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Feel like I am failing these kids

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by foggy98, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I have to say I'm not a fan of EYFS and was one of the very early signatories of the petition against it.
    My thoughts are that we have been given a daycare curriculum and expected to deliver it with school ratios - which I don't think anyone could argue will work.
    In my setting under the old Curriculum Guidance Foundation Stage we worked with 50% CI and 50% AI and had done for years very successfully. We opperated free flow and covered all the learning elements now contained in EYFS but we didn't have some of the red tape of EYFS to contend with. We cooked every week and none of us had to have a food hygiene certificate. We had two members of staff who help first aid certificates but as our youngest child was three we didn't need to train to practice first aid on babies. We saw all our parents twice daily and shared special moments with them almost as soon as they happened and any photographs were sent home as a reminder. Now the expectation is to write everything down to share ... obviously at a later date ... after the magic of the moment has faded.

  2. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I agree about all the red tape Msz and the paperwork is horrendous. I too dont think the EYFS was necessary as there was nothing wrong with the old one.
    Nelly I dont think I am an expert and I too have been through the miriad of changes. I have to say I had a bigger problem with the literacy hours and guided reading then the EYFS, but only because I dont think the EYFS is any different, in terms of provision and teaching than before the rigidness of the other initiatives. I know from your previous posts before EYFS that you didnt teach any differently to me, indeed I got some of my ideas from you when I first taught nursery. I know you have had awful problems this year, but think this is more down to the other staff you work with interpreting the EYFS as a free for all and anarchy. Something you have known is wrong and have been vocal about. I hope you can find a job in which you are able to work in a way which you feel is right for you and your children.
    Teaching will always be adapting and changing ,new things will be tried and we will keep the best and throw the rest. I am always learning as a teacher and hope I am a better techer than when I first started. If we want to keep the best we have to start fighting and stop taking it.

  3. But when we (mainly oldies) fight to retain successful practice we are accused of being 'negative' and 'too lazy' to change! So how do you 'keep the best'?
  4. Isn't the issue that what some people consider is 'the best' is not what others consider to be 'the best'.
    I may be labelled as a ranter or negative by some - but if you check out what I 'say' continuously it is about people being able to make choices as to what is appropriate for them and their setting.
    The whole point about recent times is there is always someone from on high telling everyone what is 'best'.
    Clearly there are many of us who do not agree.
    Some of us did not agree even before being policed - and others don't agree because they object to being policed - but also we have a group of people now who don't agree because they've done their best to do what they've been told is best practice - and they haven't found it to be 'best practice'.
  5. Just wanted to say that having attended a recent earlier years conference I left with the same impression as oscar's mum have voiced here about quiet spaces in relation to language development. I think that the shift of emphasis has started to happen and the message from the leading educators is now <u>less is more</u> as far as the learning environment is concerned.
    I think it has started to happen already oscar's mum.
  6. mary
    Margaret Edgington spoke at this conference too
  7. optimistic1

    optimistic1 New commenter

    OMG! and AHHHHHHHHHHHHh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I cannot believe that there are so many EYFS teachers out there that obviously don't understands how free flow choice works and how as practitioners we should be facilitating learning not imposing it! Do the words, independence, autonomy, involvement, personalised learning journey or sustained shared thinking mean nothing to you? If the teachers believe the children are 'just playing' all day then what hope have we got educating the parents about the importance of play. I am appalled, were you people not early years trained? I don't understand all the fuss, as far as I can see the new EYFS shouldn't have made any difference to practice, its what good early years practitioners should have been doing all along. Stop complaining and start thinking more creatively, its your job not to fail the kids plenty of setting work successfully, following a true Early Years ethos - so get learning, visit places, read books and improve your understanding of good practice!

    The Role of the Adult in the Foundation Stage

    1. Providing resources
    This includes the workshop provision itself, provision of additional resources before the session and responding to the needs of the children during the session. Fetching resources as and when the children ask for them. Remember: The environment is the third teacher!

    2. Direct teaching
    Adults will be involved in direct teaching with whole groups, small groups or individuals where they will give information, demonstrate a skill, introduce an idea or task, lead discussions, set challenges or tasks and assess learning. Direct teaching will be planned in response to child initiated play, interests, levels and development etc.

    3. Responding to play
    There is a need to listen to, and observe children?s play in order to respond in a variety of ways.
    ? To share in the play without directing or dominating, to indicate to the children that play is important and we value it.
    ? To introduce new skills to the children and reinforce and develop old skills
    ? To identify problems and encourage hypothesis formation and problem solving
    ? To encourage group work and social skills
    ? To find out children?s ideas and knowledge
    ? To provide a role model
    ? To engage in dialogue and encourage verbalisation and extend thinking and language

    4. Extending learning and setting challenges
    The adults should also set achievable but challenging activities/tasks to extend learning, offering the appropriate help and support without removing the child?s independence and ?doing it for them?.

    5. Praising and encouraging
    Adults should give praise and encouragement whenever possible and develop an ethos of ?I can?. They should also avoid empty praise and help the child to develop self-evaluation skills.

    6. Assessing skills and curriculum access
    Adults need to use formal and informal observations of the child to assess their skills development and to find out if the child is assessing all 6 areas of learning. Knowledge of the children will be used to assist planning and in identification of children for targeted skill development. If a child is not accessing all curriculum areas, the adult should encourage the child to attempt these areas or provide the necessary learning in areas the child is comfortable with.

    7. Intervening in play
    There may be times when the adult has to intervene in play, for example when one or more children are disrupting play, when children are at risk because the equipment or materials are being abused or when the play has reached stalemate. Only close observation and knowledge of the children will tell the adult when to intervene and when to wait and see if the child can resolve their problems or disagreement. Adults should always aim to contain the play rather than extinguish it when they intervene.
    Adults must always intervene immediately if a child is at risk of injury.
  8. This was the same message given to us at EY conference this year.

  9. Thank you-was this from you own dissertation or your school's handbook for NN use! However did we manage without this helpful nugget of information!
  10. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Optimist, at some point in your education someone should have facilitated the use of paragraphs - if and when you showed an interest in them, of course.
    This forum abounds with skilled and committed practitioners. They don't always agree with each other and there are often informative and entertaining arguments to be read and joined. Some posters are seasoned old campaigners. Others are new and bursting with the novelty and importance of it all. We swap ideas and fight our corners and, on the whole, muddle along rather well.
    You have poor reading skills if this is not apparent to you.
  11. Ibuzzybea

    Ibuzzybea Occasional commenter

    Very interesting thread this, made good reading. Hadn't read previously as i thought it maybe a little dull but no way. First time in a long time I have thought wow people have put a whole lot of thought into this, great!!! Oscars Mum, i'm interested which preschool asd unit you visited (know most of them), I would say your description was fairly typical and certainly in my opinion speaks of good autism practice. This is my background and I sometimes struggle with the whole EYFS practice, that is NOT to say I am against it, completely to the contrary. However I do have vast misgivings about a large amount of practitioners/ advisors etc. completely (in my opinion) missing the point and going off on their own tangents. I have great difficulty in convincing people that it is ok to say to a child "sit" and do this (within the context of truly planning for a child's needs) it is NOT ok to allow children to do what they want all day. A previous poster wrote "My thoughts are that we have been given a daycare curriculum and expected to deliver it with school ratios - which I don't think anyone could argue will work." I completely agree and think that this curriculum is much easier to implement in a preschool setting, particularly observations. Lastly Oscars mum I do agree with 99.9% of what you have said, except I think that the concentration problem of children I think may largely stem from home, where children are often glued to the tv, have tv in the background so flit from one thing to another, provided with loads of toys that are perfectly "right" requiring no imagination therefore shortlived in value and therefore do not promote concentration, not sitting down at the table (so no op to get board and then ammuse self) and lastly diet. I think settings need to work with this difficulty and plan for increased attention (as you said in the asd unit) rather than immediatly expecting what was the norm 20yrs ago. Thanks everyone
  12. I tweak the meaning of 'free play'. They can choose ANYTHING they like... well that doesn't involve running out of school so we still have to give them boundries! Mine choose anythng they like from what I set up for them. If we do literacy they can choose from: making books using topic words, making picture books, reading, or whatever else I choose. Their free choice will always lead them to that activity. Likewise numeracy. We learn about patterns. They can choose from making bead patterns, drawing patterns etc. All subtely differentiated. For the rest of the day they do what they want, but only once you make sure you have covered all areas! Don't lose heart, just interpret the rules a bit differently!!
  13. foggy, I do feel sorry for you and yes, we all need to vent sometimes, but you seem to have opened a can of worms and it fills me with dismay! I love teaching my Reception class and having previously taught Nursery I am an enthusiast for the EYFS, even if aspects of it sometimes drive me to distraction! Yes, you do need a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. No, it's not always possible to assess everything through observation. It is possible to give children choice and responsibility for their own learning, but it involves careful planning of the learning environment and adult scaffolding of purposeful play, as well as adult led activities (which do sometimes involve the whole class sitting on the carpet) to ensure curriculum coverage and equal opportunities. Don't forget, in most developed countries children don't start the teaching of reading and writing until they are 6 or 7! I could go on... I have never joined a discussion like this before, but I feel so strongly about this issue,
  14. And I'm appalled by your tone. This forum is a space in which we gather to share our views, challenge our preconceptions and be honest about our shortcomings. It is NOT a space in which to patronise, offend or belittle those who disagree with your opinions and beliefs about what constitutes good practice. Those who may not agree with EYFS are not cognitively limited - they understand the concept of free flow play and learning journeys.
    I think that if you read most people's posts thoroughly, you will see that they do agree in the power of play and the necessity of free and structured play balanced with adult-led activities. What they disagree with is the way in which the EYFS is being interpreted. From this forum it is clear that in some LAs the careful balance of play and structured activities within a broad and balanced curriculum has disappeared into nothing but pandemonium with no structure for the children.
  15. I could never work in Early Years. I have just finished PGCE. My last placement was year 1. the school was great but they have taken on the creative curriculum with gusto and the year 1's now have free play like EY. When that is finished they then go out for their normal playtime! What child is readily going to sit down and write when there are games to be played outside? I felt for the brighter children who didn't like sitting too long or being pushed because they were not used to it. Maybe I am old school but I think children should be taught how to read and write. How they are going to fare in year 2 is worrying.
  16. they will be fine, because all the social emotional disposition to learning stuff is in place to enable them to sponge it all up in yr 2 - when they are mature enough for more formal learning.
  17. <font size="4">I just want to remind everyone that even though EYFS states observations should be 80% child initiated learning and 20% adult guided that is not how we have to spend our time. I believe it is more important that we keep a 50% ratio as just because we have to collect mainly child initiated learning it does not mean we should just leave child ' to play' as we can question children whilst they are involved in child initiated play to extend their play, can still plan adult led activities and we can definitely model skills, this will then allow children to learn from adults through us scaffolding their learning. This then allows them to then express these skills in their own child initiated play. I personally love this balance and have excellent child initiated observations continuously as all adults in the setting timetable their time at a 50% ratio. If this is not how you work try giving it a go, it is working for me!!!</font>
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I actually had to cut and paste this into word and split it into paragraphs before I could even read it.
    You really need to get your facts right before you start OMGing. The very people you are vilifying here are among the strongest advocates for learning through play and have been teaching through play long before EYFS was imagined.
    Did you get your list from a handbook or did you think them up for yourself?
  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    oscars mum we actually took similar steps before EYFS was introduced based on the work of Elizabeth Jarman Neutral colours, no visual distractions and lots of decluttering. We intend to take it a step further for next September with less choices available as we have found this year very successful with children more engaged for sustained periods of time in quality play rather than wandering aimlessly from activity to activity.
    I'm a firm believer in what works for SEN children is good for all children!
  20. I am a primary teacher, who is also a mum of a Reception child.
    When I speak to my child's teacher (v.young - no kids) she says the problem is these children don't know how to respect toys, furniture or how to play - PARENTS don't teach them do they? I bite my tongue as I know mine IS taught. I think of Lord of the flies too! No structure! No leader as such etc leads to too much freedom, looser boundaries and unwanted behaviour.
    On Fridays, my child says 'I don't want to take show and tell in because everything in our class gets broken.' He doesn't want to take books in about farms, bugs etc because the pages get ripped! If 28, 4 and 5 year old children are left so often to their own devices, they cannot be held totally reponsible for 'keeping the lid' on their interest, behaviour etc.
    Reception teachers are under incredible pressure in my mind to have a classroom lead by children, play AND feel unable to the follow instincts that lead them into this profession.
    My child does write, do sounds, numeracy etc directed by teacher and TAs and I'm lucky that they are enabled to do this as completely free play isn't favoured in that school, but on the days that those structured activities are not in place, my child comes home, croaky, tired, grumpy with tales of woe!
    Which would I prefer? A child who does some form of structured learning directed by the teacher each day and a range of 'free' play so they get encouraged to try and develop a broad range of skills: cycling, sand, painting, skipping, roleplay, cutting, gluing etc
    Just have a 'free play' holiday - and in September, have the confidence to follow your instinct about how different children have different needs, but all need some degree of structure at least some part of their day!

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