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Supporting 2-3 Year Olds


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Hi,

 

I know this subject has been discussed at length on the forum and i have read through most of the up to date posts I could find, in an attempt to get to grips with the best way to provide (and record) for this age group in regards to what Ofsted requires, what Early Years Advisors advocate and what is actually going to support/help families and the development of their children.

 

I'm still really confused. Am I right in thinking that what is actually required, considered best for the child differs from area to area, from Early Years Advisor to EYA, from Inspector to Inspector. Also Myths vs. fact, and habits vs. openminded/reflective.

 

At the moment (p.d. nursery mixed ages 2-5 which opened in June) we are using topic planning following the Foundation Stage Stepping Stones for our 3+ YEAR OLDS for which we plan two adult initiated activities per day. We have continuous provision and facilitate and support all the children to self select activities or to follow their interests by reacting to ways in which they have been observed to show an interest. Our 2 year olds are expected (invited to) 'join in' with the adult led, planned activities. Our evaluations of these activities include notes on how the children responded to the activities, including the 2 year olds. We show differentiation for younger children on the lesson plan. Am I right in thinking that this is not right?

 

My belief is (and what feels right to me) is that we should be observing the 2 - 3yr old children, seeing where their interests lie what they find the most FUN during their PLAY and provide experiences to satisfy their interests and to build upon them in a way that will (hopefully) suit their style of learning and playing and where they prefer to play, i.e. likes gluing and sticking - provide many different situations to use glue both inside and out and with a wide variety of materials including natural. Introduce experience of exploring cornflour, honey, mud, and ways in which to apply/use them on a small and large scale etc. Presumably if they choose to join in with the activities planned using the stepping stones than why not.

 

Now, some posts I have read imply that we do not have to record any written data on this or to plan future steps apart from written Observations and photographs to show which Aspects and outcomes the child is meeting/ has achieved. I also read a post which said that EVALUATING the observations with regards to planning what to offer next, i.e. to move the child on, IS NOT a good idea because at this age childrens interests change from day to day.

 

Also read that the B-3 document states that planning should not be conscious, should just have 'awareness and discussion of where to go next' - presumably this would have to be written down as evidence though?

Am I right or wrong? I personally feel I would want to RECORD my observations, evaluate them and PLAN further possible experiences that may expand upon and build on, the childs interests/learning style/preferred environemnt. Also of course to record the childs milestones i.e. potty training, language

etc.

 

Another post says that BT3 is under Care Standards and not Educational. What does this imply?

 

 

Sorry to waffle on. But really want to get it right for ALL concerned, but especially the children.

Am I right in believing that if we can show and explain how we are acting in the best interests of the 2-3yr olds by providing them with a safe, stimulating environment in which they are obviously thriving, enjoying and achieving we are meeting the requirements, whether or not we have written data???

 

I believe within this age group it is VITAL to get it right in order for them to love learning and the environments in which they are going to be expected to learn for the rest of their childhoods - we get it wrong at this stage by not making learning FUN and we possibly steal from them that magical curiosity they naturally all have.

 

Look forward to your thoughts/knowledge/responses.

 

Thanks

 

Monica

 

 

P.S. Loved the line from a post - Follow the Child and not the child follow the plan.

Also love - tell a child something and they will forget, show a child something and they will remember, but involve a child in something and they will learn.

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we have started to record our b23 simply for staff to staff info as we have a mixture of parttime and fulltime staff.

so for instance thru obs if we have seen one session that a child/children have for instance initiated a game of picnics in the home corner we write it in the TO INFORM PLANNING SECTION and the staff on the next day may set up picnic area with lots of learning potential.Or it may be that a child who wouldnt get his hands dirty would use cetain resources.we would of verbally shared this info in the past for our younger children.also we record what books we have read what rhymes we have sung what worked what didnt.what toys helped settle our newies,what particular child/children needed the trains out to grab their attention at the start.what we did to help certain children sit at group time etc

I am hoping that this will also show ofsted how we have met the new b23 guielines.

could be doing it wrong but it works for us! :)

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Hi Monica,

We observe our under 3s, following their lead as much as possible. This is easier in the Toddler unit than the pre-school, where I am based (we have them from 2.6), but we try to be very flexible anyway (see our new planning method in my Blog). As the under 3s should be following the guidance of BTTM, which is not a curriculum, but a framework, it doesn't belong in Education, so you would not be expected to show planning, assessments etc with a particular target. As part of the Care aspects you would need to show how you provide for individual interests and needs instead. This may change with the new EYFS, of course, but at present that's how it stands.

 

That's the way I see it anyway... :o

 

Sue

 

Andreamay, that's very similar to how we implement it, too

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Andreamay

 

Thanks for your response.

 

I like the idea of the staff to staff 'To Inform Planning Section' for adding important observations to aid part time staff.

 

So you don't do any other actual planning as such for your BT3?

 

Monica

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Sue

 

Thank you for your reply - you've clarified it very well. I now know what we should be doing and look forward to putting it into action.

 

I have not looked at 'blogs' before, but I'm sure I'll get there on way or another to look at your plans.

 

Thanks again

 

Monica

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You can get to Blogs by scrolling to the top of the page, under 'Search Forum Posts' there are 7 areas to access - Blogs is the first, click on it, once you are there you can see a list of Blogs, click on the one you want to look at. They're quite interesting!! :o

 

Sue

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Hi there,

 

I have been reading with interest as I have just taken over the 1-2 years room. I have a foundation stage background generally. I am trying to get used to not planning ahead like we did in pre-school, with targets, etc.

 

I am trying to get my head round the week to week planning based on my observations of the children, their interests, schemas etc.

 

I'm not to sure how much planning I should be doing! :o

 

At the moment I'm kind of planning some activities for the following week, and trying to use the planning as a working document that can change as and when.

 

I was going to plan 2-3 heuristic sessions a week, purely for observing for future planning.

 

Any help or advice greatly appreciated xD

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we plan for the foundation stage,(altho we are adopting sue r approach more and more)and I have redone the long term plan much more loosly now to allow for the children to take us in another direction.we are a preschool and have half day sessions for preschoolers only and sessions for 2.5yr olds of which some pre-schoolers make up the numbers.We do not plan specifically for our littlies but they for instance will often have the same resources available to them. for eg.baking but perhaps a little simpler.Our older ones are making initials out of salt dough tomo in the afternoon session so our littlies will make the dough in the morning and have a real good play with it too.

what we do do now tho is record what they have been doing and how that effects our plans for the next session as explained earlier.hope that makes sense :)

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I love the heuristic play, they get so much out of it, they spend more time investigating the objects than they do with conventional toys!! xD

 

I'm just not sure I'm doing it right :o

the planning side I mean!

 

I am trying to encourage them to make choices too, it is a struggle as they kind of go for what they can directly grab off the shelves, but there you go!

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I think what Sue is trying to say is go with the flow and then write it up afterwards, showing exactly where that fits in with BTTM. These things certainly shouldn't be prescribed for such a young age group. The challenge is for us to fit in with them, not for them to fit in with us. :D

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Hi Trisha i set up Heuristic play at my nursery about 3 years ago its trully amazing and like its already been said its great for observing i really do believe its the most wonderful way for a small child to learn the parents were very supportive in collecting items which was good because of the sheer ammount of different objects needed it might be worth asking for their assistance good luck and enjoy the NCB have produced a fab video all about Heuristic play and also their is a book by Eleanor Goldsmied called people under 3 young children in childcare publisher is Routledge this has a comprehensive look at Heuristic play and its benefits i just love it (can you tell!!!) x jojom x

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Retrospective planning is a weird term, isn't it - but it makes perfect sense!

 

Instead of being target driven and identifying areas of BTTM that children should be attaining or achieving, you do the following:

  • observe the child/ren over a period of time
  • use this information to influence future activites or enhance existing provision, following the children's interests
  • observe the child/ren again
  • note what aspects of BTTM the children have 'met' whilst undertaking this activity

By planning ahead, adults tend to get hung up on directing the children towards an outcome. By doing things retrospectively, the children can take the lead and you can match their learning to the planning.

 

Focus/adult led activities can then be used as well to target specific areas or specific groups of children.

 

Hope that helps!

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