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Playgroup Work Overload

Guest Fiona

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Guest Fiona

Hi everyone,

I'm a Reception teacher and Early Years Coordinator. Our school has a Playgroup on the premises and at the end of the year they send home a wonderful booklet to each child's parents with really detailed annotationsand photographs etc. They really are fantastic....but they are all absolutely worn out from chasing their tails with the paperwork and I've been asked to help them out by seeing where they could reduce the amount of paperwork that they're doing. Trouble is.....I don't know what they SHOULD be doing and what is extra. Sorry to sound like a duffer but I'm hoping someone here might be able to point me in the right direction to find out, or share what you do in your setting? I'll buy you all doughnuts! :o


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Hi Fiona, no wonder they are worn out! We keep a folder for each childs work but it only contains stuff they forgot to take home during the time with us, and as they usualy take everything they dont contain much. At the parents evening style get togethers, they see the folders and assessment sheets and can take work home then if they wish. I take photos occassionaly and give these to parents as they're developed. I've just started to take photos with the digital and email them to the parents. Each child has a book they use for any writting they want to do and this is kept until they leave. When my children left reception I was given a folder of work which was lovely, but the amount of work needed to do this for 40+ children would be too much. We dont get paid for work outside the session hours so we keep it to a minimum. I dont think the folders such as you describe are manadatory (in fact I hope not!). Ofsted want to see assessment records and examples of work. Hope this is some help. (I like the doughnuts with chocolate icing) :D:D

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Hi Fiona,

We do something similar in our nursery, but we allocate time in our weekly staff meetings to do this. Of course, some staff still want to take some home to complete there, but the majority can be covered at the meeting. You're right; they are a wonderful record of the child's achievements and offer a huge element to practitioners' job satisfaction, but they do take up substantial amounts of time, I know.

Alternatives for requirements to keep records of children's development could be along the lines of the FSP, but concentrating on aspects of Birth to Three and the Stepping Stones. They are quite dry documents, and are not particularly useful for parents, but do cover the assessment and recording requirements.

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we do the same as Hali, folders of work which is usually what the child has forgotton or was not dry that day to take home,


we have a child profile of brief ongoing spontaneous observations (one page for each area of learning) which we all add to when we see a child achieve something or if they do something we feel needs noting. This is done on stickers, and put into the books at regular intervals by the keyworkers.


to make them more interesting we do take pictures we add copies of these to childrens profiles if relevant or showing pieces of 'work' such as a marvellous construction or a perfect sandcastle the child is proud of and wants to share with all. If possible we allow them to help take the picture themselves. These can be printed onto stickers and put in the books. (most children have 1 picture in each area of learning)

Others are put them in a album for parents and children to look at, children love these.

(I have occasionally made a booklet of these pictures and sold them to parents it was a good fundraiser last year, with accreditation no time this year.)


The keyworkers are reponsible for keeping files up to date but everyone participates in the photos and obs.


sounds like a lot but it is not overly time consuming unless a keyworker does not check the observations regularly and ends up with lots to put in the books at one time.


parents are always happy with the result and ofsted have been so far.


we currenly have 50 children we are doing this for and we do find time in sessions to do this work and find that the only work at home is for transition to school documents and we are lucky enough to get paid for this time.



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Guest LucyQ

Hi there - we do the same thing and it does take time.


I asked the reception class teacher in the school where most of our children feed into what kind of records they kept and was really surprised - hardly anything!!!


It seems that either we have got it wrong or Ofsted/Early Years Advisors require more paperwork from us!!!


We also have to be so good with parents (informative, friendly, supportive) and inform them of what we are doing, how their child has been that day, what they where enjoying etc etc - my school aged children are chucked out of the door at 3:30 - I have no idea what they have been up to - may briefly say hello to their teacher - have never signed an accident book and get one report a year about thier progress!!


I do believe we are expected to do too much and I have to say that there have been times when I feel like leaving this profession (not of course, that it is recognised as one!!).


Not only are we expected to be all of the above but we also have to be child protection officers, nurses, social workers, child development experts, speech therapists, SEN experts and super bottom wipers!!!


and attend countless training courses perfecting all of the above!!


There, I feel better now - sorry for the rant!!


Haven't really helped much but I would say to all pre-school workers:


"Chill Out - Forget the endless planning and those bloody tedious ELG's and go back to having fun and, once a year and no more, open up the pink QCA folder and say "Yes, we do all that!!!" because if you love children and can see the wonder of the world and the look in your childrens eyes as you show them it, your already doing it all."


Now I feel sick!!

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Hi Fiona,

We do the same as Inge except when we see or hear something that is worth noting ie: a developmental milestone we don't write on stickers and then put them into the achievement files. ( ended up with a folder full of stickers which had to be sorted out into development areas then put into files)

We write straight into the files as soon after the event is seen / heard.


The keyworker decides which area or areas of development are most relevant to the child ie: Sue says " When I came to preschool I went left and right and left again" The keyworker would put this under the following:

KUW Aspect 5 with a comment like "Sue described her journey to preschool"

CLL Aspect 1 with a comment like " Sue used the words left and right to describe an experience"

MATHS Aspect 2 with a comment like " Sue used the positional language "left and right" when describing the way to preschool"


It may seem repetative but it shows that more than one area of the curriculum is covered by this very short comment. There are many other areas / stepping stones that the keyworker could put this achievement under but it is their knowledge of the child that they decide which is most relevant in terms of achievement.


The parents have access to these records of achievement on a daily basis and are encouraged to write their own comments ( although rarely do). I also save all the photos I have taken over the year or two they are with us and these are presented on a CD as a leaving present when they move on to school.





p.s. LucyQ. I know how you feel, this time of year is on the one hand very busy with reports etc but it is also a time when we can reflect and realise how much we have enabled the children to achieve during their short time with us :D and remember all the fun we have had together :D

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