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How Should Time Be Split Between Child Initiated, Adult Initiated And


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I am wondering how to split the week to ensure the children in my reception class get enough child initiated, adult initiated and adult directed learning. Can anyone help?


Also when 'planning' for child initiated time apart from having a variety of resources available is there anything I should be doing? Should I be planning time for child initiated activities in my time table?


Very confused!


R x

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Hi Rosemary welcome to the forum


in the autumn term its recommended that 60% of the time id child initiated and 40%adult increasing to 60% adult in the summer term

We dont timetable any activities in the FS and plan child initiated activities retrospectively

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i too am concerned about balance. My typical day consists of :

9 - 9.30 Whole school self chosen activity time.

9. 30 - 10 phonics/big book

10 -10.30 p.e/music

10.30- 11 whole school playtime & assembly

11-11.15ish maths input

then 1 or two groups working on focus adult led activity with self and t.a, other children child initiated activites. this carries on for rwst of day until all children completd tasks with adult. then story/ circle time etc. Does that sound about right or are children having too much time to choose own activities?

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at this time of year we have 'independent learning' everyday. There are activities out on the tables for the children to access independently, and usually one focused task (usually to cover some kind of premlim assessment e.g. NLC) and the rest f my time I spend getting to know the children and carrying out observations. We have short spurts of maybe 15 minutes teacher directed here and thhere for phonics, rhymes, clapping games etc... but nothing too strenuous yet :o:)

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I too am confused about this. I wonder Marion if you could tell us about a typical day in your class.






Hi Louise


At the moment (Autumn term) the children arrive at 8.50 parents stay until 9.00 We then do lunch register. This is followed by a whole class session approx 10-15 mins ( either PiPs or a numeracy activity (singing number songs reciting numbers etc) One group of children will be directed to a adult led task while the other children will be given a free choice of activities either adult or child initiated. During the morning all the children will complete the adult led focus activity and one more adult initiated activity (this is monitored by using a class tick list /observation sheets) We also opperate free flow to the outdoor area and a cafe style snack area. We do a quick tidy up 20 mins before lunch as children are expected to keep areas reasonably tidy . Followed by circle time/ listening activities.

The afternoon follows a similar pattern reversing the literacy numeracy focus.

In a normal day all children will complete a focused literacy and a focused numeracy task plus one other focused activity from the other curriculum areas.


We have designated learning areas............ Performance area /music area / role play area/ maleable table/ fine motor table/ listening area/ book corner / ict / interactive whiteboard/ lightbox/ writing table/ mark making table/ water/ dry sand/ wet sand/ creative/ large mark making/ block play area/ construction area/ small world area/ investigation area/ DT workshop/ numeracy area/ which are resourced every day plus we are currently developing our outdoor area to provide similar learning opportunities but on a larger scale

Edited by Marion
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I agree, it does sound delightful... and I've got to say, quite happily that it's very similar to ours... only being different by the fact that it takes the whole week to get all the children through the literacy and numeracy focused taks... we have 60 children.


Marion, how many children do you have? or do your 'focused' tasks just not take as long :o ?


I love this time of year though... there never seems to be any pressure, and it's just nice being able to spend alot of qulaity time being child-directed... it's a shame that powers from 'above' mean that we have to move gradually away from that as the year progresses xD



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Marion - your day sounds fantastic. It is the type of day I aspire to and 'secretly' try to do. I say 'secretly' because we have been told (several times) by our LEA advisors that you should NOT have an adult led activity during your child initiated time - ie - all the class doing child initiated and both practitioners observing/interacting etc.


Then later have a separate session of whole class adult directed.


I find the advisors way dosen't work half as well as the way you describe, so I do your way as best I can and if asked by an advisor I describe what they want to hear. Sad but true!

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