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How do you organise your staffing in Reception class?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by kat38, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. I am Foundation Stage leader in a 3 class unit. We have 3 Reception classes of about 25 children each. All the classes are adjoining but only two of them have direct access to our outside area (ie to get to outside from class C you need to go through B)
    Currently we have a teacher in each classroom and 2 TAs. One TA is outside and the other is manning an Art activity. From next term we will have 3 TAs
    The current situation seems very inefficient. As my room is the one without access to outside and also the one without the Art area in it I am effectively working on my own with a class of 25 who are able to access the other rooms but often choose to stay in their base classroom. Also the outside area is often used just as a playground and the current staff seem unwilling to use it to enhance learning. Thirdly it seems to me that having an adult supervised art and craft activity all the time is a waste of a TA .
    I have not had much experience of teaching Reception so maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill but I would really aprreciate some ideas of how to organise both the staff and the setting itself from those who work in maybe a similar situation .. At the moment it is just confusing and frustrating
    Many Thanks
  2. I have a similar situation but am no where near as lucky as you with regards to staffing only 1 lsa per class and this goes down to less than one per class in the pm sessions! I tend to have one member of staff at least outside where they have an adult-led focused activity to do (gets rid of the 'they're playing/running around... mentality). I have a timetable so each member of staff knows what they have to do each day (including teachers as some don't seem to know how to organise their time!) eg listen to indiv reading, guided reading, adult-led activity (inside and out), focused observations, sticky label obs.... i also set children 'challenges' which are in different rooms so they have to move around or they don't get their stickers! I only have one adult-led CD activity a week - the rest of the time it is child-led...better for the obs! takes a while to train the children into using it efficiently but is far far more productive in the long run.
    Be prepared to upset your staff (who may be like some of mine were a long time back who felt that all they had to do was supervise!!! ) but it will be <u>miles</u> better in the long run.
    good luck!
  3. With the staffing I have 3 Teachers and 3 TAs in total - not 3TAs per class. Sorry that wasn't all that clear in my original post!
  4. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    Have you thought of having a rota? Make sure you take turns to go outside - and with that many children, there need to be at least 2 people outside. Make sure adults move between workshop areas - and I agree that always having someone in art is not right. If the adults move between rooms, the children tend to start moving too.
  5. teacherof30

    teacherof30 New commenter

    Jswif - would you be prepared to post your timetable on here? or email it to me at badweestick @ yahoo.co . uk

    We are moving to 3 classes from 2 in September and I'm in the process of working out how it's all going to work. It will mean lots of changes for us. Your timetable sounds very helpful!

    Thanks very much
  6. Would you be willing to share a copy of your rota?
    Kat x
  7. I have 30 pupils and myself, plus 2 full time TA's. In most sessions I have 1 adult led activity inside, 1 adult led activity outside, and the 3rd adult either: listens to Chn read, assess key vocabulary, observations/ individual assessments.

    It seems to work well for us, we have a good balance of observations, child-led and adult-led activities going on on a daily basis.
  8. When you say the outside is used as 'just a playground' What do you mean? In my eyes, I would define just a playground as a space for children with nothing in it! If this is the case then you need to get some resources for your outside area to enhance learning.

    For us, the outside is an area for children to access a range of resources such as: vehicles ( we have bikes and scooters), we have a writing area where children can write either on clipboards or on a whiteboard. We have an area with a sand tray and a water tray as well as hoops, beanbags, etc ( weather permitting). We also have a role play area outside as well as some undercover space for when it rains!

    Unless you are on the carpet, children should have access to the outside at all times. You mention your children have to go through a class to get to the outside - is there another way out or Have you the space to create a separate area for your class?

    In terms of organising staff, we have a rota so that each of us has our 'turn' as it were. That way it is fair or everyone. We used to operate a less organised system a few years back but we found staff would opt out on rainy/ cold days or say they didn't want to get dirty! Reception is all about slashing in the puddles and experiencing the rain - getting dirty is all part of the fun! Our rota works for us as staff know if it's their 'day' then they are outside and that's that! No-one complains ( well certainly not to my face) and everyone does their share. We are a staff team of four if that helps.
  9. missbrum

    missbrum New commenter

    I thought I would up this thread.

    I am in a similar position to OP. 3 separate classes all in a line. Each would be easily accessible to all children but are run as the distinct classes. Would it make more sense to have each room themed so Literacy centred activities ie writing area, small world, role play. The another room of sand, water, science area etc.. Or would it be better to have 3 separate classrooms each with similar resources?

    Also does anyone know where I can get bibs-I want about 50 so as to have a maximum number outside and I looking for waterproof jackets and trousers, for the children, not me.
  10. Hi, I have worked in a very similar set up and organised the 3 classrooms into themed bases (resources were best usen in larger amounts in one space rather than shared out and this meant the children could choose a different construction kit in each base for example) which we moved around as a whole class so we spent time in each class and the outside area. Free flow was available after an initial directed time of up to 30 mins. This ensured that activities were modelled for the children, planned activities were able to be completed and that all staff and all children were able to access all areas throughout the day especially the cold outdoors!!! I had 2 TA's who were based in the 'empty zone' (3 classes and outside made 4 zones) to enable free flow and in the literacy base to support reading/phonic/writing activities.

    I liked the movement and the sharing of ideas, planning, resources and children this encouraged however following an untidy class/teacher into a space can become frustrating!! Lots of teamwork and open discussions are essential to make it work well.

    A version of this timetable is in my uploaded resources if you click on my username you should get there.
  11. missbrum

    missbrum New commenter

    thanks for the resources
  12. We have 3 reception classes, and two outdoor areas, one L shaped which means we need a minimum of 3 staff outside if all areas are open. As the children prefer working outdoors we close one of the classroom for part of the day. We have a planning grid which says which adult is where for this part of the day (3 teachers, 3 TS's, parent helpers and students) and that they are in charge of enhancing that area for that block of time (usually 3-4 weeks, so they can really follow the children's interests). By doing this system since September it has forced all children out of the comfort of their home base (see original post) although some initially would come where me or my TA was working. Consistency has needed to be addressed constantly all year!

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