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What Is Child Initiated?


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we are trying to have more child initiated activities in our setting for us to observe. Does child initiated mean empty table tops etc and children choose whatever they want whether this be drawing, a game, painting or cars etc.. or does it mean putting something out such as paper, glue, selotape scissors but letting children choose what they want to do with it?

 

Lola

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Hi,

 

We plan most areas, having time each day to ask what children want. This could be today, tomorrow etc - equally, we will change planned activities if children ask.

 

Basically, however, I think it really means having lots of choices readily available to children, so they don't have to ask!! If that's the case - don't be afraid of empty areas!

Sue :D

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I see CI as providing whatever the children want, need to develop their play. If they ask for something or I think something else will help I get it. I know that sounds like I give what I think they need but I dont really. I see it as observing and being ready to follow their lead. Sometimes it's just about the language I use while they do something. Does that make sense? :o:D

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Some activities come from CI. Quite a lot of our children have been playing at picnics recently. They have been taking the food out of the home corner and laying a doll's blanket on the floor and setting up a picnic. From this we are going to develop their interest and experience by having a park as our role play where they can go to in order to have their picnic. We sat all of the children down this morning and talked about what they want to put in this area. I would say that 90% of the ideas came from them with very little prompting.

Linda

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I agree with the above, it is about the children initiating their own ideas.

 

It is about resources made available to them, a mix of resources set out ( understanding that if an adult decides what to put out they are subtely affecting what children may choose & do) and a choice from accessible draws, boxes etc that they can choose from, and the option to ask for something knowing that they will be provided with it.

 

It's equally about the adult role which is mainly to observe and follow their lead, then to interact in a way that embraces their ideas ( which shows we value them), to support and not direct their play to an adult intended goal. To be sensitive whether to add more resources if we think they will extend the play in terms of learning or maintaining the childrens current focus for example by recognising there isn't enough equipment for the number of children wanting to play a particular role.

 

It's also about timing letting a child play their own course, for however long it takes, or equally to recognise that just because a child flits from one area to the next doesn't nesecarily mean that the child has changed focus, he/she may just be using the whole environment to support/resource/house his/her play focus. And to recognise that some children may change from one idea to another and then return to the original idea, that is why observation is important so we don't tidy away around too much as this may disrupt their ability to return to resources that has previously fitted with their idea.

 

I always think about if I walked into a room, saw some people and some equipment, then what?

 

I would initially have an idea..........What would I need, resources, time, someone to share my idea with... if I'm interupted I might lose that thought. If I'm interupted I might start to follow others ideas and lose my own. I am a leader, ( maybe when I was younger I had lots of opportunities to try out ideas, which has given me knowledge and confidence) I like to try my ideas out and come to my own conclusions, this does take time. I also like to "work out" my ideas by myself sometimes, without interuption, other times I like to share my ideas and talk them through with others. I'm not very keen on people dismissing my ideas, ignoring them and worst still changing them. I convey my ideas through action more than words.

 

Peggy

 

Peggy

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Child initiated= jobs that the children plan to do themselves, then they find the resources they need and carry out the activities, asking for help in needed.

Adult joins in with the activity at their level and makes helpful suggestions and asks questions where relevant. ie explains rules in a board game, show child how to use hole punch,etc

At beginning of week adult may suggest good ideas for jobs but the children do not have to do theses jobs. We often make extra resources from a previous adult led task and have those available to hand in case the children want to do these.

Trudiex

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I think the term has to be used flexibly. I'm all for children becoming independent learners etc, and I always aim to provide lots of opporunities for them to do this. However, I do also plan specific activities like most people, and for some of them I do expect all of the children to complete them. Howver, when possible they are geared towards the children's interests. e.g. one little boy loves Thomas the Tank. He's not intersted in any adult led stuff, but really needs to develop some of his basic skills, e.g. cutting / writing name. So, when possible, we base our activities around Thomas, e.g. writing his name on his own train etc. He absolutley loves it then!!

 

I don't think you should worry about conforming exactly to what everyone else does, and I think it's very hard to precisely define many terms in early years. What works for some schools / classes won't always work for others for various reasons. We're all creative in our own ways, and as long as the basic principles are the same, we'll still be giving children similar opportunities.

Edited by Guest
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