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Indoor/outdoor ?


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I have a great Reception classroom with an outdoor area. I wanted to ask if you allow your pupils to wander freely in and out or do you direct certain groups to indoor and outdoor activities?

Does anyone have any practical and simple systems for checking which activities the children have chosen, eg sticking their names by photos of activities? My problem is that the indoor classroom is being abandoned by the kids in favour of outside activities, so some days the creative area, writing corner and computerts are hardly touched. Can anyone help please? :o

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I have a great Reception classroom with an outdoor area. I wanted to ask if you allow your pupils to wander freely in and out or do you direct certain groups to indoor and outdoor activities?

Does anyone have any practical and simple systems for checking which activities the children have chosen, eg sticking their names by photos of activities? My problem is that the indoor classroom is being abandoned by the kids in favour of outside activities, so some days the creative area, writing corner and computerts are hardly touched. Can anyone help please? :o

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I would be interested too in knowing if anyone has system in place for checking activities children have chosen. As regards children having a free flow between in and out we have 72 children in our FS unit and all being outside would be physically impossible. the past 6 weeks we have trial-ed a band system where children from each of the 3 classes put a band on their wrist and go outside. The number of bands is limited so in total there were only ever 25 children outside at any time, if children came in then someone else could take their band and go out. This has caused no end of problems because there was always a stampede to get the bands and it always seemed to be the same children getting them everytime. Also some children would just wait by the door all the time to be first to get a band that was being returned and never chose to do anything else. So we have reverted back to old system od directing one group per class outside if they want to go. Not the free flow that we really wnted but it works.

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hey there..

 

in the fs unit i work in we use 'planning bords' this is where we have taken pictures of all the areas the children can choose in the unit inside and out. .. There are numbers next to each picture eg 2 on the creative table etc etc we encourage the children to use the excellt outdoor area especially as we have some very physical boys! they can plan outside only if there is a member of staff outside AND there name card is next toa number on the planning board. we obviously allow for more children to plan outside usually max 16. this works very well.. :)

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We found initially that nearly all the children given free choice went outdoors leaving only the groups working at adult focused activities indoors but this seemed to settle after 3 or 4 weeks. We always have an adult focused activity in the outdoor areaand find boys in particular more willing to put effort into literacy activities when not confined to the classroom.

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hi Lisa and welcome! :D

Thanks for making your first post.I am going to merge your 2 posts!

 

This is a difficult area isnt it especially as winter approaches and staff become more reluctant to go outside?

 

I tried to establish a free flow inside/outside situation with 3 reception classes but in reality it was either all in or all out. Unfortunately we eventually abandoned the system for a variety of reasons but the most successful thing that did emerge that we kept in place was abandoning the traditional school playtime. With longer periods of sustained activity the children were more settled and due to sharing our outdoor area with the main school we tended to go out during the latter part of the mornings and the afternoon.

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I am in a 3 class reception unit with an attached outdoor area. The children have free flow in & out. If children always want to be outside call it your outdoor classroom. Take the learning to them. We use a rota so all staff take turns to support play outside for a morning or afternoon each week & adult focus activities are taken outside too. Having spent many sessions outside I can only say that the atmosphere is totally different and children act differently too.

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I am in preschool not reception but we have recently (September) moved to a building where we can now offer freeflow.

I agree with Ginge in the 'take the learning to them'. We have some children who can be a little, shall we say, 'boisterous'! Since having the option of being outside, they now choose to paint, build and explore construction and role play while when they have to stay in they just wreck everybody else's games unless with a 1-1 the whole session.

 

We only have a maximum of 24 in a session so we are able to allow children all to be out together but I am finding that on wet or slightly chilly days some staff are unwilling to even open the door! We have an undercover decking outside the door so I plan for activities to be there even in the worst weath conditions. I have found that on days that the children haven't been allowed out for some reason they seem unable to settle!

 

I was wondering how it will work when it gets really really cold. Do gloves etc hamper children's movements a lot? Obviously they can still ride bikes and climb but what about sand play etc?

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Hi Lisa,

We have free flow between our indoor classroom and outdoor classroom - and it does 'settle down' once the children are used to the freedom.

 

I think your outdoor should cover the 6 areas too - so your creative area, writing etc should all be outside too. There is loads of ICT you can do outside too - programmable toys, remote control, tape recorders, tills etc.

 

Do you really NEED to check what every child is doing all the time - will this just drive you mad? We follow roughly one group a day, who plan their work, we try and take our observations from this group, and at recall time they explain what they have done. This gives us quite a good picture, over time, of what they do in child initiated.

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I agree we have put white boards and chalk boards on the outside walls and provide a variety of mark making equipent to use. There is always a literacy and numeracy activity taking place outside as well as opportunities for creative development and the whole area lends itself to both physical development and Knowledge and Understanding of the World. Our children are free to work either indoors or outdoors at all times and I confess we do NOT check what every child is doing every minute of the day.

 

 

I have added our revised planning sheet we have a column for the outside area and link this to the curriculum area.

weekly_planning_for_activity_areas.doc

Edited by MARl0N
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Hi,

With all the outside activities - how to you put them onto paper - have you an outside planning timetable just like the inside planning timetable? I do not know what I am doing as I haven't planned officially for outside before but have to now?

Can somebody explain to me?

Many thanks

Dawn

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Hi Dawn,

haven't really got to grips with the outside planning either - well, actually often feel I haven't really got to grips with anything!!!

 

But here's what we currently do:

 

have our continuous provision (covering 6 areas) laminated and displayed outside - got it from this wonderful forum and slightly changed it for our setting - and our fabulous TAs plan the focus activities for the outside area at our weekly planning meeting. We only manage two focus activities per week for the outside area and rotate them to make sure whole six areas are covered over time.

 

We also plan to use the outside area during our teacher directed follow up work sometimes - we block our child initiated and our teacher directed work.

 

Does this make a word of sense?

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Bungalow, do you have a continuous provision sheet for the outdoor area, or are there 6 areas of learning with outdoor provison on each?

We currently have them in sand, water book corner etc. but are wondering what to do outside!

We have an LEA review of the FS in 2 weeks time so would be grateful of any ideas1

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Hi

At the moment i have a separate plan for the outdoor area, which covers the 6 areas. it looks detailed but a lot of it is just copy and paste. I've already attached this to a different post but they both seem to be on the same topic.

 

I've got 27 Reception children, and a smallish outdoor area attached to the classroom. we let the children choose whether they go in or out to a point, but because the area's small, we limit it by using coloured aprons (approx 12). The children can go out if there is a free apron. There usually seems to be 1 or 2 free spaces at most times so there are rarely children inside who are frustrated because they can't go out, but i was wondering what other people think of the sysyem? We're due an OfSTED (as we all seem to be!) and want to get it right by then.

 

Thanks

Kelly

Aut_2.1_Outdoor.doc

Edited by Guest
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Magenta - we do have a Continuous Provision sheet for the outside area that I got from this forum. We also have displayed in our classrooms all the ELGs that are covered (by continuous provision) from the Daily Routines and the Environment. Working out the ELGs covered through our routines and environment took a while but once it was done, it's done for the year and saves such a lot of time.

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Hi there

 

A really simple technique I use indoors and outdoors for checking children have completed a task is a mission sheet ( children love thinking they are doing a mission)

Then I have a sheet with stars on it ( enlarged to A3) with the childrens name in a star, children then colour in their star when they have completed a task. works fantastically, some kids need more reminders than others.

 

Afraid i cant take credit for this, I stole this idea from a teacher I met, but it works.

 

As regards outdoor planning, I was trying to mirror indoors outdoors and had a sample of all areas of continuous provision out everyday, not only was this too much to set up and put away, it wasnt focused enough. Now I have a focus every day, e.g this week we were making shape pictures and 3D models inside so one morning I had a similar activity but different slant, e.g. drawing around shapes with chalk on the floor, outdoor. Not sure if this is correct, HT seems pleased as he feels children are more focused. Bikes are not out everyday but rotated.

 

hope this helps!!

 

charlote :)

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