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Timetable...


Lyanne
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I've just been appointed joint manager of the preschool I've been in for 13 years, following the sudden death last year of our old manager who'd been the manager when I started in the preschool - and I'm now the longest serving member of staff. The other manager has to give notice where she's currently working so can't start till mid March.

 

Our timetable doesn't work well at the moment, and I don't want to wait till the other manager takes up post before we start to think about how to change it - I think we're going to have to try things out and will probably not get to a really good working timetable until the end of the summer term/start of the autumn. And then we'll get new children in & have to change again!

 

I don't want to change it all on my own - I want the other new manager to have input and the other staff. But I know it's going to be hard for us all to think up the right changes - for the internal staff, it's like saying 'The old manager was wrong!' and that's hard, for the new external staff, it's about changing things for the right reasons not for the sake of change.

 

We have (up to) 28 children in a session, and are open Mon - to Fri term time only, with the sessions being 8.45 - 11.45 (lunch club) 12.30 - 3.30. At present, children come in, self register, do free play, may take part in adult focus activity, snack bar opens, more free play (though at this time of year, we've been having set outside time after snack) tidy up time, whole group story & singing time, home time. Repeat for afternoon session. We're in our own building that is only used by the preschool.

 

There's not enough adult initiated activities or adult directed activities, ie supporting the children with a board game, we've got no formal letters & sounds or PSRN work. Support work for children with additional needs does happen but that needs to be better as well (we've also just lost our previous SENCO as she's gone to another setting, so it's back to me now, and I do have ideas about that.) There's lots of child initiated stuff going on but it's not always recognised to provide extensions/ enhancements/ time to repeat...

 

Tidy up time needs to change from a focus on adults trying to get the room looking immaculate again to more getting children to put away what they've been using when they've finished with it rather than walking away leaving duplo all over the floor... I've got some ideas from the site and plan to get some baskets/trays to gather toys in to sort into the right places so the adults can make sure all the puzzle pieces are there before putting back in the cupboard.

 

Just before half term, and it has been a very stressful half term and end of the Autumn term, I had stressed staff and consequently stressed children - I need to change that! Any suggestions gratefully received.

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Congratulations on the promotion and good luck in the new role.

 

It sounds like you have a good handle on what you want to change and why. I would imagine a staff meeting if possible is a good place to start. maybe if your staff have some input from the start they will feel more empowered and able to adjust and adapt.

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Congratulations on the promotion and good luck in the new role.

 

It sounds like you have a good handle on what you want to change and why. I would imagine a staff meeting if possible is a good place to start. maybe if your staff have some input from the start they will feel more empowered and able to adjust and adapt.

 

 

Thank you, Susan! We have a staff meeting planned for next week, so I'll make sure it's on the agenda for that & see what people come up with, and think up some ideas ready to share/have critically discussed :-)

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Congratulations on your new position. Taking over from anybody that has been in a position before takes sensitivity and time.

It appears from your post that you are already reflecting on your provision and i agree a meeting with all staff may help them feel empowered with the changes you can all decide to make for the benefit to all.

One of the things we have recently introduced is a sharing time, this was after many discussions as a staff team on the things we felt were missing in our pre-school day.

Although we used to discuss the weather, colours, shapes, letters etc all the time through play it was very difficult to observe and make assessments so easily.

We now have a fantastic five/ten minutes of time with their keyperson with a sharing box with lots of lovely resources, including mark- making tools.This enables us to explore the areas of learning, with differentiation for age, stage and children with additional needs.

The sharing boxes were purchased from Dunelm at £2.00 each in lots of lovely bright colours.

This can be indoors or out, physical large or small, at a table on a carpet etc. This has led to lots of lovely other activities following a child's interest and prior knowledge [child iniatated].

Can i just say this is not a formal teaching time but another lovely opportunity to explore areas of learning.

Good luck hope it goes well. :o

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Congratulations!

I think you're right to want to handle this sensitively. I left my setting and the new manager completely changed EVERYTHING without even working with things the way they were or consulting staff! Although I had chosen to move on I was quite offended xD She lasted a term :o then moved on again...

After several more changes I came back and the first thing I did was give everyone a piece of paper that had two sections for the staff to complete...

What do you think works well and why?

What would you like to change or introduce and why?

 

This meant they could all put down what they thought without having to speak in front of others who may not have agreed. There was one thing in particular that I hated but didn't want to broach the subject as they all seemed to like it...as it turned out they all hated it too so that was gone :(

 

In terms of routine, ours is very similar but we stop at 10 and 1.30 for group time. This was because we didn't feel the whole group circle time brought in by 'her' (LOL) was working for most of the children but they needed something more focussed. As there are 6 of us, we plan an activity each for the week, with each of us taking one area of learning. Then we sort out groups so that the children are in the group they most need. It is VERY complicated and time consuming but has been worth it. We write out a plan so that anybody could do the group time if we are away at all and then evaluate it at the end of the week.

 

We also have intended learning written on our plans so that we have an aim during free play too. It might not be the obvious so eg if we have the beads out, it may not be fine manipulative skills we are looking for but ability to follow or make up a repeated pattern or sorting into colour/shaoshapee/size etc.

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Congratulations on your new position. Taking over from anybody that has been in a position before takes sensitivity and time.

It appears from your post that you are already reflecting on your provision and i agree a meeting with all staff may help them feel empowered with the changes you can all decide to make for the benefit to all.

One of the things we have recently introduced is a sharing time, this was after many discussions as a staff team on the things we felt were missing in our pre-school day.

Although we used to discuss the weather, colours, shapes, letters etc all the time through play it was very difficult to observe and make assessments so easily.

We now have a fantastic five/ten minutes of time with their keyperson with a sharing box with lots of lovely resources, including mark- making tools.This enables us to explore the areas of learning, with differentiation for age, stage and children with additional needs.

The sharing boxes were purchased from Dunelm at £2.00 each in lots of lovely bright colours.

This can be indoors or out, physical large or small, at a table on a carpet etc. This has led to lots of lovely other activities following a child's interest and prior knowledge [child iniatated].

Can i just say this is not a formal teaching time but another lovely opportunity to explore areas of learning.

Good luck hope it goes well. :o

 

 

Fabulous idea and we have a dunelm within walking distance and have just started getting permission to take the children out on visits so could take a few down there to get the boxes!

 

I've already built into the staff deployment time non-contact time to work on learning journeys (following advice from LEA) but have long wanted to bring in key group time each session when the key people can work with their key children... but all that's been looked at in the past are the obstacles (not all key people in every day, not all key children in every day, age/interest ranges of the children, etc etc etc...) and not how to overcome the obstacles!

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but all that's been looked at in the past are the obstacles (not all key people in every day, not all key children in every day, age/interest ranges of the children, etc etc etc...) and not how to overcome the obstacles!

 

We work out keychildren so that each KP has a day when (tecnically!!!) all their key children are in. On this day they do focussed activities with their group (plus any others that want to join in :o )

 

xxx

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We work out keychildren so that each KP has a day when (tecnically!!!) all their key children are in. On this day they do focussed activities with their group (plus any others that want to join in :o )

 

xxx

 

What a good idea, but I think I'll have to do that gradually as I'm having to juggle round key children enough at the moment with the staff who've left & the new joint manager doesn't start till mid March, and the other new staff don't have any experience in being a key person...

 

New joint manager came in the other day & talked to chair of directors & I - really looking forward to working with her, she's great!

 

Hello Kitty Posted Feb 15 2012, 13:57

Congratulations!

I think you're right to want to handle this sensitively. I left my setting and the new manager completely changed EVERYTHING without even working with things the way they were or consulting staff! Although I had chosen to move on I was quite offended wink.gif She lasted a term huh.gif then moved on again...

After several more changes I came back and the first thing I did was give everyone a piece of paper that had two sections for the staff to complete...

What do you think works well and why?

What would you like to change or introduce and why?

 

This meant they could all put down what they thought without having to speak in front of others who may not have agreed. There was one thing in particular that I hated but didn't want to broach the subject as they all seemed to like it...as it turned out they all hated it too so that was gone wink.gif

 

In terms of routine, ours is very similar but we stop at 10 and 1.30 for group time. This was because we didn't feel the whole group circle time brought in by 'her' (LOL) was working for most of the children but they needed something more focussed. As there are 6 of us, we plan an activity each for the week, with each of us taking one area of learning. Then we sort out groups so that the children are in the group they most need. It is VERY complicated and time consuming but has been worth it. We write out a plan so that anybody could do the group time if we are away at all and then evaluate it at the end of the week.

 

We also have intended learning written on our plans so that we have an aim during free play too. It might not be the obvious so eg if we have the beads out, it may not be fine manipulative skills we are looking for but ability to follow or make up a repeated pattern or sorting into colour/shaoshapee/size etc.

 

 

I was scanning back over what had been written & couldn't realise why I'd missed this - then realised we'd cross-posted! Love the pieces of paper for working well/wanting to change & will be getting those in for staff meeting on Thurs... No pressure! But saying we can review then at the following meeting, which will I think be better for the new staff.

 

I know whole group time doesn't work... it's bad enough in the morning when half then children go off to the other side of the room for lunch, & want to join in story/singing, and the children that are meant to be joining in group story & singing want to be with their friends & teachers on the other side of the room. But the afternoons when 28 children are tired & have lost their focus... It's just silly!

 

Love the idea of key group time mid way through the session

 

So far, we're thinking about:

 

Having photo cards of the activities/resources out at the beginning of the session, encouraging the parents/carers to bring the child into the playroom (at present many leave the children in the lobby for staff to bring in & settle) so the children can put their self registration cards onto the activity they're planning to start with - this will encourage adult-child discussion at the time & support it later as the adult can say 'You chose to play with the dolls' house when I left - what did you do?'

 

Getting a small table set up in the lobby so we can take a small group of children out there to play turn taking games (may be working with IEP targets but that's not the main focus) so the children can listen more as it will be quieter & there won't be so many other children trying to grab the pieces off the table...

 

Key group time for children to explore something with their key person, but that needs thinking about - how will we manage the children whose KP isn't in?, What about when there's a really big age gap in the key children? (make sure the activity is accessible on different levels ;-) ) What if they don't want to do what we've got planned? etc etc

 

Currently struggling with the deployment sheets for next week, while trying to convince my 8 yr old to stay in bed!

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We do key group time every morning and afternoon for 10 minutes only, each keyperson has an activity planned or is the designated floating staff member. The children are told of the choosing time options and they can go with their key worker (most do as we emphasis the 'belonging' aspect of their group from day one e.g. they self register onto a chart with the colour of their key group and a photo of their keyworker at the top). Those children who don't want to do the key group activity can choose to join another group or play with the floating staff member. In our setting each key worker has 3-4 keygroup activities each week and (if they choose to access it) will see all her children over the course of the week, but as the sessions are only 10 minutes she has plenty of time during freeflow to engage with those of her group who opt out of her activities. Over and above these key group activities we also have group activities based on one area of learning each week as well as letters and sounds so there are lots of opportunities for staff to spend time with their key children. I really like children making the choice whether to join their key group or not as it generates great variety in the dynamics of the choosing time activities and allows for the formation of different friendship groups rather than if they spent time with the same group each session

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We do key group time every morning and afternoon for 10 minutes only, each keyperson has an activity planned or is the designated floating staff member. The children are told of the choosing time options and they can go with their key worker (most do as we emphasis the 'belonging' aspect of their group from day one e.g. they self register onto a chart with the colour of their key group and a photo of their keyworker at the top). Those children who don't want to do the key group activity can choose to join another group or play with the floating staff member. In our setting each key worker has 3-4 keygroup activities each week and (if they choose to access it) will see all her children over the course of the week, but as the sessions are only 10 minutes she has plenty of time during freeflow to engage with those of her group who opt out of her activities. Over and above these key group activities we also have group activities based on one area of learning each week as well as letters and sounds so there are lots of opportunities for staff to spend time with their key children. I really like children making the choice whether to join their key group or not as it generates great variety in the dynamics of the choosing time activities and allows for the formation of different friendship groups rather than if they spent time with the same group each session

 

Oh, that's brilliant, solves the 'problem' of 'But what if they don't want to be with me & whatever I've planned?', and (more importantly) gives the children the choice.

 

How many sessions a week are you in setting for? We're in 10 (all ams, all pms), so some staff & children are in 10 sessions, others are in less.

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Oh, that's brilliant, solves the 'problem' of 'But what if they don't want to be with me & whatever I've planned?', and (more importantly) gives the children the choice.

 

How many sessions a week are you in setting for? We're in 10 (all ams, all pms), so some staff & children are in 10 sessions, others are in less.

Yeah, 10 sessions per week for us too but no member of staff (except me and I don't have a key group) is in every session but this system works really well for us, by the way I have 5 staff members plus me.

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