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Topics/themes In Part Time Nursery.


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Hi all, I was just wondering if there are any practitioners who work in a school based nursery that have topic/themes already planned for a set amount of time e.g. 2 weeks. A setting I visited did this and it seemed to work really well and there is still plenty of room for child led activites through the continuous provision as the children can choose the resources for themselves etc... I was having a discussion about this with someone who works in a private nursery and they said that OFSTED told them not to have adult led topics/themes. Do you think it depends on the inspector? What do you all think? Is it wrong to have topics/themes in nursery?!

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I find it tricky as most of our children are 2/3yrs old and they seem interested in the same things all the time!

We have a sheet with the children's names on and we write if we notice an interest and then plan for it the following week.

We only have 7 children at the minute which I think makes it harder.

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Yes that does sound tricky and also what if you plan for their interests for the following week from what you have observed and then they are not interested?! I've worked in a 39 part time school based nursery setting of 3-4 year olds and we always had a loose theme/topic as well as the continuous provision for the children to choose and access independently for their own initiated play. Adults would do a focus activity during free flow time (indoors and outdoors) where the children would come and work with them and also there is family group time where the children would work with their family group on skills such as counting, letters and sounds, circle times, using construction equipment so basically modelling/practising skills in a supported way for them to use during their initiated play. I'm just hoping that ofsted won't penalise for not following children's interests alone but having a theme/topic alongside or I suppose as back up! Anyway sorry for waffling on. I hope it gets easier for you in your setting :1b

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we are a preschool 2-4 yr olds. We mostly base our planning around the childrens interests,however we do occasionally throw in a curve ball of our own to enhance imaginative play or too 'educate' eg healthy eating, brushing teeth, going to the vets or doctors. after all these topics/ themes are not likely to come up with a 3 year old piping up " im interested in eating up all my greens!

' If we left it entirely to their intetests we would be pirates and princesess all term!! :)

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Thanks for the reply. Ha ha ha yes we certainly would be. I'm just thinking how it can be done for 39 children! So how do you organise your day and what would your planning look like, Rafa? :)

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We use the children's interests to prompt a theme but then occasionally we do introduce an idea as a staff to widen the children's vocabulary and experience.

 

For instance after half term we are going to introduce the idea of the Olympics

We are having an outdoor role play consisting of an Olympic stadium so we can work on flags of the world etc and then inside we are going to do a sports shop so that we can look at different sports and their equipment.

I appreciate the link is tenuous but it is an opportunity to introduce new words and ideas

We tried some equipment from the schools PE cupboard and found the children very interested so we built on this

 

As for Ofsted, I think that if you can justify what you do and you are committed to what you and you know what suits your Setting then go for it.

 

I think sometimes themes and topics are too prescriptive and as staff we need to let the children lead us wherever they want to take an idea!

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