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Hi

 

I am a PGCE student teaching Reception.

 

What works really well in outdoor play that is numeracy related?

 

Any ideas would be gratefully received!

 

Thanks.

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I set up a school bus with seats and a bus stop. One child dressed up as the bus driver and the other children waited at the bus stop. The children were learning about adding 1 more. Each time the bus stopped 1 more passenger got on. The children loved it! You could use this idea to help the children learn about money, 1 less than etc.

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Hmm, interesting question! I think that the answer is that just about anything can be taken outdoors and be numeracy related!

 

Planning for outdoors takes a certain thought process. The indoors needs to be linked to outdoors, so try to think sideways.

 

Eg, if you are doing a topic on fairytales, and read the story of Snow White, then outside you can have dressing up clothes for dwarves. Seven hats, seven pairs of boots (how many actual boots would that be?), then if you make dinner, seven plates, forks, spoons...........................

 

If you are looking at the colour green, then let's go outside and measure the plants with tape or rulers. Or non-standard measures, like cut out handprints.

 

If you are thinking about farm animals, let's go out and play with the farm set on a blanket outside, and count the sheep. Make fencing for them, and fit two animals for each field. Or put two of each animal in a boat made of the big bricks, and pretend to be Noah in his ark.

 

The possibilities are endless, and just take a certain way of thinking when you do your planning.

 

There are some good books on outside play - eg try Sally Featherstone's series of Little Books for practical ideas. Another good book is Outdoor Play in the Early Years, Helen Bilton, David Fulton Publishers, London, 1998. You might want also to check out my recent book The Thinking Child, as the sections on outdoors and creative teaching would be useful - and if you contact Network Press, you could get to see a copy of The Thinking Child Resources book before I do! It includes lists like 'Twenty-one ways to bring the outdoors in and take the outdoors out." The Thinking Child is now available is some libraries, so you may have luck there. Failing that, if you email me I could cut and paste some lists from the manuscript to send you, but don't tell anyone I said that! :o

 

Hope this helps!

 

Nicola

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Hi

 

I've just been asked for my medium term planning for Outdoor Play. OOps. Sometimes I just take my literacy lessons and numeracy lessons outside if it seems feasable. Often we just take out the wheeled vehicles and use this as part of the Physical Development - moving with co-ordination/in safety/awareness of space. We also allow the children free choice - they might choose to take out the big bricks and build a house.

 

Am I doing it wrong? Should I include everything in a medium term plan - it seems to leave no scope for child initiated/or following a child's interests.

 

I don't know whether to plan for outdoor play just around a topic - my next one being People who Help Us. I thought I could do Traffic Warden :o giving the cars tickets ... pretend one of the vehicles is a fire engine etc. Any ideas would be greatfully received. If anyone has any Medium Term Planning that they wouldn't mind sharing - I'd really appreciate it.

 

Thanks

Harricroft.

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Hi Harricroft,

That's an interesting question...haven't come across the requirement for a separate medium term plan for outdoor play. When we complete our medium term plans, many of the activities we think of can be carried out inside or outside, so we haven't found it necessary to specify. In our short-term plans, we have an "outdoor" box within each of the 6 areas of learning, and we are currently trying to match activities inside and outside. As it is still early days with this planning sheet, we don't always have all the outdoor boxes completed :o

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I've read somewhere that you shouldn't take the inside out nor should the outside mirror the inside. Is that the same thing?

 

Makes planning and provision difficult in my impoverished outdoor area.

 

Anyone got any really good ideas?

 

Susan

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This is such an interesting topic, isn't it? I've heard completely the reverse!! :D That is, that the inside and outside activities should be mirrored in some way, or at least linked. The example I can remember is something along the lines of a role play area inside set up as a post office with all the usual resources, and having a depot outside with large parcels, wheeled trucks, numbered house signs pinned up, etc etc.

What are the arguments for not mirroring the two areas?

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Thanks for that Helen. I'll just make sure to include Outdoor play on my daily planner.

 

I'm loving this site - so good to share fears and ideas!

 

Harricroft

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Helen,

I can't remember where I read this, may have been in "Excercising muscles and minds " by M Ouvery or perhaps I misunderstood but its causing me some confusion!

I think I lent my copy to a colleague when I sent her to hear Marjorie/Margaret (?) speak. Must email her to bring it in after half term and check.

 

Susan

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I was under the same impression as yourself Helen, that the outdoors mirrors the indoors. In my setting we have similar activities going on outdoors as indoors e.g. paint, water, sand, consdtruction etc. We also bring the outdoors in e.g. bikes, planting.

We are in the process of 'upgrading' our outdoor area to further the outdoor curriculum.

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I am so glad that the subject of outdoor play has come up. I am currently looking for ways to develop it and plan for it. I think the weekly planning idea is a good idea. You can then think carefully about what is relevant for that week. I think we have to be careful not to run ourselves ragged with trying to make too many links. Went on a great outdoor play course recently where the tutor had created a 'bag' for people with storage problems containing basic provision items. It was amazing the stuff she had in there eg, Wooden spoons, paint brushes, pegs, shower curtain hooks, dice, duck tape, gardening tools, rollers, skittles, balls, containers, playground chalk, wax crayons, carrier bag strips for weaving, netting (for doing the weaving through). Loads and loads more. Lots of other great ideas including attatching guttering piping at angles onto the fencing to pour water down, attatching hooks onto fencing to hang home made musical insturments from, hanging a ball from string from a height for children to hit (swingball type idea). Loads more. My main concern is, winter is coming. What is beneficial and what is plain miserable for the children and the adult? More ideas please! :o

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:o Skittles are fab for the outdoor area. Make your own using small empty drinks bottles half filled with sand, bean bags can be used to knock them down. I put a bit of masking tape on the playground so the childrn know where to place the bottles. Great for numeracy, how many have they knocked down, how many left?

 

Hope this is helpful. x

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Hi - we've just about started on our outdoor area - which is a tiny patchof tarmac and muddy garden bit with a sand pit in the middle (brand new, covered and lovely - great maths stuff there). Whilst it's been dry we've used it a lot. Have bought some plastic tubing and off cuts of guttering which I hope we can rig up somehow, and the cut off from the piece of ply used to cover the sandpit has been painted with blackboard paint and can be hung up on the side of the shed. Our problem is that the church hall is used by other groups and they don't appreciate seeing all our 'stuff' outside, so as much as possible has to be stored. :o

 

Next term we will be making 'musical chimes' from bits and pieces in parents tool boxes to try and make firework noises (Guy Fawkes and Divali) and/or weather noises (wind, rain, hail):) I think that as long as you can be seen to be using the outside educationally, i.e. not just for the children to run riot in with no subtle guidance from adults, any EYA/Ofsted inspector should be pleased. My MTP doesn't show outdoor planningper se, but my weekly planning does, and I do add to the planning during the week when child initiated activities become important - whether or not they are part of the week's theme. I think it's about time we in the FS sector argued our case more strongly for basing activities on the child and the child's level of interest, adapting, scaffolding and introducing new concepts rather than slavishly adhering to long term, medium term and short term plans

 

Re. the winter weather - there is no such thing as a day on which you cannot go out, I just wish parents would dress their children in warm clothes. We've had so much trouble withparents who bring their children by car and haven't even bought a fleece with them let alone a proper jacket or outdoor shoes. xD

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  • 4 months later...

I love the skittles idea! any other ideas for creating resources from 'junk' would be very much appreciated, as our school is constantly at the.. 'cannot afford pencils' stage. Does anyone else have this problem?

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Hello Min I too have a problem with children coming unsuitably dressed. Last week bearing in mind that all parents know that the heating is not working properly a parent brought a child in a sleeveless t/shirt and high heel sandals. Fortunately we keep a box of fleeces for children to wear but they do have to be washed regularly. I have thought of asking parents to provide kagoules that are left at pre-school all the time. They could be folded up in to a small size. The worst thing is when children come in new clothes and are told not to make them dirty they then spend all morning fussing.

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Know the feeling. The sligtest cold snap and the parents insist they stay inside all day. We do point out on our home visits that we we use outdoors all year round and that they need warm clothes and that has made it better this year, but you always get some dont you-usually the ones who come by car.

Dartybunny, we also have the problem of finance- our budget is so miniscule for the number of children we have, that we always run out of pens, paper etc by this time of the year. I have many times before now bought cheap pencils and coloured pens for the children so that they dont have to go without, but It is guarenteed to get me on my soapbox!!!!!

 

 

Moan over........ :o

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Hi

Our outdoor area has recently been extended but presently it seems just to be our nursery using it. We seem to have been pushed into having our playtimes with the rest of KS1 and we are presently lucky if we get out onto the bikes and scooters for 1 hour a week on a Thursday afternoon (timetabled as a PE session). How do people get around the supervision problem as my TA time is from 9.30 - 2 and with 29 in my class it takes 2 of us just to manage indoors. :o

I would love to hear how everyone else organises their time outdoors.

I would also be interested to find out what percentage of indoor and outdoor play should be child initiated and what should be directed

Thanks

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Hi Judi, welcome in.

You've raised some interesting points really, Should the outdoors be just for the bikes etc ? and of course the answer is no.

Unfortunately all the small equipement I bought last year was lost very quickly, over the fences of neighbours presumably and not returned!

I am aware of all the theory of the outdoors being an extension of the classroom and would love to have a free flow system in operation but staffing is the issue.

Our outdoors is quite uninspiring, tarmac with alittle bit of play equipement and I am at alose as to how to use it more effectively and proficiently.

I would love to hear from reception teachers who are doing this more successfully than me. Help please!

Mundia, what happens in your school?

 

Susan

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:o there always seems to be too much to do and staff are too busy to supervise or work with a group outside. do other people tend to let children play outside by themselves? apparently we used to before Ofsted last summer, actually i keep hearing that lots of things changed in the run up to Ofsted (rather than Ofsted actually making changes!) most of these things I don't feel have changed for the better!

Lizz xx

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I let 8 children play outside unsupervised in Child Initiated time, again I expect this will have to stop when Ofsted are coming, though I'd love to know for sure. Theoretically I can keep an eye on them through the window but in practise it's not often that I get to check!

 

I get outside with them at least 1 session every week & I've got a super Dad who helps out every Friday pm and has stayed out with them in all weathers, what a hero, and the children love him! As the weather gets better I'll feel happier about asking my other parent helpers to go outside too (and I have help for 4 days a week - what a luxury) but I felt bad about asking them to go out when it's wet, and like everyone else I always feel so much pressure to get through the curriculum that I just can't go out more myself. What to do?!?

 

We do also have a roofed area outside, and under it I have a sand tray, chalkboard, skipping ropes, clipboards and a variety of pens, paper, some whiteboards, and until I moved it inside for the garden centre we also had a 'shop' and some food. Still not much, but there was some great play that went on.

 

Dianne xxx

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Good idea Susan.

We have a space issue as the area we have was originally designed just for reception (1 class), as the nursery was in a separate building. Then some wise spark decided that the nursery should be part of the school and knocked it down so we have to share the space too-thats now 100 children.

 

We realise that the quality of the play is so much better when we use the area at different times which means we cant have free flow all the time. Its also difficult to stafff because reception only have 3 members of staff for 60 children.

 

So we share the time between nursery and reception, but when reception are out, the whole class goes out, but the teacher will try to do a structured activity with groups whilst the others free play. Not ideal I know, but its the best we can do

 

We have a much bigger issue over lack of funding.

 

Dianne I am surprised you are able to allow the children out unsupervised, we would never be able to, the slightest accident and we would be responsible and with a huge increase in the number of claims against schools, I just wouldnt take the risk.

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Regarding supervision and children playing outside, we were recently told by our county Early Years advisor that so long as the door is open and the children can be seen through the window, it's ok for a small group to be outside on their own. I was quite surprised by this and have been left with the feeling that it's ok to do this when it suits!

 

As far as resources amd lack of money goes, this was a question I brought up with our LEA advisor. I wanted to know if the government are planning to put any money into the Foundation Stage. She said an unequivocal "NO" or at least 'not at this stage'. I'd very much like to know why so much money has been put into NLS, NNS, NGFL etc but nothing into the FS which is crying out for suitable resources to implement this 'fantastic' idea for an outdoor curriculum. It IS a great idea but without the facilities ie suitable areas and equipment it's very very difficult!

 

I'm going on a full day's course tomorrow entitled 'Developing an Outdoor Curriculum'. I'll let you know if I learn anything useful!

 

Jess

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Jess, are you home yet?

Did you have a good day? What can you share? :o

 

Your Reception staffing sounds a nightmare, Mundia, no wonder you were so cross about your student!

My lack of resources make life tricky. I wouldn't dare put children outside on their own, they're not supposed to be in an unsupervised classroom on their own either.

 

My head has announced her intention of doing a FS audit during the Easter holiday so I'm attempting to prempt this by indicating our needs. What would you not be without? How many bikes etc do you have & how many children are they for?

 

Susan

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Sorry to take so long to report back on our 'planning for the outdoor curriculum' course which took place last Thursday. I've been busy!

 

It was a useful and helpful session where basically as a group we brainstormed the six EG areas with outdoor activities in mind. Amazing how many ideas you can come up with when you're with different people! Our trainer is going to collate all the ideas together and it should prove to be a very useful document. When I receive it I'll try to post it here.

 

There was a lot of talk about how to organise outdoor activities ie supervision, number of children allowed out etc, and I can't say for sure that we came up with a definitive answer as everyone's settings and situations vary. We took along photos and plans of our outdoor areas and discussed what we would like to change. We even planned an area from scratch based on what a 4 year old would like, where money is not an issue! Hmmm, some great ideas but cloud cuckoo land I'm afraid!

 

One particularly interesting idea came up - someone mentioned that she knew of a school where the NNEB's in Reception and Nursery had been given the responsibility of planning the outdoor stuff, a lot of people were interested in this idea.

 

Lots of other discussions but that's all I can think of now. Best thing about it was finding out that everyone is at about the same stage in taking on this idea.

 

Jess

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Hi Jess,

Glad your course was useful - I hope you manage to post the document here when you receive it. I for one will be really interested. I know we don't utilise our outdoor as much as we should and am always interested in finding way to develop this.

 

Harricroft.

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Hi Jessica, sounds like a really good day!

I hope you will be able to post your document.

 

I tried giving the outdoor area to my NNs but it didn't work.

Then I sent 1 of the other teachers and an NN on a course with Majorie Ouvry "MUscles & Mind" author. They came back with a shopping list & I purchased what I could but still nothing!

 

still hoping for inspiration.

 

Susan

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