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Hello everyone!


Now I know this has been talked about lots on here but I feel I really do need some and would very much appreciate some current and up to date advice on what all of you are doing in your reception classes. I'm an NQT and the only reception teacher and have changed my timetable, etc quite a few times already but still don't feel it is quite right. I have a full time TA and 15 children in my class. I'm struggling to understand and organise my week and days to ensure I have the appropiate balance of adult led and child initiated activities and also ensuring that myself and my TA are involved in and supporting/observing child initiated play.


I know that I have to have 20 mins of phonics every day, and I have also been told that I should do one shared and guided writing and one shared and guided reading every week. My class also have to attend assembly every morning from 9.00 until about 9.20 as we are a church school.


How do you organsie your week and days?

Do you do CLL and PSRN everyday? If not, do you do one area of learning a day so that over the week all areas are covered?

How many carpet sessions do you have?

How many adult led activities do you do over the week? Do you call children over to come and do the activity or are all the children involved in some sort of adult directed activity either with an adult or independent? Do you manage to get through all of the children for the adult led activities during the day or carry them over to do over several days?

How do you manage child initiated play? How much CI time do you have?


Sorry for all the questions, but I am reallly struggling to make my timetable and routine work. I'm feeling really stressed and worried about it due to Oftsed looming and the fact that I am the only Reception teacher and sometimes feel I have to fight my corner to jusitfy what I am doing and why as most people still think that children should be doing 'work' and lots of adult led activities in receptrion.

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We have 30 children aged 4&5 years old and 3 adults each day. Our routine is: (the times are flexible!)


9:10-9:30 Carpet time/register

9:30-10:15- Free play for children- 2 adult led activities take place (one indoors and one outdoors)

10:15-10:30- Snack time

10:30-11:00- Phonics

11:00-11:30 Carpet time (PSRN activity)

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30-12:45 Register

12:45-2:20- Free play- adult led activities continue

2:20-2:50- Story/songs

2:50- Home time


We always have 1 adult 'floating' around CI activities. All children have to do adult led activities each week. Adult led activities include guided reading and guided writing.


Hope this helps!

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I think its important to understand that there is no 1 set right way. You have to find the one that is right for you and it takes a while. This is what I do...


8.50 - 9.05 - children settle in, self register, CI play

9.05 - 9.25 - Register, carpet session (either Literacy or numeracy)

9.25 - 11.40 - Child initated learning with 1 adult observing, supporting, etc and 1 adult doing adult led activity and they rotate so all children do the activity by the end of the day)

11.40 - 12 - phonics

12 - 1: lunch

1 - 1.15 - carpet session

1.15 - 2.45 - CI learning with 1 adult observing etc and 1 adult doing adult led activity.

2.45 - 3: Story/songs


I don't do literacy and numeracy everyday, i have a CLL morning twice a week (1 guided reading and 1 guided writing) and a PSRN twice a week. I have PE and circle time on the 5th morning. In the afternoons we usually have 1 group left over from the morning (but I have 30 children so you should get through 15 children in a morning). I also don't do playtimes and have rolling snack bar so children have long periods of uniterrupted play (except then they are called to do their adult led activity). I usually do 1 creative adult led activity and 1 other topic related activity, such as KUW and 1 music session.

I always have 1 adult inside and 1 outside. If I have a 3rd adult i will have 1 adult observing/supporting inside and 1 observing/supporitng outside. Adult led activities are delivered either inside or outside.


Hope that makes sense. Believe in what your doing, it is tought being the only foundation stage teacher (speaking from personal experience)but stick to your guns, you know what is right for the children!


Good luck!



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first don't woryy, I find that you have to do a way that suits you, your children and fits around the school timetable! This is my reception timetable for 30 children with 1 TA.


8:40: arrivial, self registration, Child initiated (sometimes hear individual readers)

9:00/ 9:15: whole class adult focus session usually on carpet

9:30: child initiated and adult focus activity (depends what doing, sometimes 1 on 1, sometimes small group activity)

10:25 phonics (have to have this now because same time as year 1)

10:45 playtime (which im thinking of getting rid of next year just trying to win staff over!)

11:00 guided reading and child initiated.

11:30 sometimes do handwriting or mark making activities as my class learn cursive from reception

(tuesday and Thursday hall time 11-12 most of time use for movement/ p.E.)

12-1 lunch

1pm: whole class adult focus activity

1:15: child initiated and adult focus activity (depends what doing, sometimes 1 on 1, sometimes small group activity)

2:30: snack/ circle time/ story/ get ready for home

3:00: home time


* i only go to celebration assembly on a firday at 9am

wednesday at 1-1:30 they have music with the music teacher.

i have free flow in and outside all day.


I don't do a guided write, often fit this into my phonics and it seems to be working!

i do a mixture of all areas over the week but often tend to do either numeracy one week then literacy the next as i find when do literacy that involves writing the children need 1 on 1 so it takes a few days to get through everyone! I often don't force my children to do a adult activity but i monitor what activities they do, so they don't miss out on important stuff, i am finding now they want to do the activities so i don't have to ask!

i use the adult focus to teach what they don't know/ teach skills or what i am not seeing in their play.

i feel if you have a enhanced enviorment that supports the childrens interests they will learn you just have to guide them its surpirsing what they know!

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Hi Char

I was in the same situation as you this time last year - NQT in reception in one form entry school - please dont stress out - its nearly easter and that means youve nearly survived your NQT year :( !

Timetabling is a struggle and due to the nature of EYFS everyone does things differently so it needs to work for you, your school and your children. I am still changing my time table around - I dont think it will ever be right as we have to fit so much in (and we are hard on ourselves - always trying to imporve things for the children!) , but I am a bit more confident in my choices this year. I have built up the year - begining with a very flexible timetable, and becoming more structured as the terms progress (my lovely TA must dispair with the changes!). Heres a example of a timetable I am thinking of using after Easter


8.50 - self registration and CI

9.10 worship (I am in a church school so we have to go :( )

9.30 - 10.30 CI time with adult support inside and outside (at the begining of this session I might have a group to plan their activities) (on a thursday we have PE in this slot - I do this in 2 groups of 15)

10.30 - phonics in 2 groups (not sure this is going to fit here but I will trial it)

10.40 - playtime - we havent been out to play yet as we have free flow) but the children are requesting to go into the big playground so we shall see how it goes

11.00 - come in from play - quick whole class challenge update or reflection on learning

11.10 - Guided learning (AL) CLL or PSRN Both adults to work with a small group each. Other children CI activities

11.35 - tidy up

11.40 colour time - we direct children in their mixed ability groups (colour names) to an area where they play using the resources (change areas daily) , this is adult directed in that they have to go to a specific area, but if there is not an adult in their area they are free to choose what to do there (ie construction area). We use this time to teach skills such as washing paint brushes, using glue, putting pencils in pots etc as well as time to extend childrens language etc (children absolutely love colour time!)

12.00 circle time - 2 groups for S and L skills, counting activities, ring games etc

12.20 lunch

1.30 - whole group story/rhymes and small group guided reading

1.45 - CI inside and outside and AL art/KUW/PD/phonic activity depending on needs/observations

3.00 story/library

3.30 home time!


My spring timetable had a longer period of time for CI activites but I took children for small group work during this time and I felt that I didnt have enough time to support children in their own play so I am hoping this timetable will allow this in the 9.30 - 10.30 slot (but Im sure I will tweak it again! xD )

Keep going - its a massive learning curve and really hard when you are the only teacher in early years, but there is loads of support on this forum so ask away!


enjoy your easter - try not to work too hard :o

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey! Thanks for all of your replies! Sorry for the delay in replying but I have been away and have not been on here over last few weeks- had a strict no school things for the first week of easter!!!!


Am now back in school mode though and the replies will definately help with next terms organisation, so thank you all you lovely people once again for your support and advice!


Rosie64- your day sounds very much how I envisage mine and you also have certain things like collective worship and breaktime that you need to include into your daily routine. I wondered if you wouldn't mind sharing your weekly planning with me so that I can see exactly how it all fits together, how you ensure coverage over the week and the format you use- I particularly like the idea of colour time! It is so reassuring to hear that there have been other NQT's in the same position as sometimes being the only reception teacher can be quite lonely particularly being new to it all!!!

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