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Children's Own Toys At Pre-school


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Hi

 

Before we discuss this at our next staff meeting so that we all have the same approach, thought I would ask you all how you handle the situation.

 

Generally we encourage children to put their toys/treasures from home in the showing box to keep them safe and enable children to explore what we have on offer.

 

We have 3 boys who bring in their power rangers to play with together during the session. On the one hand it's great that they have a shared interest, are playing well together and they use the power rangers to enact scenarios.

 

On the other hand they are not exploring what we have to offer, they don't want to share their toys when other children become interested because they are theirs, their imaginative play can raise the excitement level to near boisterousness and when they are asked to tidy up they are hindered because they have one hand at least full of power rangers.

 

Would Ofsted take the view that this is where they are now, this is what they need and they should be allowed to persue their interest?

 

Would be very interested to hear what you think.

 

Many thanks

Deb

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We allow children to bring in their own toys but not to play with. We orignally said they could bring them for sho and tell. However we found none of them really wanted to talk about hteir toy but just liked the security of having it in school so now we keep them in a special treasure box and they are not allowed to opeb the treasure box until we say a spell at the end of the day to 'release the toys.'!!!

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Hi Deb

We don't encourage the children to bring toys to pre-school unless it is their birthday or something really special. Whatever they bring has to go in the home box. We spent three quarters of an hour looking for one child's special bunny the other week-which she had spent the morning tossing all around the place and it had gone under the computer. She was nigh on hysterical by the time we found it. I put my foot down at that point and said that it either went in the home box or it didn't come at all. It spent three days in there and we haven't seen it since.

Linda

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Hi Deb

In our preschool children put any toys they've brought in in a laundry-type basket just inside the hall and then collect them at the end of the morning. We don't let them play with them as in the past we've had toys broken by other children and often a child would put their toy down and then it got put away with our toys. As a result we then had an upset child at the end of the session who couldn't find their toy. The children accept this rule quite happily.

 

Anita

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Hi there

Good question, we allow children to bring toys in from home, and encourage them to share with others etc

 

Sometimes they bring them in and then forgect about them, and we put them away for later, or else they have one hand full like you said! Depends how much of a problem it is for you, maybe you can ask parents for them to bring a different toy in to your setting?

 

Or if they toys are causing problems preventing them joining in, eating lunch or tidying up maybe they can sit somewhere to watch or go and help someone else?

 

With regards to ofstead I think that you need to look at how long your children are in your setting, if there spending 2h and just play with power rangers then their not getting much out of it are they? Could you look at superheros as part of a theme with the children and look at other types of "role models". Sometimes I think we can often provide girly type themes that dont offer exciting activites for boys, that they need.

 

 

Be interested to know how you get on.

Akire

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Our 'policy' is to not let children bring in their own toys to pre-school unless, like Linda mentioned, there is a special occasion such as a birthday etc. The children tend to argue too much over the toys that are brought in from home or they get broken and then the parents are coming to me and getting upset because the toy has got broken (its invariably the child's favourite) and it's all my fault because I'm the manager and I should be watching them!

 

I repeatedly write on newsletters that chidlren are discouraged from bringing in their own toys but some parents refuse to take any notice :o

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Interesting question Deb,

We have children bring toys in and they are able to show and tell, but for the rest of the session they are put in the kitchen to stay safe. The child can see their toy and are sometimes seen standing at the safety gate checking to see if it is still there.

With regard to the ranger toys, why not get some of your own supplies, then it isn't a matter of "It's mine", the children treat them the same as any other equipment ( ie: tidy up time). This also says they belong to everybody.

However, in the past I have allowed children to share their toys with others and if there is a dispute I always ask "who do all the preschool toys belong to?" they reply "everyone" I reply, "No, they belong to me and I love sharing all my toys with all of you" Can you share your toy, if not, and you want to keep it safe until hometime then it needs to stay in the kitchen.

I always say to parents that I am not to be held responsible for any damage or loss of toys bought into the setting.

It's not much of a problem but we seem to have phases ( like most groups, I'm sure) of particular children who appear to have a need to bring toys in,for whatever reason, comfort, sense of pride, sharing similar interest with peers etc.

Ofsted should be happy if you are, and can justify/evidence, with observations that the children are gaining some form of knowledge, skill or attitude through having their own toys in the setting. I don't think we should stereotype any type of toys as having a particular affect on children ( ie: action toys/guns/girly toys etc) Observations can show that children experience quite complex co-operative play with toys labelled as "just for play", or "non-educational" such as "rangers etc.

Why not do some observations of the children with their toys, without these particular toys, or with that type of toy but owned by preschool - compare the observations to see how these varients really do affect "quality of play and learning"

 

Peggy

 

p.s. bet you wish you hadn't asked now, yet another marathon from me :o

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We too have problems with toys, mainly just being 'lost' at the end of the session, so we ask them to sit them on the piano (so they can see them) and make sure they go home with them at the end of the day! I have spent several evenings searching for their favourite teddy/toy because they needed it to go to bed! I'm usually the 'hero' at the end of it for helping re-unite their toy, but it does get difficult sometimes.

We have one girl at the moment that brings in an array of handbags - she's permanently got one hanging off her arm, but has given her the confidence to mix with others, so we don''t worry about that. The only thing that did cause alarm is when she had a book about 'willies' in it! Apparantly given to her by an older cousin :o we put this on the piano and handed it over to one very embarrassed mum at the end of the day!!!! (After most of the staff had had a good look!) :( :wacko: xD:D:(:(

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I remember our boys having a power ranger phase and it drove me up the wall!!!! :o they got so boisterous and when we took the power rangers off them, the boys just play fight which was worse! at least with the power rangers the boys are developing their imagination in a safe way.

Part of me just wanted to put the power rangers in the bin and make the boys do something constructive with their short time at preschool but in the end we decided that if the children are playing with the toys then work with it and utilise the fact that something has got their interest it wont last forever.

 

like peggy suggested we got our own power ranger figures and told the boys to leave theirs at home which they did do and it was a great help. We could make the boys share, put the toys away if we wanted, over time the novelty wore off and they did start to play with other toys.

 

what would Ofsted say? they look for child initiated learning so observations and session planning can include ways to incorperate the power rangers into many stepping stones and ELG's

 

since our power ranger phase we formalised our toys from home policy we let children bring toys but we warn parents that we wont be held responcible if toys get broke, some of our children are only just 2 and some still have comforters, teddies and blankets which frequently disapear into the dressing up box or home corner. Children are told they must share or put their toys away. and that tends to work.

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we have a red box that is given out when they leave,we too have a boy who brings in the latest power ranger,or fighting toy.He talks all the time of fighting games on the computer!All I know is he cannot concentrate,has terrible table manners and struggles with jigsaws and pencil control.Pre-school is where he is able to learn these skills!He also quite understandably will not share his latest new toy with anyone!The short time on the mat at the end while he has his toy on his lap is mayhem!

He has plenty of opportunity within our setting to role play all his 'boyish fantasies' my opinion is he can save the power rangers for home.(I do always show an interest when he wants to show me his latest prize though!)So my advice to you Deb is keep them in the box or if that would be too difficult to put in place for rest of term perhaps they could have half hour when they are allowed to play with it.Ours know no difference and never ask,however our little children do keep their own toys at the beginning to help them settle luckuly they tend to be soft toys!!

ps.I have had 3 boys who all went through the ghost buster,turtles and power ranger phase if my post reads a little anti boyish!!!! :D

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I think we all probably have this problem, we tend to let the visiting toys sit in the window and watch until home time, unless of course it is an interesting theme-related show and tell toy, which is encouraged. My son is obsessed with Power Rangers and I had never thought of it as a positive for him exploring and using his imagination, its the play fights I hate - I have tried lets cuddle our power ranger!? - Obviously it doesn't have the same effect, I also try to pick up on the more positive ascpects of Power Rangers, they are supposed to be 'Goodies".

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Children and parents are told at their induction sessions that we don't want children to bring in favourite toys unless we ask for theme related things for the child to talk about. Each child has a turn to have a "Special Day" Parents are given a sheet explaining what to bring in. e.g. fav toy, video, book, activity,photos.these are shown at circle time then put away.

Sometimes a child will bring in something to show me at the door, after I have finished looking at it I ask the child to give it back to the parent as it could get lost.

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We have always had the teddies/blankets comforters which have sat on a shelf in full view of the children and they are able to have a quick cuddle or keep it with them for a while if needed.

 

More recently we have found that toys have been brought in more as a comforter than something to be played with! We have one little boy who comes every day with a vehicle of some sort. It has enabled him to gain confidence and part from Mum, the tractor/car or whatever is duly admired by staff and the child puts it on the shelf and happily goes off to play.

 

Our policy now is that children can bring 1 toy of their choice if they wish and it will be put on the special shelf but that we cannot guarantee that it will not be broken by over ethusiastic children admiring it. xD

 

Having been through dearly loved items that have inadvertantly been lost or packed away with pre-school resources it works well :D Just this week I started admiring toys on arrival and suggesting it was sooo special perhaps Mummy/Daddy could look after it and keep it safe in the car and bring it back at home time and was surprised by the number of children who thought it was a good idea!

 

I suppose we just go with the flow really depending on each child (and the toy in question :o ) and all in all toys from home don't really cause any problems

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Many thanks to you all for your replies, much appreciated as always.

 

We decided today that we would ask children to put their toys safely in the showing box until home time. We also agreed that we should come up with ideas to try to meet the needs of these boys in different ways.

 

Deb

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