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shaking things up...but how?!?


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HI all

 

I am going into our first staff meeting after holidays tomorrow and I think my main message is I want to shake things up a bit. After all the information on block play I want to really highlight this more, we are changing our learning journeys to make them more manageable and there are lots of resources that I think we should part with in the toy clean. However there is one area that I want to change but not sure to what... our focus activity.

 

Now at the moment we have a lot of child available resources in the continuous provision and we have a large portion of the day where the children are encouraged to engage in free play and adults join in and extend where needed, whether that is with extra resources or just facilitating play. On top of this we plan for a focus activity which is created through what we have seen as children's interests/needs/requirements and then plan an adult led activity to teach new skills, facilitate learning etc...

 

Now the thing is last term the focus didn't always get done. Sometimes the children just didn't want to take part (which we did think maybe we just pitched it wrong or didn't make it enticing enough) sometimes staff said they just ran out of time. Sometimes the children where engaging in other forms of play which were really taking off and the staff went with that, other times we just didn't seem to have enough hands on deck and the way the session went it just didn't seem to happen. I don't know if this just the way of it or if we need to re-look at provision. Do we need an adult activity like this or could we just focus on improving adult interactions like say in the block area and would this then be more beneficial to the children and ultimately lead to more learning for the children. I mean I know you do need some adult led interactions but I feel this could still come from greater child led initiations of play (hope that makes sense) I also think the way we record it needs adjusting as I think it is just too detailed on paper.

 

Any thoughts anyone? is anyone else thinking about shaking things up going back?

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Always wanting to shake it up a bit, but generally wait to see with the cohort of children we will have, as to which path it takes.

For me encouraging more independence at snack time is my goal for the Autumn term, then we will see.

I am going back in the room more this term, so can't wait to get down and dirty in the garden with the children.

Good luck to everybody going back next week, hope you continue to have fun in your jobs.:)

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I suppose it really is down to finding something that interests the children and staff to do as a focus.. ours varied each day.. sometimes it was a game, craft, role play .. led by an adult so in all areas of the setting.. depending on the interests and the need of the children as to what was done..some days we did not have one.. because we were all busy interacting with the children so felt no real need... we could often in retrospect discuss and find out that usually there were focus activities going on within that..

 

I was lucky in having staff that could actually do this as they saw a need or adding it during a session as the time and interests arose.. they would then write the plan afterwards! This was not overly detailed though.. more a quick overview or note.. we managed to get a weeks worth on one sheet.. but cannot remember the headings ..

 

We did a large group time during the day a couple of times.. and used that for any focus we wanted to plan ahead of time.. we found they always came to that part of the day...

 

i know some could not manage this very loose form of planning I had a member of staff who would look through each week and highlight any areas we were missing or that needed doing and we would try to incorporate them as we went.. worked for us .

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Johanna - you have described the focus led activities in my nursery!

For a long time I have had concerns :o over this BUT am planning to do things very differently - as of tomorrow :rolleyes: .

Read Alistair's blog below - it has certainly helped me to see things in a very different light ;) .

Good luck!

 

abcdoes.typepad.com/abc-does-a-blog/.../objective-led-planning

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Thanks DevonMaid will go have a read.

 

 

I suppose it really is down to finding something that interests the children and staff to do as a focus.. ours varied each day.. sometimes it was a game, craft, role play .. led by an adult so in all areas of the setting.. depending on the interests and the need of the children as to what was done..some days we did not have one.. because we were all busy interacting with the children so felt no real need... we could often in retrospect discuss and find out that usually there were focus activities going on within that..

I think this is where we just need the confidence to say actually we didn't need it today rather than oh we didn't do this again!!!

I was lucky in having staff that could actually do this as they saw a need or adding it during a session as the time and interests arose.. they would then write the plan afterwards! This was not overly detailed though.. more a quick overview or note.. we managed to get a weeks worth on one sheet.. but cannot remember the headings ..

I do have some new members to my team who are still finding their feet and confidence that they can just do this

We did a large group time during the day a couple of times.. and used that for any focus we wanted to plan ahead of time.. we found they always came to that part of the day...

we always start and end the day together but this is more about song and group games (parachute etc...)

i know some could not manage this very loose form of planning I had a member of staff who would look through each week and highlight any areas we were missing or that needed doing and we would try to incorporate them as we went.. worked for us .

I really think I would love this looser planing and think this is what I am aiming for rather than the detailed stuff I have at the moment!!

 

thanks Inge

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We use alistair's objective led planning...definitely recommend trying it - it seems to suit both those who want to keep the flexibility of being able to play with the children and plan spontaneously 'in the moment' as well as those who prefer something to focus on - you can 'do' an activity or you can interact and extend as you join in with childrens play...

 

we also record what we do retrospectively so we have less of the 'oh we didn't do that...' and more 'wow look how much we did!'.. :D

 

(we have one group activity at the end of the session...and did try to keep at least one focus activity each week all through last year but I've decided to drop the focus ones this year for all the same reasons you mentioned...no more feeling guilty for not getting round to them and more staff time freed up for high quality interactions)

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can I ask Trekker how do you go about the objective led planning I have had a look at this but I am not sure I quite get it so to clarify: The example he gives is that the TA does plan an activity and the teacher doesn't. So does the TA plan as in 'I will get the bingo out' and that is the extent of it or do they actually break it all down so 'this is the description of the activity, it covers this... in all the areas/COL and my evaluation is etc....?'

 

Do you then totally rely on CP? I love the idea that we may be able to 'go' completely with interacting with the children as you say it free's the adult up more and releases the need to 'call' children over or to get children who are used to being able to do pretty much what they want and have a large amount of autonomy to do a focus activity that they may not want to. We have had incidents where no matter what we plan the children want to just 'play' with their friends like they always do!!!

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Well it is hard to explain but so far we have been doing it by having two focus areas per week - we plot where each child is on each aspect so say one is making relationships and another is number we look at the Dev Matters for those and decide which is best fit for ever child and end up with three or four 'groups' for each aspect..

 

then we decide a 'next step' objective for each group of children and this next step is what we aim to support those children to move towards during the week either by interaction, modelling or a specific activity ...the end of session group activity focuses on these aspects too so children are grouped to go with others who have been identified for the same objective.

 

It is still quite flexible...somedays we 'input' more than others and some aspects are harder to break down into objectives.

 

With the group activity as a back up we usually ensure each child gets some input towards their objective...as well as doing a lot in whatever play situation they are attracted to.

 

As we trialled it we found that its better to narrow it down further rather than just saying this group are in the 22-36 month age range for making relationships and we want them to start to do this skill from the next stage (which is how we started) so now we try to think 'what exactly about 'making relationships does our particular cohort need to practice / do / learn right now?'..... so we might have 'being able to share' as the basic objective and four groups at different stages in this skill each with a next step identified and when your playing with children, or when they just want to play with friends and you happen to join in :-) you, ideally, keep in mind which objective each child is working towards so you can adjust interactions / resources / experiences accordingly.

 

Our plan sheet is pretty much the same as alistairs examples...we have an environment plan too to explain the 'whys' of our cont provision.

 

Last year all staff attempted to support and gather evidence for the two aspects altogether - This year im hoping that now we will be able to have it split so that some staff focus on one aspect while the others focus on the second as this should help them keep things in mind better...

 

not sure ive explained that well but hope it helps a bit?

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