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Am I Cheating The Children?


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Morning all


I am feeling a bit disillusioned today - yesterday i spent most of the day trying to sort out our timetable and it left me asking myself - 'my god what are we doing'



We have 44 children 2 teachers and 1 nursery nurse we operate as 1 class. Our day seems to be very rushed i am forever going home felling like i have rushed through the day and have not given children enough quality time.

Our routine at the moment consists of 6 focuses through the week.

Each week i do the literacy, KUOW focus.

The other teacher does numeracy and physical focus.

The nursery nurse does the PSE and creative focus.

We have 3 sessions set aside each week in the hall which we use for P.E a movement and a music session.


It takes all week to geth through 44 children on each ativity and more often than not by the end of the week we stilll have not got through them all.


At the moment i feel like we are rushing through things to 'get them done' I don't feel like we are spending quality time with children at activiites and i really feel like the children are missing out.


I absolutley hate the fact that i go home at night and think to myself the only time i may have spoken to that child today was to say good morning in the register.


Please can anyone offer any advice or their opinion on our routine - are we crammng too many focusses into one week?


I would really appreciate your comments as i feel like we are really doing the children a big disservice at the moment.



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I can completely understand your feelings, and have been there myself.

Suggestion: plan over 2 weeks instead of 1.

The children will benefit hugely!


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This is something i have benn thinking about doing - you could just help me queries i have about dping this

free flow activities - do you keep the same out for the 2 week or do you change them and if you change them do you still keep some of them based on the theme.


Also would you suggest we did say lit, num, physical one week and the creative, pse, kuow the other for example or would you start all 6 and just take them all over 2 weeks - my only concern here would be for lit and num only doing these every other week - would this be allowed?



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Could you maybe do a lit & num focus each week & do KUW & PSED during week 1, then CD & PD during week 2 & so on. But your planning will show that ALL areas of the curriculum are available for children through their independent play.

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My ratios are nearly the same as yours Lola, although we do have a few days when we have students. They don't usually do the focus activities but it means more support with free play. We also have some time from our Learning Mentor, usually for named children.


We face the same problems though. We usually do a CLL or MD focused activity everyday (although some things like writing are carried over 2 days). It is sometimes a struggle, but we try to keep them short. However, I must admit sometimes I feel we are sacrificing quality for quantity. But there's just so much pressure to achieve certain standards by the end of the year (in all schools I think).


We also do 2 focus activites from other area, which we usually just pull the children in for (most are very keen to do these). We usually do a KUW based activity one week, and a CD the other. For PD and PSED we do these everyweek, (PD - 2-3 x hall sessions, plus all our outdoor stuff and fine motor free choice activities; PSED - ongoing plus 2-3 short circle times).


It's a lot to get in, and often feel like I'm rushing thorugh and some things are very bitty! would be interested to hear what others do.

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Lola, I'm in Nursery so operate differently to you but just wanted to say that anyone who is as reflective about their provision as you is most certainly NOT cheating the children.

Love Barb

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Dear Lola,

It sounds to me that you may feel that you are cheating the children but you are not. I think we all feel that, I know I do and I work in a nursery and have the luxury of having a much higher adult child ratio that sometimes I think that I haven't had a 121 with some of the children - but I also have to reflect on what they are doing and some of them have been so busy that they haven't necessarily wanted that 121 - but as you say reflecting on this I am sure you then flag up those children for the following week to do a bit more with don't you, I know I do. It is hard when you feel the pressure being brought down from the top for all the children to achieve but you know as well as I do that they are achieving an awful lot, even though you may not be having a direct input into what is seen as something tangible.

Perhaps one way might be looking really hard at your free play areas and ensure that they have access to those things that you feel perhaps they are missing out on by not being able to give them that 121 and work with your NN to ensure that she is expanding and dveloping the children through this area by stepping in and extending their play in this area. I am sure you do this anyway but sometimes actually getting down to their level on their own terms can bring about an awful lot of learning even though it is driven by the children with a small amount of help and input from an adult can make a lot of difference, especially when the free play is going a bit pear shaped. You should use her as I am sure she has loads of experience, she can obviously make short quick observations on where a child is that can help you. The children often choose from the cupbaords what they would like in their free play areas and this often helps as this is used as the starting point for extending their learning as they have chosen it and sometimes they just need to know how to use it properly and its amazing what they do with it once they have this knowledge.


I think all primary teachers do a fantastic job - so keep at it - and remember you cannot do everything all at once, but you are reflecting on what you are doing and I am sure by doing this you will move your practice on to where you feel more comfortable with it and not so feel so pressurised.


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