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Feel like I am failing these kids

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

  1. Yes- I liked that bit!
    Continuing our learning journey is as you say crucial but it is becoming tricky.
    Our LEA puts on courses for all practitoners and they seem to be mainly aimed at daycare. Without wanting to appear arrogant- they don't meet the needs of most teachers who are looking for more advanced stuff. The courses are bright ideas and supported by little thinking. It is do this and you will pass Inspection sort of stuff- my way or the highway. We have chosen not to go on these courses because it is not worth supply cover.
    To go on courses elsewhere is very expensive- about £150 a day course, plus travel and supply cover and there is not the money in the kitty at the end of the day for more than one course a year .
     
  2. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Oscar's Mum. Thanks for that, I have often wondered about the Montisorri model. I knew about the natural materials but not much else. Other than the staffing and set playtimes, I would say that this is very similar to how we work. I agree with continuous outdoor access, but it is so difficult witout the staffing. We changed to a FU for this reason and now at least have 2 adults doing focus indoors and one observing/floating. However this still means that there is only one outdoors, so we are yet to achieve quality interactions and focus activities outside.
    Hedda I agree about the courses. My previous LA lumped all EYFS providers together from childminders to teachers. Some such as arty or music ideas courses were quite good if you just needed new inspiration, but everything else was dumbed down. My friend who works in a pre school also wasnt happy as time was also wasted for her on things only relevant to schools. My present LA keeps the courses separate so they can be tailored a little. However we now find that as all new keen and eager advisors were appointed for the PVI settings, we are now in the ridiculous situation that the pvis get to know about new initiatives, planning and assessment formats months before the schools because all our school advisors are too disorganised to let us know. As always the best bit about courses is meeting other teachers and comparing notes. A bit like this forum!
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My LA is the samw Hedda and my head has said he would rather send us on national training than access the in county training which doesn't meet our needs. Realise I'm lucky to have a head who will pay for me (and the rest of the FS staff) to train/work with national and international experts.
     
  4. optimistic1

    optimistic1 New commenter

    Real comment made on the day before the school breaks up for the holidays...

    Headteacher to FS teacher "Why aren't you doing Literacy and Numeracy? The children are just playing, they can do that at home!"
     
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sounds like the HT needs some training. On the other hand, ours could have gone into any classroom yesterday and made the same comment, so it's not just EYs.
     
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I am extremely grateful to work in a school where early years is valued and for a head who recognises the importance of good early years provision
     
  7. Oscar's mum, I completely agree with you on staffing, we have exactly the same problem, with CI and simultaneous inside/outside provision spreading us so thin we can hardly interact, let alone teach. We have tried all sorts of ideas to resolve this, for example staying indoors only for the first half hour or so, to allow one to focus and one to be alongside/change wet children etc Another is for one to lead our carpet time whilst other makes post it observations, so that when we are alongside in CI we can interact more effectively. We also try to use natural breaks, such as after carpet time to take focus groups out, so we don't pull children away from their play. We have tried not doing focus groups and just being alongside, with both of us either inside or out. We also have choosing baskets to put some limits on the quantity of resources that are out, to limit unsupervised chaos. We have FS1 and FS2 in a 2.5 hour session and 2 staff to 26 children am/pm, children join and leave each term. It is a logistical nightmare and I have recently accepted that I am being asked to do the impossible and should not blame myself for failing the kids, although it is very demoralising. I think 3 staff to 26 works well, one to focus, one alongside and one to deal with general support.I envy my preschool colleagues ratios and would argue that my teacher training is of no value to me or my children if I can not use it. I even envy their church hall setting where everything has to go away at the end of the session, at least they have the staff to ensure resources are sorted and tidied each day. As for key children, how can 1:26 be sensible and how can my NNEB keep up to date with learning journeys and profiles when she is only paid for the session and has no PPA!
     
  8. gradually switch the proportions of these as the year progresses, so then there is no big "Year 1" adjusting to do.

    Actually the idea is that Year 1 operate more like the Foundaton Stage to aid transition, not that we become like Year 1!!!!
     

  9. "It might help to read up on the extensive theory underpinning this kind of approach-in particular The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach or even Cathy Nutbrown's Threads of Thinking. I'm afraid I have a completely different view, I feel that this has been a long time coming. It isn't about, not making them do anything, it's more about inspiring them, through added focus on the learning environment, to want to do everything. Of course some children need to be moved on and encouraged to try something new rather than stay in a rut but it's about helping them to make the transition and bridging the gap rather than applying pressure. If anything it's more professionally challenging trying to meet the needs of the huge variety of learning patterns. Think of the environment as third teacher and put your expertise into making links and extending what children favour. 'Just playing' is how it might seem but actually the most intense experiences can come when you are most focused on what you love doing. For some, reading and writing is it (and don't forget systematic teaching around such learning areas still has a huge part to play so a traditional approach is fine), for others coming to terms with how water flows from a tap can be a profound experience and provide an opportunity to explore scientific concepts like gravity or the obvious floating and sinking. Once inspired, many children will choose the activity without adult intervention and so it becomes free choice -but it's still learning and probably much deeper learning as a result of opportunity to push the boundaries without an adult nearby who may or may not inhibit the experience by asking too many questions, put restrictions on the activity, or simply take the fun out of it"

    Thank you thank you thank you, at last a true Early Years expert speaking sense!!
    This last year has been very challenging but hugely rewarding, I know that the children moving on from me to Year 1 are just as well advanced in their reading, writing and numeracy skills as the children I taught much more formally last year, but what these children have in abundance and the others lacked are much greater creative, thinking, reasoning and personal and social skills, I really feel they are much more rounded children who are happy and confident.
     
  10. Hi
    I can sympathise with you as our team went through hell with children wrecking things, loud noise etc and felt children weren't progressing and so called in our EYAT to look at our environment. She offered brilliant suggestions as to how we could organise our environment into zones. Once we had reorganised environment including 'shadows' to put equipment on, the quality of play and noise improved considerably. We have one small room and one large room with garden and have 4 adults. Two of the adults offer adult initiated tasks (indoors or outdoors) whilst the other two observe and play alongside children. The EYFS says the environment is the 'third person' and it needs to be right and I now firmly believe that.
    It took us nearly a year of trying things out - pulling our hair out, going home shattered etc etc.before we felt that we were making some progress.
    Hopefully at the start of next academic year we can pick up where we left off. We plan to spend the first few weeks training the children and playing alongside them/assessing them. We will probably give them areas to tidy up and change their areas at the end of each half term. If the chidlren move onto another area we are very strict that they need to leave the area they were playing in ready for other children i.e. tidy it up before they go. We have also tried laminated name hands that go out on any equipment/materials at the end of sessions that the children want to leave out to pick up at a later date. Next year we are going to try to have almost continuous group time with very little transition periods so that the children get longer to play and don't feel rushed. This should help them get more engrossed in their play.We will have focussed group times when we sing songs/do number rhymes/Write Dance/PSE (PATHS)/phonics when we are in our key groups for max 15 mins at a time. Little and often is my motto!
    Hang on in there - it's tough in later Foundation Stage as the adult/pupil ratio is not as good as in pre-schools. But it is the most rewarding job on earth when you see how the children have progressed through the year.
     
  11. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    A very useful post sandmank2. Would you agree that it is important that all staff share the same values etc? We have always worked this way in nursery but as a unit, these issues have caused problems as the reception staff havent understood the need to reinforce the tidy rules etc from the beginning. I intend to raise this as an issue this year as we were constantly frustrated with the mainly reception children trashing everything.
     
  12. Hi to Oscar's Mum! I am researching Montessori and special education with an emphasis on autistic spectrum disorders. Are you able to share which Montessori school you observed as I would to ask for an interview/observation.
     
  13. I think thats really harsh Millymolly to say that people are failing and its not very supportive! I think a good teacher is one who reflects on their practice. If you think your perfect then i suggest you may not be doing your job properly. The fact that this thread has got so many posts it is obviously an issue for most teachers. you may have lots of experience so feel comfortable with the EYFS but that doesnt mean you should be-little others. The Early Years and getting the balance right is hard enough without people who have not observed these teachers raining on their parade! I found it hard last year in nursery and have reflected on my practice and EYFS, just because someone is finding it hard does not mean they should move year groups and as a teacher i hope that is not advice you give to your pupils 'yes you are probably failing give up' To the person that started this post (sorry read so many comments cant remember the original postee!) well done for having the balls to say how you feel, dont be too hard on yourself, youll find out what works as you go along no one is perfect ; teaching is a learning curve just as much for you as it is for the children you teach. Keep caring about your job and the children! good luck x
     
  14. Hi, you are not alone. Balance is the key, I have 3 directed activities each week, 1 number, 1 CLL and a K&U. There is a teaching session straight away, as the children come in as we have to go into assembly quickly. This includes days of the week, counting, shapes, colour, rules, news, phonemes, circle time etc. There is a formal phonics session at 10 am and then a formal number session at 11:30. The children then go into key worker groups until lunch. After lunch there is another guided session, on K&U - can be RE, music, geog/history based or big book! After working in year 1 and 2 I feel we need to give children some structure and formal teaching or we are not scaffolding their learning andthey are very shocked when they hit year 1!
    Also Continuous provision is not about tipping everything out, there is a reason we tidy as we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We need to start with the child, go from there but we also need to teach and provide structure to ensure the children feel supported and learn things that they might not have chosen.
    As for obs, 1 learning journey per child per term and incidentals on post - its. Then transfer to an EYFS grid to infom e-profile completion. This is a job, and I consider it to be the most specialised area in education.
    Don't give up, just rethink your timetable! x
     
  15. I agree they should, but do they?????????????[​IMG]
     
  16. I would rather not say which setting I visited but I am sure any local Montessori school would be happy to help you out. Sorry not to be more helpful. The only thing that struck me was that the strong structure of the session would help an autistic child to settle into a rountine. Good luck with your research.
     

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