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Child Or Adult Initiated/led


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I wonder if I could ask for help. The following scenario has been suggested to me. Could you tell me whether you think it includes child-initiated activity/adult-led or adult-directed? Or all three? I'm wondering because a question has been raised about the CI/AL/AD balance in my class and I wonder if I have the interpretations of what each term means correct for myself. Obviously if I don't it has a fairly major impact on what I think the balance is in my room?!

 

Reception children go with a TA to set up and use a shop. They are choosing the things to sell and are making them, they make price labels and pay for them. When they've had enough they pack the activity away and children are asked what they'd like to do next. They choose jigsaws and do with adult interaction/support.

 

What, if any of this is CI/AL/AD?

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ok who decided to go to the shop.....who decided it was going to be a shop in the first place? who decides to make price tags/items for sale etc who chose to tidy up (i'm guessing this might be the adult!!) were the jigsaws completed independently or with assistance?

in my mind child led is their decision as to what to do and where to take it adut led...tends to be 'teaching' activities and adult directed may be adult steering the group in a particular direction....only my opinion though!

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I'd say from your description the shop activity was a choice between AL or AD or maybe both. I would give the label of CI to anything I'd observed the children doing because they'd decided to do it and everything they did during it was all their choice too.

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Helen, re the shop role play activity, I suspect you want the answer to be CI but I think its probably more AL. Children have an element of choice so not AD in entirety. If on the other hand, the children said lets make a shop and will you help us etc etc then that would be CI.

 

With the puzzle choice, it depends on what they were choosing from. This could be CI with adult support.

 

It can be really difficult in a school environment with the pressures you have upon you, to do this. Dont beat yourself up about it too much.

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Thank you, that helps. My interpretation was that the shop was adult directed/led in terms of the writing price labels/paying for things goes - and it was intended to be - it was the PSRN focus activity for the morning. I was querying how long it had gone on for - was about 20-25 minutes. As far as I could tell no child was being 'held' there and given their response during and after they were all clearly enjoying it. I wasn't sure whether it should be more 10 minutes with the adult there directing the price label writing/paying and then the adult leaves them to it to see where it goes.

 

I think I was feeling that the choices they made during the activity - about what and how to make things were child-initiated. The suggestion I was given was that we shouldn't 'make the children' do it if they were beginning to lose interest and asking to do something else but say 'ok, let's tidy this up and what do you want to do next' and if the child said 'jigsaws' this would be child initiated.

 

I can kind of see this but part of me is thinking if this is how we structure the day then why do I rush round like a headless chicken setting up sand/water/playdough etc etc etc each day?

 

Sorry if this is all sounding a bit bizarre - I'm getting lots of questions about my provision/practice at the moment and am feeling somewhat lost and befuddled. I'm the only reception teacher in school and kind of landed in the job - I love it but I never quite feel I have the background knowledge/understanding that others have. :o So when someone 'suggests' something I tend to automatically assume that what I'm already doing is wrong. What I do consider truly child initiated is the little boy who went back after break, invited me to come and buy something from him - read an existing price label, counted out my money for me and then decided he needed a trolley so found a large cardboard box, filled it with goodies and proceeded to push it around the classroom.

Edited by HelenD26
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Helen,

 

I am in no way 'telling' as I'm not a teacher, but I feel that you may be thinking that CI can be 'within' an adult directed or led activity. My understanding is that CI can only be used when it is/has been totally that - child initiated!

 

Hoping that's a help!

 

Sue

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Thanks Sue. As I said I'm a bit all over the place at the moment (and very stressed and fed up and harrassed by it). I'm trying to keep a note of what CI/AL/AD time children are getting during the day/week to see whether I have a reasonable balance. My 'timekeeping' counted the shop as AL time.

 

My gut feeling was that the suggestion of tidying away and asking children what they wanted to do next wasn't exactly CI either somehow. I don't quite know why!

 

I swear someone keeps moving the goal posts and I was never that good at football in the firstplace!

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Hi Helen

Dont be too hard on yourself, as Susan said, being reflective is good practice, and part of being reflective sometimes means that fogginess of 'Am I doing this well or not?'

 

I wouldn't worry too much about getting bogged down by the number of minutes that are AD/AL/CI, and this will vary from day to day as you respond to children, will develop over the course of the year and also vary from cohort to cohort. Take an overall look at your timetable and consider if you think the balance is there. Sometimes I think this is very hard in schools, where you have to fit in this and that, assemblies, guided reading, daily phonics; etc etc.

I think sometimes we get a bit worried that adult led or directed activities are somehow 'wrong' or 'bad'. They are not! If your children were happy and involved and learning whilst making the labels and prices, then celebrate this. The fact that the little boy you mentioned then returned to the activity and built on the learning, is great. Perhaps he wouldn't have done that if you hadn't had that adult involvement in the beginning.

 

Was someone criticising your balance, and that's why you have become befuddled by it all?

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Thank you for all your comments everyone - really helpful.

 

Catma - funnily enough on a course I went on yesterday where we did quite a lot around sustained shared thinking - I love it when different things all start to come together and make more sense!

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