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Co-ordinating Bttm In Mixed Age Settings


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I have been asked to co-ordinate BTTM in our mixed age setting and whilst I'm excited about the challenge, I also a little nervous, as I haven't worked with under 3's for some time!


The pre-school has been open for a week now since the return from the summer holidays and we have had quite a few new children joining us. However, the staff team has been changed around a lot, with only one original member of staff still there. The rest of us are all new and are having to get to know each other, the routine of the pre-school and the all the children. As you can imagine, it is a bit of a difficult time for all of us!


I have been reading through the forum and come up with these ideas on how to implement BTT in our setting. My manager has told me today that I am the only trained/experienced member of staff in this area, so I believe the record keeping and planning will be left to me, until something that works is put in place and until such times as I can 'educate' the other staff members as to how it all works.


Please let me know what you think!!


I am thinking of suggesting that the key groups are organised so that there are under 3's together in key groups. This would make key group time more appropriate as the children are going to be working to one framework, rather than having under 3's and over 3's in same groups and following both BTTM and FS.


An observation system needs to be put in place for the under 3's where achievements and such can be recorded, which are relevant to them and the framework. The FS booklets are not appropriate because obviously the little ones won't be following the FS. As well as written, formal observations is it ok to use photos to back up what we have seen (obviously with parent's permission)? Can we also use photos as a way of showing how are planning met the children's needs/interests?


I need to organise some kind of suitable planning format for the BTT children. I have posted one on here a little while ago, but having been through the whole forum again, I think it may be a bit too structured. The plan should follow the interests of the child and not the child following the plan. I don't think this is going to go down too well at work, because their plans are followed to the letter and some activities are, frankly unsuitable for the smaller children. Am I right in thinking that the planning can be done retrospectively and if I am right, does this mean filling it in backwards, after the event???


I have read about continuous provision elsewhere on here too and wondered how I would use it with regard to BTT?


I am thinking that the main focus of BTTM is that the children develop independence through their environment and routines, so this means allowing them to choose what they wish to play with/explore. Please feel free to correct me if I've got hold of the wrong end of the stick on that.


I also thought about settling in plans as mentioned in the PLA booklet 'Making their day - Providing for two year olds in mixed age settings'. Do you think this would be a good idea? If so, I would need to meet up with and speak to the parents in detail on a regular basis. Or the alternative is to have home/setting booklets to send in and out with the children.


I know these are a lot of questions, but I really want to get it right.



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You're right - that's a lot of questions, but I can understand that there must be a lot buzzing round your head at the moment - what a wonderfuld challenge to be given!




Key groups - definitely a good idea to keep the ages separate so that staff can focus on one framework and really get to know what they are planning for and looking for in observations


Observations - can take many forms - usually formal and spontaneous. Formal or planned are when you want to target a child or activity to see what learning/experiences are taking place. Spontaneous can be written on notepads, post it notes or any bit of paper you can get your hands on! Key workers usually carry out the focus observations to inform future planning for key group acitivities, whereas spontaneous ones are written by anyone and then passed on to the keyworker for recording.


Photos - are a great source of evidence and recording. They can be used to show what activities have been proivded for the children and can also be put into profile books or displayed on the walls and matched to areas of the BTTM framework.


Plans - as you rightly said, they should follow the child, but this is not always easy for staff to get their heads round! If you can implement continuous provision or a workshop approach your long term plans will show each area with all BTTM aspects/components that it meets. Medium term planning is not really an issue, unless staff want some minimial direction or focus activities for the week. Short term is daily/indiivdual planning and based on previous observations.


Continuous provision would be implemented the same as FS - areas are set up for mark making, messy play, construction , role play, book corner etc. Plans can be displayed for each area (there are loads of examples on the forum) and act as a prompt for staff.


You have mentioned all the things I would be looking for in a successful 0-3 unit, so hopefully the staff will go with you and you can travel on this journey together.


Lots of luck and let us know how it goes!!

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Totally agree with R.B. and it is obvious that you have done a lot of research to come up with so many points to consider, :D


Also as you have recognised the importance of a sound communication system with parents, methods may have to vary considering individual parents prefered forms of communication etc. It is also important that you let parents know that you value them sharing events, developments, milestones and childrens interests that are experienced at home.


Depending on the environment it is good for all age groups to share play time together as well as age/stage split key group times.


Go with their flow, give any methods you use enough time to embed in the setting, for staff and children, then revue, adapt and develop accordingly. ( this is an area I needed to improve, I changed things so much, before new ideas and work methods had time to settle that everyone got dizzy :oxD )



Have fun.



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Thanks all!


I'm really looking forward to establishing BTT in our setting and I know my manager is looking forward to it too, as there are currently no systems in place. The excuse I was given was that the pre-school had lots of older children and very few young children so the BTT side kind of got forogtten :o . Plus the room leader/supervisor's training is quite outdated now. She openly admits she hasn't really attended much more training since she qualified (which was some time ago).


My manager has told me that all of that is about to change so I'm really looking forward to them and looking forward to being part of it all. If I can establish and implement a good BTT part of the setting then I will be really pleased!


Peggy, I had considered the preferences of parents when sharing information with them. I know some parents have English as a second language so would have to look into ways of communicating and sharing information with them. A thought for tomorrow when I try and formally meet these parents!


Will report back some time next week to let you all know how it is going! :D

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