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Pointless Activities?


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I have been at work for the last few weeks and to be honest I have seen some planning and activities taking place that I feel are totally pointless. There is no given reason why we are doing some of these things, no adult interaction/support, and most of them are way beyond the children's understanding and abilities in my opinion.

 

In addition to this, all the under 3's are expected to participate in the activities aimed and designed for the FS children, and they are told off or shouted at when they are unable to follow the instructions that the adult is giving. I have tried to say that we should be considering the age/stage differences, but my protests are falling on deaf ears, so to speak. I have sorted out the BTT planning and it is now being implemented, by me only and only during the shifts I work. The plans get ignored for the younger ones and they are then being observed against the FS planning.

 

I'd be interested to hear others views/opinions on this! Also, would you consider 2 cooking/food based activities to be too much in one week, especially when the planning says we are looking at healthy eating??

 

Thanks everyone!

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I have been in this same situation before so I feel for you. xD Where I worked it was a preschool room for 2-5 years old, I was the keyworker for the 2-3 years old from October to when I left in Feb. My problem was that I did not have training to help me to understand birth 2 3 matters. For around 8 months the under 3's were doing the same activities set out for the FS children. When I was asked to be the 2-3 keyworker I constantly asked for some activity time for the younger children- guess what it would be sleep time when they could do their activity which I adapted from the FS planning. :(

 

Wait until the Early Years Foundation Stage comes into play, I think then the big 'O' willl proborly say something about how we plan and observe children under 3 years old in a mixed setting. It also sounds as if there's poor management in play. Have they had a recent OFSTED report? If not the big 'O' should come and visit. Oh if there was only a way to sort that out. :o

 

I am not sure about the cooking/food based question.

 

 

Beth

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it depends what you mean by cooking activities.We call getting their own snack ready a cooking activity so definatly not.also is the same children doing this activty?are they enjoying it?

I must admit trying to get thru a cooking activity in the short time(sessional)can be very stressful(for staff) and I always make sure itis shared out between us all.

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I agree a management issue here. 'Shouting at' and expecting BTTM children to 'fit in' with what I am guessing are structured activities is unnappropriatte and you are right to challenge it.

 

In my preschool we have mixed ages 2-4 yrs, although the majority are 2-3 yrs this term. We have lots of self selection activities , lots of space for physical play, only two tables ( for snacks and gluing). Our adult led is only a full group walk each day and story time. rolling snack bar. Our main plans are for the younger children and we are doing 1-1, small group, adult linitiated activities for FSC, whilst the younger ones explore etc. In a sense the FSC children are fitting in more to the BTTM children, we are still in the settling in period, even though it is week 4, 3 new children started just last week. I have extended our LTP, PSE focus for longer this 1st term. We still have lots of exploring the environment, seeing where things go, rules and boundary setting, and finding out about how the previous (summer term) younger children are now coping with being the now older children. We have done some adult led work with older ones such as creating new achievement files together, making life size models of self ( draw around body, cut out, paint or stick material on as clothes, wool for hair etc). This will take to the end of the 1st term to complete.

 

Am I reading through the lines that the cooking activities are not very healthy??

We do as Andreamay, individual children take turns to prepare the snack bar foods, every day.

They 'cook' the toast ( under supervision), make milkshakes etc.

We made dough last week, all the children chose to join in when an adult started doing it at a table, each child making a 'portion' each. Lots of bowls, spoons and shared water jug, flour and salt tubs :D 2 large spoons of flour, 1 large spoon of salt, mix, make a hole in the middle, pour in water ( to fill the small hole) mix then knead, each child had their own 'ball of dough' :D

unfortunately they all wanted to take their 'individual' ball of dough home so I had to start again to make the 'preschool' batch :o

 

It really depends on the 'evaluation' of the cooking activities to see if 1/ correct methods are used ie: full group all waiting for a turn to stir a mixture (boring xD ) or small groups, or individuals going through the whole process of a recipe with an adult. Like Andreamay

says, Are they enjoying it? can they explore each part of the process? Is the recipe teaching them healthy eating choices? If none of those then why do it? what are they getting out of the experience?

 

I can only suggest doing some observations of the 'poor' practice and see if they can be discussed at staff meetings, evaluating the information from the obs to the BTTM framework.

 

If they do not follow the plans when you are not there, although frustrating for you ( and the children) there is not much you can do about this until the other staff take on board the ethos of BTTM, this will take time I think. If only they knew that by following the BTTM they and the children will have a much better, happier time and therefore no more shouting and getting cross because of innapropriatte expectations.

 

One other idea to help with adult interaction is to have A5 cards dotting around the setting, in the appropriate place with 'adult role' prompts written on them. Can't really see that happening yet at this stage, until you get management / supervisor support. :(

 

Peggy

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We cook with 2 groups of children a week (one morning session one afternoon) and ensure all children have the opportunity to cook each half term. This allows the children to prepare and share food for the others in the unit and to report to the other children what they made the ingredients and how they made it so encourages speaking and listening skills. Its much less stressful than trying to get 80 children to cook twice a week

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Basically the cooking activities that have been decided on this week are making sandwiches (for snack time) and making the playdough, although this is not considered cooking where I work. The focus next week is Healthy Eating, so I suggested making a fruit salad and was firmly and flatly refused, 1) because there is already one cooking activity taking place this week and 2) (I feel) because they are still not keen on any imput from me regarding planning.

 

I thought that the children (all of them) could sit in small groups and take part, each group doing something else to contribute, that way there isn't a massive queue of frustrated children! I suggested key groups, but was then told that "we don't do activities specifically with our key children".

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I wouldnt class those as cooking activities! They are both part of our routine,making snack and playdo!Also I would argue fruit salad isnt really cooking so whats the problem?surely that to is part of getting snack ready?When I say cooking activity I mean preparing something from scratch which has then got to bake and cool ready to be eaten or taken home,like scones,or gingerbread men etc which the staff love doing but can b stressful trying to get thru in the short time!!

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Clare, remind me, are you quite new to the staff team? I think there is definately a communication problem, maybe they need to define clearly your role with regard to planning, discuss 'team' planning and how you all fit into it and how ideas are shared and compromises made to accomodate different ideas in line with the settings curriculum policy. They may even have a 'cost' issue with regard to your idea but have not communicated this to you.

 

Sandwiches and playdough are 'routine' activities, as Andreamay says. Even though I gave them examples especially the dough as we measured ingredients etc and used hot water ( they had to wait for it to cool before mixing) However, I do think there are a few issues getting muddled up here. Teaching methods ( why do they not work in key groups, (it would be useful if they told you their rationalle for not doing this so you understand their curriculum ethos), sharing of ideas, planning responsibilities etc.

 

Communication and team building is the key for management to address, plus maybe a clearer induction if you are new.

 

Peggy

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We normally cook on Tuesdays (not sure why) but it was delayed because of Misoshi :D

Today 12 of the children prepared broth peeling and chopping the vegetables adding all the ingredients from the recipe measuring the correct amount of stock and cooking it for the unit. Another group made bread rolls to eat with the broth :D

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