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Support For Fs In Mixed Age Class


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I teach part time, I take the reception children from a mixed R/ Y1 class three mornings and one afternoon a week. The problem is I have set up planning based on different areas , constrcution, writing corner, sensory etc, as advised on my early years course. The other teacher has trained with older children and has set up a weekly timetable with literacy and numeracy in the mornings and other subjects in the afernoons. The head teacher has told me she wants the R children to be playing, " not too much formal lit and num as they get that with the other teacher!" I thought things would go okay, but now the other teacher has started saying that e.g. I need the children to design and make a topic cover for their topic books next week, I need to start doing more paper based writing to go in their topic books.(I do have a writing corner, we also do lots of writing in sensory ways, eg playdough and sand). I also heard her say to the LSA that she wished "we could just get on with things without all this faffing about!"

I don't say to her I think she should have more play and choice in her lessons, I don't see why she thinks she should dictate what I do either..

The head is really supportive and wrote some lovely comments on my planning ( I plan on a daily basis based on the previous day's observations, while the observations go into records for the FS Profile)

I have been taken on to bring the foundation stage into the school, so why does she not respect this?

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Oh dear!

Sounds like you need to be very strong.

I think I'd enlist the support of your Head or other SMT or life is going to be tough.

Have the courage of your convictions though you sound more in tune with FS than your colleague.

Good luck.

Let us know how you get on.

Susan

 

Just another thought- could you negotiate some responsability for some "subjects" so that you can do FS without her input?

Does that make sense?

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Mharhi, I agree with Susan, beleive in yourself and have the courage of your convictions. Having you Head on your side is a big plus- not everyone gets that!! I think Id just ignore the comments that are not said directly to you and reply when they are 'Im doing it this way which has been approved by....). Is your LSA with you or in favour of your colleague's approach. I know its hard when you feel that you may making enemies in your school especially when you are new, but believe it or not, you do develop a thick skin. If you can back up what you say with research or evidence, even better, and if you have courses on your side, talk about them. Good luck, you will find many people on this site who have been in your position. Unfortunate but true..

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Hi Mharhi -

As Susan and Mundia say, it sounds like you need to enlist the support of your head, especially as she has asked you to come in to introduce the Foundation Stage, and you are quite evidently more in tune with foundation stage concepts than your colleague.

 

But it sounds a little as though you're both skirting round each other at the moment - probably (understandably) wanting to avoid a direct confrontation. It might be an idea if the Head, or someone similar, could attend a meeting with both of you involved, at which you could then explain some of the FS driven thinking behind your style of teaching. If she comes from a much more formal primary school history, then it's maybe not surprising that she finds some of your ways a little 'wacky'.

 

If you need to work with her it would be good to find a way to resolve the difficulties through understanding? A successful jobshare is usually based on communication and respect. :)

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Thank you for your replies. I think some of the concern about these topic books is the parents evening coming up - what if we open the books and there's NO writing ! (although I have lots of photos of children very involved in topic inspired activities such as building a HUGE boat with massive unit blocks- to fit 10 of them!) It IS hard though, the one thing I hate is the feeling that people think I'm somehow skiving out of doing 'real work'- it would be very easy to have us all sitting doing a worksheet, MUCH easier than doing what I am at the moment (you see, I have to teach in the hall which means carting the water, sand trays from the main building, bundling them out before lunch.. it is a nightmare but I'm NOT going to give up on it.) Then I trundle all the stuff back to the classroom and she's there with the year ones doing the literacy hour and usually, photocopiables. Why on earth she can't go in the hall is a mystery to me, I think she refused to so it was the newest teacher (me) who had to.

 

Oh, and she always says "when we finish, I usually just let them do some choosing" ! If I hear this once more...

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Stick to yourguns. I'd love tocome and work with you, 'cos what you're doing is right up my street.

 

I'd guess that your colleague may feel threatened by you and your obvious skills and the fact that the head is on your side is probably making her feel a bit undermined too.

 

Stick with it. It is early days yet and she may well come round to your ways of thinking.

Good Luck. :D

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Thanks Kate, sometimes I do wonder if I'm a bit mad carting all the stuff around but it is really worth in when they get into something and spend over an hour working on it, involving all the others. I have based all my planning on the Jane Drake book "Planning Play and Learning in the Foundation Stage" and the head has said she thinks it is "brilliant and creative" When she took our files in on Wed I had a hard time getting it back because she was reading it so avidly! Now ALL the staff (teaching & LSAs) have our inservice at a conference with on outdoor play! - brilliant :) Maybe some will rub off

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Yes it probably will, there are more than likely other teachers in the school who like to do things differently but dont have the nerve, so your little 'ripple' could turn into a huge wave... Im sure we're all with you here, none of us think that what you are doing is 'skiving' or avoiding 'real work'. But we also know that not everyone is enlightened as we are :o . Or as passionate xD

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I teach part time, I take the reception children from a mixed R/ Y1 class three mornings and one afternoon a week. The problem is I have set up planning based on different areas , constrcution, writing corner, sensory etc, as advised on my early years course. The other teacher has trained with older children and has set up a weekly timetable with literacy and numeracy in the mornings and other subjects in the afernoons. The head teacher has told me she wants the R children to be playing, " not too much formal lit and num as they get that with the other teacher!" I thought things would go okay, but now the other teacher has started saying that e.g. I need the children to design and make a topic cover for their topic books next week, I need to start doing more paper based writing to go in their topic books.(I do have a writing corner, we also do lots of writing in sensory ways, eg playdough and sand). I also heard her say to the LSA that she wished "we could just get on with things without all this faffing about!"

I don't say to her I think she should have more play and choice in her lessons, I don't see why she thinks she should dictate what I do either..

The head is really supportive and wrote some lovely comments on my planning ( I plan on a daily basis based on the previous day's observations, while the observations go into records for the FS Profile)

I have been taken on to bring the foundation stage into the school, so why does she not respect this?

I can see your point of view, and you sound as if you have lots of good ideas, but don't for get that the Foundation Guidance states well 'planned' play is the key to success, and if you only plan the day before from observations surely this is not suitable for all the children. I know it is not great to be to formal but F2 children do have to hgave access to literacy and numeracy and the whole hour by the summer term, if good well planned sessions are available then it's not formal but well planned. Adult initiated activities should also be available daily, how do you plan for these? how does your daily plans meet your meduim term plans? and what about weekly?

I specialised in the early years including foundation stage, and I think you need to rethink how you are providing access to learning for these children, if you are involved in adult initiated play acitivies how can you have time to observe daily, and what about the children you are not observing? have a think maybe you could read some research from lea websites good luck

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Angel, (and Mharhi) if I undersatnd correctly, Mharhi doesnt have the class all the time, the rest of the week, the children are with the other teacher together with the year 1 children. (please correct me if Im barking up the wrong tree). Here they will be from what Mharhi has said, doing quite a lot more formal work. I think therfore the short time she has with them is exactly what the children need. I also think there's nothing wrong with planning from todays observations for tomorrow- it is still planned after all, and takes into account what you have learned about the children from day to day. Yes, we plan weekly but if our observations indicate that what we have planned is going over their heads, we change it accordingly.

Incidently, literacy and numeracy hours do not have to be in place by the summer term- this notion came about in the days of the 'desirable outcomes' when children transferred to the NC when they reached 5. The assumption was made that most children are 5 by the summer term so it should be in place then. the documentation simply states that we have to prepare the children to have the dedicated lesson in year 1. As a MACO I have fought hard NOT to have the whole session in place in reception, but we are still doing great lit and num work!!! Anyway, neither are compulsory, but that's another story....

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Interesting comments- thank you. You wouldn't believe how I have wracked my brains over long, med and short term planning and how to fit it all in with the other's planning. I plan for the children to have a short teacher led session with me as a whole class each day then spend the majority of the rest of the time on child-initiated learning, free flow, within as many areas as possible, with rotated resources as well, eg for music. All activities are planned from the children and also within the wider context of the topic they are doing. For example, I may provide the children with resources and appropriate questioning and support within their play, I feel that this is the kind of "structure" needed, the emphasis being mainly on the process not the product.

 

It is difficult, there is so much I want to do, for example follow up our Phonographix sessions and I do that for example by providing "sound bags" to play with ...

 

It is good to distinguish between "formal" and "adult initiated" I do believe there are a place for adult initiated activities but in my situation I am trying to allow the children to initiate the majority of the time as they don't have this opportunity during most of the rest of the experience

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In reply to Mundia's message, I have spoken to the SMT who are both really supportive of me and will protect me from any pressure from above. They want all of KS1 to plan upwards from the Foundation Stage and talked very positively about the new Primary Strategy. I am lucky to have this support.

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As a teacher who has upper foundation and Year 1, it is interesting to see the support for the 'foundation ' way of learning. My year one children benefit from having access to a more hands on approach to learning. I do however find it difficult to plan for both and keep a balance as the expectations of what level the children should be at in year 2 seems to not have changed to reflect the change in approach to learning. Teachers in Ks1 and Ks2 could do to have training in the foundation stage to appreciate what teachers in the Foundation stage do and what benefits it can bring.

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