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Small Group / Key Group -set Activities ?


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hi - just thinking of how we can 'jiggle' our sessions a little in sept, things have become a little stale with regards to small group activities. we always have a small group activity, the children are broken down into groups of approx 5 and each group has a seperate adult led activity.

this is fine in itself - but the activity doesnt usually have a 'purpose', its rarely linked to next steps, and is usually just grabbing something from the cupboard that they can sit and play.

 

im thinking about extending free play, and am thinking that any next steps needed could be covered during this time ( 9 times out of time it is anyway)

 

if there is a need for a more structured small group activity - to cover or observe something specific then we could still slot this in if needed.

 

im also thinking that in september we will have lots of new young children who loose interest in the small groups as they currently are.

 

or is it good to keep the small group, as the children will get used to sitting and concentrating.

 

im not sure which way to go tbh - - im getting conflicting opinions from staff.

 

our sessions are currently 3 hours -so time is tight, although we do a 6 hour session 1 day a week , all children attend this session -maybe a focused small group on this 'full day' would work ??

 

how do other settings manage small group activites ?

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hi we have small group activity each day - this is run and planned by the keyperson who has her own key children. the childrens next steps are used as a basis for this - each time the activity covers three stages for development and shows how we support / extend children.

we did stop activity time but found that the children seemed to become less focussed on their play, whilst others became loud and bored .

all our activities are hands on - rarely sitting at tables - usually on the floor, outside etc.,

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hi we have small group activity each day - this is run and planned by the keyperson who has her own key children. the childrens next steps are used as a basis for this - each time the activity covers three stages for development and shows how we support / extend children.

we did stop activity time but found that the children seemed to become less focussed on their play, whilst others became loud and bored .

all our activities are hands on - rarely sitting at tables - usually on the floor, outside etc.,

 

Our group is very similar to blondie

Its what works for us and parents have also contributed saying that they want this within the session. I strongly believe that you have to test out diffferent odeas to see what works with your group, and admit to failures, if often takes a tweek but worth it when you get a good result

Sue

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Unlike Blondie and bigsue (hi Bigsue) we do not do group activites but key people work indidually with their key children. They enable and extend learning observe and then plan next steps. This works well for us.

 

It is as Sue says trial and error and moving on if something doesnt work. But give it time to work dont change to quickly and discuss with all your staff.

 

every setting is different Sue and I are both pack aways from a hal,. we both run differently but are both outstanding settings

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Im a big fan of small group, key person time, where you can have a conversation with a small group of children, which often brings out much better quality of talk than either individual or large groups do, as children share their ideas, learn to listen to each, take turns in conversation etc. If younger children are bored then Id want to look at what I am providing and how long I am expecting them to be part of that group for. It isn't about learning to sit still and concentrate, its about the conversation, the coming together as a group to share ideas, after all, talk is a social activity. I think it's really important that children have opportunities to be part of a small group discussion.

 

We used to have a shoe box that we called our chatterbox, in which we would put the things we would talk about. It could be a collection of things; something new the children had never seen, or something they brought in from home. We kept the session short, and looked for cues showing interest waning. Sometimes children could become quite absorbed in what we were talking about.

 

For me, I would always come back to why you do something. We often focus on what we do or how we do it. If you have differing views on your team, could you sit down together and look at why you all hold the views you do and then come to a consensus between you?

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thanks for all your input - good to hear lots of pros and cons.

one of the reasons i was thinking of jiggling the sessions is that the previous playleader seemed to have the children sitting down for alot of the session.

out of the 3 hour session, free play was only 1 hour, then approx 15 mins outside after snack for physical, then sometimes the physical activity could be sitting on the floor passing bean bags etc ! we had the children sitting for registration and welcome discussions etc, sitting for snack time (sometimes sitting for physical) sitting for small group then sitting for singing and story and sitting waiting for collection.

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