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Management Of Outside Area In Reception


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Hi, this is my first post in this forum so hope it works!

 

We are a 3 form entry infant school and have a shared outside area between the 3 Reception classes. We have trialled different set ups over the years but are struggling to find a way of using the area to it's potential and having free flow for so many children (90). We plan together but operate as 3 separate classes with different timetables for everything except the outside area.

Does anyone else have a set up like this and if so how do you manage the outside area - staffing / resourcing / adult led verses CI??? Sorry for so many questions but we desperately need to sort this and need some inspiration and success stories.

Nicky

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Could you have a system whereby children have to wear a band if they want to play outdoors? e.g. a sweatband. Each class could have a limited number e.g. 6 so that there is only 18 children out at anyone time? Staff could be on a rota so that it is supervised. Children could have a time limit as to how long they can be outside in order to offer all children a chance of outdoors. (it is very difficult to have 'freeflow' for that amount of children at anyone time) so this may work for you.

 

In terms of focused activities outside you could maybe as a team across the classes, decide that one activity/lesson a week will be the focus activity outdoors. For example your PSRN for the week is to look at calculating - simple addition and subtraction using mathematical graphics for recording. Your activity could be based on 10 green bottles and children play a bowls game, recording how many knocked over or how many standing etc. When we plan focused activities outdoors we mark these in green on our planning to show we are trying to address the outdoor learning.

The rest of the time then is for child initiated discovery and play outdoors. Resourcing is always an issue. However,I find it is the setting up and maintaining the area that is more challenging. As long as you have a clear aim as to what it is you want the children to be able to access in order to support and extend their learning then this should lead the resourcing. Again a rota of who sets up and puts away coupled with a clear plan as to who maintains the area should help to support you all.

Sorry if I am teaching Grandma to suck eggs but don't know what you have tried.

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Guest ShelleyT

In terms of the number of children, we have a bean bag system, where the children take a bean bag from a box inside and put it in a basket outside. That means you can limit the number of children out there for each class. Sometime I have 15 bean bags but on other days I only have 6. I think the whole "free flow" thing is in an ideal world, but we all know that Reception classes are rarely ideal! Good luck, x

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Hi,

 

Thank you for your replies. How you have described managing numbers in outside area is how we currently operate. Each class has an amount of tabards and children wear one of these if they want to go outside. However, Head is keen for us to lift limits and increase staff numbers outside - currently 1 member of staff for each session on a rota between 6 / 7 staff. She also wants the area to be used more often ie whole time children are in school.

 

Have looked at other schools both in person and through online research and can only find examples of schools working successfully this way where:

a) they are a one form entry;

B) each class has own outside area or

c) Foundation stage unit where adult ratios are higher and unit operates as a single 'class'.

 

Have asked about possibility of splittng area but she isn't keen and i can understand her reason for this but am really struggling to see how we can make it work the other way and still do all the other things expected of us to prepare the children for Year 1 etc.

 

Sorry for ramblings- am desperate for someone to come along and say - 'you can do it, this is how it works for us ...'!!!

 

Nicky x

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Hi,

 

We operate a two form entry reception base, with a shared outdoor area. We operate a free flow throughout the whole base. One classroom has mainly a literacy focus, with art, small world and workshop, whereas the other room has a maths focus, plus KUW, construction and malleable area. Our outdoor area has all areas of learning represented, with water, sand, mark making, large construction, reading area and wheeled toys. We also operate three role play areas one in each area. We have at least one adult permanently attached to a room/outdoor area and then two members of staff who float, support child initiated learning. We usually run an adult led activity in each base each day, then the children can access the rest of the provision, initiating their own learning, or accessing activities left for them to explore. At first it was a little daunting having sixty children free flowing, but surprisingly they're never all in the same place at once. And if there is a larger number of pupils in one place a second pair of hands is usually on hand to support.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Sairs

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I loved this request Nicky 'need someone to come along and say - you can do it, this is how it works for us ...', as this is just how we feel! I have 30 Reception and Year 1, roughly 50/50 split, with myself and a TA. Finding the free flow very difficult to manage along with the expectations for the Year 1's to be ready to go into a much more formal Y2/3 class in September. I tend to be inside while my poor TA is outside and our area is not adjacent to our class! Also as our TA's don't start till 8.45am setting up is a nightmare every morning for me time wise if everything needs wiping down etc.and as store area is a long way from outdoor area. But I am fortunate that my TA stays ages after school to help clear up (unpaid I should add!).

xx

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nicky, I need someone to come along and say this works too! I have 3 reception classes and 2 nursery classes all accessing a large canopy that stretches the whole length of the classrooms and a huge outdoor area. There are loads of resources, but, as I have only just started, I have found that every resource they have is out rather than rotating it! Staffing is also an issue and quite difficult. So if anyone has any tips/timetables/staffing rotas etc to share, they would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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