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Tapestry

Mixed aged groups and a manic start to the whole year! Help!


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It's just not getting any better!

 

We have always been a full pre-school until this years intake (due to schools beginning to take 2 yr olds but that's another issue!) and so have never been in the situation of having such a huge age difference.

 

So we now find ourselves in the situation where we have a current age range of:

2 x 4 yr olds (who will leave in July for Reception)

6 x 3 yr olds (who will leave in July for Reception)

13 x 2 yr olds (who will all turn 3 and therefore leave to go to school nursery in July)

3 x 2 yr olds (who have only turned 2 since September)

 

Our problem is we are all in 1 hall and with us having to take children from the moment they are 2 (due to funds) we are finding life difficult, the just turned 2 yr olds are running us manic (as so they should for their age) but our poor 3/4 yr olds who are with us for a 2nd year are just being left out a lot of the time.

 

We try to free flow as much as possible (but our outdoor area is quite small) and except for the use of a cold and entrance hall area which leads to the toilets we have no other indoor space to use.

 

How do other mixed aged groups deal with this??????

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We have mixed age from 2yrs to 4 yr, we have 20 per session and at max have 6 2 year olds per session and I have to admit its been an eye opener having so many littlies. In the end we have all stepped back (figuratively) and let the 2year old get on with it and have ensured that we have keyworker group activites in which we can focus on the needs of our older children, we do have freeflow to an outside area plus a covered area where the sandpit and climbing frame are so probably have more room than you do. We've had to stop worrying about the mess and transporting that goes on and just enjoy the free spirit toddlers for what they are. Our older children seem quite happy having the little ones to contend with and are enjoying their small group work and are still acheiving their next steps targets. I would suggest that you trying going with the flow and as long as the older ones are still moving on, relax (!!!!) and enjoy.

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Thanks max, can I ask how do you cope at story time, snack time?

Snack time we've tried putting an older child on each table and tried just putting older ones together as more capable to sort themselves out, but either way doesn't seem to help the chaos!

Story time - Unfortunately we are total packaway and only have 20mins to tidy so 2 members of staff have to start to tidy away - trying to keep the 2yr olds happy is just unachievable at the moment.

 

Sorry so many questions, but deputy and myself feeling stressed beyond belief

 

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Thanks max, can I ask how do you cope at story time, snack time?

Snack time we've tried putting an older child on each table and tried just putting older ones together as more capable to sort themselves out, but either way doesn't seem to help the chaos!

Story time - Unfortunately we are total packaway and only have 20mins to tidy so 2 members of staff have to start to tidy away - trying to keep the 2yr olds happy is just unachievable at the moment.

 

Sorry so many questions, but deputy and myself feeling stressed beyond belief

We have rolling snack time so the children come when they want and there is an adult available to support. At storytime we either stay outside with the little ones or they play quietly! whilst the others listen to story. We only have very quick stories after an active singing/dancing activity and they usually join in with that part. We have some boxes full of what I call 'odds and sods', e.g beanie babies, mcdonalds toys, donated toys, board books,stacking beakers etc and the little ones play with those whilst we pack away, these boxes only come out at packing away time so don't get bored with them, may be you could ask parents for donations or visit some charity shops/boot sales? We have also used treasure basket items as a distraction.

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We are also finding this a struggle...we have limited our 2 yr old to 4 per session, we can then only take 8 3yr olds....as we can only have 2 members of staff at the mo !

This coupled with a child who is 2:9 who has been ( sogs ) assessed at 12 months , a child of 2:9 who is under CP and is displaying some pretty concerning behaviour ( including hitting, biting and spitting at staff ! ) we have 2 ,3 yr olds with quite pronounced speech difficulties.

In January we have 2 new 2 yr olds starting- one of whom has CF.

 

This term has been 'interesting' to say the least !

 

We have snack time, and have found they little children eventually manage it...we sit with them and the older children help them choose their snack and drink. To start with we let them leave the table and play with a few things we have set out for them ( as they arnt able to sit for long)

Story time is still a challenge.....we try and read stories during free flow now, or keep the story at home time short....we also use props, puppets etc to make it more interactive.

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Thank you all, good to hear its not just us!

 

Will definitely use the treasure / special box idea at story time, it's a whole different world for us and at the moment not particulary enjoyable!

I wish we could limit the amount of just turned 2yr olds but we need the money, roll on Friday!

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