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I'm just writing a curriculum bid for my reception year group for the next financial year. I've only been at the school since September and previously to that was at a one form entry school where my children had access to lots of resources, all the time. We have 5 reception classes this year and will be back to 4 next year. I wondered how others of you in large reception teams manage continuous provision? Do you use your money to provide the year group with more provision opportunities which they don't always have access to as continuous provision as they're shared with the other classes - for example, buying a space rocket, a pirate ship, a castle and a train set and rotating them between classes - or less variety but which they always have access to - for example, each class having a train for continuous provision, but no rocket, pirate ship or castle. Do you go for variety and sharing or focus on continuous provision opportunities?

I'm thinking about whisks specifically at the moment!! Wondering whether to buy 4 for each class or just a set of 4 that can be swapped about? How does this work in your schools?

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Our reception classes free-flow in each classroom during continuous provision/child intiated time, so each class room is a 'zone' during this time. One for example has all the dressing up/role play things in and a mark making area, one has all the small world/construction, one area has a sand tray and water tray, and one has all the psrn resources. One area is for creative things.

 

If this is not possible with your classes, I tend to think of continuous provision as these areas, and the items in it enhance. So I would be inclined not to have 4 train sets for example, but a variety (such as space ships, boats) which can be rotated around according to interest.

 

If you feel you need more than one 'core' provision such as cars/trains you could always then appeal for donations from families of old toys no longer used at home. But if I were spending money, I would buy a few different things.

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No idea, but perhaps the cost of the item is a guide - so your small world examples, one of each and swap. But all classes have a set of whisks.

 

I am a childminder, so a small setting, but equally little space, so I would always have a small world set out, but might alternate trains, farm, rocket etc depending on interest and variety.

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When I was FS Coord I tried to provide a variety of resources which we shared and like Clare our classrooms were zoned.

 

In my current school, the resources have tended to be hoarded and each class had its own "stuff" but I have found that very restrictive!

 

I think you need to think about your budget and your staff. How are they going to work best?

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Our reception classes free-flow in each classroom during continuous provision/child intiated time, so each class room is a 'zone' during this time. One for example has all the dressing up/role play things in and a mark making area, one has all the small world/construction, one area has a sand tray and water tray, and one has all the psrn resources. One area is for creative things.

 

If this is not possible with your classes, I tend to think of continuous provision as these areas, and the items in it enhance. So I would be inclined not to have 4 train sets for example, but a variety (such as space ships, boats) which can be rotated around according to interest.

 

If you feel you need more than one 'core' provision such as cars/trains you could always then appeal for donations from families of old toys no longer used at home. But if I were spending money, I would buy a few different things.

 

I'm really interested in this way of working and have been mulling it over for a while. How many reception classes do you have Clare? And how do you manage planning and assessment? I'd love to hear details about it.

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Thank you for your help everyone! It's a good point about thinking about the staff - we've all got different experiences and are used to working in different ways and so each find different things restrictive! I think we need to work it through together.

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I am actually the F1/preschool manager, but have worked closely with the school for the last 2 years, and we have now just gone into our building which is joined to the reception classes, so we are operating as a partnership type foundation stage unit.

 

There are 3 reception classes, each with a teacher and a full-time TA. Currently the class sizes are about 24 I think. We have 24 preschool children in in a session too. All 3 teachers and myself meet each week to plan, we try to have both adult intiated activities and plan from children's interests also. The teachers all work on their own class children's records and assessment, but they do share letters and sounds groups, to enable them to best use the adults and the children's development level, so with the TA's involved, I believe they have 5 letters and sounds groups. Both f1 and f2 children then free flow together, so having the enhancements to continuous provision, and any other challenges/interests planned together enables us all to support each other's children.

 

HTH

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I am actually the F1/preschool manager, but have worked closely with the school for the last 2 years, and we have now just gone into our building which is joined to the reception classes, so we are operating as a partnership type foundation stage unit.

 

There are 3 reception classes, each with a teacher and a full-time TA. Currently the class sizes are about 24 I think. We have 24 preschool children in in a session too. All 3 teachers and myself meet each week to plan, we try to have both adult intiated activities and plan from children's interests also. The teachers all work on their own class children's records and assessment, but they do share letters and sounds groups, to enable them to best use the adults and the children's development level, so with the TA's involved, I believe they have 5 letters and sounds groups. Both f1 and f2 children then free flow together, so having the enhancements to continuous provision, and any other challenges/interests planned together enables us all to support each other's children.

 

HTH

 

Thank you, that is helpful - it's the fine details that are preventing me from running our 4 classes this way next year - really just seeing how it works in practice - where the teachers are, how the children access the provision - how do you manage crowding in one particular provision area - eg if loads of children wanted to do block play and there wasn't enough room? (Phew, long sentence - typing as I think!) Obviously we all manage that each day with a class of 30, but it's a different issue when you're having to redirect such a large number of children - I'm wondering about the mechanics of it all. I'd love to work together so closely as a team, it intuitively feels like a great way to work, but such a big change needs to be carefully considered!!! I have wondered about working as 2 partner classes - sharing the provision areas on a slightly smaller scale... I remember Marion saying something once that for a FSU the optimum number is 60...?

Whereabouts are you? It would be great to visit a school working in this way. I'm in East Sussex - are you (or anyone else reading this!) nearby and would you be so kind as to let me visit?

Sorry to be cheeky! Always good to share best practice though!

Thank you! x

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