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What Do Your Children Do When They Come Into Nursery?


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Hi xD

 

I need to pick your brains again! :o I'm after some ideas for things that the children can do when they first enter nursery at the start of a session. At the moment, I follow a whole school approach which involves the children doing action songs on the carpet with a TA while I greet them and chat to parents. It normally takes about 15 minutes for the flow of children coming into nursery to die down, and the TA spends all this time with the children doing these action songs until I'm ready to take over and take the register. We currently have 31 children in our morning session (and it's due to rise with our Easter intake) and it's becoming very chaotic. The children are generally excited to see each other when they arrive, and they want to play and chat. A particular few children are rather boisterous and can end up pushing and bumping into other children. I obviously don't want anyone to get hurt. The TA, bless her, really struggles to keep such a large group of children 'under control' and encourage them all to join in, and I end up standing at the edge of the carpet to oversee things rather than talking to parents as I should.

 

I suggested to one of the other TAs that we let the children play as soon as they come in (maybe inviting parents to stay too), and then call them over for the register after 20-30 minutes (I've read posts on this forum from people who are advocates of this approach and thought it might work for us). The TA immediately dismissed the idea, saying it wouldn't work and the children are used to the current routine now. I don't want to implement a massive change and risk falling out with colleagues or disrupting the children, but I think a change is in order...

 

Thank you in advance :(

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My experience of Nursery class is as a parent.

 

Now children are settled, parents say goodbye at door and only pass on quick messages to member of staff.

 

Children spilt into 2 groups and do speaking and listening activity with a member of staff. They have a small room so that the two groups can divide easily. I think that while chidlren are coming in, one member of staff is on the door, one at the entrance to small room so she can see all children.

 

Children (and parents) now trained into routine.

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I preferred this approach, I felt it enabled the chidlren to come in and play, let parents see what they were ding and alloweed me time to talk to anyone if needed. It was a much more informal start to the day. I alwyas felt stting straight to carpet meant some early attenders were sat there too long waiting. And some children who lived in high rise blocks, just needed to get outside first thing.

 

However when we had a new head, she didnt like this approach and said parents must stay at the door, and if they wanted to talk to me they made an appoitment like anyone else. We tried going to family groups first thing which was Ok, but still not my preference, as the person on door duty had to abandon their group or we had to double up.

 

You are the teacher and if you feel it needs a change, then change it, try it for a few weeks and see how it goes. It is hader making chages half way hrough the year but if you realy feel what you are doing isnt right, then

a change may be needed.

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Goodness, that's a long time for such young children to sit and wait esp for those that arrive on time. We are a preschool and have 5/6 staff with 25 children. Ours come straight in self register and then just choose what they want. I'm not sure why your TA would be so against it? Unless she is like one of my staff members who unless something is her idea is against it, she hates change and it takes her ages to get used to any. If the aim of having them come in and sit down is so that you are free to chat to parents then it is obviously not working, would you not be better doing this at the end of the session?

Sorry I have nothing more constructive to add, and reading back it sounds like I am really criticising and I'm not.

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although im in a pre-school for years we did what you do now...came in and sat down on carpet waited for our friends and then went of to play when we had done registration etc. I now think i must have been mad xD although everyone seemed to be happy they did wait a long time maybe up to half an hour by the time everyone has got in and we've done the introductions to the day etc rather a lot of time in a 2and a half hour session. Now we are 3 hours we have a staggered start (too complicated to explain here!) so we had to change . it is so much better going straight to play, gives me more time with the parents, children self register(with reminding :o )and my children who found sitting difficult are much happier...why dont you give it a months trial and see what happens. It always takes time for change, our parents were against it to start off with but would now be against it if we reverted! :(

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hi everyone

we were in a similar situation and have just changed our 'meet and greet' time to include some boxes of resources for children to explore whilst the other children arrive. We then pack away the toys and do the meet and greet information board. We stopped doing a 'formal register' but still count the children because it just takes far too long for 2 year olds (and many 3-4's as well!!) to sit and wait.

we've had a few teething problems, but on the whole it is alot better and does free up staff to talk to parents.

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Hey all!

We were having problems with our morning routine and changed it - about three weeks ago. Our children come in and go straight to play, parents stay and chat and then leave. Then I lead a chant, bit Pied Piper, and we all go to circle time. We say hello to each other, choose who is in the Snack Team that day, celebrate any Wow!s (thanks Cait), talk about mornings activities and end on an action song. The kids love it and our session is much more settled and focussed by having that time together first thing. We still have a whole group time at the end of the morning too.

We vary what we do during circle time but have a look at Teacher Tom's blog for ideas - it's fantastic.

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Our children come straight in and play.... we changed the start routine about a year/ 18 months ago.

 

We got fed up with late comers, interuptions, the phone ringing with messages from the school office, parents wanting to chat even if they were running late and we were part way through a story etc......

We also found the children arriving on time spent an age on the carpet with a book.

It also had an impact when new children started because they dont want to sit!!!!!

 

Anyway the children come straight in to play now............ the two of us can mingle, take messages and the parents can see their child playing before they leave.

Much better for all of us!!!!

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Our children come in and play while a staff member is standing at door to greet children and talk to parents.Our older children arrive between 8.30 and 9.00 but younger ones can't come in till 9.00, then we get late arrivals, so its very staggered. We then call all children together about 9.30

We sing good morning song, count children, do wows,sometimes show n tell, maybe a physical activity or singing. We just judge it on mood of children. This works well for us.

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Yes we ditched the come and sit on the carpet at the beginning about a year ago.

We evaluated the effect of the children especially the youngest children sitting for what seemed an inappropriate amount of time.

The children now self-register and go off to free play atraight away.

We then have story, songs, news time at the end of the session.

It also allows key-persons and parent/carers time to discuss individual children if needed.

We do however ring our bells if we have anything we wish to tell all the children about the days session.

Works better for us. :o

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Looks like I'm the only one, but we have a circle time at the start of the session. Wondering (again!) if I'm doing it all wrong now... :o

 

When I joined the setting the children came in and went straight to play. It was chaotic! We had some quite boisterous boys who would just run around or pull out all the toys, or both, while all the staff were trying to talk to parents. It really didn't work and was the first thing I changed.

 

We now have one adult on the carpet, and the children come in and sit in a circle. She chats to them at first, and then when there are enough (ours tend to come in dribs and drabs) she starts a fun activity - working together to build a tower or a train track, sometimes a simple game. We say hello, and then go off to play. This enables me to man the door and talk to parents, which works really well. My committee chair wasn't happy with the change, but I have continued because everyone else is happy, and can see the benefits. Our children only sit down together again for 10/15 minutes at the end of the morning session for songs and a story, all the rest of the time is free play.

 

I do find that new children don't take to it straight away, but we just let them play, the others don't seem to mind that at all. One benefit I have found is that the quieter, shyer children seem happier to leave their parents, possibly because the environment is calmer and less intimidating.

 

I think if you're unhappy with the way it works at the moment, then change it. Tell everyone, including parents, why you're trying something new, and hopefully they will come onboard. Good luck!

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Hi, we're similar to Gwennie, they come in from 9.30am, change books with parents, self register on drinks board and then head in to play.

 

At 9.40am a child rings a bell and everyone comes to the carpet. We set a specific time to encourage parents to turn up on time, and because we can't freeflow until all children have arrived, because our entry door is also our freeflow door.

 

I like how this approach works because it gets them used to a morning carpet time, as per Reception, but it also allows children arriving early to have a play first.

 

When it comes to concentration spans, a great rule of thumb in 'their age plus 2' - so, any more than about 6 minutes at this age is too much!!

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Thank you for all the replies. It seems that there's a mixture of approaches, but going straight into free play before register does seem the most popular. I'd love to implement this approach myself, but I'm now facing opposition from more than just the TA. I spoke to the FS coordinator (also one of the F2 teachers) about my concerns, and she's not happy with the idea of going straight into free play because it'd make her own job harder. As part of the transition from F1 to F2 in September, the F2 children come in and do action rhymes at the start of the session (which is what they're used to doing in F1), then later in the year they come in and sit straight down on the carpet for register. The suggestion she made was to try some different songs and rhymes in case the children are bored of the same ones, or set a time to stop and do the register and stick to it. For example, I currently wait til the flow of children entering nursery dies down and most of them are in before I go to do the register. The FS coordinator's advice is to open the doors at 8.30 as normal, and then give it just 5 minutes before going to stop the music and start the register. My immediate thought was, 'what about the children who come in later than this? I won't be there to greet them and talk to their parents.' Her reaction was that the parents should know what time the doors open, be there on time and book appointments to talk to me if they need to. Doesn't this go against the EYFS ethos in a way...?

 

My idea at the moment is to go ahead with my change regardless, but implement it gradually. I'm thinking of having Tuesdays and Thursdays as 'Stay and Play' days, where parents can stay and play with their children in the setting for 20-30 minutes before the register. We can see how this goes and decide whether to roll it out across the whole week. Any thoughts?

 

 

We say hello to each other, choose who is in the Snack Team that day, celebrate any Wow!s (thanks Cait), talk about mornings activities and end on an action song.
We sing good morning song, count children, do wows, sometimes show n tell, maybe a physical activity or singing.

I'm intrigued... what exactly do you mean by 'wows'?

 

Thanks again everyone :o I know I can always count on this forum for fantastic advice and ideas!

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Just to answer the "wow" question - these are achievements the children (or adults) have made - so, for instance, little Johnnie has slept in his own bed all night, whereas he may generally got up and gone into parents room once or twice per night. So the class would celebrate that as a "wow" moment for Johnnie and he would have a sticker to stick up on the "wow" wall with everyone else's wow moments.

 

We are pre-school, so i have more assistance inside to help with the children at that tricky first thing moment than you do. Children do not tend to come in in dribs and drabs, we have a set time to open and mostly they are waiting to come in. I stand with the register outside greet the children and take the register as they arrive, (we have to note down the time they arrive and leave) this is over a period of maybe 10 minutes, parents often stop and talk on their way out, for a few minutes so I may be outside for some while.

 

Meanwhile inside the hall, the children self register and then go straight to an activity of their choice, and parents may if they wish speak with their child's key person, although, frankly most want to get off fairly quickly.

 

We don't have any other registration time. We do gather on the mat to discuss what everyone has been up to during the morning, have children's news that type of thing and have a music/movement/action rhyme moment after a group snacktime.

 

 

First thing is a hustly bustly time and the children are going to be eager to be with their friends and let off a little steam - as suggested, may be changing the type of activity your TA does each morning would be helpful, so not always action songs, or the same action songs, but a CD to follow actions to , or a parachute exercise if you have the room, bean bag skills. As you get closer to the end of their year with you, you can begin to prepare them for year1 and how their mornings will start then so it wouldn't be too much of a shock.

Edited by Panders
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Your FS co-ordinator may not like it and says it will make her job harder but this is about you and more importantly your childrens needs now. By the time they come into Yr1 they will bee that much older and settled you could talk about new routines nearer the end of the year during other transition activities

 

If it was me i would put the needs of my children first and have self registration and free play until you are ready, it is not fair to keep young children sat for so long and in the end to what and who's benefit

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Just to answer the "wow" question - these are achievements the children (or adults) have made - so, for instance, little Johnnie has slept in his own bed all night, whereas he may generally got up and gone into parents room once or twice per night. So the class would celebrate that as a "wow" moment for Johnnie and he would have a sticker to stick up on the "wow" wall with everyone else's wow moments.

Thank you :o After some searching, I found a whole topic about Wows and I think they sound great! At the moment, we have a system throughout school where children get a golden ticket to put into the golden box when they've done something special, then a ticket gets pulled out of the box during celebration time each Friday and that child wins a prize. The Wow approach will ensure that every child has a chance to have their achievement celebrated and displayed.

 

 

First thing is a hustly bustly time and the children are going to be eager to be with their friends and let off a little steam - as suggested, may be changing the type of activity your TA does each morning would be helpful, so not always action songs, or the same action songs, but a CD to follow actions to, or a parachute exercise if you have the room, bean bag skills. As you get closer to the end of their year with you, you can begin to prepare them for year1 and how their mornings will start then so it wouldn't be too much of a shock.

Just to clarify, I teach Nursery so they'll be going up to Reception in September, not Year 1. I totally agree with what you say about first thing being a 'hustly bustly' time - the children are excited when they come in and all they seem to want to do is catch up with their friends and let off some steam!

 

 

Your FS co-ordinator may not like it and says it will make her job harder but this is about you and more importantly your childrens needs now. By the time they come into Yr1 they will bee that much older and settled you could talk about new routines nearer the end of the year during other transition activities

 

If it was me i would put the needs of my children first and have self registration and free play until you are ready, it is not fair to keep young children sat for so long and in the end to what and who's benefit

Again, I teach Nursery and my children will be going up to one of two Reception classes in September (one of which is taught by the FS co-ordinator), so it's not as if they're going up to Year 1 and I have to prepare them for a more 'formal' entry to school in the mornings - in my opinion, the Reception children should probably be having more free play when they first come in as well!

 

Although the children aren't sitting down when they come in, they are all cooped up on the carpet together and expected to join in with action rhymes and songs, when this is the last thing most of them seem to want to do! Your comment about what and who's to benefit makes me think of something Alistair at ABC Does said about constantly questioning why we're doing things. This is the same - if the children aren't benefiting from this approach, then who am I doing it for?! xD

Edited by Guest
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Yes I try and let the children do what I would like to do. I don't think I would like to go into a room and immediately have to start speaking and thinking. When I attend courses etc there is normally an introduction which gives opportunities to catch up with friends and colleagues. In fact I am even thinking of setting up the snack area earlier for hungry ones who have had no breakfast. Maybe just toast and a drink. Hmnnn will it work? I can smell the toast now. I will try it after half term. We will still have our fruit and drink at keyperson time.

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Yes I try and let the children do what I would like to do. I don't think I would like to go into a room and immediately have to start speaking and thinking. When I attend courses etc there is normally an introduction which gives opportunities to catch up with friends and colleagues. In fact I am even thinking of setting up the snack area earlier for hungry ones who have had no breakfast. Maybe just toast and a drink. Hmnnn will it work? I can smell the toast now. I will try it after half term. We will still have our fruit and drink at keyperson time.

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Just to add food for thought, when I taught Year One we used to have the children self register and free flow with selected table top activities and a game on IWB for the 1st 15 minutes enabling me to be free to sort out any early morning quibbles, chat to parents, settle children etc. then would tidy and start with phonics. This worked well for myself and parents and ended up being faster than me doing a full dinner register and everyone having something to say, waiting for late comers etc.

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