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Focus Activities Help!


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Hi all was just wondering if anyone could share any ideas on focus activities.

 

At our pack away 3 hour session setting all planning was just focused on individual children however we had Ofsted in Jan and the inspector was quite insistent on us doing set focus activities. (even though from how we planned we could show how, why and next steps to childrens development and that they were all meeting their goals.)

 

So how do you plan for your focus activities? How often do you do them? What makes you decide on doing that certain activity? (E.g, I find it hard to understand why choosing 'random' sit down activity just to get an observation from is necessary when our planning was working anyway for the children!?)

 

Thanks in advance!

 

^_^:D :rolleyes:

 

 

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Ummm sorry I can't really help, I thought we had moved away from planning things because we thought "it was a good idea" and were now supposed to be planning around children's interests and planning next steps from what we've observed about the child, have you read other recent reports in your area from the same inspector ? You'll probably find they've flagged the same thing, even if worded slightly differently :/

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We have an adult led activity each day linked to whatever we are doing that week, generally a book. This is only something short and is generally something to take home so some form of model, painting, picture, cooking etc. it is differentiated so there will be the expectations for the different groups of children! We tend to base these on the 'trickier' phrases of the eyfs so the things that are harder to cover or note in everyday play. Then we have all the child led what we call learning journeys too x

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have some focus activities however they are carried out by keypeople its up to them how often they do them and why, usually a focus activity takes place for a small group of children to address specific key needs

Shame they pulled you up on this! Planning for individual children is excellent practice, maybe the inspector couldnt find anything else to pick up on so had to do something

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my quest for less paperwork' I've stopped doing detailed plans for Adult Focussed/led activities as you could be typing all day what each children could get out of the activity, for them to refuse to do it or staff not getting round to doing because of a million other things going on! If we get chance there is always something that can be done & staff are experienced enough to just do it.

 

BUT I'm beginning to wonder if I should go back to detailed plans because as stated above, I know of a group recently who have been put on requires improvement due to the staff 'playing' with the children not 'teaching' them - this was for 2/3yr olds in a Playgroup.

 

So my question is how detailed are your adult led plans?

And in honesty how often do these plans never happen?! Or is this just us?? :-)

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I do focused activities :ph34r: ... 2 per week :o:P ... whilst I follow the children's interests, I feel there needs to be a balance between this and what I, as the teacher, would like the children to learn. In my humble opinion, and experience, I cannot get curriculum coverage by only following the children's lead. This year I have gone back to weekly topics (albeit very loosely) and have made decisions about what I want to cover ... and when :ph34r: . I really think the key to this is BALANCE; it IS still possible to have C.I. activities and focused assessment and by having a 'topic' the children learn about the wider world - though I am not suggesting that children will not learn about the wider world through C.I.

We have been talking about 'Autumn and Me' - last week we were thinking about our favourite foods - we all loved tasting a wide variety and talking about the textures. Jack discovered that runner beans pop when you snap them in half, so we will be making popcorn next week. The children have been practising putting moves together and imitating movement to the music of Jack and the Giant (Let's go zudie-o) - this came from a child who was stomping around the garden last week saying 'fee-fi-fo-fum' - I had originally planned to have an obstacle course for the children to use large equipment, but that can wait for another time now. We have a 'discovery desk' where we have fresh fruit or vegetables for the children to explore so the runner beans were chosen because of the interest in Jack and the beanstalk. I had a new stool delivered and Mark and Izzy were really interested in putting it together - they used the tools and followed the instructions with only a little support from the adult. By coincidence (?), one of the children chose 'Popoids' from the choosing book for construction next week - this will link with the 'popping' sound of the runner beans and also has instructions for making Popoid figures so Mark and Izzy will continue to use instructions, in a different context. Luke told everyone that his cousin ate 'snails and slugs' when he went to France, so we have been using ICT to look at escargots and to find the country on the map - we also linked this to the Challah bread which we made (spiral/snail shape) when cooking this week. Next week we will have French beans in the discovery desk to find out if they make the same popping sound - and there are the 'links' to France - which will come with an explanation that they originally came from America ...

Back to Focused assessment ...

I have 2 each week and we cover them as and when we can. Staff will decide if there are any children that they particularly want to focus on and any child who wants to join in the activity is welcome. I use pre-printed forms and photocopy 2 or 3 sheets - there is space to add comments for individual children - when the activity has been completed the key person is given the assessment and uses this for the learning journey and next steps

:ph34r::ph34r::ph34r:

 

Mathematcis.doc

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Back to Focused assessment ...

I have 2 each week and we cover them as and when we can. Staff will decide if there are any children that they particularly want to focus on and any child who wants to join in the activity is welcome. I use pre-printed forms and photocopy 2 or 3 sheets - there is space to add comments for individual children - when the activity has been completed the key person is given the assessment and uses this for the learning journey and next steps

:ph34r::ph34r::ph34r:

 

Thank you Devonmaid that's really helpful - can I ask what age group you work with?

This is the sort of thing I used to do but in my quest for less paperwork I'd stopped doing it :ph34r: I know I really need to go back to what I used to do; this 'less paperwork' line of EYFS isn't what Ofsted are looking for :( but am I surprised ;)

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I am a big proponent of child led activities but i would say that there is a difference between adult led and focussed activities. In a session there will probably be adult led bits (story time/singing/games etc) but we do have focussed sessions for those children needing additional help too ...so salt/small group work to improve a difficulty. These are planned around improving their outcomes and as much as possible we will try to fit it in with their interests ...fortunately at the moment we have a group who love singing so we use this as the tool to improve. The planning for these groups is their play plan or salt plan rather than creating another piece of paperwork that way fred might be working on s sounds and jill might be working on turn taking in the same session

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Tbh if it works for the teachers and children there shouldn't be any discussion around the plannning. But who cares about our opinion ;)

We have a weekly or two weekly topic that is loosely phrased and does usually result out of something happening eg. autumn or christmas etc. or the children's interests (pets). We provide 1 focus activity per day on this. We plan the learning outcomes for our different children with different levels of development as well. Not everyone might join in with it but some do. We also add these things into our circle time to ensure that we understand why we are talking about Autumn, what it is and learn words in relation to this. Then our focus activity is on afterwards (eg. collecting leaves and talking about differences in them etc.)

Children's Ideas feed weekly into the continuous provision and other activities in different areas.

Our under 2s do not have focussed activities.

In regards to the pre-printed sheets, i had one member of staff using them and the OFSTED inspector said that it is not appropriate for this age group.

Other than that we did not get particular feedback in regards to the system we are using.

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I work in full day care and we have what we call "key group time" where each key person plans an activity for their key group basmeon their children's next steps. We have 1 each morning and 1 each afternoon. They're not always "adult led" as it may be something as simple as drawing and seeing what the children do, but they're a more focused adult input based on our children's next steps.

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  • 1 month later...

I suspect the driver for this is to get children 'school ready' and at school children will be expected to participate in adult led group activities.

 

We to have a loose theme for the week (in recent training the consultant said she wasn't keen on themes but I find it helps to pull things together). We aim for one adult led activity per session, but as mentioned in another post I'm trying to go down a more skills focused route than activity focused. So my planning currently looks similar to Devonmaid's although in slightly different format all on one sheet.

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