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Daycare In A Foundation Stage Unit -help


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Does anyone elst have this problem - We have a F.S.unit attached to our 0-3daycare room. There are two problems.



1. The rising threes are now in the F.S unit The issue is planning when their is such a wide age range with some children still on birth to three and yellow stepping stones and at the other end children who will be entering Y1 in september.


The care needs are different and so are the staff ratios. Has anyone got any useful info or ideas on this . We currently have continuous provision for the children 0-3+. But the problem is also that the current teacher has her own topics to cover which are not always suitable for the younger children.


2. In the daycare room, due to lack of space we have 14months old children in the same area as our rising threes. It is quite a small area but as you can imaging we cant provide for the needs of provision for such a wide age range. Scissors, pencils , mark making area are very difficult to manage as is a Creative area. We cant divide off areas as we just havent got the space.11


I woul d really appreciate some help and advice.


Thanks Sunshine


A plus is - we do have a wonderful outdoor area. Which is used to its full potential!!

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Both are common situations in daycare settings, including ours!


I don't really have time to answer properly right now, but will try to get back ASAP. Suffice to say, it can be done!!



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Hi Sunshine,


Sorry to take so long to get back to you, but I managed to lose this thread! :o But 'with a little help from a friend' (thanks Marion!), here I am.


In my setting, a DN, the Toddlers often come up to us at least a term before they qualify for NEG, so we are well used to slanting our focus activities so they can be differentiated for all the children. You may be aware that we have moved to more child-focused planning so that activities are planned in contexts which reflect their current interests. This means that the children will access them at whatever level they are currently functioning - Practitioners can then adapt their support/intervention to suit. We have only one focus activity per day, which is usually supported by the Teacher, sometimes with another member of staff if necessary. In practise, the BTTM approach is far superior, in my view, to imposing structure on these still very young children, even those working within the FS. It is still possible to move the children through the stepping stones and towards the elgs, through capitalising on children's own interests - indeed, I seem to have been reading much recently in the various posts about moderation of FSPs, that suggests the best evidence is obtained from children's spontaneous play.


We try to ensure that provision is wide and offers much opportunity for child-led exploration, enhancing and developing as seems appropriate or as requested. This approach certainly leads to very confident children who are able to take control of their own learning - it also seems to lead to improved behaviour, in that they are able to negotiate. (OK, when they first come through, it takes a while for this to develop - I'm not naive enough to suggest it's a magic formula!!) In practise, this huge availability of resources means that the younger, less able to concentrate or function competently at a level the Teacher may be targeting are likely to just observe or participate on the sidelines before moving on to something more suitable to their current requirements. We never 'shoo' children away, in fact I try to always have a linked activity that is suitable for the youngest of our children available if they wish to join in.


Recently in the pre-school we have developed our 'Discovery Area' so that it is now presented in a similar way to the heuristic play sessions we regularly employ in the Toddler room, which has led to some intriguing play and learning.


As for the ratios, we find it isn't a problem, as we are always slightly over-staffed (according to the Standards) to take account of things like sickness. I appreciate this may be more of a problem for you in FSU, but could you have 'floaters' who might move between the FSU and Care room as required?


Our Toddler room has children from when they are confidently mobile, which often means that there are 14 month olds with rising 3s - we don't let this stop us leaving all the necessary resources out, the children are just encouraged to learn safe use. Older Toddlers and Staff model appropriate use and sharing etc and staff are vigilant until these younger children become settled. You might find it a bit of a nightmare at first, but there really is no reason why these resources shouldn't be out, in fact the sooner safe, competent usage is established, the quicker they will learn and acquire new skills and techniques.


Your wonderful outside area should help you to make full provision available to all age ranges - do you have it arranged to cover all the various areas? We've worked hard on ours and it seems to really make a difference to outside play. Certainly when it's fully set up and working the numbers of accidents are dramatically reduced!


Give my suggestions some thought and perhaps a try - please let me know how you get on.



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