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exciting expansion into a new room! advice appreciated please....


twinthinguk
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We are a small pack away preschool and have been offered the use of another room in the community hall where we have term time morning sessions. This is an exciting expansion however , our Manager wants to use both rooms for free flow ( and the outside space) and I am not sure how this will work. Her idea is to have the seven areas set up across both rooms, so for instance, role play in one along with book corner etc and then paints and other messy activities in the other room as it has no carpet . No one in our staff team has experience in working in two rooms, I wondered what happens if you have a child who spends most of their time in one room, and there for not getting the opportunities of experiencing all the areas ( if that makes sense) ...I think the manager wants to split the ages for registration and home time but other than that it will be free flow. Personally I would like both rooms set up with all areas, I would appreciate any in put as I want to pitch ideas to the team!

many thanks.

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Hi we have two rooms although not a pack away setting. We find it works best to have one room as a quiet room for stories book time listening to music small group work table top games etc we also have our computer in this room.we are lucky that it has double doors onto the other room so can leave it open and see the children or close it if needed.

Andrea

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Hi There,

 

Maybe it could be free-flow for the first part of the session - if you then have a 'natural' break for snack then perhaps a structured activity could be led by each adult as Key Person working with their key group of children - this could be set up in either room (and outside) and staff could move around the three areas on a daily basis - thus allowing children some time in each of the three areas you have available???

 

The structured activity need only be a short focused activity (10 mins) but you have then effectively moved the children into a new environment?!

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We started like you, one room and expanded to two in a packaway setting.. and we had the free flow of a quiet room, with the markmaking, puzzles, books etc and a messy room, water sand craft etc We had complete freeflow with a rolling snack table .. but outdoors we had to do as a group as it was not linked directly to the hall.

 

Children did not tend to stay in one room but moved around a lot.. we set it up as like you we had one carpeted room and one easy clean floor..

It really helped with being able to do some things in a quieter calmer environment and worked really well... better than doubling up on everything.. which would be double the work, of setting up every day and putting away!

 

We set it up for a while and did a tracking observation once they were used to it to see how each area was used and if we needed to make any changes...

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My experience was within Daycare, the Pre-school room was two adjoining rooms, with the door kept open. We had the areas set up across the two rooms and children free flowed as they wanted. We would close the connecting door for group registration and the tidy up periods after lunch and tea but not oterwise.

 

We weren't able to free flow outside as we were upstairs, but the children were out three or four times a day as a whole group and at other times in small groups as appropriate/manageable. The outside was resourced for all areas.

 

I think it would be better to free flow across the two rooms - as Inge says it means double the work setting up - and if you find some children stick to one room, then the keyworker and whole staff team should be looking at ways of addressing more balanced access - possibly by encouraging the less favoured areas during outside free flow, as you imply this is also available freely.

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The one thing that strikes me is how you would manage staff/ratios. Would you have to be constantly counting to make sure you had the right balance of adults/children in each room? I guess that's no different to freeflow indoors and outside though. Just a thought.

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thanks all! really looking forward to seeing how its going to work out, yes ratios will be checked carefully, think we are getting walkie talkies in each room so we can call for back up lol!

 

Walkie talkies are great - but we sometimes 'pick up' taxi drivers on ours and did once have one trying to 'engage' one of my children in conversation :blink: sure it was all completely innocent but it didn't 'feel right'.........

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Walkie talkies are great - but we sometimes 'pick up' taxi drivers on ours and did once have one trying to 'engage' one of my children in conversation :blink: sure it was all completely innocent but it didn't 'feel right'.........

yikes! lol

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thanks all! really looking forward to seeing how its going to work out, yes ratios will be checked carefully, think we are getting walkie talkies in each room so we can call for back up lol!

 

We have phones in all our play rooms that we can make internal calls on!!!!!!!

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Are the rooms connected? Or at opposite ends of community centre?

 

We are a packaway setting with access to a kitchen area, small hall, large hall and an outdoor area. The kitchen area is split in half with half the room being the kitchen and other half being where we have our sand/water, messy area, play dough and mark making area. There is then a door into the small hall which is propped open by a door stopper at all times. In the small hall we have role play, construction, small world, laptop, jigs saws etc The children have free flow between the two rooms and staff just monitor and move depending on where most of the children are. There is 3/4 staff depending on numbers.

 

Some of the children do spend a lot more time in one room than the other but this changes frequently. We do try and encourage them into the other room with resources or activities. Most of mine prefer the small hall as heavily into role play though they will take their role playing into the room next door too.

 

Sadly no free flow outdoor area as building set up does jog allow this

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the rooms open onto a corridor but not actually connected, we have a seperate kitchen area and a large out door space. the room we are taking over was a youth club for years and its painted purple and black! so we will be decorating it asap! lol every wood surface is black gloss paint! better get a ton of sand paper lol thanks for your answers, brilliant to hear two rooms can work x

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Funnily enough the room we took over had been youth club, and was painted dark purple... took several coats of paint to lighten it up.. luckily the gloss was not black.. but it was a purple colour too.. so we left that to begin with.

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just had a quick look in today, the room seems better than I remember, they have left the walls white but the ceiling is purple and some of the wood work is silver rather than black, it seems the youth of today prefer silver ! lol still not got access yet, the carpet seems ok ...:) perhaps purple is a standard youth club colour then! :)

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