with the variety of materials we had out and adults gave support to the children's projects as they needed it.

For Father's day we had out a variety of paints and cotton buds, pipettes and so on. We limited the size of paper they used and they mounted their work of art onto card afterwards.

It didn't stop there we had children making cards for Grandparents and friends.

For both of these we spent time talking to our key children about the special events and they talked about why their Mum, Dad, Grandparent or friend was special to them. We wrote down what they said and they also wrote their own messages. These are what went home. The children owned what they were doing and were proud of it.

 

Yes there can be an element of the production line about it but isn't that there when we do activities such as cooking with the children?

 

There's nothing exact about it and the children will often go in their own direction which is respected indeed they are invited to initiate their own ideas. I do agree there has to be some picking and choosing going on betweeen different events and celebrations and the planning of a balanced approach to provide the children with a wide variety of experiences.

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I would love to think of a way that we could do something for mothers day that we could invite fathers/partners to come and make with their children.

 

For Easter it is easy we spend two weeks in the lead up to Easter where parents, carers, grandparents are invited to join thier child and key person in making an Easter bonnet. We then have an Easter bonnet parade and invite the reception teacher and head of our neighbouring school to judge and award prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd with a chocolate egg for each child.

 

It sounds a bit of a nightmare but runs pretty smoothly in the end, we draw up a calendar for the two weeks with a set number of slots each morning and afternoon and then it is down to key persons to liaise with parents and book a time. It also serves as a "bonding" time for parents and key persons; at Christmas we do something like a table decoration or wreath in the same way.

 

But I am still trying to think how we could get Mothers and Fathers day to work. the idea of making a present rather than a card sounds best but the difficulty is that it has to be either or and not both parents; at least with Easter and Christmas it doesn't matter who comes in, it can be anyone. I've just thought it could be grandparents, umm, must go and think this through again??

 

Anyway the Easter and Christmas ones work well lots of cutting, sticking, glitter, ribbons. The best last Christmas was when two dads were in at the same time, it was the first time that they had met and they had such fun, even decorating themselves and laughing out loud.

 

I'm sure we could also come up with ideas for other celebrations or festivals too. Ticks boxes for parental engagement/involvement in the true sense though.

Edited by BMG
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OK, so with a very deep breath, here's what I think.

 

We have long since done away with having an adult led activity on our creative table. When I first joined the setting there was always what I call a production line activity - you take this piece of card that an adult has cut out for you, stick it on this piece of card that an adult pre-folded for you, then place this tiny shape (unsurprisingly that an adult has cut out for you) and you must put it here or it won't look right. Then the adult will write a message in the middle for you, and won't mummy/daddy/grandma be proud of what you've done?

 

Oh, and let's not forget the "one I did earlier" to show what it was supposed to look like - just in case some poor child might think their own ideas were valuable.

 

I'm sorry. I'm clearly in a grumpy mood today! But its my birthday, so please forgive my outspoken and controversial views.

 

We now have an Ikea wire basket trolley thingy which is stocked with all sorts of bits and pieces that children can self-select to make something of their own design and they are free to explore and let their imaginations take them wherever seems important to them. So we have two year olds who just like to watch the glue drip from the spreader, or who want to sprinkle glitter onto a piece of paper with no glue on, or older childrem who want to make another model of a car using sellotape to join the pieces together. There is an adult nearby who can support and help children develop their skills and thinking, but they are there to enable and facilitate children to turn their own designs into reality and not to stamp their own personality on any end product.

 

Obviously we can give children a bit of a steer in the type of resources we add in - so for Easter no doubt there will be egg-shaped sprinkles and ribbon, and fluffy yellow chicks etc. There might even be yellow tissue paper Rea but if the children want to screw it up then that will be left up to them! It may be that these will be used by children in the course of their favourite creative activities, or they may decide to make an Easter bonnet or a card for Grandma.

 

I set the scene by reminding staff of the criteria for a truly creative, child-led experience and so we as a staff team aren't tempted by the predictability offered by 'fluffy duck' activities. Parents' expectations are a different matter though, and we do spend time and effort explaining to parents what the creative process was behind the tatty bit of paper covered in dried but undecorated glue, with snips cut into the edge that a child proudly presents to mum at the end of the session. When I show parents round the nursery I do explain quite carefully that they can't expect their child to bring something home each day, and nor can they expect 'perfectly' executed pieces of artwork.

 

If your staff are used to providing activities along the lines of the adult-directed kind I outlined at the beginning of my rant, then perhaps you can reach a compromise by providing the basic ingredients for a card but leaving the design to the children and not cutting out or pre-preparing anything in advance. However it is worth thinking in advance about how the children will respond to this if they are used to having everything done for them, so it might be worth considering how to move towards a truly free creative activity one step at a time.

 

Good luck, Edlee. Sorry to go on so - but you can see this is one of my hobby horse subjects!

 

Maz

 

YOU HAVE SUMMED THAT UP BEAUTIFULLY :o I may use this in my staff meeting I only have 2 staff that maybe needin a little of this guidance your best bit was 'won't mummy etc be proud of you' and 'the adult had already folded,cut etc' I laughed out loud and my hubbie asked what I was laughing at, he found it funny too so perhaps after all these years I have converted him :wacko: now for the 2 staff members

 

Big Sue

 

PS Didn't think it was grumpy it was FACT! Thanks for a morning giggle - off to cut out shapes for craft activity NOT!!!!! xD:(:(:(

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YOU HAVE SUMMED THAT UP BEAUTIFULLY :o I may use this in my staff meeting I only have 2 staff that maybe needin a little of this guidance your best bit was 'won't mummy etc be proud of you' and 'the adult had already folded,cut etc' I laughed out loud and my hubbie asked what I was laughing at, he found it funny too so perhaps after all these years I have converted him :wacko: now for the 2 staff members

 

Big Sue

 

PS Didn't think it was grumpy it was FACT! Thanks for a morning giggle - off to cut out shapes for craft activity NOT!!!!! xD:(:(:(

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Have to agree completely with HappyMaz. In November 2009 I was supervising 2-3 year room then a colleague went on maternity leave and I was asked to take over her room which is 15months-rising 2s. I was very apprehensive as the thought of working with younger children was frightening for me in terms of what activities I could do.The EYFS then finally kicked in for me as I realised I did not have to do specific activities which resulted in creative art work done for them, pictures cut out for them because this is what I WANTED, not something that they could create themselves. I now have resources like playdough, free painting, ink-stamping, sticking whatever they want to stick from the variety of materials accessible to them, drawing using variety of media. This has taken away the need for me always to be thinking about what I can do and I enjoy it more without feeling pressured or always looking on the internet for ideas, although I still do that just not as much!x

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:( Oh how I've enjoyed this thread!

 

I take the children I childmind to 2 sessions run by the local CC. There is always a planned activity, and the pre-cut shapes, folded card, "here's one I made earlier" set-up. I just let my littlies colour, play with the glue, sprinkle glitter on the table and draw in it with their fingers........... you know the stuff that 18month olds LOVE to do :o

 

At Christmas the children "made" cards - antlers glued at the side of the head, red nose on top of reindeers head, 1 eye - as individual as they could be with the resources provided!

 

But the funniest... the CC have planned a topic on "people who help us" for the childminder drop-in. The eldest child attending is 2!! There were resources on the table for junk modelling and pictures of police cars, fire engines etc

 

Now, the little one with me just LOVES to glue. PVA is her favourite thing in the whole world, preferrably poured straight onto the table and smeared around.

 

For a change I gave her a cardboard box to spread glue on. From there she was "helped" by a CC volunteer, myself and an assistant to another childminder to "make" a fire engine. Tissue, cut out ladders, a yoghurt pot blue light. It's fabulous and there is no way on earth it could be passed off as something an 18month old had anything to do with :(

 

It has been photographed and the picture stuck in the child's daily diary under the heading "People who help us" - Nona, Nikki and Gemma HELPED ME MAKE THIS!!!! xD

 

The child's Mum is a HLTA in Reception class and found it highly amusing!

 

I think I'll stick to providing a basket of paper, glue, shiny stuff etc and leaving it to the child's own imagination as usual! :(

 

Nona

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  • 2 weeks later...

We often let the children cut up cards (xmas/birthday/whatever) and then stick the cut out bits onto a card with glitter, pva dribbles all over, pasta or what they fancy. Parents get a card, children do exactly what they want, if they want to do it, plus they dont all end up with the same thing and we can cover quite a lot from EYFS with doing it this way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

we always make christmas, mothers and fathers day cards, because our parents like us to.

my staff make a point of ensuring it is the childs work even if it looks nothing like we imagined

children unable to write their name make a mark and try to make an x for a kiss but thats how we leave them we do not write inside for them

it is an adult led activity but as its now supposed to be a 50/50 child/adult led (or so my support teacher tells me!) I see no problem incorporating them in to the curriculum

we are suposed to share divalli, chinese new year, etc so why not tradtional english/christian customs.

its all about balance and making sure it is the childs work not the adults

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Hi,

 

How do you feel this kind of activity fits in with the EYFS?

One of my staff is fixated on doing these kind of makes and whenever we begin planning for the next term always suggests a list of such things.

I find it so hard saying no to ALL of her ideas....

These would certainly never be child-initiated activities, although sometimes children do choose to make a card for someone.

I have really cut down on our focused activities and only plan one a week which we offer each day (only open in mornings)

If it was up to this member of staff then this term's 6 focus activities would be make a mother's day card, make an easter card, make chocolate nests and decorate an easter bonnet etc.

I am trying to find a balance between some of the above (which the parents seem to expect) and asking myself 'why are we doing this, what is in it for the child?'

I would like to incorporate an Easter activity as it is a festival so may just do one of the above but don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

What do other folk do when faced with these kind of expectations from staff and parents?

Hi at my setting we tend to provide all the needed resources should they want to make cards and write up the planning needed but alongside this each week we develop planning around what the children want to do !!

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It's laughable isn't it when people plan a so-called "creative activity" which actually doesn't provide the children with any creative experience at all!! Some of our children conjure up amazing things all by themselves which are much more fabulous than anything an adult could have planned!

It's quite important to note that sometimes the 'end product' gives no clue to the amount of time and creativity which have gone into it! There are always children who will spend hours carefully glueing a wonderful assortment of items onto a piece of paper....... then spend just as long peeling them off again, or drawing a picture which they shred with scissors - it's just such a shame when some parents or staff see this as 'destructive' or 'spoiling' - I guess you either get it.... or you don't! xx

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It's laughable isn't it when people plan a so-called "creative activity" which actually doesn't provide the children with any creative experience at all!! Some of our children conjure up amazing things all by themselves which are much more fabulous than anything an adult could have planned!

It's quite important to note that sometimes the 'end product' gives no clue to the amount of time and creativity which have gone into it! There are always children who will spend hours carefully glueing a wonderful assortment of items onto a piece of paper....... then spend just as long peeling them off again, or drawing a picture which they shred with scissors - it's just such a shame when some parents or staff see this as 'destructive' or 'spoiling' - I guess you either get it.... or you don't! xx

 

That's where it's handy having a camera in the setting, so you can get a picture of the child doing and write up about what they were doing.

 

I must admit, as a parent I liked what younger son brought home from preschool for fathers' day - the staff had taken photos of the children at play and ran them off, drawn round their hands and cut out the hand shape so the children decorated the resulting frame. But as a practitioner, I could see there wasn't a huge amount of input from our son.

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I too have a member of staff (been at the setting 25yrs +) who just doesn't understand why we have abandoned 'production line' crafts, so for easter I have comprimised and allowed her to create her usual baskets, but the children will be free to decorate them as they wish from our general craft materials. We then use these to put treats in for the children after completing the easter egg hunt at the church.

For mothers day we put out a range of craft resources and some card NOT pre folded and when/if the children came to the table the adult talked to them a little about mothers day and asked whether they would like to make a card or picture for someone special. the creations the children made were wonderful, drippy, highly decorated, masterpieces and if the children wanted a message they could either 'write' their own or some dictated to staff and they scribed for them, but always encouraged them to 'write' their name.

Not sure the parents really appreciate the childrens own creation, but we keep trying to explain and one day it will get through (I hope)

 

After all this imagine my disapointment when I opened the cards from my 10 year old twins, made at school (both dyslexic, one borderline the other severe) and had 1 explain the piece of paper covering the writing underneath (which could still be seen) was because 'he hadn't done it neat enough' and the other one explained 'he hadn't done the writing his teacher had done it all (including his name) for him as it would have taken too long'.

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we aim to please everyone.... we make cards, encourage the children to think about the kind of things their mums like to make them individual and encourage their own creativity but also teach the them how to fold the card so the card will stand up and different techniques too. It is not a production line and the children write inside themselves (or use a computer) The children are proud of the cards and this is obvious when they hand over the cards to their mums the minute they get into the playground. It is what the mums remember too.....my daughter is 17 and I have kept every single card she has made me including the one she made me this year because she couldn't find "the right card" in the shops!!! (even if she was just trying to save money it does mean more than a brought one!)

 

S

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:o It is surley about presentation, choice and expectations. Parents like it, some children like it, some staff love it some hate it!!!

If the season or occasion lends itself or has a tradition towards giving something to others then it must fit with EYFS goals and as long as we make it truly 'creative' by offering many different resources for the children to use and experiment with then that should be fine. For the record I don't like cutouts or prescribed makes!

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For the record I don't like cutouts or prescribed makes!

Welcome to the forum dorydebs!

 

I'd like to offer you a fluffy duck to celebrate your first post... but I appear to have run out! :o

 

Maz

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:o I get tired of the idea of cards, some children make them at other settings they attend and then say ' oh not again!' We have a creative table which has a mixture of materials and card so if they want to make a card they can. We are going to the local church on Friday and if it is nice we will have a picnic in the memorial garden. During the Easter holiday we always arrange an Easter egg hunt at the same church, there is an Easter bonnet comp, egg hunt,cake stall, easter craft event etc, this they do with their parents and siblings, everyone is invited. We always get a good turnout. xD
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