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Organising The Children


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Hi,

This my first post of the year - so - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Just hoping someone out there might be able to give me some advice!

I am getting muddled with focused and independent groups and keeping track of the children.

Our fantastic early years advisor came in last week and put our minds at rest with a lot of things. However, she suggested that we changed our literacy and numeracy sessions so that there is only 1 focused activity going on, while the other practitioner floats to support the children's learning in the areas and the independent activities. Previously, we were both doing a focused task and there was 2 independent tasks going on, while one group was completely child initiated. The children on the independent tasks were able to choose from the areas after having a go at the independent tasks. The children who were on the independent tasks would then swap with the focused groups. Often, the independent tasks were differentiated to some extent.

My problem now is that having 5 groups, it is difficult to get through 3 groups in 1 session which means that it would take 3 days to get through all the children (30). If I try to do 3 groups I get in a muddle about who's done which independent task. Our advisor suggested letting them choose but I feel that the children need to have some direction to independent activities some of the time, especially if they are supposed to have around 50% CI.

Please, please, please would you share your practice - how many focused and independent tasks do you expect your children to do? How to organise 5 groups - would I be better with 6?

My other question is - do you use your areas for independent tasks or are they table-top based with different resources? If you do use your areas, do your ask other children not to go there? As my classroom is small, my areas are small - for 3-5 children so I could not send a whole group there at one time.

I have tried out different ways of organising the children and if I write them down it resembles a mathematical equations! I end up feeling frazzled by the end of the day - working out who's done what!

 

I love being in reception but at the end of each day I go home thinking of a different way of organising it - I desperately need something consistent for the children.

 

I hope that you can make sense of my ramblings, I could have done with a whole week with the advisor not just an hour and a half!

Thanks,

 

Green Hippo

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We had the dreaded OFSTED last week and it prompted us to count how many activities we offer the children in a day. The answer was a staggering 27! There are 4 adults and 65 children. One adult floats while the other 3 offer adult led focused tasks. The way we work is one adult offers literacy activitiy in the morning to the older children while another offers a numeracy activity to the younger children in the afternoon the older children have the numeracy focus while the younger children have literacy. By ensuring all children have whole class sessions and complete the adult focused tasks we are meeting the 50% (OFSTED confirmed this) Hope this is some help as I realise your situation is slightly different.

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Hi I don't think I will help you much because we work in a different way. But here's to sharing....

 

Our 'basic' day -

 

teacher input to whole class (could be MD CLL KUW etc)

whole class do child initiated with teacher and TA doing observations and interacting, etc

Fruit time with story or phonic input

playtime

Teacher input to whole class with follow up group work - differentiated. Teacher works with one group, TA with another, 3 on teacher directed tasks. Sometimes we rotate (but never manage all 5 groups because of time) Most times we just work with one group.

Lunch

much the same in the afternoon.

 

Does this help? As you can see we are quite slow paced.

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Our basic day is:

 

3 short carpet sessions (usually shared big book, phonics, and maths input)

 

1 focus CLL or MD activity (3 x CLL a week and 2 x MD)

Other activites planned for the week in other areas (usually CD) take place throughout the week.

 

1 adult supports focus group whilst other floats or supports CD etc. The rest of the children are on Child Initiated activities (can usually free flow between indoor and outdoor).

 

1 session a day is usually taken up with PE or Music or Computers or soft play etc.

 

BUT...

I know the children are meant to get Child Initiated play - but I don't know if I should be directing them a bit more (don't at all at the moment unless they are on one of the focused activities (in total get about 6-7 a week).

 

Any ideas?

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We had the dreaded OFSTED last week and it prompted us to count how many activities we offer the children in a day. The answer was a staggering 27! There are 4 adults and 65 children. One adult floats while the other 3 offer adult led focused tasks. The way we work is one adult offers literacy activitiy in the morning to the older children while another offers a numeracy activity to the younger children in the afternoon the older children have the numeracy focus while the younger children have literacy. By ensuring all children have whole class sessions and complete the adult focused tasks we are meeting the 50% (OFSTED confirmed this) Hope this is some help as I realise your situation is slightly different.

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46750[/snapback]

 

Sorry but am I missing something here? How can you have 65 children with 4 staff. The ratio is 1:8 which means 32 children max!? unless you are super woman surely yu can't cope!

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Thank you all for your advice. I have tried out whole mornings of Literacy or Numeracy - 3 numeracy and 2 literacy this week and 3 literacy and 2 numeracy next week - as suggested by our advisor. Last week was really hard work which, I think, was due to me directing the children too much and getting really muddled about who's done what. This week it has been FANTASTIC - these are the first 2 days I have come home and could honestly say I've had a really good day. I have always enjoyed my time with the children before but have always come home with some worries or feel the children have not been settled etc.

What I do now is: 1 focused activity (Lit/Num), 1 directed task (sometimes differentiated), 2 other directed tasks which are set up in the areas. I only direct groups to the differentiated task and allow them to choose to do the other 2 tasks. All these tasks are Lit/Num based depending on the focus. Then we have all the other areas as child-initiated with enhancements linking to other areas of learning. All though it sounds a lot written down, it means I only have to worry about where 2 groups are at any one time. There is always one of us (either myself or the TA) to float, interacting with the children and observing. I have found that as they have the whole morning most children have a go at the other directed activities anyway. I may introduce some sort of self-tick sheet to encourage more children on there. The floating person also invites those children who are always in one area to have a go at one of the directed activities. My afternoon's are a little different due to only having support on Monday and Tuesday. So I do P.E, P.S.E and a fine-motor skills session where I have self-chosen directed activities as well as child-initiated. I tend to do lots of observations then. On Monday and Tuesday both myself and the TA have a group to do KUW or CD and I set up directed activities which link with the focused activity but allow the children to choose where they go (including continuous provision). Again I find that most children will try all directed activities.

 

Thanks again for all your support,

As we often find out on this forum - everyone does it slightly differently - it's great to read about other people's practice.

Green Hippo.

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