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Boys in construction area, girls in the home corner

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by lost_in_translation, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. Ok, so I work in an FSU, spread over 2 rooms, 25 in R, 15 in N, 5 adults.

    My concern is that my boys are tending to only work in 'boyish' areas, such as construction, while my girls are constantly being 'mummies' in the home corner. This is not something I promote, I never talk about areas being for boys/girls and I always encourage children to use all the areas and praise those that do.

    How do I get them out of this? I have a very boy heavy year so there's lots of boisterous, rough play, lots of making 'guns' and 'light sabres' and killing each other. Sometimes I think the girls take refuge in the home corner for the peace. What drives me mad is that the girls play the same storylines day in and day out, having tea with their babies and being yappy little dogs!

    I have successfully managed to get 1 boy (technically a Y1 child who has stayed back due to SEN) to work across all areas by introducing a ticklist and sand timer. He has to choose a different area each session, take his 10 min sand timer and work there for that period of time minimum and then come to me and discuss what he has done. Then he gets to tick off that area. The aim is to work everywhere by the end of the week. Has had really good results and he is now managing this all independently though I had to shadow him nearly constantly at first. How can I get this same result from a whole class?

    Any suggestions much appreciated! Am on the verge of taking away all the construction toys and closing the home corner! Seriously though, I have considered packing up the usual 'home corner' furniture and provding more open ended props such as cardboard boxes, fabric and the dressing up box only. Any other tried and tested ideas?
  2. hurny

    hurny New commenter

    My LEA EYFS adviser suggests we have a 'girls only' day in the construction area as the boys do tend to take over. I have small world dolls toys/animals in my construction area so the girls do like to visit to make castles etc.
    Is your home corner the only role play area? Maybe you could change it to something more boy orientated. The boys in my class enjoyed the Cafe role play as they liked using the till with money.
    I find if I play in the area, modelling the language/ actions (quite loudly). the children are more likely to take an interest, come over and join it the play, boys and girls.
    I will also move children on if they have spent too long in one area. I know it is good for children to become involved/engrossed in their play, but when I feel the play is not going anywhere and other children are not getting the chance to access the area, I will ask children to find something different to do (giving them the options, otherwise they'll just wander around). This enables children to access activities and experiences that they would not neccessarily choose for themselves (as they'd rather play zoos in the block area all day!) and surprisingly (for them) they become interested and also learn something new.
    I will also extend children's play in their preferred area as it can become very repetitive. I'll do this by adding different resources or going in and joining them.

  3. Hi I'm new to reception but have a kitchen area - which has been a cafe at the moment - a few boys came when it was a chinese restaurant one day and also when I got menus from pizza express!

    I also have another role play area which is the boxes/fabric area you describe. I was inspired after looking at the ABC does website. This is always popular with both girls and boys - it ranges from being an extra home corner, with boys and girls playing together, boats, trains, cars, anything really. I sometimes hang fabric up to make a den to start them off and I have a table that they can drape things over. I also try to include really general dressing up - so hats, fabric and then if they start something they might ask for - say the pirate costumes.

    Construction is similar issue to the one you describe but something that has been popular is building a road for the beebots or other characters.

    I also found that doing a plan-do-review type thing - we call it our busy board - alerted children to new things they could do in an area.
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Both our areas are used equally by boys and girls just in different ways
  5. Having an adult in the construction starting to build something interesting generally starts a snowball of half the class in there helping - including the girls - I find.
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Adults are a great enhancement to any area
  7. Thank you all for your replies and ideas

    My home corner isn't my only role play, we also have another role play area which is usually linked to our topic. It is currently a building site (so a massive hit with the boys) and has previously been a castle among other things, so is usually well used by the boys. Some of the boys will also use the home corner, usually making it a cafe or 'cookery shop' as they call it!

    I think my problem is that of 25 R chn only 6 are girls, so they boys take over no matter what! In some ways this has been great as it has led my topics and planning in a very 'boy friendly' way, meaning that their interest in things like writing has really taken off. For example they loved visiting a building site and seeing the plans and building designs and are now always mark making in our role play area to be like builders themselves.

    However it does mean it is much harder to cater for the girls as the boys tend to dismiss their ideas and interests, en masse. For example we wrote a class story during our castles topic. We chose the characters together and the girls wanted a princess. They boys hated this idea, didnt want her in the story at all and when I over ruled them (democracy had to be sacrificed in order for the girls to feel they had a look in, I'm afraid) all they wanted to happen was for the princess to die!

    I have never had these kind of gender issues before, as Msz said usually all the children, boys and girls alike, use all the areas, just in different ways. I think the very uneven split of the class this year has really swayed things. Plus the personalities of the children just reinforce this, out of my 6 girls 5 are very 'girly' and love pink, dolls etc while out of my boys, the vast majority are boisterous, enjoy rough play and are the youngest in the families!

    I will try out some of your ideas and hope they have some impact. Myself and my nursery nurse have both spent time working in all these areas to try and model appropriate play, language, story lines etc and have had good effects. The problem is these don't last beyond the time we are in the areas with the children. As soon as we leave (to work elsewhere, lead adult led tasks, change wet children, make observations, show round parents etc etc) the play continues as before, as if we had never been there!

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