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Children being able to choose and access resources for themselves?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Kinky Afro, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. We have been told in nursery, where I am, and in reception that we need to allow the children greater access to resources so that they can choose them. I like this idea because I am all for independence but I am struggling to see how to put this into practice. Does anyone on here do this and how, especially how do you introduce the children to the concept at the start of the year? Is it a case of they can literally take whatever they want off the shelves and use it anywhere in the room, or there is a certain amount of resources available for them to choose from that week?

    Please help - I want to be able to set this up in time for Sept and I want to get it right!
     
  2. We have been told in nursery, where I am, and in reception that we need to allow the children greater access to resources so that they can choose them. I like this idea because I am all for independence but I am struggling to see how to put this into practice. Does anyone on here do this and how, especially how do you introduce the children to the concept at the start of the year? Is it a case of they can literally take whatever they want off the shelves and use it anywhere in the room, or there is a certain amount of resources available for them to choose from that week?

    Please help - I want to be able to set this up in time for Sept and I want to get it right!
     
  3. missjivebunny

    missjivebunny New commenter

    What is it that you do at the moment?
    Our children can choose what they want to use from the Continuous Provision, which is mostly accessible from shelves. At the start of the year we have only Continuous Provision resources on the shelves, with no enhancements, and we do very little in the way of focused activities to allow us to support the children in using the resources e.g. how they work, how to look after them, how to share them, how to tidy them away when they have finished.
    After a few weeks, when the children can use the Continuous Provision independently, we begin to introduce enhancements linked to their interests or learning needs. Again, we model each new enhancement, either as part of group time or while playing with the children in the provision.
    In most cases, we do allow children to move resources into an area that isn't their 'home', although some resources, such as playdough, do have to stay in their own place.
    My advice would be to not cram too much onto your shelves, so the children can see what is available to them clearly. I used to be terrible for deciding that my enhancements were 'part of the Continuous Provision now' and leaving them on the shelves until they were cluttered. I'm much better at putting things away now!
     
  4. May2

    May2 Occasional commenter

    If your room is divided into areas e.g writing area etc you can have some trays, drawers whatever in the area with different things such as coloured pens, pencils, stampers, different coloured paper, little pads, envelopes etc all as part of your continuous provision for Child Initiated learning. You need the right sort of furniture so things can be accessible to the children in the first place but obviously we need to work with what we've got. We have areas such as a puzzle corner where we only have a dozen or so puzzles on the shelves at a time and enhance with topic related ones, the rest are rotated at times from our store cupboard.
    In the art area we have some 'coloured bins in 3 rows on a rack( hard to describe)' that we fill with different collage bits and the large containers for junk modelling and paint easel etc are all accessible in that area.
    They do not get anything and everything out at once. For instance in the construction area they know they are only allowed two boxes of toys at once, basically there wouldn't be room to play with any more in the space and they would all get mixed up. The same in the small world area, they only have two things, maybe doll's house and cars and road mat.
    You have to start the year by showing them the areas and not perhaps opening all areas the first few days but introduce more each day so that they know how to use the areas independently . We have a chat about our class rules and why we might only get two boxes out at a time and also how many can play in some of our areas e.g. only 4 in the sand and water.
    By the way I am in Nursery and Reception share resources part of the time as well as we work as a unit.
     
  5. Something we introduced this year is a set of shelves or a cupboard that can be opened by the outdoor sand pit/digging pit. Each week there is a selection of tools and enhancements that children self select from. Enhancement changed each week. Once modelled by adults children enjoyed the independence. Adults took longer to remember that they didn't set area up by putting resources in the sand each day!
    We've also set up self selection paint in art area. The initial novelty meant a lot of paint squirted out as children were experimenting but now works well. Haven't cracked washing own brushes etc wothout paint getting everywhere. The key is adults modelling use as other posters have said.
    What makes me sad is our children have great independence in FS1 and 2 and then they go into KS1 and 2 and their independence seems to swiftly reduce.
     
  6. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    We have choice, but within limits.
    Sometimes, the limits are due to space eg I limit how many different toys children are allowed to get out for the carpet area (eg construction, train, cars). There isn't a set number of things allowed out as some take up more room than others, depending on how the children are using them.
    Sometimes the limits are due to time. Eg I have a creative area with tubs of various art and DT bits and pieces. The children usually check if it's OK to go and make a model - if they ask 10 minutes before tidying up time then I say no as I know (from experience) that they won't have time to decide what they want to make, find the resources they want, make a model, and tidy up.
    I let them take resources from one area to another, as long as they put them back in the right place at tidy up time. The only exception is playdough which has to stay in the playdough area, because it's a nightmare to try and clean up when it's been trodden into the carpet.
     
  7. Thanks so much for all of your replies. They are really useful and sort of what I had in mind, but couldn't quite get my ldeas to form clearly in my head! Now I am starting to see how I can make it work.

    Up until now, with the exception of the making table, we have decided on resources and have limited the children by not allowing them to move resources around the room for fear of mayhem! What table top activities do you put out for the children before they come in in the morning? Do they get things out for these themselves as well or do you choose them?
     
  8. May2

    May2 Occasional commenter

    It depends how you want to run your class and how your session is organised but we have ours coming in to choose table and floor activities from what we have put out. They 'play' for 20-30 mins then we sit on carpet and do daily weather etc and it is after a carpet time that they child initiate and access the rest. We organise so we have different area of activities each day e.g. one day Maths, one fine motor, one mark making etc so children all have opportunities to do areas that they may not choose in own child In. time, like the boys who just choose cars etc.

    Everyone finds what suits them and their group of children best.
     
  9. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    It does vary from day to day exactly how I run a session. What I often do is to set up the classroom in the morning with a variety of activities, covering different areas of learning. Then, after morning play, I'll set up a couple of activities, but ask the children what other table top activities they would like.
     

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