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I have been given a budget of nearly £5k to buy resources and improve our learning environment. I would appreciate any suggestions of where to start. What couldn't you live without? Indoor space is an issue. I'm after multi purpose resources due to our space limitations. Many thanks

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I'm back in Early Years after 7 years in Year 1, so there are many changes! It's a mixed age class, 20 EYFS and 6 Reception. I have a wonderful full time TA but one of is is always with the Year 1's, therefore I have to have a strong continuous provision set up. We have the basics in class, outside is dire but I've just inherited a butlers sink to begin our mud kitchen and have the Cozy catalogue so I have a few thoughts for outside.I realise how fortunate I am to get this and really don't want to waste it. At the same time I need durable and exciting resources and maybe class dividers with storage too. Many thanks in advance!

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we work in a communication friendly way ...so my space is separated in to lots of small spaces (I am lucky to have LOTS of space) (pre-school) I use the cosy catalogue for most of my dividers ,,,,the outdoor ones are perfect for indoors and then they can go outside in the summer too! I also use the backs of units to create walls and the tops of units for play space.I rarely put items against the walls ...personally I think this is a bit of a waste of space!. We also have two of their outside arches (that can be put together to make a 'space....great for role play or creating an entrance.

I have a 'calm' classroom...we avoid primary colours for the backgrounds and main furniture as I have lots of children with additional needs this helps to keep the classroom manageable too! Most of our toys are made of natural materials...we tend to buy from cosy/tts./myriad/nic nac noo and mindstretchers .Early excellence has some fantastic resources grouped in to areas and organised with storage which might be helpful too.

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Could I suggest this - you do an analysis of the effectiveness of your setting in relation to outcomes.

That will give you a clear picture of where your environment and provision is not impacting on learning so well.

Then do an audit of your current resources - and I mean get into the back of every cupboard! it's amazing what practitioners stash away and there may be things that have never seen the light of day.

Then prioritise and buy enough of the things that will make a difference, that way you can really make your resource upgrading purposeful!

cx

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Many thanks for the suggestions. I spent most of the summer holiday clearing (and cleaning!) out the classroom and sheds. There were 2 skip loads that went of rubbish and yes, I found many brand new things stashed too (including 4 sets of gorgeous citiblocks unopened and a couple of story sacks). I've held off ordering to get to grips with the needs of the intake and get my mindset back to Early Years. I've never had a reception class like this year, they are all so highly motivated and many want to join in with the year 1 work. I also monitor which areas are being accessed and again this isn't an issue, I rarely have to change resources.

 

The classroom is hopefully being decorated in half term and flooring thereafter. My vision is the calmness and natural environment you describe finleysmaid. I've avoided bright colours and over stimulation, the boards are all pale blue. I think I'm on the right pathway I just want to make the correct investments.

 

Thank you so much for your help!

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Wouldnt order from Cosy again this year ...in 2014 my large order fulfilled in 2 weeks...last year 2015 took 4 months to get everything and half had to be returned as broken....great disappointment as they were my first choice for anything but not anymore xx

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That's a shame tish501 - I've heard good things about them.

 

I would carefully budget for outdoor storage ideas within your 5K. I think this is where I have spent and wasted most (of my own money usually) on substandard outdoor storage. The salt bins are great with elastic rope to keep lids up in the day (like Anna Ephgrave uses!) and tarpaulin sheets to cover any units that you might want to use outdoors. At first it seems like a lot of money for storage but then the nice resources that you buy have a proper place to go - not just in another plastic box which looks like the next plastic box with the lid broken!

 

Have fun spending.

Green Hippo. x

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Wouldnt order from Cosy again this year ...in 2014 my large order fulfilled in 2 weeks...last year 2015 took 4 months to get everything and half had to be returned as broken....great disappointment as they were my first choice for anything but not anymore xx

 

It is a shame because their resources are wonderful, but I have found the same thing. Waiting weeks and weeks for orders. One order we made arrived in about six different deliveries over a couple of months. At least they were are nice surprise when they turned up. I hope Cosy can sort out their logistics!

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Wow that is a lot of buying power!

 

We have very little in the way of funds to buy new equipment as most of our funding goes on our staff. (not for profit full childcare provider) we are lucky that we have my hubby who is very good at diy!. he has made us mud kitchens / tables and units for storage along with welly boot storage to fit our small outdoor areas. He made them out of pallets and some pieces of wood from local tradesman so time was the cost as opposed to money.

 

If you look on facebook Pallet Art or pinterest theres lots of simple ways to transform inside and outdoor spaces for very little financial cost all you need is a handy person!

 

I agree with some of the above in that we have had some wonderful looking wooden toys and ended up returning them after very little use due to them breaking. So buy carefully.

 

We had an artist student some years ago come and create / build from bricks / tree stumps and fish tank materials which made a great small world play area along a child height wall which stopped the climbing, but has created a whole new creative learning world

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