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FSF Newsletter - August 2010

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Hope those of you who have time for a summer break have found the weather and company you favour!

The DFE has recently opened its review and consultation of the EYFS, which is to be led by Dame Clare Tickell. Please take some time before the deadline (September 30th) to take part in this survey which I'm sure will very much benefit from the experience and wisdom of FSF members (you can find the consultation here: http://tinyurl.com/2ualtfv ). And if you have time we thought it would be interesting to have our own survey, which we'll report back on in an article - leaving a lot of room for free text comments we hope you'll give free reign to your passion for early years education! (find it here: http://www.foundation-stage.info/EYFSsurvey.php).

Brighton University EYPS course leaders have asked me to let you know that they are still interviewing for the Long Pathway only. Please contact Helen Mclaren (H.L.Mclaren@brighton.ac.uk) for further information.


LA Scheme

We're delighted to welcome Coventry City to the FSF LA scheme. Teachers, practitioners, and other providers from Coventry City can now register and subscribe free of charge (visit the LA index page to learn more).

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, which have renewed their LA subscription - members need do nothing, their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

  • for the third year - Portsmouth City
  • We're especially happy to welcome back members from Hartlepool renewing for the fifth year!

Welcome back to you all!

New Content

Using the Mosaic Approach to Listen to Young Children
Developed at the Thomas Coram Early Childhood centre, the Mosaic Approach uses children's photographs, tours and maps to gain an in-depth understanding of children's lives and what is important to them. Here, Sue Ridgway describes how she used this approach in her setting, and the impact it has had on the experiences of children, their families and the staff.

Taking a Risk? The value of risk and challenge in the early years.
This article examines the role of risk taking in child development and how practitioners can foster a positive attitude to risk and challenge in the early years.

From The Forum

Planning from children's interests

One of my main concerns is that I have a mixed YR/1 class and I'm worried that if I'm following children's interests the whole time I might never get around to teaching the Y1s the things they 'need' to cover. Based on my experience of the ones I'm keeping this year their chief interests are digging and cutting paper up into very small pieces to be sprinkled all over the carpet!


Responsive / Retrospective Planning, resisting pressure to go backwards!

At our setting for the past couple of years we have been moving steadily towards a much more flexible , responsive style of planning that involves staff engaging fully with the children during each session and allowing spontaneous 'activities' to simply happen as we go along...e.g. a child is playing with a doll..an adult joins in and the baby play develops as several other children join in the adult suggests doll needs a bath or needs to go to nursery..this idea is taken forward moving into different areas of the room etc..maybe lasting an hour or so...and eventually involving several children.....

....Okay so that's how we do it...now the issue I have is that we have new staff who have come from more structured settings that seem to have required a great deal more planning / advance objectives, 'topics' and teaching children shapes, letters, numbers..etc (which okay are important but are only a very small part of the EYFS curriculum!) and now I am under pressure to put more structure and objectives back into the planning.

After School Routine For Keeping Tidy

I wonder if some tidy Childminders could share their afternoon routine with me please. I've sent out questioniers to parents and one of the after-school parents came back with an answer to the question, 'what would you like to change in the setting?'. They answered that they think the kitchen is cluttered and toys and things in walkways are a hazard. I feel awful!

Risky Play

What constitutes 'risky play', in your opinion?

How do you allow, or prevent it, in your settings?

Do you allow 'spontaneous' risky play, or 'planned for' risks?

How does this differ from how you allow/ed your OWN children to play, or indeed, how YOU were able to play as a child???

Pats Testing

Do you all have your electrical equipment Pats tested annually? Is this a legal requirement?

All children taking part in whole class work in a more formal manner. Does anyone do this in reception?

Apart from the occasional carpet session I don't have my class taking part in a whole class activity, I am far more informal than that. Most carpet sessions are small groups, as are any teacher led activities throughout the day. However my colleague is a big believer in introducing whole class sessions to prepare them for year one. She does this by teaching whole class handwriting every week, starting with an input session on carpet and then a carousel of activities that the children move round in order, when directed to do so.

I can kind of understand the logic behind this but I still feel that it is better to withdraw small groups of children to do handwriting/motor skills work (depending on ability) whilst the others continue exploring CP. What are your thoughts?

NQT With New Reception Class, Seeking Topic / Themes For Longterm Plan

I am starting my first role as an NQT in reception class in September. I wondered if anyone could help me with topic ideas that I could work from that are a little bit newer to the usual as I have been told to bring really different topic ideas in.

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