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challenges outdoors

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by lemonyk, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. I recently had an early years adviser into our nursery/reception setting who has advised me to put more challenge into our outside area. I am wondering how other people go about this in their settings? She has suggested to print challenges out and laminate these to use with the different resources. Does anybody have any examples of challenge cards that they use or know where I can find any? The outdoor area is certainly an area that I need to develop as an nqt! Any help is very much appreciated, thank you.
  2. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    I just love these ey advisers and their "challenges" - has anyone actually been given at least examples about what they mean? - because by now they have been going round saying this for so long they should have enough "challenges" to last for AGES!!!
  3. Yes exactly. This is where I feel I need some guidance. Any ideas?
  4. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    bumping this up ...
    ...anyone got some challenges?????
  5. sjca

    sjca New commenter

    Not knowing what resources you have...here some things to get you thinking...
    What can you write in the sand? (Can develop over the year and put pictures in and the children write the word)
    Can you set up an obstacle course?
    Can you park the bikes/cars in the right number bay? (Can develop where the bikes have sums on them and the bays the answer)
    Which items float and sink?
    Can you make a boat which holds x and still floats?
    Can you use the pebbles, stones and twigs to make a pattern?
    Mr Green needs help with his potatoes orders. Can you fill the bags with the right number of potatoes?
    How many star jumps can you do in 30 seconds?
    I try to link mine to the children's interests and any theme the school is following.
  6. Those are well-intentioned ideas and a good response to the demand that we have challenges for children, Sjca, but I actually think we need to question the orthodoxy that says that the way forward consists in teachers thinking of 'challenges', writing questions and prompts for children, supplying resources to make answering the challenge possible, and then believing they have met the needs of those children.My most recent experience is in nursery. I have written up questions and prompts for children, because expected to do so. I have hoped that these would transform children's play into purposeful learning, leading to the objectives I would wish for them to reach (to satisfy management). But I have watched, waited, supported, without seeing learning, progress or attainment happening. This approach does not work for young children, and that should be obvious to these 'experts'. First, you have to have adult support if you want children to read or attempt to read the questions. Second, to keep on task the child has to be interested and motivated, or have fairly coercive adult support. This is because the challenges that can be set are going to be limited by the adult's imagination and the adult's purposes, set up before-hand without the benefit of on the spot thinking and playing (by adult or child). Challenges that fit the child, the resources, the circumstances and the situation cannot be thought up before-hand, written up, illustrated, laminated and displayed. They have to happen in response to the child, the resources, the circumstances and the situation.
  7. sjca

    sjca New commenter

    Challenges can be CI. In my observations I capture what children are saying and doing at various stations. The moments that make you think wow I share with the class and then together we write a challenge card and it is placed in the appropriate area. I add pictures and symbols to help them remember what we wrote.
    For example a really popular one was making puppets. A child asked me if she could make a puppet for the puppet theatre because we didn't have the particular one she wanted. She set up the table with everything she thought she need, other children naturally joined her in making the puppets. At the end of the session this was shared with the whole class and then they set the challenge to make enough puppets to make a puppet shop. I wrote this up to model writing and act as a reminder why the table had been set up. (Could they read it independently probably not, but they do go and read the card in parrot fashion from what they remember the question was from their carpet session).
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My challenges might be can you find me 5 things that begin with /s/ .?.. they have to count and use initial sounds or it might be can you build a tower taller than yourself? physically balancing and constructing - estimating/measuring or can you find me something longer/shorter/heavier/lighter than ...? or can you get the water from the tap to flowers without a bucket using guttering? or can you build a house for ...?
    The challenges will change each day /session depending on how the children are using the areas. They aren't written down because they come out of my head in response to what I see.
  9. LauraJeanD

    LauraJeanD New commenter

    I LOVE this
  10. sjca

    sjca New commenter

    Thanks LauraJeanD
  11. Msz, this is my approach too. Additionally, because it is nursery and as I work in a school with almost 100% EAL children, I concentrate on developing language. I tend to discuss and explain in English and encourage children to respond. My challenges would focus on rehearsing and supporting vocabulary. For instance, "what can you tell me about .....?" "What will you do next?", "What happened?" Then I would help them find the words they need to explain. If I can see mathematical possibilities, I would use and encourage Maths vocabulary, introducing and demonstrating heavy and light, more and less etc.My response to the OP would be that it's important to respond to the children you are working with, and their needs and circumstances.
  12. I agree too msz and thumbie. However, I also believe that a challenge is not in what we, as educators, push for, but what the children can be challenged to do in each learning area.

    If we are sincere about CI type challenges how about "Who will you play with today?" ie choose a child you haven't played with before (on the social/emotional level) or "What will you choose to play with today?" etc.
    There's a challenge every step of the way if we look for it.
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Well if Mr Gove's speech is anything to go by the challenge will be sitting still
    If children arrive in school unable to sit, listen and learn and then disrupt the learning of others then lives begin already blighted.
  14. And, of course, he sat still at 5 years of age.

    Does he sit still now? Would his followers/constituents expect that?
  15. i have been doing challenges for the past year - the ofsted inspector loved what i had done but basically i think as long as they see the word challenge on a card with your activity they love it

    i have a range of different challenges that i have used if you would like some then please email me and i will willing give you some ideas - also look up continous provision and then adapt some of these ideas and make them your challenge - also you could have a challenge ladder with mini me's so that when they have completed their challenge they can work toward a goal - maybe 5 housepoints- raffle tickets that can promote a sparkle box challenge prize?

    person who gets to 5 or 10 challenges in a week could have a pick in the sparkle box which you can have rubbers rullers sharpeners all that tut stuff from the poundshop they love it

    - most of the challenges outside i have used are maths based but you could do observational drawing and set a challenge something like can you use 2 shapes in your observational drawing what are the shapes - can you describe them to a friend? - anyway joannefelicityfreeman@gmail.com if you get stuck

    good luck and keep challenging - oh yes pintrest has some great ideas for challenges
  16. Instead of challenge cards as let's face it the majority of chn can't read them independently, especially at this early stage of reception and in nursery, I use the TTS talking points to record a quick question . Children play it back and there's the challenge.

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