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Quality Outdoor Provision (laughable!)


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I have a dilemma. How can I provide quality outdoor provision for 90 reception children in a playground environment that is a sloping, slippy old tarmac surface? We don't have free flow access for any of the 3 reception classrooms. We generally have a 15 minute playtime in morning and afternoon. We have a shed full of toys that only comes out in summer. The argument that the FS co makes for not having them out throughout is that if it rains they'll get wet! And it's also too cold to have it set up and for the children to spend a great deal of time out there in the afternoons. I can't be seen to be the only reception class to use the outside area as it wouldn't be fair(!).

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

 

A very stressed and downtrodden second year teacher!!!

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Hi Gater, I have a similar problem in that my head doesn't think that outdoor provision is necessary. As long as they have their playtimes and the year 1 teacher can't be bothered to get the bikes out as they take too long to put away and we have no TA.

My answer to this for the winter/spring col/wet terms has been to have a 3 tier trolley from Argos at the side of my door to the playground we wheel it out for free flow play- it has chalk, boards, paper, pens, magnifying glasses, skittles, balls, small world figures, bean bags, large snakes and ladders, small selection of dressing up clothes, small cones, 10 green bottles, skipping ropes etc. This is a small selection I know but the children come up with some very inventive games. It is easy to put away and wheel back if it starts to rain and the children take great care in making sure it is all tidy. I do use the playground quite a bit now the weather is drying up and I intend to use it lots more when summer comes (Ha!)

I also invested in a small picnic bench with table from asda £3.49 in the sale- it's blue and it's great as it means children can work outside when the weather is better- such as today!

I know that allowing the children outside to play with these things initially made the other teachers gasp- but now they are seeing the benefits and even the year one teacher has asked to borrow our trolley- so stick with it!

:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

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Well done to you, Dougal for your creative solution :D:D

We are extremely spoilt with our outdoor area (except for poor quality surface, which is being addressed in the SDP), having a large hard-surface covered area, some open hard-surface and a large open grass area. The children are desperate to go out all the time in all weathers - and they wouldn't put coats on if we didn't nag them! It's an absolute nonsense to say that it's too cold for the children - they will soon tell us :D It's actually far worse for the adults! :o

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I'm actually very lucky too as my classroom is at the back of a field with a wildlife pond and a wooded area next to it- we use this area too- but when its wet the parents get a little precious about muddy shoes so we use the playground! The children love the outdoors and its especially useful as I have discovered that by simply doing the same lesson outdoors as you would do indoors the 'boys' whose names are said over and over to ensure they are on task in the classroom stay motivated outside! Environment makes a lot of difference!

Although I do agree I feel the cold before the children! Roll on summer!

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We have a supply of old wellies for wet weather and muddy ground - some bought by us, the rest donated by parents. :o

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Why would this be unfair, Gater?

Of course its unfair but only because the other children will want to be out there too.

Take your class and have fun, deliver your lessons outside and do your own thing!

Demonstrate that learning can take place outside and perhaps the other children will join you? Then that will be unfair because your children will have to share!

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Threw a spanner in the works today and got my hands slapped for it! Will share!!! Here goes,

 

As I am in a double classroom, and the fact that there was a roof leak at one side, the other class has had a temporary class out in the hall. Today the builders came in to do some repair work. At 9:10 this morning, it was obvious we would be in for a loud day and due to this post last night I thought I would be brave (!) and take my kids outside for some fun! The FS co-ordinator comes in and asks whether I would like to ask the other Rec teacher if she would mind swapping her PE so I could leave my classroom. I said, very pleasantly that I felt that it was unfair of me to change her plans at this late a time, I wasn't dressed for PE (as I tend to do a lot of rolling myself!!!) and that I had planned on taking the children outdoors anyway, but thank you for the suggestion.

 

Her response was, in a very degrading and sarcastic tone:

 

"Am sure you might be okay with it but it is about time you start thinking of other members of staff who may not want to go out with you as it is cold out there."

 

I held my tongue - god only knows why - and at playtime she asked if I had a headache with all the banging - to which I took great delight in replying in a very high spirited way "No actually I don't. We went outside all morning and had a fantastic time. The children absolutely loved it"

 

Let's just say the conversation stopped dead in its tracks!!!!

 

Thanks for all the suggestions/comments - am taking them on board - and have just filled in an application form for another job!!!!

 

D xxx

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This is obviously not the school for you Gator good luck with your application, but don't rock the boat until you have your new contract in your hand.

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I won't bite the hand that feeds me so to speak - that's why I have to hold my tongue all the time. I try not to bite back and my response was genuine - the children had a bloody good time. Just a shame it had to be surrounded by so much patronising from my co-ordinator!

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Is their always an adult outside when children are working? We have two reception classes, each with a door onto the outside area. We have a carousel system and each group of children have an outdoors session every day, but they work unsupervised. What are your views on this and how would ofsted view this?

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We do try and have an adult outside all the time, but it is really hard to juggle :o , so at times the children do work unsupervised. Having said that, we can keep a reasonably close eye on them through the windows and anyone who is messing around is swiftly pounced upon! :(xD You really need to timetable staff onto an outdoor rota to ensure it happens. At present one of our TAs is out on training one and a half days a week, which makes things tricky. We are hoping to employ an extra part-time person to work in Reception if there's enough money in the budget... :)

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