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How Do You Plan For Children's Interests While Covering All Areas


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

I know this might sound thick but I just don't get this idea of catering for children's interests so perhaps someone could explain the basics.

 

Say for instance in the construction area or small world - what do you have for continuous provision ie what is in there all the time?? We have 6 cubby holes to cover both areas so what can we put in each?

 

We have basically got it all wrong according to our Early Years Advisor who visited us yesterday and she told us in no uncertain terms that she would be back within the next week and we need to think seriously about planning our Playgroup better!!

 

I mean do we just wait until children express an interest in say firemen as they have seen some in action and put out like the fire station, engines and firemen??

 

Our Early Years Advisor picked up on a child repeating this phrase "I've got a new baby sister". She asked us what we were doing to cater for the child who showed a genuine interest in this. Now last month we brought her mum in, introduced the baby to all the children in Playgroup, spent time asking loads of questions and followed it through with a doll the following day to help this little girl talk about her sister more. She never mentioned the sister again and we felt yesterday it was really attention seeking knowing that there was a stranger there who she could chat with. We have today put in a real baby bottle, a baby bib, a baby bowl and a tin of baby milk but they were never looked at.

 

We had another little boy who was interested in tractors and we got a scrapbook with loads of farming newspapers, cut out tractor pictures with him while he talked about each one. The scrapbook is in our book corner and he will return to look at most days.

 

We have this month been looking at different people who help us so have out our fire station, police cars, postmans box and medical kits. The Early Years Advisor's comment was "but what if your children never have met or know anything about these things, why put them out, you are dictating your desires to teach them about such things that to them might be way above their heads!"

 

I am sorry for ranting but I just want to get this whole thing correct in my head. If I could just get hold of a list of what we are meant to have in each area for continuous provision and then work from there maybe we might get more praise?? I know this person is only meant to advise but I am sure it will be for our own good in the long run!

 

Also how do you work with your weekly planner - I mean is it the same things in each area every week? Do you just depend on spontaneous planning to show that you have followed childrens interests or do you just do a new planner when a child expresses an interest in something and you have to match it with the resources?

Edited by terrydoo73
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Don't have a lot of time right now, but would like to ask, how much input from the children's parents do you have? When the children come into your room, they will want to play with whatever you have out, however, if you truly know where their real interests lie, then you may have more of the success you crave. You may say to one parent, oh .............had a great time playing with the fire engine today and parent will say something like, oh yes, he's always going on about fire engines, we live near the fire station, his uncle is a part time fireman, now this may be new info to you - but it then makes a lot of sense why ............. has spent ages with the fire engine in your group. You can then plan lots of lovely little treats for him like you did your lad and the tractors, in all the different areas using fire engines, the colours of fire, making a bonfire from twigs, telling Fireman Sam stories etc.

 

Put the child's interest at the centre of your "wheel" and then like the the spokes of the wheel find different things you can do with him in each of the six areas which are linked to his next steps.

 

You need constant input from your parents because sometimes it's just not apparent from the children alone what their interests are. if you have the EYFS CD you will find in the planning sections a form we print off which has a box in the middle surrounded by boxes labelled the six areas and underneath that boxes which say something like, interests from home, interests at pre-school, suggested activities at home.

Edited by Panders
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Guest terrydoo73

Thank you so much - am in the process of downloading some of these but have a few more questions ...

 

How do you work out what the children's interests are? I know some of you talk about parents telling us etc but do you have any system working with the children? How do you pick up on the fact that they love certain characters, objects etc? I know a couple of our children love Dora the Explorer but what do you do to extend the learning within the Playgroup setting to include interest in this?

 

We do have a Registration form which incorporates details about childrens interests etc but it is limited in terms of what we are recording. We are having a little time with our parents next week to give them an opportunity to see our observations - we have only been open since January and I was wondering is there something we could use during these talks to try and work out a bit more about our children?

 

Sorry for so many questions but I am the leader and want to get this right before my Deputy bombards me with so many questions!! She has been used to themed planning and only putting out exactly what relates to that theme ...

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Our Early Years Advisor picked up on a child repeating this phrase "I've got a new baby sister". She asked us what we were doing to cater for the child who showed a genuine interest in this. Now last month we brought her mum in, introduced the baby to all the children in Playgroup, spent time asking loads of questions and followed it through with a doll the following day to help this little girl talk about her sister more. She never mentioned the sister again and we felt yesterday it was really attention seeking knowing that there was a stranger there who she could chat with. We have today put in a real baby bottle, a baby bib, a baby bowl and a tin of baby milk but they were never looked at.

 

I hope you did explain all this to the advisor that you have covered this thoroughly and that she had just begun to show a renewed interest... and must add that I would have supplied the items that day had I heard the child commenting on it..

 

 

We have this month been looking at different people who help us so have out our fire station, police cars, postmans box and medical kits. The Early Years Advisor's comment was "but what if your children never have met or know anything about these things, why put them out, you are dictating your desires to teach them about such things that to them might be way above their heads!"

 

I do actually see where she is coming from on this one... but do believe it can be introduced via stories or similar.. we had film clips to show of these things too.. I do feel the children can play best from things they have experienced. Think this is the reason child led planning works although do think there are times when they do need to be introduced to new and different things .

 

Also how do you work with your weekly planner - I mean is it the same things in each area every week? Do you just depend on spontaneous planning to show that you have followed childrens interests or do you just do a new planner when a child expresses an interest in something and you have to match it with the resources?

 

We used the continuous provision sheets from here which gave a list of what to find in each area.. and yes it was the same all the time with enhancements.. We used some of the planning from the EYFS Cd.. where we listed enhancements for each area not every day in every area but a few at a time.. these were added from watching child interests.. and also from observations of areas we found the children were 'lacking' We had an A4 sheet divided into columns for quick notes... child's name.. observation/interest.. enhancements anyone noting an interest jotted it down and the next day or same day if we could we would add something... occasionally it showed a regular interest so we added a planned activity around it.. extending the theme.. which is where the more detail planning came into play. We ticked or commented on the sheet to show it had been addressed.

 

Packaways are harder to resource and have stuff out all the time but this is what we aimed to achieve a lot of the time... I know it is almost impossible to achieve but we also had a board of items we had in the cupboard and children showed us if they wanted something.. took a bit of teaching but they did manage it within a few weeks of starting.

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Thank you so much - am in the process of downloading some of these but have a few more questions ...

 

How do you work out what the children's interests are? I know some of you talk about parents telling us etc but do you have any system working with the children? How do you pick up on the fact that they love certain characters, objects etc? I know a couple of our children love Dora the Explorer but what do you do to extend the learning within the Playgroup setting to include interest in this?

 

I would look at what Dora does and introduce some of these things.. not sure about the character as I have not watched it but there must be some of the things she does which could be used..

 

We do have a Registration form which incorporates details about childrens interests etc but it is limited in terms of what we are recording. We are having a little time with our parents next week to give them an opportunity to see our observations - we have only been open since January and I was wondering is there something we could use during these talks to try and work out a bit more about our children?

 

Sorry for so many questions but I am the leader and want to get this right before my Deputy bombards me with so many questions!! She has been used to themed planning and only putting out exactly what relates to that theme ...

 

one of the hardest things was moving away from topic led planning to looking at the children.. I never did full topic planning so it was easier for us to change we may have had one item to do with a topic but otherwise we had child self selection.. the easiest way we found was for the staff to watch the children more, and add items each day.. but they need to be able to think fast and on their feet.. the list I mentioned before of quick notes helped in this process.. perhaps you could scale back to one topic led thing a day until everyone is used to the idea of using mini themes from the children..they are more motivated to join in when using their ideas.. but it is possible to spark the interest if you really want to by introducing a book, or story or song and asking them about it.. surprising how it can become a theme when you least expect it.

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Guest terrydoo73

Thanks for such a detailed reply - I really appreciate it very much as feel I am floundering so much. Have only been in the job since January and keep thinking every day we are doing OK until we get someone in to tell us differently!!

 

Unfortunately I am the type of person who just takes all that is said and thinks about all the things I could have and should have said after the event!! As said previously I want to try and implement some changes before she comes back and be able to say at least I have done something! My Deputy gets very upset at the time and I am there trying to defuse the situation scared in case she would get so angry that upsets the Advisor!!

 

I like the idea of a sheet for each child showing particular things of note and might take this on board. I am at present looking on the continuous provision resource link on this forum to get definate ideas on what resources to put in each area.

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Hi terrydoo, sorry to hear that you have had a tricky visit from your EYA, and are questioning some of the things you do.

There are good formats for continuous provision in the resources library and these should help you think about your resourcing for each area.

 

With regard to things children haven't experienced yet, how do they ever experience them if you only ever use familiar things in the setting? How do they show an interest in anything if they dont have a range of experiences? Im a big believer in providing a balance of things which fit with the children's interests like the examples you have given, and new things which they may become interested in. Add to that the fact that in any setting there is a reasonable chance that someone will be interested in the emergency services in one form or another at some point.

 

Good luck with your thinking

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I would like to add that the child's observed 'interest' may not necessarily be a particular 'theme'/specific thing - it may be noticed over several observations or interactions with a child that there are certain 'elements' that they bring to most/many activities/their play, i.e. a child I recently worked with often draped the construction blocks with material, of paper, wrapped the dolls in blankets, put the trains/cars in tunnels (and left them there), liked to dress up ALL the time, put anything and everything into bags and containers. So in order to provide for this child's interest, we ensured that there were always lots of pieces of different textured/sized materials around as well as containers with a variety of openings / lids, lots of masking tape/sellotape and wrapping paper. We also planned adult focussed activities such as paper mache over balloons. There are many books on schemas to support practitioners in this area. There's also an excellent book called "starting from the child", I'm afraid I can't recall the author.

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by having the list we noticed things like Sam has suggested and were able to provide for them.. it became very obvious of an interest just by one person noting the' like for putting things into and out of boxes'.. and another saying 'putting things in the pram a lot'.. or whatever it was ..

 

2 or 3 notes like this really show and build up a picture.. they may not be always related but if they are it quickly shows.. and makes it so much easier to see..

 

we had one sheet not each child but for the group so there were different children on it and a quick note on it but it gave a list or timeline of the children's interests.. and how we worked with them... we used a highlighter if there was a pattern to show it.. suppose others use post its or similar but for us having it all in one spot and able to quickly look through to add to the daily resources made it easier.. we had 6 staff and students who would add to it, and all found it easy to follow.

Edited by Inge
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Guest terrydoo73

Thank you once again - I am trying to get my head around this idea of noticing a particular childs interests in terms of what they play with most. I was thinking of a sheet for each child and tick box system for the areas it plays in say over a week but how do you do this if you are a key worker to say 6 children - surely you end up doing more paperwork and less interaction with the child during each session?

 

I have downloaded a lot of the continuous provision sheets on the Forum Resources section which were great - was up to 12.30 this morning reading through them all! Have noticed there is none specifically for jigsaw puzzles/threading/games within continuous provision - would anyone be so grateful and let me have one of these. I think this is so big an issue to tackle in terms of having all the items listed in the area now in June as we will be finishing up for the summer months but was thinking of sitting down now before the end of term and listing all the things we could be putting in when come back in August and that way ensuring we are continuously providing for our childrens needs - 6 of the existing children return for their preschool year in September with 4 additional children so far - 3 of whom are only turning 3 in July, September and October.

 

Also can I clear up one thing - on your weekly planning sheet surely the same things are in all the time? I am attaching the one we use at present. If we are following a childs interest would the only thing that changes be the spontaneous planning where we see a childs interests and try to meet it??

 

Apologies for being so thick about the whole thing.

weekly_plan_blank.doc

Edited by terrydoo73
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Thank you once again - I am trying to get my head around this idea of noticing a particular childs interests in terms of what they play with most. I was thinking of a sheet for each child and tick box system for the areas it plays in say over a week but how do you do this if you are a key worker to say 6 children - surely you end up doing more paperwork and less interaction with the child during each session?

 

We had one sheet.. not per child but just one sheet...a particular interest was noticed it was written on it... not all children would be on it but over time all would show up on there in some way... took seconds for someone to spot that xx was playing babies .. or putting all in a box and carrying it.. or building tents etc... all did it for all children not just keychildren.. a spontaneous observation of something interesting the child... end of day we checked list and added for next day.. that was if we hadn't the same day which staff became very adept a doing.

 

I have downloaded a lot of the continuous provision sheets on the Forum Resources section which were great - was up to 12.30 this morning reading through them all! Have noticed there is none specifically for jigsaw puzzles/threading/games within continuous provision - would anyone be so grateful and let me have one of these. I think this is so big an issue to tackle in terms of having all the items listed in the area now in June as we will be finishing up for the summer months but was thinking of sitting down now before the end of term and listing all the things we could be putting in when come back in August and that way ensuring we are continuously providing for our childrens needs - 6 of the existing children return for their preschool year in September with 4 additional children so far - 3 of whom are only turning 3 in July, September and October.

 

Also can I clear up one thing - on your weekly planning sheet surely the same things are in all the time? I am attaching the one we use at present. If we are following a childs interest would the only thing that changes be the spontaneous planning where we see a childs interests and try to meet it??

 

had a quick look at your plan and for us the only changes would be to the spontaneous planning and interests of the children... all the continuous provision plans would give all the details of what was in each area and what 'could' be the learning outcome. really cut down on weekly paperwork..

 

 

Apologies for being so thick about the whole thing.

 

it can be hard to make changes to the way you have always done things... I was always into child led planning and managed to largely avoid the many changes during the time I was in childcare... always advocating learning through play which came back eventually in the the same way I had originally been trained.

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