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Organisation Of The Day Advice Needed!


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Ok - need some help please !!! afternoons in Reception are sorted but we're really struggling with our morning's!! basically because we always have assembly to roughly half past 9 we are struggling to fit everything in. We currently do numeracy from half 9 till 10.10 which allows us to do some mental work and some whole class teaching on our focus of the week. This is followed by focussed group work- ( ususally one group but we need to do two really - but there's no real time if we want someone to float and support other activities) then after play we do literacy focus - some big book input and then group work - usually two groups with an adult supporting other activities. Then we stop supposed to have a plenary and then do a phonics activity about 15 mins till lunch - the following day we do the same but working with the other groups we haven't worked with yet - but again this is a bit rushed for numeracy at least. Now reading has started the other reception colleague is used to doing this in a session before lunch whilst the TA has the rest ( she liked this as the children didn't get distracted by other activites going on ) - however if we do this not sure where we can fit phonics in and I was under the impression that we should be doing 15 minutes phonics a day - I'm happy to let the TA do some but I want to do it too so I can assess the children's progress. so how do we fit it in so the class don't spend all their time on that carpet? I did wonder about spreading numeracy out all morning say one day ( ie do all 4 groups) and then have a literacy focus for about 20 minutes before lunch and then reverse this the next day - ie. Cll focus and say 20 mins numeracy before lunch - we could then break up the carpet sessions- say phonics after play and everyone would be focussed on the cll objectives and have worked in a focussed group on them at some point - whilst also choosing activities from the other areas of the curriculum - I do hope someone can understand this post as we're going round in cirlces :o

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You could start by asking why your children have to go into a 30 minute assembly every day :o


There are some peeople who believe that FS children shouldn't have to go into assemblies with the rest of the school at all, as sitting for that long is aksing alot to start with, nevermind the effect it has on time tabling.


I put my foot down this year, and we have to go into 1 morning assembly a week, and it's been moved till before play (10am) so that we can have a more leisurly morning without having to rush register etc to get into assembly.


so when the doors open at 8:50 the children come in independently and write their names... I use this time to help others and talk to parents. Register usually happens about 9(ish) followed by some sort of whole class num or lit activity.


We then have session time until 10. Where someone will be doing a 'writing' task, someone will be reading, someone will be doing a numeracy task, and at least one other peerson will be floating.


After snack and play (10.45) we have another session where we do the same again. During this time we encourage children to do our 'jobs' but others that aren't doing 'jobs' are indepedently accessing other resources. We stop at 11:40 for another whole class time/phonics/show and tell etc.


Then we have lunch at 12 and I go to sleep for an hour! ha xD


Hope this makes sense ~ Porl

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Wow! What a lot you do. First of all - do you need to go to assembly? We only go to one.

Our day roughly goes likes this:

9 - 9.15 story

brain gym, water, action song, etc

9.15 -9.30 phonic input

9.30 - 10.30 plan do review

10.30 - 10.45 fruit time with another literacy or numeracy or psed focus

10.45 - 11.00 playtime (sometimes)

11.00 - 11. 40 Teacher directed input followed by group work and teacher initiated activities

11.45 lunch


afternoon much the same (but with no playtime)


Our children only work in a directed group once a week at the moment.


Hope this helps


We had Ofsted yesterday (!) and all I know at the moment is that the school got good with outstanding features, so I feel confident to say to you that I really think you are doing too much - no wonder you can't fit it all in! - but maybe you have 'pressure' from others.

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We dont go to assembly or have a playtime as we have free flow access to the outdoors. This means we have the full session to work with all the children each day on either a literacy or numeracy activity. (This week its numeracy am and literacy pm)

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Hi suebee - it's a tricky one isn't it? You do seem to have a lot to fit in though. I read somewhere once that young children's concentration span is their chronological age plus or minus 2 minutes so I think it is really important that children don't spend too long sitting down.


I agree with everyone's points about assembly - they send me to sleep let alone the children. I fought really hard this year and now my class only goes to assembly on a Friday. This has made a huge difference to the children being switched on rather than coming back from assembly comatose.


I'm probably wrong but it sounds like you're mornings are quite 'literacy-and-numeracy-hour-ish' - does it need to be like this? I split when I have my book and phonic inputs to different ends of the morning (each of these only last about 10 minutes - arguably too long when you consider my opening sentence!) and have a short numeracy input - again 10 minutes - mid-morning. My plenary for my book input would be a sentence: 'Thanks for helping me with that writing' or 'Great - now you can all write the word 'I'. Also, do you need to always have your adult-directed tasks as numeracy and literacy ones? Perhaps sometimes having another focus for adult-directed tasks would leave you feeling less as if you're not doing enough.


I used to try and cover the whole class when doing our adult-directed tasks but found it ridiculous because of the time. Now we have one adult who works with one half of the class one day while another adult 'does' the other half then we swap the next day. We also have a 'floater' (what a horrible expression - conjuring images of horrible things in a toilet bowl! :oxD) who is there to support/extend children as they play independently and carry out observations which are then used for assessment.


I've probably got the wrong end of the stick and not helped at all - sorry about that! It's been a very long day!

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Hi suebee, I empathise!


I have been there although not sure of the solution but it does seem as if you are not integrating things enough and have lots of top down pressures to contend with.


Although I doubt you will like the suggestion perhaps you need to rethink the whole day? Your phonics could move to the afternoon?


good luck.

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Can people explain what adult/child ratio they have. I'm in an open plan room with access to outside shared with another class. Each class has a teacher and a TA. Between us we have 53 children. One child with a statement has a dedicated TA who is occasionally able to help with other children for short bursts, but it's not easy to plan for that as one can predict the child's needs at a given time. Also this TA and my class TA may need to go and change the statemented child when he is soiled as he is not yet toilet trained. We do have parents who come in and help, to whom we sometimes give adult directed tasks. My main bugbear is feeling that there is never time to observe and interact as I feel I'm always tied up with either input on carpet, directed focus tasks, individual or guided reading groups. Maybe it's like this for everyone, or perhaps I need to think again about how we organise ourselves. I have had discussions about assembly but meet reluctance from my colleague who feels that we need to be included in the whole school and that it is also a factor of preparing children for year 1. I have managed to talk us out of attending a whole school assembly taken by HT once a week where one member of staff acts as 'crowd control'. I heard from my own child last year that members of yr R where being hauled out and given a telling off in front of the school if they behaved inappropriately. I agree Moose about awareness of concentration times in that regard. Funny how I've been criticised in lesson observations for a slightly long input. A comment which is then clarified by an agreement about how engaged and on task the children were at the time! rant rant rant.


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thanks for all those quick replies and the advice - I really appreciate it and it just helps in making me think we really need to change some things!!


I've actually only been at the school since September - and was a little overwhelmed to say the least :( Assemblies drive me round the bend - they go on for hours - well at least it feels like it - the timetable was even more tightly structured before I came and I have made a few small changes so far- I've managed to move from having all activities tied to numeracy or literacy to at least the children being able to choose from a variety of other curriculum areas, introduced some more outdoor play and PD activities and observations!- I even in a brave moment mentioned that to the head that I was finding the timetable a nightmare especially with assemblies - her reply was she did like them to come to assemblies xD


Moose I agree the morning's do sound quite literacy and numeracy hour - ish - - I must admit I haven't worked like this for a while and just feel that things are rushed - especially for numeracy. In my previous school I often had adult focus activities which weren't just numeracy or literacy - so I am planning on bringing more of that into our timetable. There seems to be lots of pressure to have evidence of things too - for example we were writing to Goldilocks and it was suggested to do it in their book but how you post that i don't know :o - luckily the light was seen and the children wrote using real paper and envelopes!!


Standards are pretty low in the school and there's a huge drive to raise these - so there is one hell of a lot of having to show progress and evidence - I was even brave enough to say the other day that the FS profile results were not necessarily originally meant for forecasting targets from for KS1- only to have a teddy chucked at me by the assessment co -ordinator - he missed ! :(


Susan i think you're right we need to rethink the whole day - luckily the other Reception teacher is behind me so tomorrow - I'm off to see the head to tell her what a nightmare we're having and see if we can change the timetable - that's if I can pin her down for longer than a minute!! :(

PS: just a little issue - what does everyone else do for reading ?

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hi to everyone. I dont if this will be more confusing but here goes. I have a f1/F2 unit with 2 TA,s and a TA assigned to a boy in a wheelchair. We have 37 children in the morning and 42 in the afternoon. We are very intergrated with a whole unit carpet time at 9 for 5 mins while i explain the order of the day. It mostly goes like this

9.10-9.30 Jolly phonics F2 news and Russell bear F1

9.30-11.00 access all areas! eg all areas set up for chidren to access when they choose, they may be themeed to fit in with topic or to cover an ELG, we decide at a weekly meeting what we want to do.

within this time adults have focused activities BUT not always literacy or numeracy! So next week our theme is Autumn;

2 adults outside -/making collages/mixing autumn colours/investigating autumn leaves seeds et

2 adults indoors 1 setting up a gargae repair shop in the role play 1 adult hepling the children when and where they need it she will also do some observations .

10.00 F1 snack and small group activity

10.30 F2 snack

11.15 F1 story 11.30 home

11.15 F2 numeracy session last as long as i think they are engaged


afternoon pretty much the same F2 start with a short literacy session big book and PIPS games.

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Marion - just out of interest - if you're doing numeracy am and literacy pm - are the other activities based on the other areas of the curriculum and do you do adult focussed activities with the children on these - if so when ?- sorry to be so curious about your day! :o

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Marion - just out of interest - if you're doing numeracy am and literacy pm - are the other activities based on the other areas of the curriculum and do you do adult focussed activities with the children on these - if so when ?- sorry to be so curious about your day! :o


Our normal Day (although it is flexible)

There are 4 members of staff (3 work at focused activities 1 floats/ monitors)

Children arrive

8.50 registration

9.00 reception and nursery split for either literacy or numeracy whole class input usually between 10-15 mins

9.15 one group of children will work on an adult focused/directed lit/numeracy activity another group of children will work at another adult focused activity (creative/physical/KUW) the other children are free to work at either an adult initiated activity or a child initiated activity (we have a number of continuous provision areas) we also opperate a free flow outdoor policy and a rolling snack system.

the groups rotate through the morning ensuring all children have accessed the literacy/numeracy activity

11.00 reception and nursery usually split again into seperate rooms for a brief phonics input and story songs rhymes

11.25 reception children get ready for lunchtime nursery children are collected

11.30 lunch


the afternoon follows a similar pattern

if the children had a literacy focus in the morning they will have a numeracy focus in the afternoon (we alternate 1 week literacy in the morning / numeracy in the afternoon next week numeracy in the morning/ literacy in the afternoon so that the nursery children who do half day sessions access both)


much of our physical takes place outdoor although we use Write Dance, Pen Pals SAQ and Brain Gym

PSE focus takes place in circle time we use SEAL and have a Unit short assembly to introduce the topic at the beginning of the half term


The areas we have for continuous provision indoors are

Role play



listening area

book corner

writing area

2 computer areas one in each room





block play


DT workshop

small world



wet sand

dry sand



large mark making



think thats it xD

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Thanks so much Marion for that - it's made things a lot clearer and given me lots of food for thought! :) managed to have a quick chat with the head today and she's very open to us changing how we deliver things after I explained I thought we were way too structured and the timetable was proving difficult :o - ( although assembly is still a bug bear!! xD didn't get round to discussing that one yet!) Anyway am going to work on things on a new timetable over half term and the head has also promised to phone that early years advisor she's talked about, to come and have a look and give us some further advice. I have manged to set up quite a lot of the continuous provision areas already - so hopefully we're beginning to very slowly get there in some areas!!

Thanks everyone for your help!! :)

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Before our reception class came down to join our FS unit they had exactly the same problem of having to fit into an assembly routine set up for the benefit of others.

All children of reception age and above need to take part in an 'act of collective daily worship', which is why there are assemblies and why heads often insist on recpetion children taking part.

We do it like this: On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Reception do not join in whole school assemblies but have a short session either at the end of the morning or the end of the day where the whole class comes together. This is an opportunity to get children used to the idea of quiet reflection, sometimes used for circle time but used for PSED. On Thursdays they attend a 'Singing Assembly' with the whole school bar the nursery which is run by the head and one or two others, class teachers use this for planning meetings. On Friday the whole school usually gets together from the youngest to oldest for a 'class assembly' or other special assembly.

Its about getting a balance between being part of the whole school and giving young children good experiences. Attending assemblies every day is unnecessary and is disruptive to the flow of the day.

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All children of reception age and above need to take part in an 'act of collective daily worship', which is why there are assemblies and why heads often insist on recpetion children taking part.


The act of collective worship does not have to be a whole school assembly it can be held in the unit which is what we do before the children leave for the day.

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