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Playgroups - Advice Needed Please


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Hi everyone


One or two parents have approached me to ask for more formal learning and not sure how to approach it.


At the same time committee want more structured activities and want numeracy/literacy activity everyday - have tried explaining this but got no where.


How can I keep everyone happy?


Can anyone please share with me any ideas/planning etc as to how i can achieve this while keeping in line with EYFS?


They also want me to split children into groups at some point during the morning so for pre-schoolers to be seperated from the younger ones and have more formal learning.


So stressed over this :o


Any help/advice would be very much greatly appreciated please

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Hi, don't get stressed!


Could you choose children to be in different groups, e.g. yellow group, green group, etc. and then just do a very short adult directed activity with the older ones?


This might be something like some focused letters and sounds stuff or some fun letter formation activities.


We always get parents who want them to learn to write their names by tracing. You have to have confidence in your own professional judgement.


It is not your committee's place to tell you how to run your sessions - you can tell them that from me as a chair of committee! They employ you to do the job.

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A chair asked me once if I could do the obs at home because it looked bad if I was writing and not playing. :o

I expalined it to her but agreed I wouldnt do it in session. I carried on as usual but she didnt know, so everyone was happy. :(

You can still have a numeracy and literacy activity on the plans but do it to suit the EYFS and your own judgement. Play with numerals in the sand, sing, use musical instruments...You know what helps with Num and Lit, just jig the wording on the plans, if your committee know so much they should be able to see how beneficial the playing is.

I'm a Chair too but wouldnt dream of telling the staff how to run the sessions nor how to plan. Thats not in my role description. The staff know the children and their interests, I dont. They have about 10 mins some sessions in their keygroups to carry out an activity, a board game, jigsaw, something very simple, just so the KW can make a few obs.

As to the parents, invite them in to show them the learning thats taking place, show them the EYFS and explain development, ask them why they feel their child needs to be doing more formal work when their peers and those in Reception wont be.

I had something similar from a mom a few weeks ago, she said she felt under pressure to get her child ready for school, all the learning and lining up was how she put it. I sometimes remind parents that their children are very young, work out their age in weeks, a 3 year old is just 156 weeks old. Thats still a baby. Hope you find a solution that keeps eeryone happy. xD

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i think this is about explaining what learning through play is (i find myself explaining this often until parents get the message :o )how about some info posters for parents so you could explain how they learn psrn through block play or how doing a painting is helping their literacy skills. I recently did a 'what did we learn today' sheet after we had had a forest school visit i was amazed at all the developmental goals we had covered and so were the parents ...they were so gobsmacked and they realised i knew what i was talking about xD they tend not to question once they know where your coming from. Perhaps a meeting with the chair to show where you're coming from too.

i have a literacy and numeracy section on my planning every day but my literacy today was cotton bud painting and my numeracy was a game so not what you would call formal learning but i can prove what the children learnt from these...and it was adjusted for each and every child as we have children 2years 7 months up to 5 and including sen and eal some have been with us for a year some 1 day! i worry about group work at this stage because they are all at different levels and some of my 3 year olds very capeable and my oldest child still struggling as english is not his first language :( good luck :(

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Some great advice already - I would echo all that has been said........


I wonder what their idea of 'structured' is - are they talking 'worksheets' :o


I have 'numeracy/literacy' on my plans everyday.........today - numeracy = number puzzles, number peg boards - self-chosen and for whole group number/counting songs and group counting at snack


literacy = adult support in the book corner and a very short story for whole group at end of session.


There were, of course, as part of my 'enabling environment' many, many more opportunities for numeracy and literacy......

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I have numeracy and literacy on my plans too, but same as the others, usually a play based activity, today one of my staff got bricks out when we counted the children and they colour sorted, counted, estimated, and introduced adding all through playing with the bricks. I usually mention a literacy and numeracy activity that we have done in my blog to the parents, as they like to see those sorts of things on the plans, it keeps everyone happy :-) but really we are just doing what we always do xx

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I often found the parents needed educating as much as the children...


have you continuous provision planning that shows what the children are learning through all the every day activities they do?


I used to regularly have to teach parents about learning through play and found that by doing displays of children in a particular area and giving all the learning that is going on while they are there was a good tool to allow parents to understand how play is so important at this age.... also a need to reminding parents they are still only young and how many more years they have to sit and learn.


I used to choose an area and take the pictures and then add all the skills they were learning by doing this... I changed this to a different area regularly. All this was in our continuous provision planning which they had access to but was never looked at.. needed to be very visual ans relevant for them to take notice and begin to understand.


I also had one of those children learn through play poems where I added pictures of the children to illustrate it.. but cannot remember which one.. a search of the forum will find some..


you will find you do all of the numeracy and literacy in daily routines and play.. any circle time caould cover this and need only be short..


Some information on EYFS may help them understand, there used to be a leaflet to give out, but not sure if it is still available.. I always felt it should be given every year with new intakes, as there is always the same problem annually with new parents.

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We do all what you lovely ladies have already suggested. We count the group at snack time, number songs, puzzles out, number games such as dominoes etc.


We always have mark making and extend this into other areas etc, story time, children during morning will often approach an adult with a book and ask the read it.


This particular parents wants number and letter recongnition but said that while child can identify letters of her name, she can also write her own name too, she isn't interested in the other letters. This is enough for me to say she isn't ready.


I have given out info leaflets and attend the coffee mornings to explain too.


Inge- I do like the area of the area and the learning - will def try that on my main board. Have continour provision in place too very bright for everyone to see but thinking of maybe doing them A3 size so easier to see for parents.

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We have the same problem, not from the Chair, but especially coming up to the summer term parents seem to want us to focus on name writing and lining up! I have even had one parent asking that we focus more on the 'creative arts'! In addition a recent meeting resulted in our year R colleagues 'requesting' that we start doing a sit down register with the cohort moving up so that they are used to it when they join them in September!!!


I did manage to order some leaflets on the EYFS (updated child's play ones) last October so may be worth a look still. I have implemented really bright, pictorial weekly provision plans and at the end of each week produce pictures of the children playing in each area of learning with an anecdote that illustrates what learning has been achieved.


At the end of the day if you are confident that you are meeting the needs of the children in the group, stick to your guns and just keep trying to break down the preconceived ideas that are being thrown at you!

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sorry too early in the morning to figure out how to do this properly but this is my list from the forest school (i know its teaching my grandmother to suck eggs just thought it might help!!)

So what did your children learn on their trip to the forest?

These are a few of the things we observed yesterday

Personal social development –

• Continue to be interested and motivated to learn

• be confident to try new activities

• respond to significant experiences-showing a range of feelings

• work as part of a group or class

• select and use resources independently

Communication language and literacy

• interact with others – negotiate and take turns

• extend vocabulary

Problem Solving Reasoning and Numeracy

• using developing maths ideas to solve problems.

• Use words such as greater, smaller, heavier, lighter

• describe position

Knowlede and understanding

Investigate features of living things

Identify features they like and dislike

look closely

ask questions(why)

observe features in natural world




Physical Development-

• Move with confidence

• Move with imagination and safety.

• Move with control and coordination

• travel over under, around, through

• Be aware of space

• Use small and large equipment

• handle tools and equipment with safety and control

Creative Development

• respond to senses as appropriate

• express and communicate ideas




Early learning goals – early years foundation stage curriculum

Note – not all children will have completed all of these goals

Other stepping stones have also been observed.

perhaps having a what we've done today board with a short list of counting at snack time ..writing in the home corner etc etc i find if you have info up all the time that people just dont read it. almost need to have flashing signs out! i do feel for you i have lots of teachers as parents ...some want no assessment some want their children to be speaking latin by the age of 3. I get to the stage where i have to believe in myself and parents buy into what i sell or they choose another setting. I make it quite clear that if they want worksheets they need to go elsewhere . get the parent in and blind her with science...start talking theorists and scaffolding i'll bet she'll shut up :o

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It might be good to try and unpick what your parents mean by 'more formal' or 'more structure'


So for example, there isn't anything 'wrong' with having a short register time first thing in the morning (or later if that's the way you work). Likewise, there are good reasons why you could have a short fun activity to do something with your older and younger children separately, sometimes older children need to extend an activity and a younger child just doesn't access it in the same way.

Personally I wouldn't see either of these requests as wrong or inappropriate. So short periods of getting a group together are not anti EYFS, and are also important for developing all sorts of other skills such as listening to each other.

To me, its all part of that creating the balance of child initiated and adult led practice, of individual, paired, small and larger group activities, so I would use this opportunity to reflect on how you currently have that balance and share it with the parents accordingly.


In terms of the literacy and numeracy, much of this can be covered in things like snack time, 'talk time' letters and sounds, story and rhyme time, and if you are already doing some of these things, you can explain to your parents that this is what your 'literacy and numeracy' looks like.


have you thought about dong a workshop for parents to show them?

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