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Planning For A Mixed Age Class


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Hi everyone,

 

I'm hoping for some advice and help. I teach in Scotland and at the moment my school takes in 4 year olds for their pre-school year. My head has just asked me about the feasibility of taking in three year olds as well for an anti pre-school year, so that the three year old children would spend two years within my setting and the four year olds would still go on at five into the main school.

 

My question is - how would I plan for this? In amongst the child initiated topics, should I have a two year rolling programme of 'topics' with differentiated outcomes? Or should I be running different 'topics' for the different age groups? And how do I make sure that the setting continues to be exciting for children who are with us for the two years?

 

Sorry for all the questions - I'm used to being a class teacher who only has a class for one year with a clear progression throughout the academic year. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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we are a sessional pre-school and we know cater for two year olds right through to those who are four and shortly off to school. We find the older children grow from this mixed setting...they learn consideration for those younger/less able than themselves and also gain confidence by passing on their skills to the smaller children. We plan for every childs individual needs so really nothing should change as there will be 4 year olds who are working slightly under their cronological developmental level and other younger ones striding ahead of theirs. When we plan activities we keep them basic but with options to develop them for the more able and simplify them for those who are younger. We encourage the older ones to be independent whilst we support those who are younger...they in turn aspire to the independence that the older children have already acquired. We have always found that the older children grow a great amount of self esteem and this stands them in good stead for when they arrive at "big school" as the youngest/smallest ones.

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Hello, thanks very much for the replies.

 

Can I ask how you plan any topics/themes though? At the moment, we gather info on what the children are interested and then we either plan a theme that reflects the majority of children's interests which also combine activities to meet individual steps in learning, or sometimes we let the children vote on what they would like to learn about next (the choices being based on what the children are currently interested in).

 

How do I ensure that the children who are with us for two years are still getting new themes/topics? And how do I reassure parents that their children will be meeting new topics over the two years? At the moment, my head gets us to give a curriculum map for the year which shows an outline of themes, and to allow us to follow the kids interests I only list the ones I know we will touch on - such as the seasons and the key festivals. I don't think parents would appreciate the idea of their children repeating any of these (even if they are uplevelled to meet individual interests and needs) if the children are with us for the two years.

 

Thanks again for any help,

Ali

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The nursery teacher at the school next to my preschool uses a 2 year rolling plan to make sure that children in the nursery for up to 5 terms aren't repeating the same topics. :-) if you have 2 years between your children, as a parent you'll think they're all doing the same things though!

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Can I ask how you plan any topics/themes though? At the moment, we gather info on what the children are interested and then we either plan a theme that reflects the majority of children's interests which also combine activities to meet individual steps in learning, or sometimes we let the children vote on what they would like to learn about next (the choices being based on what the children are currently interested in)
.

 

we no longer use themes as they are not appropriate if the learning is coming from "children's" interests....for example If I have a child who comes in on Monday really excited about Ben 10 then I will run with it immediately rather than waiting until next week, next half term after I have "planned" for it...as by then the said child might be in Barbies instead.

 

We fit the individual child's next steps into the areas that they are interested in...we do not try to shape the child's interests around our planned next steps.

Edited by enuffsenuf
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We do a combination of this. If there is a child that is really interested in something, we will run with it right away with that child, but when we notice that a group of children seem to all be interested in one particular thing, we run it as a mini theme. We don't do termly planning, we plan every week and so can end up having several background themes in a term, whilst trying to respond to as many individual interests as they develop.

 

We do, however, still do mini themes such as the seasons, fire safety, road safety and major festivals - so this is my sticking point for how to plan for these and to show my head and parents what we intend. Perhaps a two year rolling programme outline is the way to go.

 

Thanks for all your help and suggestions so far.

Ali

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I think it is good to repeat, you can always vary what you do slightly.

eg we doing shapes at mo but using a space theme as thats what interested the children when we were talking about it.

last year it was houses.

 

We dont do themes per say, but as we are doing this at the min (shapes or chinese new yr last week) we also have mini projects going on with other children too and we always ask the children

 

repeating is good it is how children make little pathways in their brain so the learning gets imbedded

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