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Photocopiable Sheets And Templates


Clare
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I have been reading on this site loads of ideas about cutting out shapes and encouraging the children to do sticking on them etc or people asking where they can find 'worksheets' and was wondering are we actually allowed to use them?

 

At my last nursery, the children were looking at growing, so they were asked to paint flowers but the deputy manager told me that the children had to paint the flower shapes themselves as we were not allowed to provide them with templates to paint on. I then did an activity to encourage counting and number recognition amongst the younger children in the group. They have a rhyme that they count to and it is referred to as their 'number rockets'. So I decided to make rocket templates and encourage them to do sticking with some left over materials from that morning. I was then told I couldnt use them as they were 'not the children's work'.

 

For another theme, we were looking at Ourselves and I thought it would be nice to use one of the photocopiable colouring sheets in the back of the Scholastic themes book, but was again told I wasn't allowed.

 

I asked if it was nursery policy and was told no, it was from our local early years team. I was just wondering if anyone else had had this ban on resources imposed or whether or not I was being fed a line!

 

Clare

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I agree that templates etc, like most things have their place and I'm not one of these that relies on them for activities. I just find that in a demanding environment (which most settings are!), photocopiable sheets and templates can be a time saving resource and quite often enjoyable for the children. That is why I find it so difficult to believe that our nursery would be banned from using them. I totall agree, Marion. Thanks! :D

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Likewise, I think they have a place and some of the children really enjoy them. If I use them it tends to be at group time or 1-1 so I can ensure they get something out of it not just 'colour that' or whatever. I was asking for some linking ones to promote some discussion and to use some control drawing a line between two specific points.

If we leave them on the graphics table for them to do themselves they just colour them in so although they enjoy that they haven't actually got anything from it!

As for templates we do offer them in addition to free stuff. So if we were doing flowers we would perhaps have some ready cut petal shapes, a template to make more nad sheets of tissue so children could choose which to use. How they stuck them together to make hte flowers would be individual....

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We too have been advised not to use worksheets or templates. We used to cut out lots of themed shapes for projects e.g. snake shapes for children to stick or paint. Ofsted were not impressed saying that its not the childs imagination of what a snake looks like etc. I feel everything has a place in moderation. The children are desperate to be the next to do 'a themed project' and love to do 1-1 'work' with their keyworker. I feel that pre-cut templates are good to use providing we supply a good variety of materials for the children to be able to express their own imaginations to decorate them with e.g. paint, shiny paper, tissue paper, coloured sand, material, junk - the list is endless..........

 

Does this make sense?

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That was the thing I found hard to understand with the rocket idea. All I did was cut the actual shapes out and I gave the children a basket with all different colours, textures etc paper. All I wanted them to do was to freely stick the bits onto the shapes but was told that it wasnt the children's work. Left me feeling a little confused! :o

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It does make sense Nicki and I agree with you! I don't see how it can hurt for the children to express themselves in a creative way using bits of paper that I have cut out for them as a basis for this.

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How many times do you find that a child will make a rocket with the junk modelling and then 15 children after that all want to make rockets or you ask a question at circle time e.g. what's your favourite animal and you get 20 replies of an elephant!

Children love to be the same and do the same! Keep on cutting Loopylou!!!

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"If we leave them on the graphics table for them to do themselves they just colour them in so although they enjoy that they haven't actually got anything from it!"

 

Pandamonium,

You say the children haven't actually got anything from it but also say that they enjoy them. Isn't the fact that they enjoy them enough? Does everything we provide for the children have to have an educational/learning purpose to it?

I love colouring in. I find it very therapeutic. I know some people find it completely boring. But I get enjoyment from it. We all have different tastes when it comes to what gives us pleasure and enjoyment.

I know some of the children in my pre-school would not want to use a colouring sheet but some of them do-because they like doing them. Some of them don't ride on the bikes but many do because they enjoy it-and this applies to most of the resources we all have. So is there any real harm in letting them do something they enjoy?

Life would be very dull if there had to be a reason for everything we do.

Linda

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I totally agree Linda,the concentration of colouring in is wonderful,we have a very young child due to go up to school in sept who can be like a whirlwind in session but when he gets to the writing table he loves to colour in and he is so focused and it seems to calm him right down!He has lots more opportunity to write,draw and paint freehand and he does!

Believe in the reasons why you do thngs and stick by them if you can justify it thats fine.

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At the moment I have a child that somrtimes draws a picture first then fills it in with paint. I wouldn't dream of stopping her doing it. I do give the children lots of opportunity for different types of painting which she also does.

Colouring sheets are available for children to use alongside different writing activities. I also have some laminated worksheets available with the whiteboards and I sometimes have an assortment of pre-cut shapes on the art table for children to fill in with pre-cut peices of paper, alongside other activities. Some cut their own paper up for them. A child covered a pre-cut daffodil up and cut it into 4 peices to make their own jigsaw. I feel that children SHOULD be presented with choices.

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Colouring sheets are ok until you get the child who says ' It's rubbish, I've gone over the lines'. Some children get so frustrated when they cant contain their colouring that I prefer not to have them around. I have to say that in the nurseries I've been so far I havent seen any but thats not to say they dont have them. I certainly havent heard they are banned but I think lots of people are deciding not to use them, maybe because they think they shouldnt rather than from any deep feelings about them. I have a few at home for unexpected visits from my neice and nephew and I think thats where they belong, in the childs own home only. I used to work with a child who was looked after by nan and that was alll he did, so I certainly didnt want to continue it at playgroup. :o:D

 

I gave my children a colouring book called 'The Anti Colouring book' you can get it on Amazon and there are a couple of other similar books too :D

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Linda

I agree with you.

"Isn't the fact that they enjoy them enough?" Absolutely

 

" Life would be very dull if there had to be a reason for everything we do." I agree, but with Ofsted it seems there does have to be a reason for everything we do.

 

I just searched through my list of stepping stones and learning goals for the word "enjoy" and it wasn't there........ how sad :oxD:(

Can we add it in somewhere. :)

 

Carolyn

Edited by Carolyn C
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I'm sure I've mentioned this somewhere before but we had a little child who was simply not comfortable when confronted with a blank sheet of paper, which went along with a low self-esteem and apparent insecurity - well he was only 2 when he came to us!!! Anyhow he would do colouring sheets, indeed he and mummy did them at home a lot, so it felt safe. Gradually and with lots of support he became the most confident, imaginative, creative little person who regularly created masterpieces. I think the phrase is 'start where the child is at'.

 

This well known phrase is definitely in the 'Direction of Travel' paper (Dec 05) which I finally found time to read this week. I was heartened to see the words 'play' and 'fun' used too. Its worth a read.

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"I know some of the children in my pre-school would not want to use a colouring sheet but some of them do-because they like doing them. Some of them don't ride on the bikes but many do because they enjoy it-and this applies to most of the resources we all have. So is there any real harm in letting them do something they enjoy?

Life would be very dull if there had to be a reason for everything we do."

 

 

Linda

A lady after my own heart..

Trudiexx

Edited by Trudie
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When we had our Ofsted it was snowing, the children in the morning session (2½year olds) was given a precut snowman to collage with assortnent of materials. The person inspecting us said at the feed back, the children sould have just been given the materials and left to form their own snowmen.

 

Rosemarie

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I feel - that as long as you provide and you have evidence to prove that you provide bboth free creative and guided creative whats the problem.

 

Children are learning both ways.

Free creative[/b] - most of our activities in mark making/paint/junk modelling/cutting activities etc are free creative. They can do what they want, how they want, when they want and the children love it.

[B]Guided creative - We sometimes also provide colouring sheets, worksheets, sometimes pre cut things, pictures of ideas of end products.

 

These are not to take away the imagination of self creativity but to feed it and to let them explore other avenues they may not have thought of.

 

Net x

:oxD

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I'm confident with my decision to have colouring sheets in nursery. As has already been said, some of my children really enjoy them, and there aren't any who I have identified as not having a very varied play session because they spent the whole time colouring. aside from the enjoyment I think it is educational (although we certainly don't use sheets as a teaching tool): children are developing their fine motor skills and learning how to hold a pen/pencil. They are also (supposedly!) learning to replace the lids on pens so they don't run out. I sometimes have random colouring sheets, such as superheros or tv characters, but usually they are linked to our topic: we're currently doing 'growing' so we've had lots of flowers, and next week we will have easter bunnies, eggs and chicks. Colouring sheets are never out as 'the' graphics activity that children must do; they are always free to get out more paper for drawing or writing, aswell as tracing templates and stencils etc.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to let you know, following a recent visit from our local early years team, we have abolished the use of photocopiable sheets and templates used on a daily basis. Since my first post, I have changed jobs and gone from not using them at all, to relying too much on them for writing activities.

Children now have open access to colouring in sheets, but rather than them being set out on the writing table, we now have them where the children can get them if they want to in the creative area.

 

One of my students was very unhappy about the removal of these sheets as she had just spent a long time printing more off and photocopying them, but when she was asked by the early years team what the benefits of having these sheets were, she was unable to answer. She still complains about it, but I'm glad that they are not being relied upon too much anymore! I have tried to reassure her, by pointing out the money she will save on printer ink, but she's still not happy :o

 

Clare

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  • 2 months later...

People may not agree but here's some quotes that express how I feel about colouring sheets/worksheets etc. sorry to go on but I am amazed how many people are still using colouring sheets.

 

PRESTRUCTURED ACTIVITES STUNT CREATIVITY

Activities which discourage imagination and creativity use:

• Templates

• Tracing

• The screwed-up-tissue-paper syndrome of filling in a pre-cut outline, colouring in or using stencils.

These activities are all pre-structured by adults and allow almost no opportunity for the children’s own ideas and thinking to develop. Children might enjoy doing them, but then children enjoy all sorts of things that are not good for them. In the long term, they can even undermine a child’s self-esteem by making them believe that they cannot draw or make things without a template or an outline. Children can become very preoccupied with the ‘right’ or ‘correct’ ways of doing things, and they often end up by learning other people’s formulas. This destroys creativity. Children should be encouraged to develop their own style in their drawings and paintings, models, dances and stories. A child who has learnt to become creative might be rather frustrated and even miserable if their creativity is undermined be prestructured activities.

 

A child who has never ‘had a go’, taken risks or experimented with different ways of doing things, will not become a confident active thinker. Instead, such children only know how to carry out adult instructions or ideas. They do not become imaginative or creative. “Being creative enables children to make connections between one area of learning and another and so extend their understanding.” QCA (2000)

 

“Children’s work is unique and individual. Colouring a picture that someone else has drawn or creating identical cards involves little creativity or independence.

It is what the individual child contributes that matters. We should always keep in mind that the process of creating has more value than the finished product”.

(Featherstone and Bayley

2002)

 

 

In her book; Developing Learning in Early Childhood (184:2004) Tina Bruce asserts;

 

If we as adults force the deepest layers of symbolic behaviour on them, through the transmission-style teaching of early reading and writing, before they have firmly grasped and begun to use previous symbolic-layerings, we actually make it more difficult for them rather than easier.

 

Many children are easily put off. They then become at worst refusers, or reluctant, dutiful symbol users (especially in reading and writing) rather than the confident, enthusiastic and increasingly skilled symbol users that children are capable of becoming.

 

“Creativity is not about pleasing adults or producing adult-determined art, music or dance. While understanding what someone else has done is part of the exploratory process, it is not in itself creative. Creativity occurs when children are able to use that understanding by integrating it into their own work and creating something new. If there is an end product, it needs to be determined by the child and created by the child. Children need access to a wide range of stimuli and ideas. They need opportunities to play with these ideas, incorporating them into their own creations. Practitioners may model and pass on skills and knowledge, but children must be allowed to make things their own.” (QCA 2000)

 

In the past I had observed children’s reluctance to participate in pre-structured activities such as worksheets. I disliked them as much as the children, everywhere we were offering ‘learning through play’ but then would stop children immersed in play and force them to sit at a table and join an activity that they disliked and hurried the task so they could get back to what they were doing. Once I read Bruce and Meggit emphasise that tracing activities or copying letters undermines the process of developing their own code “because the product isn’t their own”, “In the long term, they can even undermine a child’s self-esteem.” I went back to the team and requested we remove them and replace with writing for ‘a purpose’. Some colleagues were perturbed to say the least; they had been using them throughout their careers and protested that “some children enjoy them.” By reminding them that children like many things that are not good for them, and after further persuasion they agreed to give it a try. I couldn’t remove them fast enough, along with templates, colouring sheets, pre-cut outlines and stencils.

 

As I learn more about how the children develop, it is evident that we do not need to sacrifice play in order to ‘teach’ children to read, write and behave appropriately. The structured writing activities of the past have gone for good, and my colleagues have accepted that the environment is more conducive to learning without them.

 

 

 

Bruce, T (2004) Developing Learning in Early Childhood. London: Paul Chapman Publishing

Bruce T. & Meggitt C. (2005) Childcare and Education (3rd.Ed), Hodder & Stoughton

Featherstone S. & Bayley R. (2002) Foundations for Independence, Developing independent learning

in the Foundation Stage, Featherstone Education

 

 

 

In her book; Developing Learning in Early Childhood (184:2004) Tina Bruce asserts;

 

If we as adults force the deepest layers of symbolic behaviour on them, through the transmission-style teaching of early reading and writing, before they have firmly grasped and begun to use previous symbolic-layerings, we actually make it more difficult for them rather than easier.

 

Many children are easily put off. They then become at worst refusers, or reluctant, dutiful symbol users (especially in reading and writing) rather than the confident, enthusiastic and increasingly skilled symbol users that children are capable of becoming.

 

“[/b]The origins of creativity come from the word ‘create’ or creare, which means literally ‘to make a thing which has not been made before; to bring into being.’” (Barnhart and Barnhart cited in Willen et al, 2004)

 

Willan, Parker-Rees, Savage: (2004) Early Childhood Studies, Learning Matters ltd

 

 

 

:o

 

 

 

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I fully understand what you are saying and to an extent I agree with you however I do think that on occasion there is a place for them. I work with sen children who sometimes need the visual prompt of a template to help them to make connections and extend their understanding but this is balanced by letting them on other occasions to be creative in 'their' way which may be to eat it, play with it whatever.

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People may not agree but here's some quotes that express how I feel about colouring sheets/worksheets etc. sorry to go on but I am amazed how many people are still using colouring sheets.

 

PRESTRUCTURED ACTIVITES STUNT CREATIVITY

 

 

 

 

 

Colouring sheets aren't creative..............are they?

I certainly wouldnt use them in this way. On the few occasions we use them they are intended as fine motor activities. The children are encouraged to 'grafismo' inside an outline. Also we never put out a pile of identical pictures expecting every child to produce the same thing.

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