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Pe/hall Time For Reception?


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Maybe some one can help me? We have a new head who has taken on the PE co-ordinbator's role in school. To cut a long story short, he has made it quite clear that the way that we have been using our hall time (or should I say, using the large apparatus) is completely wrong.

 

Please could someone let me now how they go about using the benches, mats and climbing frames and how do children access them? For example do you use mats and are children lined up in small groups or do they access the equipment from all angles all at once!!!???

 

Zoe xx

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Hi Zobo

Ive worked both ways on Supply recently. I have to say I preferred the small groups, the class I was with knew exactly what to do and were very good.

The free access was ok but it did mean some pieces became crowded with alot of queuing and other pieces were standing empty.

When I had a class of my own, I opted out of apparatus work leaving that for Yr1. Children had large apparatus outside and I used to use all my hall/PE times for movement and small apparatus skills.

Given a choice I would prefer to work in groups, I think.

What do you do and what is required and why?

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Hi Zoe

Why don't you ask him how he feels it should be used.

Also thought you might be interested in this reference to PE on the Standards Site in a document about Foundation Stage Units:

Q: Are reception aged children entitled to a formal physical education lesson?

A: It is not necessary to have a formal type physical education lesson in a school hall. The Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage states that the children's physical needs should be met through challenging physical activities both indoors and outdoors. There should be on-going opportunities provided for physical education both indoors and outdoors. Some of these opportunities would be adult initiated at some points during the day/week.

Opportunities to use the school hall as an additional resource for physical activities should not be missed, but health and safety issues should be addressed with equipment that may not be designed or appropriate for the age group. Many practitioners utilise hall times for larger group type activities.

 

Angela

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The head says I can use the equipment which is not above the height of a child! (fair enough) but when it comes to the large climbing frame, the can ony go up to the third rung which is above chilkd head height, BUT, and heres where I have the problem - NO MATS!!!!!

He says that mats lead the kids into a false sense of security and they may want to jump off!!

Also no mats under the ropes! He also said that the kids should access the benches from all angles, all at once! Oh MY GOSH! bedlam springs to mind!

Is it me?

zoex

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Interesting!!

I'm sure the PE course I attended recently was suggesting mats in places where we wouldnt usually put them. I think if children want to jump they will do so regardless of a mat. Perhaps you are going to need to teach the children that mats signify the end point and may be jumped on, no mat no jumping?

I think Id still encourage movement in a circular fashion around your apparatus and set small groups to different starting points to at least try and minimise over crowding and then allow the children to move freely. Is that possible?

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Hi there Zobo,

I have used both methods and over the years and with the change of emphasis in Foundation stage to less structure I actually now prefer the free access appraoch. Children are not left standing and fidgetting - they are all active. I use mats to encourage the children to approach the apparatus from different angles and sometimes go as far as telling them they are not to go from end to end on the benches and beam. However I always work from the floor up. I spend a long time working on pathways and different ways of travelling at the beginning of the year - along with stops and starts. I then use this when we first begin to use apparatus -I incorporate a few pieces at a time- encouraging the children to continue to use the floor as the largest piece of apparatus. We don't allow the children to have floor mats under the climbing frame either.. touch wood, in 13 years no child has fallen off. I use other apparatus to add variety to the floor space e.g. cones for travelling between and hoops. We recently got some foam spots (discs - I'm not sure how you would describe them) the children love these in a trail on the floor and use them as stepping stones. I also try to use my apparatus lessons as imaginatively as I can - so we act out Rosie's walk using apparatus as the obtstacles and we had several sessions earlier this year when the apparatus became the jungle - the beam a fallen tree, climbing frame ( tree) rivers etc. The children had a fantastic time and I had to continue the session the following week to give time for them really to explore. I suppose the apparatus could become any place e.g. space / a journey past places ??

However all that said these are only my ideas - I've never felt very confident teaching large apparatus and am not an expert .. I have worked with groups before and it is much more controlled and feels safer - but once you give 'free access' a try you might find that you can be comfortable with it too. It takes a lot of work in the early days especially if the children have been used to waiting their turn ... you also need plenty of equipment. If you think about it this style of being active fits with what children would normally do at a play park etc. Lots of opportunities to practise PSE skills too. hope these musings are of some use. June X

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Thanks June, thats given me loads of food for thought. I am willing to try something new, but just need ideas.

 

I see what you mean about mats at dfferent points, say on a bench, but could you explain a little more about how they move around the room? Is it totally free for them to choose? and what happens if two children meet mid-way on a bench with no other way to get off? Is that a stupid question? Sorry just trying to get my mind out of its current thinking!

zoe x

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Hi

When I started teaching I used to have small groups and 'queuing' at different sections of the apparatus. Now, I allow 'structured free-flow'! Usually I split the areas into 2 or 3, depending on the way it is laid out and the number of children. The children then work in one area but accessing the equipment from all angles as noone is allowed to be still, unless I ask for a balance or stretch. If they meet e.g. on a bench, I tell them 'you have to move safely' and they have thought of innovative ways (through legs, sideways next to each other, one off and one on).

 

I don't use mats for jumoing either- I have one at the bottom of a slide and one under a bar where they balance, in case of falls. They certainly jump more carefully without a mat, after initial input early on.

 

There are many ways to work, and you find one that you feel comfortable with, as you are in charge of the children's safety!

 

Marie

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Marie, I think thats the kind of structure I was trying to suggest.

However, in the 2 classes that I have worked in recently, the apparatus in the free moving school was far more exciting than in the one that used groups but the latter had far more child movement. It was in the former that the stationery children were! And the children were helping one another and being generally more aware of each other in the former too.

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Up until last year I too had children in small groups, queueing. However, we had some school-based PE INSET last summer with a very active chap who insisted that the children should be active all lesson :o

Since then I have taken the plunge and do have free flow all round the hall. The children are not allowed to talk or queue, and it works extremely well. I agree with what others have said about it being really important to have lots of apparatus out and I usually have an upside down bench and a tunnel to one side for added interest.

We have also been told not to use mats under the climbing frames or ropes because "they are not crash mats and can give children a false sense of security".

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One of my placement schools did apparatus each week. She used a free flow system similar to those that have been described. She gradually built the complexity up and the area where children were likely to meet in the middle were quite low to the floor. It was suprising at how well they negotiated what to do. She also layed down ground rules i.e no talking or running. CHildren who did not do this she gave one warning then they had to stand with her for a short period. Mind you the other children would often tell them off before the teacher knew about it. THe power of peer pressure !

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Dear Zoe,

AS for moving around the hall - I always start each session with a warm up and a skills practice on the floor. The children are always encouraged to work in good spaces etc - showing awareness of where others are. When we stop we always begin on the nearest piece of apparatus. Children don't usually have a problem negotiating around the middle sections of beams etc - their PSE skills get a good airing and to some extent I allow them to speak quietly to negotiate issues. I stop and restart them a lot in the early days - the top of boxes tend to get congested and those areas concern me. You will soon find out which of the pieces of equipment are favoured... anything new that goes out always gets a lot of attention to begin with and you may need to remind and remind about the rules! I make a point of saying how well children are moving on the floor or mats or pieces of equipment that are not getting a lot of use which tends to encourage others to use them too. If there is a big congestion point we sit down and I ask the children what we are going to do about it and work with their suggestions. Generally speaking after a couple of sessions children tend to move round pretty smoothly. I do as Jay says - one warningand then you miss a minute . Sometimes the theme or skill you are practicing can influence how they move on the equipment - travelling lends itself very well to movement around the hall and under and over works well. Balancing activities which ask for the children to be static for a short time tend to cause congestion and you may need to encourage the children to demonstrate balances on less obvious pieces of equipment. Sometimes the children surprise you. We had been working on a simple sequence on the floor for a couple of weeks - jump, roll and balance . I ask the children to transfer it to the apparatus and expected them to roll on the mats or the floor - however with the free flow method they came up with really creative ways of rolling along benches and over the lower boxes - they still continue to surprise me !

Hope this is of some use - give it a go and see what you think - let us know how you get on Good luck! :)

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