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Following interests- I need help!


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Hi

 

I know this has probably been asked a lot before- sorry.

 

Do you use the children's interests to find a topic to follow each week?

 

I am asking as we have a few girls who are really into dressing up as princesses and the boys are into being pirates. We also have one who is in the home corner nearly all session and some who don't seem interested in anything!

 

Would you plan a whole week of activities on say pirates? or would you have different activities going on during the same week? such as making princess tiaras and pirate treasure maps?

 

I find it hard to think which topic to plan for and follow all week which is what my deputy thinks we should do. She also likes all the children to do every activity we do!

 

Also do you make sure you cover things such as diwali, seasons, halloween and bonfire night- even if children have not shown an interest?

 

Any advice would be most welcome!! :1b

Edited by klc106
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We plan our own series of topics, each lasting anywhere from a couple of days (Diwali) to four weeks (journeys).

 

Chidren's individual interests are logged (on post-its), and followed up as immediately as possible with individual children or groups as appropriate, maybe by enriching their play, providing a particular resourse, changing the story-time story, or just chatting with them about it and buying a different magazine next week.This is also logged - very briefly -so we have evidence that we're doing it.

 

We do it like this because

resourcing a responsive curriculum is very difficult, and involved a lot of scouring charity shops at the weekend in a panic when we tried it.

 

our 'adult imposed' topics are designed to appeal to small children and cover most of the usual areas of interest as we go through the year, as well as broadening every child's knowledge base

 

having a planned topic based year means there's one less thing to worry about each week.

 

Hope this helps! MW

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I don't expect all the children to do all the activities we have on offer - if we are following their individual interests and needs, there wouldn't be time to do it all and why should they all be interested in doing all the same things anyway. Similar things yes, there might be any number of ways to do the same type of counting activity, but using many different resources, but resources which individual children are interested in.

 

If you have princesses and pirates dominating at the moment and you have enough staff I would do both, or may be you can pin the princesses to being pirate princesses?

 

When there is more child initiated time and less adult initiated activities, it's possible to follow a couple of topics I think. A few of the boys are interested in making pirate telescopes say, (not a long time in the making - a cardboard tube covered in black tissue paper or pirate paper and stuck down and pirate sticker stuck on perhaps takes moments. A pirate map (I have lots of pre-tea stained paper in my pirate bag) doesn't take long - they can cut out and stick stuff on, or you might be able to draw a couple of things on for them and they can add to your drawings with their own ideas. We have foam pirate hats and cutlasses in the pirate bag plus bunting to hang from the climbing frame to make their boat. Throughout the week if their interest continues we have a pirate counting game we can bring out, we have a pirates words day, i.e. we learn things like shiver me timbers, avast ye there, etc. they can make treasure chests from boxes, we have pirate stories, and the usual types of small world boats, recyclable modelling materials, colouring pages for those so inclined, we even have cardboard cut out parrots they can decorate and we clip them to their shoulders,

 

It takes a while to gather your resources, but keep your pirate bag topped up and when their interest pops up (we also have pop up pirate game to play which is fantastic resource for psed - brilliantly quick turn taking game) you are ready to go with the flow.

 

When we are pitching individual learning paths to the children any number of activities can be found to cater for their learning needs from a popular topic, but if that topic leaves them cold, then they don't have to do it, their key person pitches their activity through a different interest during the week. They may become interested in pirates another time.

 

We have many princess outfits, stories, games, jigsaws, masks, which they can just take and wear or can use as a type of template and make their own, colouring pages for those so inclined, we have a Happyland castle/princess carriages etc. we have lots of different types of things to interest our little princesses with. They could if they liked make a tiara, or other jewellery in the recyclable section, they can make princess cakes in the play dough area, we have lots of lovely gems they can decorate with. They can sequence stories with story cards we have made from old Ladybird story books, we cut out the pictures and laminated them.

 

As for things like seasons, and celebrations, yes we do cover those as they happen. When we return from half term, hopefully, the trees here will really have started to drop their leaves - that is when I really start the autumnal stuff, we sing songs about the leaves falling, we may offer leaf printing etc. I find there is little point to this in September because not much is happening to the trees, in fact, only this week have I noticed some of our trees changing colour significantly to draw the children's interest to it, we can tell them these things happen - but IMO they need to see it in action, similarly bonfire night I do it after bonfire night not before, some of ours will have been 2 last bonfire night - they haven't much recent experience of them.

 

Time is tight for all of us in early years I guess we just have to manage our time really cleverly to get it all in.

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Another angle to take is to think about schema and what they are actually doing.

 

This week several boys have been trying to tie knots with ropes, tying up the door handles(!) etc. so we are putting out some threading, more ropes, string and some weaving ribbons next week, plus a rope pulley and basket. That doesn't define you to any particular theme.

At the same time I have some girls very busily transporting and filling handbags with the entire contents of the maths corner. Therefore going to put out lots of prams and babies next week, and a collection of purses, big buttons, pennies, also putting some lentils/beans in a tray with diff. sized small containers to see if they enjoy filling and emptying those.

 

It's hard, relies on you having a whole shed full of resources at your finger tips or, as someone else says, spending your weekend in pound shops, car boots and Asda!

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Another angle to take is to think about schema and what they are actually doing.

 

It's hard, relies on you having a whole shed full of resources at your finger tips or, as someone else says, spending your weekend in pound shops, car boots and Asda!

 

But isn't that what us dedicated early years professionals do anyway Edlee - and I have also trained my two girls over the years ( they are 19 and 22 ) and they do it for me when they see things as well ! My staff accuse me of being a hoarder - I would rather be accused of being 'resourceful' ! :1b

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