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Carpet /group Time For Under 2s


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I'm looking for ideas for engaging younger children in story/song/rhyme times at the end of a session, imediately following outside time. I know that group time isn't always appropriate for very young children, but I want to make it irresistable for them, (even tho' it is quite acceptable for then to wander off if they want to.)

 

I work as a creche co-ordinator, and one of my responsibilities is to lead a 10 minute session where the children (aged up to 4 years) have story, songs etc. It isn't usually planned in any detail, so that we can follow on from the children's interests from earlier. However, I find it very difficult to engage all the age groups - I am great at stories and rhymes for the over 3s, but the younger children seem to get bored and wander off! I previously worked as a reception teacher so am great with sessions like this for that age group, and also worked with small groups of very young children that I knew very well, so snuggling up and sharing stories and songs etc with them was much easier. With these children I often don't know them so well and I feel such a failure when they all head off the carpet in search of something more interesting! The other co-ordinators don't have this problem so it isn't as if it is impossible!!!

 

Any suggestions gratefully received. I know this is a weakness for me and I want to improve :o

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Hi Line, I'd make it as visual as possible. Lots of props, puppets anything that goes with the story or discussion and musical instruments whenever possible to aid the story. Make up stories with their names in too.

10 minutes is a very long time for a young one, 1 minute for every year of life is the rule of thumb.

:o

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A simple little game I played with my littlelies in circle time was sit in a circle and try and pass round a set of bells without them making a sound...ohh the concentration and those that don't understand and pass it quickly and nosily well it doesn't matter...

 

I had a puppet called Spike who was quite naughty and would sometimes help me read big book and would turn the pages at the wrong time or be waving at the children instead of sitting nicely.....they would all sit and watch waiting for Spike to do something wrong so they could laugh or tell me he was being naughty

 

Simple action songs that allow them to not sit perfectly still are good

 

We had Rhythm sticks (2 wooden dowels) which we used to tap out rhythms in songs to as well

 

Music and floaty scarves/ribbons......gently music and encourage them to float about

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Hi, A really good rule of thumb for children's concentration spans is their age plus 2.

 

So, you can see why you are experiencing problems!!

 

To keep them engaged, do lots of interactive stuff - stories where they have to 'act out', e.g. walking along, climbing, etc.

 

We also have a lovely big puppet that the children love.

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Thanks, your comments on the length of time have put it into perspective for me. I think I'm going to continue to try to engage them all but just accept that the younger ones might just wander off into the role play/construction area, which we have enough staff to cover. puppets and song sacks are things I try to use (when properly prepared!) and I might try to have some bubbles handy too!

 

Thanks so much for replying. I think I was having a bad day when I posted!

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Hi, don't limit yourself to stories and songs, an activity that my autistic class (slightly older than yours but not good attention span!) is the sensory box. I have a box with a water spray, a tub of bubbles and a pack of balloons in (any more suggestions very welcome!!) I demonstrate each item (balloons blown up then let go of so they fly around the room) then ask a child to choose an item. I then go around the group taking turns with each child, encouraging them to say/ sign '3,2,1, go!' and either blow bubbles or spray water at them (they love this, they think it's hilarious!!) I also let them have a turn, so I'll say '3,2,1, go!' and they squirt/ blow.

With the balloons, I ask them what I should do and encourage them to say blow or to actually blow for the non-verbal children. Then I blow into the balloon and encourage them to instruct me to 'blow more' a couple of times before feigning handing the balloon to them but letting go just before they get hold. No matter how many times I repeat this activity they still find it hilarious!

It's good for turn-taking, speaking and listening, anticipation and I'm sure lots of other things if I really thought about it. With my ASD class the focus is communication but your focus could simply be for them to stay engaged for a certain number of minutes. It's a good activity for a group of unpredictable attention span because you can stop whenever you like and if they are all really focussed you can carry on by allowing another child to choose an item from the box.

I hope this random waffle all makes sense! :)

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