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Rising 4's !


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Hi All,

Just wondering what you do for your rising 4's ( i say this as most of them go to school so early now!) , at my previous setting we allocated an afternoon for the older ones and focused on literacy and numeracy development , resources were geared for older children , we encouraged PE kits to be bought in and supervisors took small groups to focus on writing and numbers.

At my current setting , we have an allocated session and for one week per month go to the local primary school and hold our session there, children are encouraged to try school dinner , and use the reception class , this is fab for transisition but what else do you do in terms of work.

The last ofsted said too much focus on structured activities ( did not like work sheets etc) so just wanted some ideas of what you do , i am new supervisor and have made many changes so far, most of the stafff on board but still a couple of long standing ones who are bit resistant and I want to show that changes can work and that we can practise in a different way and still get results .

There is so much pressure on little ones to read and write early but if they can learn in a fun way ......

I await your comments - thankyou :o

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I must say I hate the term "rising 4's" that makes me a rising pensioner! They are three year olds and I believe passionately should be doing activities which are suited to their age and in which they are interested.

 

We encourage our older children to take part in our daily risk assesments and thus learn a tad about how to keep themselves safe and the consequences of decisions etc. They pour their own milk/help themsleves to fruit and we run a lunch club to start to form an idea of what a school lunch might be like.

 

We encourage the older ones to buddy up to the younger children thus supporting the new intakes learning , bolstering confidence in the older age group and likewise we use this age group to support understanding of rules and sharing etc.

 

We try to endorse independence by getting them to go to the toilet/wash their own hands and put their own coats & shoes on etc.

 

We listen to what THEY are focussed on for example I have a child at the moment who is really into Peter Pan and so we shall plan some activities around that...but nothing formal....just where they take us..so for example if the talked about tinkerbell flying then we might progress to looking at wings...we might go from pirates to boats or from crocodiles to wild animal/dinosaurs. We take our numeracy & drawing/writing activities to where they are playing...this takes the pressure of when all around them grown ups are starting to talk about school.

 

We encourage them to bring in books from home to "read" to their friends (simply looking at them together not actually reading). We get them to help with the routine jobs such as laying the tables etc.

we encourage them to bring in things they have found which interest them and again we lead into other areas.....for example our sink unit has real taps on it.....we have provided them with a tool set so they can play at being plumbers...we then connected the taps by hosepipe to a bowl of water and showed them how to syphon water...then we asked them if the thought that there was a man at the water company who sent the water down the taps this way....???? this encouraged them to think and share ideas and have lots of laughs.

 

Our philosophy is they will so soon be constricted into our victorian school setting, do this do that, be quiet....that the more freedom we can give them now the better.

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Thanks enuff , we do so much of that already with all our children and I do agree with your comment re; victorian schooling , although i do encourage good listening skills etc because at times this is needed and part of learning about risk , danger etc but I agree with going with the flow , maybe i just worry that the evidence wont be enough or what school expect from them , and apologies for 'Rising 4's' but did not know how else to describe hence my comment that it used to be rising 5's :o !!!!

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Lashes, do you feed into just one school? If so, why not approach reception team and ask them what they would really like you to focus on with the children going into their classes in September. I suspect they will want respectful, confident, independent children who can sit and listen when appropriate, go to the loo on their own, change out of shoes and put on p.e. kits, (we have two or 3 school dresses and shirts which our children begin to learn how to use in the last term at pre-school) and generally be able to organise themselves and their own property.

 

Real reading and real writing skills should be up to primary teachers to teach in my humble opinion, we can play useful games like Letters and Sounds, get ready for writing skills and scissor skills which can be done in a really fun way.

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Panders actually I hadnt thought about it until you mentioned it but having some school uniform in the dressing up zone would be a usefull way of both supporting independence and also transition at the same time. Thank you for giving me a light bulb moment! :o

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Thankyou for the replies , you have both confirmed my own thoughts ,i have spoken to our reception teacher this afternoon as we go across to the school after half term once a month so children get used to the classroom and will have school dinners too ( well some of them), she confirmed all the things you said Panders . i do a PE type session to help with dressing ,undressing and team games etc and healthy competition too!!

Like i said before ofsted felt previously that worksheets etc were too formal and i want to keep away from that if poss but wanted to know that i was also doing the right thing , my children really enjoy practical tasks with numbers and letters in a fun and different way and not sitting at tables , unllike some of the staff !!!

Relish the changes to come :)

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Thankyou for the replies , you have both confirmed my own thoughts ,i have spoken to our reception teacher this afternoon as we go across to the school after half term once a month so children get used to the classroom and will have school dinners too ( well some of them), she confirmed all the things you said Panders . i do a PE type session to help with dressing ,undressing and team games etc and healthy competition too!!

Like i said before ofsted felt previously that worksheets etc were too formal and i want to keep away from that if poss but wanted to know that i was also doing the right thing , my children really enjoy practical tasks with numbers and letters in a fun and different way and not sitting at tables , unllike some of the staff !!!

Relish the changes to come :)

 

In addition to the above suggestions, I would say that you could:

1: be teaching your 'pre-school' children independence not only to put their own shoes, coats etc on but also to zip/button them up and.... to wipe their own bottoms! We have a hand bell in each toilet and teach our pre-schoolers (3.5+) to ring the bell when they have had a poo! We then show them how to use the toilet paper by themselves and then give their bottoms a final wipe to check that they are clean. By around Easter each year, they are mostly totally independent in the toilet and only need to ring the bell if they are having difficulty in cleaning themselves.

 

2: For 'writing' skills, you should ensure that there are 'mark-making' opportunities available every day. Some of the things that we provide are: Giant and small chalks - the children use these in the garden and indoors, where they are encouraged to draw on the safety surfacing and walls outside and even on the carpet indoors.We get some wonderful drawings - one child drew a large dinosaur on the carpet just today. It even looked a bit like a dinosaur, with some imagination although it was unidentifiable, but the point is that she had used her knowledge of our toys and had produced her own artistic impression/interpretation

 

We may also , for example, put the magnetic trains or cars on our large carpet, hard floor or outdoors, start a chalk train/road track (we got rid of our wooden train track as it was too prescriptive) and leave the chalks out for the children to finish the track/road.You can also do this by taping paper onto a table and letting the children draw their own road or track on the table

You could provide an office where they have post-it notes, writing paper in various sizes, envelopes, A5 clipboards, pens, pencils, sharpeners, hole punches, keyboards, telephones etc... one of the current favourite activities for the children is to go around the staff with a clipboard, paper and pen, asking what we would like for lunch as we often turn our rolling snack bar into a 'cafe' complete with pictorial and written menus and order forms. This is another activity that you could try, for example during Chinese New Year or Diwali, using appropriate snacks.

 

3.Maths skills. What can I say about this other than that the only way to teach maths to pre-schoolers is by providing good resources (matching/colour etc) and by encouraging them to tell you 'how many' red dinosaurs, cars etc, which ones look the same/similar, can you find one, two, etc more, how many do you have now / how many will you have if you take 1 away etc...

 

There are so many activities that you can do with small groups of children, or on a 1:1 basis, which will give them the skills that they will need at school without having to resort to worksheets or other 'prescriptive' resources.

 

Invest in some good wooden building blocks (from small - very large) and observe what the children do with them. Combine them and add other resources occasionally (small world toys etc) and encourage them to name what they have built and to describe what their objectives are and you will be amazed by the language that they use.

 

There are so many other exciting activities which will encourage L&L and Maths but it would take me too long to describe them here!

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Thanks |Margaret , I am doing and providing all of your suggestions already , imagination and resources were lacking when I arrived but a fresh set of eyes has helped current staff , I have clipboards in all areas and chinese new year we had restaurant with menus and children made their own so plenty of mark making opportunites. At register we sorted ourselves into groups dependent on age and gender , the children really enjoyed this and then we sorted ourselves dependant on hair colour and then eye colour , the children then made a tally chart for each group , they even used the mirror to check when they were not sure of eye colour.

They really enjoyed this so will continue in this way.

Love the suggestion with the bell may implement that one - thanks

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