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Help! Child Initiated Activities- How?


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Hi, not posted anything on here before so hope I ve done it right!

I teach in an Early Years Unit with Reception and Nursery. This is my third school teaching in FS and things are quite different. At present we are setting up an activity in each of the areas of the room and the children are to only do this in each of the areas for the whole week! We have a wealth of resources on the shelves in each area but are not allowing the children to take anything off or to add to the activity with any of them. Im finding this different as in my past schools we have encouraged the children to use the resources to develop activities of their own or to enhance the activities in the areas. E.g if we have boats in the water that week the children are not to take anything from the shelves at all and only play with the boats that week.

I need advise- do you think that the way we do it is OK or should we make changes? The children are beggining to wander and not work in the areas at all but the opinion of my colleagues is still to not allow them anything from the shelves.

I would really appreciate your feedback! Thanks

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We changed our provision to free-access 3/4 years ago and haven't looked back.

 

I was lucky to visit a setting where this was working well and took my NN with me so we were both convinced of its merits.

 

Perhaps you could start small i.e. suggest allowing free-access in one of the areas - the thought of children getting anything and everything out can be a little daunting if you haven't seen it working.

 

Think you have a difficult task ahead of you, but in my own experience I feel there is a lot to be gained if you can convince staff to allow some free-access.

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Thank you for replying so quickly. I agree and think that a visit to other schools is a must. Doing an area at a time would be good too so that I can show that it does work. How do you manage this so that the children dont take everything off at once? Do you still have a focus that you want them to do in each area?

Thanks :)

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How do you manage this so that the children dont take everything off at once? Do you still have a focus that you want them to do in each area?

 

We first introduced this at the start of a new year and fully expected the children to get everything out... but they didn't and neither has any other year group.

 

New children explore the environment bit by bit - usually the more obvious areas first e.g. sand and water trays, role-play area etc then gradually begin to explore what's in the cupboards.

 

We spend at least the first half-term teaching children how to use each area properly and the main rule is you have to tidy up before you get anything new out or before you leave an area.

 

We have one focus activity per week but will have adult-initiated activities in some areas.

 

So last week all children completed a sewing activity (focus), a treasure game was set out in the maths area, train ride story sack in SWP area, (adult-initiated activities), all other areas baisc provision available for child initiated activities. Adult-initiated activities planned in repsponse to observed interests or sometimes in response to adults observing an area that isn't being well-used. Although activity has been set out children are still free to tidy it up and get something else out.

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Hi Clare, I work similarly to nsunshine,

Have you seen Sue R's blog?

 

find it HERE

 

The link takes you to the introduction to her child centrered approach, then choose additional blog entries from the index on right side of blog screen. :D

 

she has also written an article on the subject too :D

 

Motivational Planning HERE

 

Good luck, have confidence in the experience you have had from previous settings, to bring to your current one.

 

Peggy

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my children have free access to all the resources with our room, this gives the children the opportunity to feel empowered and develop at their own pace. the children make judgements about what they need it terms of their learning and development, nobody says to us as adults no you cannot read that book today because today is reading a magazine day i feel that the children should be afforded the right to choose too

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