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Daily Routines In Nursery


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Im presently in a nursery attached to a VA school while the teacher is on sick leave.

Its a nice school and the staff and parents are friendly so Im enjoying my stint.

 

However Im having a lot of problems with matching up what I would like to be doing with the children with what is happening as part of their normal routine.I would love some input as to what happens in your nursery so as to make suggestions to help them improve the routines as I feel that they could be tightened up without too much pressure being put on the staff.

 

The routine is as follows;

1.Doors open and children come in with parents. The children are greeted with a formal "Good Morning/afternoon" and a handshake .Then there is a small amount of smalltalk while the children get their name cards and come to sit (or wait) at the table where they do a name writing activity . Sometimes this has a purpose - such as labels for work or card inserts, sometimes a Jolly phonic worksheet- but often it is a name on a piece of paper.

 

2.Then the children have CIL (about 45 mins)where they choose from a variety of activities .There is a table which is dedicated to art work but often it is bare -or the children will go to colour in the JP worksheet.The children can get out any of the art materials but usually dont choose to .

3. There is a 15/20 min story time for all of the children and the snack is prepared . This is always a piece of fruit and a biscuit with jugs for the children to choose from 3 different drinks. At the end of the story the children chose snack or inside/outside play.

4 Outside available for 35 mins and then all of the children come inside to be given a tag which allots them a tidying up job . This takes about 15 mins

5 Singing time when the nursery is tidy for the time left till parents arrive.

 

The nursery is multicultural and multinational so there are dietry reasons for the limited snack available Im told.

 

 

The re are only 2 permanent members of staff -a teacher and a nursery nurse .But there are several support staff who come into the nursery to help with different language needs etc.

 

The children are boisterous and can be very noisy/dramatic which Im having some effect on but its taking some time .I have noticed that when they are focussed on something interesting they are much calmer .Therefore I can only conclude that they are bored.

Obviously I can't make any changes myself - I will only be there for a short time after Easter -but the head has expressed a wish for me to have some input about how changes can be made. Plus I would like to apply for a nursery teaching post in the near futrure and would value some good practice ideas.

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Hi Unafitz

I'm afraid Steve is away for this week and I don't know how to move topics-not had the lesson yet. Where exactly did you want it to go? Will have a look at the site and see what I can do. We may be able to copy and paste and then delete this one here. Either that or leave it where it is! Which will probably be best!!! I don't want to get into trouble with Steve!!!!!

Linda

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Hi am the supervisor of a 10 place preschool in a day nursery our routine is as follows (although not set instone)

Children arrive and hang coats up on named pegs they then have a short free play session which gives time for everyone to arrive and parents to leave. This free play usually consists of jigsaws, small worls, role play, writing area. We then sit down in a circle on the floor and call a register which the children take turns to help with and to tick boxes, we sing a welcome song and find our names and discuss where we will position them on the board (I say 'we' because the staff also take part in this!!) We discuss weather, day,date and then do a short activity eg

choosing colours from a box, shape recognition. Then follows 'messy' activities - paint, malleable, sand, water, collage available every session and is very popular. Our messy play area is situated so that children can also have access to outdoors and we have prop boxes on hand to extend the childrens outdoor play. Then back inside for snack which varies but is often fruit which the children choose and 3 choices of drink which the children pour. Free play and tidy up time followed by stories and songs. :o:D

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Hi Unafitz!

How many children do you have in your setting, what age are they and roughly where are they on the stepping stones? I find this affects the overall plan of the session quite dramatically. Perhaps I can offer a few suggestions later?!

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Hi

I run a pre scool of 24 children in each session

 

They arrive at 9.30 put their names in a box and go into registration.

At 9.45 come out into 1st freeplay to do painting, craft, writers workshop, maths table, lrg construction, home corner or book corner.

i take the 4yr olds out at 10 to do work with them and then at 10.25 we tidy up.

At 10.30 we have singing and then friut/milk time

at 11 a keyworker group takes place and the rest of us go outside with the large equip or have music/movement.

At 11.40 we do show and tell and story.

 

Busy but good :D

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Thanks Linda .I thought it ought to go into the nursery area really but as you say maybe its best left where it is.

 

Lisa - its a 39 ft equivalent with children aged from just over 3 to 4 1/2 . They are all on different stepping stones since there are a lot who have come in during the year ( in fact are still coming in ) .

Actually Im waffling here since Im not too clear about how the stepping stones work when you are looking at a nursery as a whole . Ive had more experience in Reception where I know where each child/group is at.

But the children do range from sociable, fluent english speakers to an Autistic child with no verbal or socail skills yet.

 

Hali - your nursery sounds much more what I would expect. Its the work with the 4 year olds and keyworker groups that I have seen in other nurseries that is missing .

Ellie - I like the sound of the focussed weather etc activities - and the children helping take the register is a lovely way for them to understand about the other children in the nursery as well as getting them used to school registration time.

 

Im getting a better picture of how things ought to be .

 

Thanks all

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Hi Unafitz

We have 32 children each session ranging from 2 years 9 months to school age by the end of the summer term.

We start at 9am but it usually takes until about 20 past for the majority of children to arrive. They take their name to self register as they arrive and I take the register and greet them as they come in.

We then have an hour and forty minutes free play, we are lucky in that we have 4 rooms for them to access so can have a lot of stuff out at the same time-sand, large construction, small construction, home corner and role play, bikes etc. During that time there are 3 focussed activities going on, either 1 to 1 or in small groups. Also we take the older children, those going to school the following September, out for a 15 minute session looking at numbers, alphabet etc. Snack takes place in small groups of about 8 during this time.

We tidy up at about 10.40 and then we split them into 2 groups, younger children have story and singing or look at a non fiction book shapes, opposites etc., older children dance, gym, band etc. Then they swap-each session lasts about 20 minutes. For the last half an hour some of the children are having lunch. The others may be split into small groups to do an activity, or we will do some singing.

Very busy, and seems very structured but it isn't. We have a lot of flexibility in there and 1 hour 40 minutes is quite a lot of free play.

Linda

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Hi there. A lot has already been said, but Unafitz, readin how your routine works, I would propose 2 changes (or suggestions that could be food for thought). One is the writing of names when they arrive- a time that I always feel is better spent in free choice so that you can have time with parents if you need to and so that parents can see what their child choses if they wish to. This is also a good opportunity for your language support to talk to th children!!

The other thing is the art area. This could be changed quite easily simply by having a member of staff there to 'facilitate'. if the children are not used to mkaing decisions about what they want to do, they wont do it, so they need someone their to guide them. very often when I take this role on, I simply get some things out for myself and start making/painting etc. the children naturally come and ask what I am doing and then they want a go. Before long, you have children making all sorts of decisions for themselves and becoming more confident with their language at the same time.

 

Hope you are getting some ideas that are helpful :o

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Thanks Mundia

 

I enjoy reading about other settings and getting ideas from posts about how people work .

 

The name writing is a bit of a bug bear with me as I cant see any real benefit for it to happen when and how it does. A lot of the children do not have the basic fine motor skills - not to speak of the nderstanding - to be able to do this and so it is usually a pencil line or two( actually line is not the right description, more of a pencil slide) on otherwise plank paper.

 

However,Im not really in a position to change anything myself as the NN is a bit possesive about how the nursery is run - and the teacher will be back from sick leave soon anyway.

 

I just wanted to see if there were simple ways of how I could make my presence felt with too much change ( if you see what I mean?

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yes it is hard when you dont have any control over the ways things are done. But at least it gives you ideas about what not to do when you do have to run a nursery yourself, and sometimes that can be just as helpful, I find. :o

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Hi unafitz! my initial reaction given the wide range of ability that you have is that you will have difficulty in getting children to write their names. We use children's names that they collect from outside the door when they come in initially and add to a magnetic board. There is a matter of honour who gets the board when they come in, sometimes just one for the first one through, sometimes two - one for boys one for girls. It doesn't matter how they identify their names, whether mum or carer help them, or if they identify it themselves - it really builds their self-esteem. They seem to automatically place them up the right way (orientation) or be corrected by the one holding the board. They are also directed to the correct board for boys and girls by the children so they soon cotton on! The magnetic names then are used for our planning time when the children have to find them again (consolidation) and put them next to a picture of their chosen activity and then move it again when they choos another activity. Later in the term when they are more confident we move on to writing the initial letter of their names on a chalkboard, or ticking their names on a large (A3) register when they come in - when we value everyone's attempts no matter what they put.

Lisa

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you are in a very difficult position Unafitz, I wouldn't advise changing the structure of the day as you are only there for a short time, but I agree with Mundia the art activities would make a big difference to the children. We always have a big huddle around our craft table and some children spend all morning creating. If they are occupied their behaviour may improve as well.

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Just a quick question - when helping the children write their names, do you encourage correct letter formation? We have a lot of toruble in our reception class with children having to unlearn incorrect letter writing before they can move on to more writing!

 

Dianne xxx

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Hi Dianne, I think it depends on whether or not the children are ready for correct formation yet. It can put a lot of children off writing if they are constantly being corrected for writing 'their' way, so I tend to be happy that they have had a go. Once they are making confident attempts of their own at proper letters, then that could be a good time to show them the 'correct' way, (we use a sticky red dot to show where the letters start) but we dont have mnay children who are at that stage yet. I tend to be quite laid back about it which seems to work well for my children.

Im sure there will be many other views on this question so watch this space.... :D

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I do think that expecting children to write their names too early causes this problem.Many children only have "wobbly pencil control" at a young age. Left to do it when they are older would not cause a bad habbit that causes twice as long to recify when they are older!!

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Hi all!!

Seems an obvious contribution, but having mark-making materials and examples of writing dotted around does wonders for encouraging early writing attempts....? I always feel the biggest problem can be getting some children to attempt any kind of mark-making, so this approach is invaluable. Outside, the children enjoy giving each other 'speeding tickets' !!!!! :o

 

Sue R

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The answer to whether we encourage correct letter formation is yes and no!! When the children choose the mark making area during free choice they produce all sorts. When they show it to us (with great pride) they are praised and though it may contain unrecognisable letters or those clearly formed incorrectly they are not corrected. I think at that stage to undo their effort does little for their general self confidence. However, our older ones do written letter and number work with an adult either in a one to one or small group situation. Here, their formation is corrected - it is done light heartedly and the children are not made to feel they are "wrong" We also have the dot to start on and various verbal explanations for numbers and letters such as 'all the way round, down the stick and curl" answers to which letter that is on a postcard please!! It's amazing how the children remember them!

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Hi! my experience is much the same as Geraldine's. One of our very popular ways of working on very early letter formation in keyworker time is icing sugar! We used coloured plastic mats, sprinkle on the icing sugar and ask the children to lick their index fingers........ then away we go - anti clockwise circles, lick your finger, big circles, little circles, can you add a face, what else can you draw, wavey lines, straight lines, vertical and horizontal and don't forget - LICK YOUR FINGER LOTS!!! Its one of those magical activities which will grasp the attention of the most reluctant child. I do have a very memorable photo of one little girl who resorted to licking her mat at the end!!

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Hello Dianne,

Did you read the article in this weeks Nursery World."The wrong way to write.The author of this article is very concerned that children are forced to write before they have developed the correct motor skill to direct the pencil. He feels that his secondary school children have really poor writing skills.

Dianne I feel very concerned that I as a foundation stage practioner am being encouraged to create a bad habit in children that may never be rectified!!!!

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I went to a seminar at the Early Years Exhibition last year on "emergent writing"

 

One of the main points made by the speaker (Penny Tassoni) was that emergent writing should be compared to that of learning the spoken language.

 

From the tiny newborn cry to correct, (in terms of pronunciation, grammar and tenses )fluent speech can take up to the age of 7yrs

 

It was certainly food for thought and the speaker was "anti-correction" of incorrectly formed letters in early years. She likened it to a babbling baby of 8mths. When the baby burbles away the adult responds with "oh, really, did you?" etc and would never dream of saying to the baby "oh for goodness sake speak properly I cant understand what you are saying!"

 

The early attempts at language are welcomed and appreciated and she felt early attempts at writing should be treated the same and yet such attempts are met with a rubber and a child be shown how to do it correctly.

 

Not saying I agree necessarily but it was a thought provoking seminar to say the least.

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Geraldine, I think thats a realy good analogy. I tend to use the chidlren's drawing to compare (ie we dont expect chidlren's frist drawings tod people to have al the bits in the right place, we apprciate that it is a developmental skill that comes in time); but the comaprison to the spoken word is definitely food for thought. :o

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Yes Geraldine its good to hear other points of view.

I just know that with my own children I taught them to write their name the week before they went to school. That was leaving it a bit late I know but I really wouldn't have minded if they couldn't have done it. I have still got a few bits of work that they did when they were in the infants and letter formation was not a problem for them. Maybe they were lucky.

I just wonder if the learning of emergent speech is different to emergent writing because does it consolidate it more.When I write things down I remember them more.

If I don't have my shopping list with me I remember what I need because I have written the items down but the items I will forget are those that my husband called out to me as I am going.Is this the same as a child writing their name incorrectly and us saying "well done." The incorrect letter formation has inprinted in their brain.

I am also amazed by the number of young adults who hold the pen in such an awkward way.

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Oh Bubblejack you have given me foof for thought now :D

 

I know exactly what you mean about the shopping list - I am the same!!

 

I think part of the comparison with speech was a time thing. If it takes the best part of 7 years to master speech it was felt that children were expected to master writing within a couple of years which the speaker felt strongly was not long enough. She also quoted several reasons for children losing confidence in their ability to write and in some case just lose interest completely and 'refuse ' to write

 

Apparently (so the speaker said)

children can learn to feel dependant on adults to show them how to write "correctly"

they may perceive their writing is judged for accuracy

they may worry that their writing is not "the same" as an adults

they may feel under pressure to produce an end product.

 

I think you raise a valid and interesting point about saying "well done" to an incorrectly written name and don't pretend to know the answers. I suppose it depends both on the individual child and of course the age. I wouldnt say well done to a child due to leave us for school and forming letters incorrectly. Oops, well actually i probably would but it would be more like "well done, that's an excellent try you did really well " followed by a "but shall we do it again, together?" What works well in our setting is letters such a b,d,p which have been formed by doing a circle and then sticking a line on vaguely in the right place! We call them lollipops because that's what they look like. The children find it funny and are happy to have another go and be shown the correct way.

 

Interesting to hear other views and certainly an interesting topic. Like alot of issues I suspect it's a question of balance and tyring to get it right!

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I just thought i'd add my two pennies worth.

 

Where im currently placed they use trays with salt, not unlike the icing sugar, but we always worried they would try to eat it (h&s).

 

As salt is unpleasant to taste they don't tend to eat it. Also salt has excellent germ protection too.

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Fascinating how Unafitz' question on nursery routine has changed to a discussion of emergent writing and letter formation.

 

Bubblejack-I agree there are an alarming number of people around with an incorrect pencil grip, so many people with thumbs over their fingers which actually alters the way the hand and the writing process take place.

I myself support my pencil on my ring finger rather than middle finger although I can write conventionally and am careful to demonstrate this to children. I know when I was at school I had to cover my little finger to prevent a friction burn which was painful and time losing in exams, because my pencil grip meant my finger rubbed on the paper rather than being tucked away. I could not write fast enough conventionally!

 

So I firmly believe we need to concentrate on childrens gross physical motor skills and finer control before we insist they write but give them opportunities to do so. Unfortunately that doesn't always fit into NLS expectations. So continuing frustration.

 

Susan

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this is really interesting, please keep adding your thoughts. the reason being is that my son shows no interest in writing,he can recognise his name no problem and knows some jolly phonics(which he does enjoy) .

i feel i`m taking a gamble as i have chose to sit back and not do any extra written letter formation with him . we actually finger write the letters on our knees so he can feel the letter but that is it at the moment. risky?

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Personally I wouldn't say it was risky. Recognising his name and knowing and enjoying some jolly phonics and happy to do them on your knee seems fine to me! The risk of encouraging him before he is ready could possibly result in disinterest in what he currently enjoys. I would just carry on as you are!

PS How old is he?

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he will be 5 at the end of may. he is a bright boy with a great sense of humour, he is enjoying school apart from (quote)"the boring work stuff". we were told he has problems focusing in a whole group . i find the gross motor skills "chat" interesting as he has always been a stage behind in his physical development as he was a large baby.

sorry to go on ,this sounds abit me me me . i think that he is a perfect example of a child that would benefit from a multi sensory aproach and not to much to soon.

i`ve totally changed this topic now sorry!

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