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Setting up outdoors


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Can I ask how people set up/ enhance their outdoor area. I work in a 3 form entry school with a nursery with which we share the outdoor area and we are sometimes struggling to set up the outdoor area due to time constraints. Our TA s and teachers come in to school and need to set up their phonics as this is the first thing we all teach. Then as that's a very structured session we have free flow straight after . The problem is that although we plan enhancements to areas they don't always get put out so some areas of the outdoor are a little lacking shall we say in engaging the children. My only idea so far is a rota shared between us all , so was just wondering if any one else had some useful ideas.

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...ask the children what they would like to have outside and use this as a starting point for all the staff to work from....and its more likely that the children will engage if its set out based on what they would like. Rotas are great for fairness but have an expectations list too. what you expect from your team and when it comes to setting up the garden.

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Do you have a 'formal' registration/input time? That's when my NN and TA set up the outdoor area. True, it's not the best of outdoor play areas - just a concrete area with built in sand pit, bark pit and 'road' area for the trikes. We also have a large storage shed, so often only the basics are put out and the children choose/select themselves what they wish to play with. Anything other than the usual available toys (e.g. learning provocatives or identified PLODs can then be added to a little later). As soon as registration/input is over, we get into our phonics groups; after that we have freeflow in/outdoor play.

Until this term, the outdoor play area was only set up by the staff member, who was on the rota for outdoor play, when she was ready to go out - it wasn't how I wanted it to be, so I used the opportunity to make changes when there was a change of staff in January and it now works really well.

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We find it difficult to set up outside too, especially on rainy days. We only have a limited undercover area so if we put things out in the morning we often have to dash out and drag them in when it starts raining!

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Suebee you say "Our TA s and teachers come in to school and need to set up their phonics as this is the first thing we all teach" could they not set up their classroom before they go home each evening? This is something we always do which is part of our end of day routine. Saves time in the morning, it's a job never left for the first person in as well. This may help with timing in the mornings?

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...could you have some things to 'grab and go' - pre packed boxes that hold typical items that support a targeted area of learning, that can be picked up on the way out to free flow...and repacked with the children helping on the way back in

 

I'm sure there are some listed in older threads but eg's could be 'windy days', den building, flow, target practice etc -

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Guest ShelleyT

I always get my lessons for the next day ready to go before I leave school so that in the morning we all focus on setting up.

 

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Help...we are struggling also, time constraints. Every available time we have is took up with booster sessions (sorry I work in reception), but from reading some of these responses had a thought about setting up own areas...am wondering if this will work. What do you think?

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We set up inside for the next day before we leave ( there are 2 of us in a school nursery). I am paid 30 mins in the morning ( but usually start about 30 mins before that anyway) and 30 minutes after the end of the session for setting up and packing away, although invariably 10 mins at the end is lost by late pick ups or parents wanting to chat!

On a good day we get things ready for outside for the morning and I set up outside as soon as I arrive. We modify the planning if the outdoor stuff isn't suited to the weather. It's very difficult to justify putting out the amount of things Ofsted wanted to see for literacy and maths knowing it'll be damaged by the weather.

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Thanks for all the useful ideas everyone. Most of the teachers do set up phonics the night before so maybe we just need to get a bit better organised in the morning and as Alabaloo says ' have some expectations too' !

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I think the key is to have some core stuff that stays outside all the time.....in storage bins, shed, boxes with lids etc, so the person setting up outside has to minimal uncovering stuff and opening doors and lids to get the basics available. We have invested in some salt bins outside which are great for storage. Robust and not too deep so children can get the stuff out themselves. Also have put old school units outside covered in plastic tarpaulin, cut down, from Costco, so it really takes only .5 or 10 mins tops to open the stuff up and then then it isn't so bad. Can have time to put out other stuff....paints, water, and enhanced provision. We are spending our money on storage for outside and it has made such a difference to this problem.in nursery I ask one of the nursery nurses to set up whilst the children are coming in , so that's i between 8.30 and 9 am. The other 2 of us are with the children. In reception, my lead teacher is a perfectionist and prefers to setup herself, but she does arrive in school at 7 am every day to do it!!!!! If it were me, I would o the same as in nursery and ask one of the TAs to do it whilst children coming in first thing, or a bit before if we can manage it.

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in nursery we use plastic see-through drawers which just need pulling out and allow children to self-select easily. we also have several of these storage bins

 

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/7058316.htm

 

and have plastic bricks, hollow blocks etc in and children open up and get out if they want to use them, so no set up required! crates are freely available and stacked at the end of the session, so, again, no time needed.....

each of our adults sets up where they are based for the week, so it's fair on everyone and first one in isn't expected to do more

 

 

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