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Bttm & Foundation Stage Children In Same Session


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Hi. Feeling frazzled and knew just where to come to ask for some help! We are a sessional pre-school which, until last week, had Foundation Stage children for 5 morning sessions and then had just the BTTM (2 - 3's only) for 2 afternoon sessions per week. Sadly, PM's were no longer viable & we had no alternative but to close the session and let the 2 - 3's join our morning sessions (initially for 2 am's only). That's fine - everyone was very willing and happy to accept the change.

 

We, the staff that is, are feeling the strain though! We decided on a trial period til half term when we would just make a few changes to our routine, observe carefully, & support all the children through the changes. Its our plan to then implement whatever changes we find are needed after half term and hopefully offer our littleys a few more sessions once we know we can cope!!!

 

We have registration (short for the 2-3's who then go out to play in our lovely large hall), whilst the FS children stay on in Reg and get a bit more adult directed time, before joining the BTTM's. Child initiated lasts until 11.00 when we tidy up and go into keyworker groups for snack and a focussed activity relating to our topic. We added a new keyworker group specifically for the 2-3's and there are 2 members of staff involved. At the end of the session we have a short circle time which usually is a story.

 

Today was ok'ish but we kind of lost it towards the end....... and we would love to hear how other groups manage and timetable a similar group with a mixture of BTTM & FS children.

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Hi LJW,

 

We have from 2 yr olds ( and a few children although 2 yrs because of disabilities are at 1-18mth, development levels in areas such as communication).

 

We start the session free play until everyone has arrived.

Have a very short intro song all in a circle, then groups split BTTM in hall free play ( they don't get over monopolised by older ones) FSC group in smaller room for Intro to the day, story, news etc.

 

The fsc group can take as short or long a time as required. Then all ages mix. We have recently focused on adapting the environment to enable better access to the BTTM children ie: very low tables for jigsaws, snack bar/lunch. Lots of mat areas, sectioned off by furniture to promote small secure areas ie for books, brio, etc. We got a very low paint easel as well.

 

Children enjoy mixed age play until noise levels rise :o:( , then we go out for a walk as a full group or have a quiet story in 2 groups.

 

We have a continuous snack bar open all session.

 

The younger children don't cope well with full groups, I notice you have tidy up, snack and then focused activities, are the BTTM children involved in the focus activities? or doing something seperate? In a sense you are having , including tidy up time, 3 consecutive adult led activity/time. This would be too long for young children. The young ones can also tend to get anxcious around end of session, expectant of parents arriving.

 

You are doing the right thing by giving it time and observing, and supporting the change, for the older ones as well. Just try to enjoy the "fun" of little ones, the cute and funny things they do and say, the developing relationships - have a laugh with them.

 

We have recently decided to apply for registration to take children from 18mths, and look forward to it with trepidation xD

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

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p.s. I forgot to mention we do our adult focus activities alongside free play / continuous provision and this works well. 2 adult led activities per week ensures all FSC children have access over the time.

 

Our main input is during free play, interacting and playing with the children in their chosen activities.

 

Peggy

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we take 2 1/2 - 5 yrs...ours start with registaration 5 - 10 mins then freeplay then singing time 10 mins and then snack time, we do groups after that but the bttms go off as a group and play with 2 members of staff then 10 min story at the end. They manage well but we do keep a close eye. :D

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Thank you for your input Peggy and Hali. I'm feeling more encouraged by your comments as I can see similarities in what you do and what we are trying to implement. Any change is stressful, especially if you are trying to be as child-centred as possible. We only want to get it right! Peggy, I will remember your comment about enjoying the little ones........

We have a staff meeting tomorrow and will reflect on how things are going. I'll keep you posted. I would like to hear anyone else's comments too!

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Hi

we take children from 2 and yes at times it is chaotic we keep adjusting the sessions to make it run smoothly.

 

we have got rid of all of our whole group times there is no morning registration, whole group snack time and carpet time is a maximum of 15 mins and half of that time is spent giving out coats and pictures.

 

we have self registration, cafe snack time we offer suport to younger children with pouring drinks but most learn to find their names quiet easily

 

we do a focus activity for the older children and found it better to do it as early in the session as possible so that the 2 year olds where too busy playing with other activities and involved with messy crafts which are also out at the same time to notice. the later in the session the more the 2 year olds tend to interfere and spoil the older childrens play.

 

I have found there are some advantages of having the mixed ages the older children are learning more maturity about being careful and considerate around younger children which is important, I encourage the older children to include the younger children in their play and also to remember that whey they are being silly the younger children copy and get hurt The younger children also have the older ones to "look up too" and its a great engouragement to the older ones to see that they can do things the younger children cannt yet do.

 

hope everything works out for you and you little ones

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We take from 2y9m and are still developing our routine! Currently we have a short register time then free play. During this time we do our target activities if appropriate. We have also put more activities on the floor as I have a real thing about tables! I just feel it isn't natural for young children to sit at tables to play. Sorry!

We then arrange our group time according to the age and stage of the group we have that session, how many are in (Max 24 children) and their mood. Sometimes we have a story time in one group then split for snack and group activities. Other times we split the group so that one is having snack and the other one or two groups have story time. Often we will arrange it so that hte younger childrne have their snack first then go back to free play while the older children do adult led activities then snack. Amazingly, the younger children having free play time has never bothered the others!

They all go back to free play after this time until we come together at the end for 'discussion' and songs. Again, depends on the above factors but discussion can be about the week's topic, about what has happened today or may happen soon, somebody's news, sharing work etc etc.

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Thanks for all your comments - its so helpful to hear other's experiences. So far things are going reasonably well. We're all really tired at the end of the session tho - the staff that is!

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