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Child-led Planning


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I recently put the following post in another thread and Sue suggested I start a new topic on this. Here's the post and Sue's response:

 

 

QUOTE (emmajess @ Jul 5 2010, 21:00)

I have a question, though. Next year I am moving from teaching my class of 20 to a position as EYFS leader in a 5 (5!!!!!! ) form entry primary school. I wonder if anyone has any comments or suggestions about how such a system might work in such a large setting with 5 teachers and 150 children? I'm wondering how much of a requirement there is, in terms of equality of opportunity, for the 5 classes to be doing broadly similar things. Or whether we should work as one huge group and if a couple of children have a sudden interest in space, to open it up to the 5 classes, and be really flexible about who works where, with real fluidity between the classes depending on children's shared interests. When I envisage that it seems unmanageable... Or at least daunting! Alternatively we could be completely separate, and keep the interests solely in our own classes. Perhap someone could describe for me what a middle ground might look like!

 

Wondered if anyone had any thoughts?

 

 

 

I think you have an ideal opportunity to offer 5 mini themes, each teacher developing something that their class is interested in and allowing some flexibility and movement for all children to access whatever is on offer regardless of their "home base" interests. You may want to think about offering different curricular opportunities in different areas of your provision so that not all classes need to offer the same resources in terms of continuous provision--if that makes sense.

 

It will be hard work and to set up and get going but it will be worth while if you can make it work and you will need to have the majority of your staff behind you to succeed.

 

What do people think / already do about child-led planning in a school with lots of reception classes?

 

I love Sue's idea of the different classrooms being bases for different currciculum areas / provision areas and have been mulling this over in my mind for a while myself - does anyone have any experiences or opinions on this they could share, as i think it would be a huge thing to walk in to a new school and implement, so I want to think through the ins and outs carefully first. I don't think it could be introduced mid-year, (I could be wrong) so it would either need to be as soon as I start my new job (perhaps a bit dramatic - I feel i might need some sitting back and taking stock for a while first) or wait till next year, which would be frustrating.

Any thoughts on either child-led planning in big schools, using classrooms as provision bases to be shared between all classes, or anything else about working in a school with a number of reception classes?

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No advice I'm afraid as I have a class of about 18 (depending on intake) in a small school but just wanted to say:

 

5 form intake ?!?!?!?!?!!!!!! :o

150 children ..... that's bigger than our whole school ..... by loads!!!!!!!

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No advice I'm afraid as I have a class of about 18 (depending on intake) in a small school but just wanted to say:

 

5 form intake ?!?!?!?!?!!!!!! :o

150 children ..... that's bigger than our whole school ..... by loads!!!!!!!

 

I know!!!! I'm having to rethink how I will work completely - this year especially as I've had a smaller class of 20, loads of the things that have worked best have been because of the small numbers.

 

I'm still in shock about 150 reception children...

 

Imagine it was you, though - how can you imagine you might work it?

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We are a two form entry and found planning from the interests of 60 tricky enough!!!!

 

We used to plan together the learning objectives and activities it used to take ages, then we would go back home and write up the how we were going to deliver it. We now plan individually and email eachother our plans, we discuss ask for ideas, and nick all the good ideas of eachother! (we find if one class has focussed on something it sometimes sparkes an interest in others). We have found it far more time effective approach. We do plan the outdoor area based upon what both classes are interested in.

 

Have you thought how you would plan if each room was set up / focussing on a different area? Who would plan for it and would you move about? If you were in one area how could you write a report indeed who would write the report? Would you be able to keep an over view of all learning?

 

I like the idea of team teaching but have yet to see it in pratice, it was suggested for us but I wanted to have a class to build an identity of a unit. I will be watching with interest to see how you decide to go....

 

S

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I think (and this is based on nothing other than my 'oh good grief how would I manage this?!) I would have all rooms set up for all areas of continuous provision, but maybe with different enhancements as appropriate. If, for example, you had only one sand area, it might get a tad busy! Then, I think I would go with a rough topic idea (could be from chn's interests, could be one adults have chosen), and go in each class with the direction chn want to take it/their interests dictate. Then, it could potentially go in 5 different ways, but those ways could still be followed if that makes sense. Or, the 5 class teachers could then decide who is going to do what adult-led wise, covering all 6 areas across the 5 rooms. Maybe over a week keep a check on who goes where so you can see who you need to target.

 

But I really have no idea...!

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Just had to add a few thoughts to this - Having a 5 strong team must have lots of advantages in terms of pooling resources, knowledge, ideas etc but what a lot of children.

From Sue's response I imagine the suggestion being you work as a unit - I have worked like this where one class base had all the literacy and quieter areas of provision + science, sand, water, malleable in the wet area, while the other had numeracy, block area, construction, role-play, art and soft-play. This works really well as you can dedicate larger spaces to each area of provision. At the moment we have two classes working in this way (nursery + reception) - in September we'll have a small Y1 class added into the mix and I have a few anxieties about the extra number of children.

I think 5 classes mixing together would be quite a lot of children for staff to get to know, make observations of etc.

In terms of the requirement for equality of opportunity - I would think if you planned in terms of the skills you wanted all the children to be working on/achieving then it doesn't actually matter what topic/interest they achieve them through.

Its a shame its an odd number of classes - would probbly work well to use the ideas shared by pairing classes up and organising two classrooms as one unit.

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It's only 5 form entry this year - there's been a freak raise in birth rate so the school is taking classes for this cohort from Reception to year 2 (it's and infant school) and then going back to 4 classes in reception the year after. I've been thinking about having the classes in pairs like you said, the year after. It would make it possible to really get to know that number of children, which might be tricky as one vast unit.

 

People who work in foundation stage units - how many children do you have and how do you manage this?

 

If I wait until the year after, how do you think I can manage planning from children's interests this year - just each teacher really plan very discretely for her own class? Or a mixture of year group plans, perhaps for PSRN especially, individual class plans based on specific children's / groups' interests? I suppose if there was an interest, say in space, in one class that one teacher resourced, it would make it ready for the inevitable popping up of that interest later in another class.

 

How are other people managing child-led planning in reception? I loved it this year and it worked so well for everyone - just wondering about how to transfer it from one setting to the other. I think (I think!) the key is having great continuous provision as a year goup, focussing on planning, resourcing and organising that as a year group and then each teacher, with her TA following the interests of her class.

 

As FS leader, how much do you think I really need to know exactly where I'm going with this in September? I want to work it through with the rest of the team, rather than impose any ideas in any way, and build good relationships with them first, but also feel that the sooner it was in place the better it would be for the children, rather than settling them into one way and then changing it. I don't want to be too cautious and then feel unable to make changes till the following year, but neither do I want to crash in on people and a setting that already works really well. Any thoughts?

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Guest LornaW

emmajess you are really leading a huge team and more than some schools.

 

In my last school we were a three form entry and we worked as a team but this was becasue all rooms fed into each other. If you could do this then what a wonderful opportunity to really work as a team with key person groups. I personally prefer the idea of making each room a base but not too specific sdo not like a base for CLL or PSRN etc more a base for large construction and small world, a base for messy play and creative opportunities and a base to leave out some of the construction work as in Reggio Emilia.

 

Each key person had a base within each of our three rooms and at all times they worked as a team.

 

It may work to think as if you were a nursery school and all team members will need to meet at the end of each session to use your observations of the children to plan for preparation of the environment and resources.

 

If you can visit some large nursery schools i am sure you will begin to see how it all works. For me planning is at first the least of your worries getting everyone to work as a team will be your greatest challenge.

 

Good luck a wonderful opportunity!

 

Lorna

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We are a 4 form entry Infant School.

 

We are reviewing planning for Sept 2010 but still in the discussion stage.

 

there's a school in Croyden that I went to visit about 4 years ago that split the areas of learning into different rooms.

Each class had their own classroom where their teacher registered the children and the carpet focus inputs took place and then during child initiated the children freeflowed according to their interests.

We tried it in our 2 form entry Reception class..... one of the rooms was the quiet room and mine was larger play. Lots of messy activities, investigations and problem solving and much noisier than the other.

At first, the less confident children tended to stay in their own rooms but gradually all of the children mixed.

We had boys writing and drawing and girls building train tracks etc....

It worked well and different learning styles were catered for.

 

I have not tried it in this 4 form entry with 120 children yet.... but you never know!

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Lorna - yep, that's how I was thinking of organising the bases, by areas of provision rather than curriculum areas. It is a HUGE team, but they are all lovely and very good teachers, so I'm looking forward to the challenge - and I have to keep trusting that the head and governors knew what they were doing when they picked me! Trying to focus on excited side of the coin rather than terrified!

 

riverview - which is the school in Croyden? It would be helpful to visit somewhere to see it in practice before implementing anything.

 

Does anyone else know of any settings that have exemplary practice with these kinds of numbers and child led planning and / or provision bases?

 

thank you for your comments - it's so helpful to talk things through!

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