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Developing independence with preschoolers


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I am looking for new ideas of how settings develop the independence and PSE skills of their preschoolers.

I work in a preschool with 2yrs - 5 year olds. We have just introduced a washing up bowl after snack, we have a rolling snack so it is easy for the children to wash up their plate and cup themselves after snack. Some of our staff don't agree with this and think children aren't coming to snack because they know they have to work for it and children age 3 would not be expected to wash up at home.

I dont agree with these views and think its a fun, easy way to introduce independence, what are all your thoughts on this??

 

Also what other ways do you incorporate independence and self help skills into your settings?

 

Thanks everyone!

Edited by Emma_t12
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We introduced this a few years back, after the initial excitement of everyone wanting to do it after a couple of weeks none of the children were interested in doing it except for one little one who would stay there all day!!

We ended up having to wash everything up afterwards too and it basically became a very time consuming activity and so we scrapped it - as it just meant it was delaying a member of staff

Every September I make the suggestion to the staff about starting it up again but it seems to fall on deaf ears :D

Should add that we do group snack so it also became a bit of a battle at the washing up bowl too!

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Personally I don't like rolling snack but only because I believe it is nice to have the social all round a table, all ages, all staff together time. I also don't like children washing up independently a) as it's not hygienic (in my eyes!) and b) I do kind of agree with the idea that they won't bother because it's too much effort! That is just my view though, our emphasis at snack times is very much social skills but that's just how we do it! Children pour their own drinks, help at mealtimes passing cups and cutlery, scraping their left over food into the food bin (teas when it's quieter!!) and stacking bowls, wiping their part of the table etc etc.

 

We don't have any problems with independence, they find their own name card and put on peg when they arrive, hang up clothes, take responsibility for putting belongings in their tray, resource things independently (scissors, paper, glue, toys etc), are encouraged to do own coat, hat, toileting and so the list goes on!

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Thanks for your replies, I don't really mind the washing up after snack...a staff member did mention about it being unhygienic too but I wanted to see if there was any alternatives I could bring to the staff meeting if staff aren't happy with this way of doing things.

We get them to self register with magnetic names, collecting their own plates and cups, pouring own drinks, spreading things where possible, dishing out their own snacks, keeping skins on bits of bananas and oranges etc so I guess we do already have a lot of independence going on but any alternative ideas to them washing up their own plate/cup would be useful?

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I'm a childminder but my over 2's all help lay the table, choosing their cutlery, place mats etc. I cut the bananas and satsumas in half, just take off stalk on strawberries and they peel and chop their own fruit using a dessert knife. I wash up their plastic crockery, cups, cutlery and mats and then bring the draining rack back to the table where they all take turns in drying off the bubbles. Sometimes after cooking the children do the washing up but the water isn't really hot enough to get the greasy (from cake batter mix) off properly and sometimes I have to do them all again.

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Yes Emma you are already covering a lot anyway.

Put on aprons themselves before painting/ water play then take them off and attempt to hang them up

Pour own drinks out when they are thirsty

Help us set up tables and chairs for lunch. They only have to see an adult clearing and wiping a table and they are there to help.

They then all try and rush to bathroom at once to wash hands.

Get their sunhat and put it on or coats in winter

Get tissue, wipe nose and dispose of it.

They are very handy with a dustpan and brush.

At the end of the session they go and get their folders and lunchboxes.

They put their work away in their folder themselves

Tidy up after themselves when they have finished playing with an activity

Wash glue/paint brushes

They even help us do the planning and mark all over it and often make a comment like "well done"if we leave anything lying around.

We have a steep learning curve in September though because we have lost 40 4 year olds and have lots of new 2 year olds.

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I love a rolling snack bar that can be accessed when it suits, member of staff is with the children and lots of conversation to be had, this creates a lot of indepedent children choosing, pouring, etc

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If the staff are worried that having to wash up is putting the child off snacks, could you make it a voluntary activity? That way, if they are keen to get back to playing or don't like the feeling of washing up in water with bits in it, they can just leave it to the staff or a child who enjoys it.

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If the staff are worried that having to wash up is putting the child off snacks, could you make it a voluntary activity? That way, if they are keen to get back to playing or don't like the feeling of washing up in water with bits in it, they can just leave it to the staff or a child who enjoys it.

I think this is a good idea, I think as long as you can get them to scrape off any extra food on their plates or in their bowls into a separate bowl - I tell ours any leftovers will go out for the birds, so bits of cheese, raisins, crumbs etc. I thought they might deliberately leave some behind, but I don't think they do. One of my assistants insisted on putting up a rota after there were arguments over who had to collect up cups and bowls from the tables - but it didn't mean that everyone wanted to do it even when it was their turn! I prefer to ask, but keep an eye out for little ones who might not speak up or are too shy to say they want to do it. Give me a volunteer anyday over a conscript!!

Edited by Panders
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Our children find own name, count out how many cups needed, take it in turns to collect name cards, give out cups. Then self serve own snack from our mini salad cart. We love this piece of equipment. It has allowed children to be totally independant.

Infact teachers from other schools have commented that they would like these too.

We have also shared making snack with the children, this is a great activity to do. Children generally love to help, butter bread, chop or slice fruits etc.

Help to find equipment for enhancements to play.

Help display posters, books, wipe the table, sweep up, put things back in appropriate places, boxes, again make it fun not a chore.

We have years of chores when we grow up.:)

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  • 2 months later...

We are in a mixed room, but our 3 year olds (and younger if capable etc) all wash up. They are included right from the start on preparing the snack, counting it out, cutting it up, laying the table etc. We use a rolling snack which is very social time for us and the children. We have tablecloths , flowers and use real glass plates, glasses, jugs and cutlery. Children are taught from an early age how to respectfully use the materials. This works very well. On the rare occasion an item of glass breaks, the staff in charge of snack calls stop. All children stop what they are doing and the child who dropped the item collects the newspaper for the staff member to sweep up. The children learn it's ok to have accidents and how to deal with using an adult appropriately.

The snack is placed in glass bowls with relevant numbers pegged on. This brings in maths as children identify how much they can have of an item. They collect this using spoons or tea bag squeezers. (Depending what food it is) The children also scrape any food waste in to the food recycling bin.

We apply the same principle to lunch time. We are a preschool and run lunch club timings. We are on a schools premises but independent to the school. We can purchase hot school meals for those who choose to have it.

We were inspected on Thurday and Mrs O was extremely impressed with our snack procedure, particularly as the children washed up after they have finished.

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Blondie we are exactly the same as you...ofsted 4 weeks ago and she said she had never seen a snack time run so well! Kids parents staff love it too! Staff there to keep eye on... Children set table count cups plates..prepare snack..use numbers for max pieces of fruit they can have at one time..them wash up and leave to dry. Introduced slowly and now new children just copy others. Works for us.

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