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Reception/year 1 Help!


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Well after me posting a thing about reception/year 1 classes while I was on the job hunt, I'm now living it, and after 3 weeks in, I'm finding it tough to balance the work. The school I work in is a 40 intake so there are mixed classes throughout the school. I think I have to have the hardest job in school with a mixed R/Y1 class. I have 9 reception children and 17 year 1 children including one with severe autism who has full time support. I have a number of academically struggling kids in my year 1 group and some who are pretty good, the same is true for my reception, one in particular REALLY struggles with most things. I'm struggling to find the balance of activities and coping with the space. I think R/Y1 classes work well for a larger number of R and few y1s who benefit from play activities, but the way the school runs it, is that this class is quite a formal class with only 2 timetabled slots for 'structured play'

 

Are there any other people around in a similar situation to me?

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Hi there Nichola. Yes there seems to be lots of people here with similar difficulties, but do remember that you are still settling into the job so there are bound to be some problems as you get yourself into a routine.

We also have the one-and-a-half year group intake so I know how you feel. Your year strugglers will probably benefit more from a FS style curriculum- has the foral timetable ben imposed on you or do you have some freedom to make changes. If so, make them according to what you know is better for the children. Do you have any other support? That would make it more manageable. Im sure you wil have read the other topics that have covered this?? If not, check them out, whilst you are waiting for a better response...

 

And try to keep smiling.... :o

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I put out a plea for help in this area a few weeks ago. I have a class of 15 Reception and 15 Year 1 ( our total intake for each year group). Up until this year I have run two parallel groups within the class with the TA working with Year R (planning done together). We had two Ofsteds working in this way but now out Early Years Advisor says that the Year R should have equal shares of my time. I would like to work in a more informal way with Year 1, but am not sure how to go about it, especially as we are a high achieving school. We have just moved into new buildings and have lost some space (we will gain some when our outdoor area is finished) and are suffering from the noise of child-initiated play while Year1 are trying to work. It is not an easy task!!!!!

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sorry that we might have missed your original posting, so thanks for drawing it back to our attention

 

Have you had a chance to look at the other discussions yet in this area?

Your adviser is right hat you are responsibla for your children and they have an entitlement to share you time. But were there any explicit objections to the running of parallel groups? For example couldnt you and your TA swap over daily so that both of you get opportunties to work with all of the children.

And does being a high acheiving school mean that you can't have a more informal curriculum, or are you under pressure form above?

 

I understand the space issue, we have a third less space this year for more children, our reception classes are tiny.

Are the children noisier than you would expect? It should be possible to run child iniated and structured activities at the same time especially if there are 2 of you. Could you try to work on the noise level rather than abandon the idea of different activities at the same time?

 

Im sure else will come along who has had the same difficulties and can offer some useful advice.

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Thanks for the replies so far. The timetable is in place from the previous teacher and if I do change anything t will have to be done slowly and not all at once, firstly as it is something that takes a lot of organisation and secondly I have a kid with severe autism and changes really mess him up, and some of the other kids have found it difficult changing to the ways I work within this current setup that are different to the way their previous teacher did stuff. As for changes to the timetable, I'm not allowed to change it, as it has been decided from those on high, and so with the deputy being on maternity leave and the head being on a convalecence period after surgery now is not a good time to go around asking to change more things.

In terms of support, I have 2 TAs who are with me for a total of about 1 session out of 4 a day and that can be morning or afternoon, as they share their work out between 5 classes and a couple more sessions thrown in (some days I get 2 sessions with TA help, some I get none etc) (5 classes areNursery, reception, me, Y1/2 and y2)

 

I'm trying to work on making the kids more independent so they dont have to come and pester me every 30 seconds, so that I can spend some quaity time with each year group at various points in the day- I have split the class into 4 groups (top middle bottom y1 and reception are all together, though their work varies depending on the activity, as I have a couple in R who are v good at maths!) and I try and focus with 1 group for each session so that each group gets some quality time with me each day.

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Thanks Mundia for the suggestions. We do have whole class lessons and swap groups between us, but

I don't feel that I have sorted it completely. The trouble is that I am getting to old for change. I know there is no easy solution but we are working on it. As for the noise, we are working on that. The reception children have been used to more space, which they will have when the outdoor area is finished.

 

Gail

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Gail, you're never too old for change are you??

It sounds like you just need to hang on in there and keep doing what you are doing until your outdoor area is complete (soon I hope?).

Nichola, you are right to take things slowly so as not to unsettle your children generally. the system you have sounds fine to me so its a matter of management really. Getting children to be more independent wont happen overnight if they are not used to it (what were their experiences like before). Circle time is a good way to reinforce the routine of not disturbing you at certain times-if you dont already, find a slot. Make sure that the activities avavilable can be done without you, ie not too easy or too hard for them. Be preaperd for it to take time, but the stuck record approach often works for me (yes I know you want to show me your wonderful picture but do you remember that today Im working withXXXgroup so you put your picture safe and we will look at it together later.) Of course it does mean that you do have to spend time later lokking at those things but that can be done in snack time, story time, together time at the end of the day. Praise those that do remember not to disturb you and also those that are trying to remember.

 

One othet thing you might want to look at is how long you wrok with a group and therfore how long you expect children to work independently for. It may be easier to make shorter but more frequent bursts until they get used to it, without needing to change the timetable.

 

Hope that is of some help, Ill let someone else get a word in edgeways now....

 

:o

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