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Adult led activity's To do or not to do ?!


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I have been told that the dreaded "O" does not like seeing adult led art activities!!!!!!!

We have always done this and was wondering what others do ?

I personaly feel its a great time too have one too one with not only my kkeey children but the other children too.

This week I had planned to do spiders sticking brown wool to make hairy then encourage counting with the 8 legs .

 

The children always do it themselves so I just chat about. The topic we are doing.

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I think if you can justify why you are doing something and not leading a child into doing something the expected way then it's not a problem..........when I took over running my pre-school I had to drastically overhaul this area as staff were cutting out for example elephants and only providing grey paint so the child had no choice in what to do whereas now instead we would maybe cut out a couple of templates but also provide stencils, scissors and free drawing then lots of colours/materials to decorate with so even though the 'theme' is adult led the child chooses what and how to do things - if that makes sense??

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Yes I understand what you mean.

Majority of our children love doing art activities and sometimes if we run out of time (as we have so many children now ) some of them get upset !!!!!!

I try to work with 2 at a time anymore and I feel I have lost that special one to one time ,but this does mean it can take ages.

We have 2-5 yr olds so some are more able than others!!!!!!!!

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Don't forget that Ofsted inspect us against the EYFS. There is nothing in the EYFS that says we must or must not do adult led activiites. It's finding the right mix of child initiated and adult initiated play/activities that is going to help your children learn best..

 

I think sometimes rumours start that Ofsted 'don't like' this or that and that if an inspector has questioned or criticised something at one inspection it means 'Ofsted don't like it'. Every setting and every inspection is unique, so as mrsbat says, if you can justify what you are doing and why, you'll be fine.

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Wierd ...just about to rant about this......I am the owner....manager and I disagreed today....I opened my nursery years ago after helping at my daughters playschool at christmas....where they said' paint this bit grey..that bit white and that bit blue ' where as a childminder 30 years ago, I was trying to explain to the children...this is Mary wearing blue on her grey donkey,carrying the baby Jesus.....I was promptly told off.by playschool staff...'they dont understand that -just get them to.slosh it on ' I swore I could do better so 20 years later money was easier so we opened our nursery......very successfully....but here is the point (sorry long time to get to it).......just lately my staff have got complacent.....where an activity..ie this week space etc....a young, nearly lev 2 qualified,member of staff was asked by the manager to instigate an activity where the children make a rocket each on black paper.....good idea....until I saw her cutting out a lot of triangles,squares,oblongs and circles.....then sat with a group of children and helped them glue on correctly...their contribution NILL.......I was livid.....expecting that children that are capable could have cut their own shapes and finished it off themselves....I have had a word with this member of staff before about stifling the childrens creativity......so not new.....but today was different...my manager SHOUTED at me in front of all staff and children that she had suggested it that this was fine....and that i nag,nag,nag....but i am worried that our children abilities are not being stretched enough....everyday they have a paint or glue activity which to me seems pointless.....would appreciate your opinions.....last comment....manager is my daughter.......

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Hi Chrissie...since you asked what i do !!!

We rarely have an adult LED activity in the creative area....we might be teaching a skill or new method there though. If you are doing activities like you describe i would be careful not to describe it as creative. The spiders sound lovely but are the children exploring their creativity or testing out their maths skills?

If you provided an idea say spiders and then gave them a range of equipment colours textures etc for them to explore then this would be more creative...they might even decide to do something completely different!

When we examine the statements for Ead they are very much about the children making their own decisions and choices...following their own ideas and choosing their own resources. If you can show that then ofsted will be very happy bunnies!

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Wierd ...just about to rant about this......I am the owner....manager and I disagreed today....I opened my nursery years ago after helping at my daughters playschool at christmas....where they said' paint this bit grey..that bit white and that bit blue ' where as a childminder 30 years ago, I was trying to explain to the children...this is Mary wearing blue on her grey donkey,carrying the baby Jesus.....I was promptly told off.by playschool staff...'they dont understand that -just get them to.slosh it on ' I swore I could do better so 20 years later money was easier so we opened our nursery......very successfully....but here is the point (sorry long time to get to it).......just lately my staff have got complacent.....where an activity..ie this week space etc....a young, nearly lev 2 qualified,member of staff was asked by the manager to instigate an activity where the children make a rocket each on black paper.....good idea....until I saw her cutting out a lot of triangles,squares,oblongs and circles.....then sat with a group of children and helped them glue on correctly...their contribution NILL.......I was livid.....expecting that children that are capable could have cut their own shapes and finished it off themselves....I have had a word with this member of staff before about stifling the childrens creativity......so not new.....but today was different...my manager SHOUTED at me in front of all staff and children that she had suggested it that this was fine....and that i nag,nag,nag....but i am worried that our children abilities are not being stretched enough....everyday they have a paint or glue activity which to me seems pointless.....would appreciate your opinions.....last comment....manager is my daughter.......

Well Tish,I hope you tell your daughter to read this thread and the many others like it on here to do with children's creativity, I think you will find that there are a number of providers that would support you!

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Shouting at others in front of staff and Children!!! Wow that's really bad - sorry I know she's your daughter but that is not acceptable at all, and as others have said completely agree with you in regards to the craft. That's not the childs rocket it's the adults interpretation of what they think a rocket is, another adult would have done a rocket in a different way so therefore each child would do their own rocket their way too x

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Tish, how about doing a nice little project on manners........GOODmanners, that is...................this isn't the first time that you've mentioned problems with her ( I recall her telling you off about asking parents to pay their fees!)...........anyway, she needs reminding that children learn by example, therefore her example should be polite and caring. It IS ok to challenge other people's thinking. It is NOT ok to be downright rude. She's borderline obnoxious, in my humble opinion and the more you let her get away with it, the more she'll do it. What a rude young woman.

Maybe you also need to do some in-house training for staff?? Discuss how you'd like the children's learning to go. maybe even have an activity ready for the staff to do.............where YOU have pre-cut everything. Tell them they are going to make a rocket (

or whatever), then walk around behind them, moving the bits they have placed, to different places. Tell them how much nicer it looks now you have moved it. We had this done to us years ago on a training event. It was quite crushing. Imagine how a child feels :(

Edited by narnia
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This may cause upset at home , but I really do feel you need to take your manager aside and speak to her clearly about professional conduct, and that the work place and home are two different things, what she may feel appropriate for home is not suitable for the workplace. That you are related makes it harder as she is likely to take it as a personal thing, but she should not shout at anyone in the setting, but to speak to an owner like that is something that in other places would probably result in a warning, I know that I would have done so when running a setting.

 

As to the creative side of things.. we never set anything up that included cut outs or similar.. When I took over the setting every day the children were given cut outs and tissue to stick on in the correct colour.. screw the paper up and stick it on the shape.. very creative.. NOT... all because of the 'topic' needing something linked in the craft area..

Occasionally we had an adult led activity there, but it was more for learning a skill than for creating . Scissor skills, colour mixing etc etc.. that could then be included in the children's own work..

 

I used to do a training session on craft work for all staff... set up one as they saw craft to be,, all the cut outs plus a variety of materials to use ( as an extra I often used to only give left handed scissors, so it was hard to cut things ).. and ask them to create something.. then once they have started you go up and say no you cannot put that there it has to go here and move it, interfere as much as you can with their work, keep changing things, remove and stick bits where you want them, negative comments as much as you can .. keep gong until they all give up because it is not theirs to do.. next in contrast have a wide variety of bits, and let them do their own thing.. praise, compliment and let them enjoy the experience.. compare the 2 pieces of work.. and ask how they felt about doing each one..

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Ive been on a few interviews in both schools and nurseries lately...when Im greeted by wall display's with scrunched up tissue paper, cut out handprints and almost identical images my heart sinks....children are capable of so much more if they are given the chance.

So far Ive not been in one place that had purely child led art on the walls - not one!

 

It really depresses me that its likely I'll end up having to accept working in a setting where this is the norm...Ideally i'd start up my own but I'm not that brave or rich :-(

 

Tish I think you are absolutely right to challenge it .

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This is one area that really winds me up! When I took over our preschool last September, there was a mentality of needing a 'craft' activity every day, lots of cut outs and prescribed activities etc. I am gradually getting them round to my way of thinking - that children should be given a range of materials, colours to mix, textures to explore, etc and left to create. We can guide them in processes (eg talk to them about what happens when we mix red and green, or help them to use the scissors correctly), but they have to have a go for themselves and see what they discover.

 

As for other 'adult led' activities, we don't really have any any more, apart from things like music and singing sessions (but the children choose the songs), exercising to Sticky Kids etc. We guide, and scaffold, but don't often lead.

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I think the best thing to do is offer as many different resources as possible and allow them to create whatever they like - to be honest I don't like the sound of your spider activity. I like to place provocations in the centre of my mark-making table, like some flowers. As for being adult-let, it's more about trying to get some 'sustained shared thinking' where both you and the child(ren) are engaging in the same thought processes. This often means leading the conversation by asking the right questions and giving your own ideas. Rather than telling them that you're making a spider, ask them what they're making - create problems for them to solve and prompt their imagination. The activities will last a lot longer and they will gain so much more from them. You can incorporate your topic just as well still and if they've been immersed in language and activities relating to the topic, they will probably create things in that topic spontaniously - although it may not look like it.

 

Tish - shouting in front of children is absolutely never acceptable and you need to take action on this. Regardless of that though, since when was it okay to shout at staff anyway? I'm fairly sure that's not even legal. What you should do depends on how much you would like to react, but if my manager shouted at me she would have prompty received a formal complaint. You are definitely right to be kicking up a fuss about the children's creativity being suppressed. Painting and sticking are fantasticly creative activities, if done correctly

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I would agree with what you are all saying. I really believe though that this is where preschools and school nursery settings are different. I'm right in the middle and have been told to do more adult led activities (onky 5 mins) as its now more about teachingand learning!!! i still think that this disrupts their play. Off to visit anither preschool with my line manager which will be interesting...is it more like how I think a preschool should be or school nursery?!! I know there shouldn't be a difference but it seems to me there is..is it that the head makes it so?

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Oh and my children can get anything they want from the art trolley. My butterfly life cycle display has different shaped eggs on the leaf as the children practiced with scissors, the caterpillar body is made from cut out circles that have been painted, çollaged, drawn on in all sorts of ways, my cocoons have bare patches and heavily collaged sections, the butterflies are those where you paint one side fold it over and rub so lots of different ones...all unique...its not the best looking display ...all the childrens own work...and I really appreciate it..not sure others at do though!!!

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According to studies like the EPPE project, there should a 50/50 balance of adult-led and child-led activities in the Early Years. I think the confusion comes when people define adult-led: if you're sat with them joining in with their play, offering ideas and leading a challenging and stimulating conversation then it's adult-led. Likewise, if you have purposefully set out activities knowing that it will appropriate challenge and stimulate them, it's adult lead. Regimented craft activities are a whole different thing.

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Thanks for all your comments,..another challenging day....luckily daughter left home 10 years ago so not in the same house .yes you are right it would be a warning....but how can i issue a formal warning to my daughter...she would walk out and we would be managerless....today another 20 sets of triangles printed ready for tomorrows children.....not sure if i can stand another day of rockets......if only i had the time to do some plans of my own..but being an owner means a I have a triliion other things to do as most owners would agree....xx

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Just try a compromise then to begin with - let her have her pre-cut shapes - but ask her to let the children do what they will with them, rather than her pre-concept idea. I wouldn't want to fall out with a member of my family if I worked with them and depended upon them in the way that you do, but I feel you must press her to take on your ethos and stop making you feel awkward in your own setting, let alone how she is making members of staff feel.

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It depends on whether you are trying to teach a specific skill or enhance some other learning in the setting. For example say it's cutting skills, providing the materials and guiding children with how to use scissors so that they can create their own picture or work or even just spend the entire session cutting paper into tiny pieces so it makes it more open ended because you are just teaching the skill not "we are going to make such in such today"

If you are covering shape recognition then cutting out shapes to stick on a rocket shape is fine but then of course you have to be clear that this is the intention before you start, of course they need to have nailed the first bit before they can do this. So Mrs Messy is your intention is to use counting as a LO then I think that's ok as long as it is clear, maybe you could have different materials out with the wool so they could decorate their spider with something else and get a bit of language observation in there maybe?

 

Tish, I am absolutely shocked to read that, not only is that completely inappropriate for a member of staff to behave like that but also disrespectful to you as her mother. Maybe a twilight session about independent and investigative learning needed for staff so that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet?

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Chrissie, I think I would be concerned if you do a lot of adult led activities of the same type. Doing it once in a while if you have a particular skill you feel needs developing is fine. Offering very limited adult led craft activities on a regular basis is not good practice. As someone else said, this is not really a creative activity. If your intention is for it to be creative, then you need to offer far more resources and freedom for the children to develop their own thoughts and ideas.

 

So for instance, you could print off photographs of a variety of real spiders to show the children. Talk to them about what they look like encouraging them to use descriptive words. In amongst that you could count the legs on the spiders. Then make sure they have access to a wide variety of art and craft materials and encourage them to create their own spiders. You can perhaps ask them if they're going to make a spider with a big or little body, long or short legs, fuzzy or smooth etc. Then explore the materials at hand - do they want to make legs using lolly sticks, pipe cleaners, wool, twisted tissue paper?

 

Some may want to create a spider, some may prefer a different mini beast or something entirely different. The next session I would then leave the resources and observe how the children use them and what they create. I've always been amazed at the wonderful things children make when left on their own.

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I agree with many of the above - it depends what your learning intention is! I do a very few focused activities where the children are asked to make a SIMILAR thing using a specific skills e.g. they made a 'wish catcher' to practise using different joining techniques BUT were given choice as to what they wanted to put on their wish catcher (the wish catcher was the children's idea following a fairy/magical theme). However, this activity was NOT planned as an imaginative activity but to learn how to join. Now, I could have done this as a Objective Led planned skill, but could have put this opportunity in EVERY area of provision linked to EVERY interest going but some children (and you know the ones!) would not come near the resources. All the children have the entitlement to learn different joining skills so we planned it as a small group focused activity to ensure that all the children were taught this skill. If we look into KS1 and KS2 (which I know is different but still should be skills based) in D&T they would be asked to practise different skills for whatever they are building up to make and then they are given the freedom to design and make their own version of something using the learnt skills. It is no good to say at the end of Reception 'xxx didn't get that ELG because he never came near the offered resources' and as a parent I wouldn't be happy with that either. As always it's a balance. I DETEST 'Fluffy Duck' type activities with a passion, especially when there's an adult telling the children WHERE to put each pre-cut shape. I will disgust you all with what they have recently done in another class recently: they looked at Henri Matisse's 'The Snail' collage and asked the children to 'reproduce' this. So not only did they cut out the squares for them, they actually cut out a section with some of the squares joined!!!!! The result is 30 snails which are identical - what have the children learnt? That their art work is only ok if it is an exact replica of the original - is that not plagiarism?

I've put this in another post recently but will say it again: it is very easy to get hung up and the Fluffy Duck problem and I have been there BIG STYLE but a few here and there are not going to harm the children. Ask the staff to always link to something that they want them to learn and identify at least one area of choice. All have a training session, where you ask the staff to produce something creative then lean over their shoulders and move their things around or add marks (how do they feel?).

Green Hippo x

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, since when was it okay to shout at staff anyway? I'm fairly sure that's not even legal.

 

Guess you've never worked in catering then!!! If you made it illegal i would think most chefs in this country would be fired quite quickly :o:D

 

 

Chrissie...sounds like most of us are of the same opinion... and Tish i work with my daughter but she would never shout at me at work (home's a different matter!!!) we have some heated discussions at work as she is a passionate individual and she's strong willed but she knows where the boundaries lie with me ;)

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Uhm no, I haven't! Then again though, if it was a public humiliation it could be classed as bullying. Depends on how good your lawyer is I suppose :P I don't recommend legal action though haha

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I have been told that the dreaded "O" does not like seeing adult led art activities!!!!!!!

 

xD Sooooo.........I am completely anti any such activities - but the I make the very rare exception - for Mother's Day we had planned a 'free for all' card making activity and then at the last minute decided that we hadn't used clay for a long time so perhaps we would make clay teddies for the mummys - guess who came a knocking that morning - yes Mrs O :o ......my deputy led the activity with her usual skill - lots of time for children to play with the clay and experience it's properties + some great measuring opps etc etc - Mrs O was full of praise - not what I was expecting at all :rolleyes: children painted their teddies with their own choice of paint colours - all very 'individual'

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We threw 'Fluffy Duck" ideas out years ago. I've always hated the converyor belt Christmas cards/calendars etc or pre-cut/planned craft activities. However! On the very odd occasion when we may offer 'an idea' eg a dragon puppet on a stck to be decorated as they wish, we notice hordes of children saying...can I make one, can I make one!'........ It does seem that sometimes they do like to have and feel proud of something that LOOKS like.......a dragon? Parents always look thrilled too - ha ha - something reconisable- at last!!! : )

 

Since eyfs was invented they're lucky to get anything remotely worth 'kitchen wall' space - even tho their child has spent a long period painting and repainting with 6 different colours - to make a lovely soggy brown A3 piece of paper with a bit of wool stuck on for good measure.......

 

.,,,,,,,,Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder I guess.....

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Since eyfs was invented they're lucky to get anything remotely worth 'kitchen wall' space

 

I have to disagree here. I do see your point but feel parents' attitudes towards their children's artwork must therefore change. I mean, do I really want a beautiful 'Fluffy Duck' (or whatever) that my child's Key Person made or would I prefer an absolute mess of colours that she did all by herself? Which one is worth my kitchen wall space? Which one would my child think is worth my kitchen wall space? Which one will we enjoy looking back at in 20 years' time?

The beauty of art lies in the eyes of those who understand it

I realise that many parents/carers/practitioners would disagree with me here, which is why it needs to be stressed. Maybe if they could see and understand the energy, focus, skill, learning, pride and sense of achievement held in that soggy bit of brown paper, they may also see the beauty

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We threw 'Fluffy Duck" ideas out years ago. I've always hated the converyor belt Christmas cards/calendars etc or pre-cut/planned craft activities. However! On the very odd occasion when we may offer 'an idea' eg a dragon puppet on a stck to be decorated as they wish, we notice hordes of children saying...can I make one, can I make one!'........ It does seem that sometimes they do like to have and feel proud of something that LOOKS like.......a dragon? Parents always look thrilled too - ha ha - something reconisable- at last!!! : )

 

Since eyfs was invented they're lucky to get anything remotely worth 'kitchen wall' space - even tho their child has spent a long period painting and repainting with 6 different colours - to make a lovely soggy brown A3 piece of paper with a bit of wool stuck on for good measure.......

 

.,,,,,,,,Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder I guess.....

Yes, I occasionally take pity on the parents! We have so many who say they do craft work with their child at home and that the children love it and let's not forget that many of those parents went to pre-school at a time when art and craft work were very popular activities when the staff did do the majority of the work in making "fluffy ducks". Gaining independence and having confidence in one's own ideas is a long road for some of our very young children who are used to being told what to do and how to do it daily - how to eat, when to sleep, how to behave, how to dress and undress actually being given the opportunity to do as they wish - create anything they want probably sounds ridiculous to some of them.

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I have to disagree here. I do see your point but feel parents' attitudes towards their children's artwork must therefore change. I mean, do I really want a beautiful 'Fluffy Duck' (or whatever) that my child's Key Person made or would I prefer an absolute mess of colours that she did all by herself? Which one is worth my kitchen wall space? Which one would my child think is worth my kitchen wall space? Which one will we enjoy looking back at in 20 years' time?

The beauty of art lies in the eyes of those who understand it

I realise that many parents/carers/practitioners would disagree with me here, which is why it needs to be stressed. Maybe if they could see and understand the energy, focus, skill, learning, pride and sense of achievement held in that soggy bit of brown paper, they may also see the beauty

 

I agree Rob, but not many parents do understand how much their child has worked on what comes home - and while we may say, ........ spent so long on this colour mixing idea - parents cannot see past what is in front of their eyes.

 

All the time there are programmes like Mr Maker, or children's magazines pumping out, come look cut, stick this here and that there, or books written with "pre-skills" on them parents are not going to understand that well.

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