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How Do You Organise Your Children?


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Am Early Years co-ordinator in Primary School (3 classes, 3 teachers 3T.A's) and we work closely together as a unit each with class base but sharing one outdoor space. Really need advice as Deputy Head has posed some questions to me today re the organisation of the unit and how she feels it could be improved.

Currently we plan our Numeracy and Literacy on 2 planners and all our continuous provision (workshop areas) on another planner but we do not go as far as to say which group of children are doing what on each day. This we plan for each night on our daily planning for the next day. A weekly timetable is displayed saying if it is a literacy, numeracy or other focus but again it does not say exactly who is doing what and when. That's the easy bit but she wants to know how, if I was off sick tomorrow would she be able to go into my room and know which children have done what activities that week and which group would she focus teach, who was doing independent/directed activities, whose turn was it to go outside, who was having free choice!!! Her list was endless. she has suggested rotating activities throughout the week so all children did everything and having a timetable to reflect this and an activity wheel for the children to see. Does anybody work like this? My gut feeling is that it is too rigid and I don't want to have it set stone at the beginning of the week. Also if you rotated a literacy activity throughout the week wouldn't

some children have the teaching input for example on a Monday and do the focus activity on A friday - not a good idea!

Sorry to go on but she needs some answers and I don't have them!!!!

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Don't know if this is the answer -

 

can you just use simple tick lists to tick off children as and when they do the focus activities. Put or hang these lists up somewhere obvious in room (often nice laminated label goes down well) so if you were off sick, she could refer to list to see who has and hasn't done what.

 

Deputy also needs to understand that early years have their own curriculum and ways of working - I totally agree with you about not being too rigid and the input and follow up activity not being on the same day.

 

 

Good luck

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I think she is very insecure maybe about taking over your class. Stick to what you know to be right and what feels good for you and your colleagues. They know the children and surely the TA will be able to clue her in. Later in the year we will put the children into groups for literacy and numeracy but the other activities we allow them to visit activities as they wish, we may record that and steer them towards certain activities later in the year. Occasionally we use a class list to record that every one has visited an activitybut its very rare. I,m a deputy and the titile doesn't mean you know it all!

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Hi,

don't know if this will help. I split my plans into separate boxes for each group and indicate which group by the first letter in the groups name. I then put in the focused activities/independent activities/continuous provision in each box for each group. I then indicate if they are going to swap over - e.g. Literacy and Numeracy - groups swap over.

 

Thought I would add a couple of quick questions - hope you don't mind. How many independent activities do you have going on at the same time? Do you direct one group at a time to those activities or allow children to choose it alongside continuous provision?

 

Green Hippo

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Thanks for your reply Green Hippo. I will try to answer your questions but obviously at such an early stage in the year we are still being quite flexible with the children. Once they have been in school a little longer we will plan to have at least two independent maths or literacy activities that we direct a group to while we are focus teachng another group but if other children choose to join in then that is fine. then we swap over the focussed and independent groups. We try and leave the other 2 groups of children who are working on continuous activities inside and outside to have some uninterrupted time on activities of their choice. I have been thinking about this today and think I might start using an activity wheel to inform children what they will be doing next but only in so far as whether they are in focus group, continuous activities of their choice or independent but directed activity. Hope this makes sense. I have been really happy with way Foundation Unit has been running up till yesterday and now am beginning to doubt my own organisation!!!

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Thank you for answering - really helpful, thanks.

Hope you don't mind another question (or 2)? Sorry!

Is all your continuous provision set up as child-initiated activities? Sometimes I like to use one of the areas as an independent, directed activity, for example, using the construction to build a house. Do you do this at all? I then end up with a 'spare' table - if the area e.g. construction is on the carpet and am a little unsure of what activity to put on there - should I put an activity/resources on that table similar to what has been taken up by the independent activity or plan another activity? I usually plan an extra activity which can get confusing - remembering when I need to plan an extra activity - does that make sense?

Also, do you allow the children to have a free-choice of the continuous provision once they have finished their independent task or do you ask them to use selected areas?

You mention that the independent tasks are literacy or numeracy based - is this through-out the whole day even when the focused task is focusing on another AOL? I tend to try to link one of my independent tasks to the focused task if possible?

Sorry about all the questions - I'm getting myself in a real muddle with some of my planning - not helped by having to adapt whole school plans! I seem to be thinking more about how to plan e.g. how many activities/which are child-initiated etc and not putting my energy into the actual activities.

Think I forgot to say on my first reply that I also use a task board which shows the activities and people that the children will be working with but that only helps each day not for the week.

 

Thanks

Green Hippo

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Hi Green Hippo Sorry for delay in replying but managed to get last minute break so have spent last 4 days in California!!!! Now its back to reality.

In answer to your questions we plan all our continuous provision as child directed activities that children can choose from when they are not in a focus group or doing a directed but independent activity. Our directed activities are literacy based when I am focus teaching literacy or numeracy based when I am teaching numeracy. Hope this makes sense so far.

Sometimes we add extra activities if children have shown a particular interest in something, for example last week all the boys wanted to do was to run around the room with the animals so an extra construction area was made so they could build a zoo out of wooden bricks and make cages for the animals. It kept both children and animals in one place!!

We tend to only plan directed activities to last for about 15 mins so children tend to remain at this activity(we try to encourage them to stay) but if they don't they choose from the continuous activities. I think its important for them to have uninterrupted times for their chosen activities so every session some groups are not given focussed or independent activity to follow.

It is very difficult to actually try to explain exactly how we organise ourselves and I am glad to see that other people are in same position. Hope this is of some help to you

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