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It Seems To Me....


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I read lots of posts, some from here and some from other sites, and see there are lots of people who are struggling to move away from topics to a more child led curriculum. I've been in the position of playleader and know from experience how difficult it can be getting your ideas about this across to collegues who dont want to change for a variety of reasons.

 

I realise that in schools there may be constraints to change that dont apply to private and voluntary settings, namely teachers in higher year groups who want FS children to be doing certain things and heads who need to see everything in written down. Other settings may have young inexperienced staff, staff who, having got their NVQ piece of paper decided that there was no need to read more or do more and others who were scared to change. 'What will OFsted say?' is often a thought I see expressed.

On the news this week there was talk about how the Government would like each child to have individual learning targets, isn't that what you are trying to do? Work to each childs strengths and interests?

 

I've seen 'no topics approach' in action and read the same articles as you have here and elsewhere. It works on more than one front. The children are happier, more involved and therefore quicker to learn if they are interested in what they are doing. But you know this.

An example. Yesterday the pre-school childen were being marked for 'showing an interest in what they see, hear, smell' (not a quote) J didnt want to be involved in the collage with various materials, so he was seen as not showing interest, but I have seen him interested in other things, things that werent available at yesterdays activity. His needs were'nt being met, his known interests (animals) were ignored as being an obsession.

How any times have you been on a course that bored you senseless, because the subject was of no interest to you, even though you knew you had to be there? How much better do you learn when you are able to do what interests you?

 

I hated French classes at school, I didnt see the need to learn French, but would I have been more involved if I'd been able to write the verbs in my calligraphy class? Would it have meant more to me if I'd been given instructions for my cooking class in French (maybe I'd have liked cooking too !)

Dont be afraid to try it. Give yourself time, sit back and watch your children. Allow them the time to freely move about, listen to them and get a fuller picture. You will find that the topics remove themselves. You wont have to sit in a huddle of staff thinking of a math activity to go with the book of the week or a creative to go with a food topic.

 

Be brave. Try it for a term. Tell your staff that this is what you believe is best, if they dont agree, ask for concrete reasons why they dont think it'll work, you know you have the flip side to present to them.

I really believe this is the best way to go and feel for you who are trying to do it. I'd like to give you all a hug and a big thumbs up for trying.

 

And here ends the sermon. :o

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Rea,

You can tell that you have a lot of passion and belief in what you do - what a well worded 'sermon'. I think that you summed it up at the end -

 

"Be brave. Try it for a term. Tell your staff that this is what you believe is best, if they dont agree, ask for concrete reasons why they dont think it'll work, you know you have the flip side to present to them."

 

How can you know that it isn't going to work unless you try - it's the fear of change and the unknown that is part of human nature.

(completely off thread, but kind of relevant - my cousin currently works as a stockbroker in London and has the opportunity to go to New York or Hong Kong to work and he is 'thinking about it'... er, hello! JUST DO IT! He can always come back and no-one will see him as having failed. He may live to regret it...)

 

Give the staff a term at most and they'll wonder why they ever did topics at all - now there's a challenge to be taken up! Oh, I see Hali has volunteered already - well done that girl!! :o

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HEAR, HEAR, REA. :D

 

Thank you,

 

lovely concrete examples of how non interest can stifle opportunities and enable false judgement, so lets follow the childrens interests. :D

 

Great to hear Government are recognising the importance of 'the individual'

 

I echo your sentiments about how difficult it can be to evoke change, and have often wondered how much harder it must be in Schools than in the PVI sector. ( although in some PVI settings it can be really difficult to 'sell' too)

 

Ofsted, - I hope that as settings experience the new style Every Child Matters Inspections that their fears will decrease. just within this forum we hear so many more 'positive' attitudes from inspectors than in recent years :D

 

I certainly know that the children in my setting are so much happier, relaxed, enjoying each others company, friendlier, caring, miss preschool during holidays and want to extend their hours or don't want to leave at the end of the day, they are exhibiting so much more of their individual personalities and knowledge, and telling us more about what they have learnt/experienced outside of the setting - well actually, I expect they always did this, it is just that we, the staff, are so more relaxed and flexible now that we have time to sit back and notice.

How many missed opportunities have gone by for the children we had in the past 'topic' days of delivery of our curriculum :o

 

as I have said in another post. Less autocratic and more democratic in our approach will benefit all. :D

 

It really does enable an awe and wonder and delight of what it is to be a child.

 

Good luck to everyone. :D

 

Peggy

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As a school the SMT have highlighted a need for a more interesting and creative curriculum therefore each year group (including N and R) are having to rewrite all their MTPs. As you can imagine this is a mammoth project however I feel reluctant to do this as I do feel we should be moving towards a more child centred and non topic based curriculum. I have mentioned to my head that lots of settings are moving away from a topic based approach and he just dismissed me and said he thinks everyone needs a topic to work to. He is a fantastic headteacher and a lovely man but he knows absolutely nothing about the early years and where it is heading. Is there any kind of guidance suggesting going with children's interests is the way to go? Anyone got any ideas as to how I can convince him that this job is just not appropiate for the FS???

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Thank you for your lovely comments. :D I must admit I clicked on 'post new topic' with a fair deal of trepidation this morning. I would hate to come across as bossy so I'm glad you saw my 'sermon' as an inspirational push. I can just feel some peoples hesitancy about droppng what is safe and known, to a system based on observing the children, what if they dont 'do' anything? I wanted to give everyone who is considering the change a virtual nudge. :D

 

Mookie, I feel for you. I'm agency and some settings I've been in are just like your head. Lovely, but they dont quite get it. The reasons I've heard for why they do worksheets, why they sit for half an hour, why they dont paint are the silliest and most frustrating part of the job. Good luck with convincing him :D

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