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Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Salleriano, Jan 7, 2009.
I hate the word structured in any form now.
Re: "the Rose Review said that children should start a systematic phonic program around their 5th birthday" ...
21 of my children won't be 5 until at least May!!!
So shall I sit back with my feet up and a cup of tea and watch this lot do their "child initiated" activities????!!!!!!
Children do need to be taught new skills and children cannot be expected to read or write unless they have been shown how to first. However, there are opportunities within in a well organised, stimulating classroom to allow them to follow their own interests through practical activities. I try to have a balance throughout the day/week and if i am observed teaching, well so be it. Children need to understand there are times that we just have to do what is being asked of us and times that we are able to follow our interests. Surely, that's life? And haven't we been doing it like this all along?
so we all just jump through the right hoops at the right time and SLT, LA and anyone else who might care get the results they need!
Reading this thread is such a relief!! I have only been with my reception class for 4 days but have already become so muddled about how to get the balance between formal teaching and adult input with small groups and child initiated activities. I'm really worried about the level my children are at already- about 3/4 cannot write their own name yet and I feel they NEED focused directed support to be anywhere near ready for year 1 in 6 months. I have tried to use the child initiated approach this week, (as this is what my predecessor did and the way the T.A.s and children are used to working) putting out lots of enticing activities to try and encourage them to write but the bottom line is that they can't because they don't know how because nobody has taught them!!! (and let's face it even if they could, it's much so more exciting to dress up as a fairy or swish play-dough all afternoon!).
Even after 4 days I'm very worried about my classes learning and level so next week we're starting to do things a bit differently! What I feel they need and want is to have some focused time with me being taught how to do the basics then 'encouraged' to apply this. Reading this thread has given me the confidence that I'm not completely mad, others are struggling with the EYFS approach in the same way that I am! It might not be me missing something glaringly obvious about how I can create an environment in which 29 4 and 5 year olds suddenly and spontaneously write wonderful sentences when after 3 months of this environment they are not actually managing their own names! So I just wanted to say thank-you! Next week we will be having a much more balanced mix of C.I. alongside focused adult initiated input which will be much more beneficial to all!
And yes I did mean my class's learning!!!
Re: What I feel they need and want is to have some focused time with me being taught how to do the basics then 'encouraged' to apply this.
Exactly!!! 100% agreement!!! I've taught like that since I started with reception nearly a decade ago - it has proven to work well!!! It's what I enjoy the most - enabling children to move on - it's great to see them pick things up and practise them completely off their own bat - it's like when you get those children who start copying you - one's the teacher and a few others are the class - "teacher" sends them for their iwbs and pens and they do some shared writing!!!
I have just started my 3rd year of teaching in reception and I have swapped and changed the way I do things about 100 times over that time, based upon the advise of others. Then I realised that my LA advisor hasnt once been interested in WHAT I have been teaching (if i am allowed to use that word!!) all she is bothered about is CI play/enhancing areas of learning etc...to me something is very wrong if it is no longer important for a teacher to teach!! So I have started the new year doing things the way I want, and although we have only done 4days the children have responded really well to more structure, and a balance of work and play!!
I really believe it's time the government completely stopped producing directives, documents, initiatives, guidance, changes ... This would free up time for teachers and practitoners to develop a curriculum rooted in play; to really get to know the children (instead of filling time ticking boxes and writing in endless detail, huge amounts of things no-one reads once they are written. We could focus on really understandning play and developing other aspects of EY education that really interest us - and interest the children.
Early years teachers are exhausted and stressed out, and no wonder! The only thing that gives me (slight) cheer is that I've seen so many changes - the situation we currently have will not last for ever. But that is small solace to everyone who's grapppling with this mess (well reflected in this discussion)!
What I object to is that we - or the children - get the worst of both world. Young chilren should be able to enjoy dressing up as fairies and swishing play-dough around without being stalked by clipboard-toting eavesdroppers. They also love being taught things.
It's very simple - where people agree that the clipboard toting is a lot of unnecessary and ridiculous nonsense, they should just 'down clipboards'.
Don't do it.
If everyone felt strongly enough and courageous enough in that they knew others were going to 'down clipboards', then, at a stroke, the problem, in effect, is solved.
You have simply expressed your views with your actions.
It's coming to this, mark my words.
Please, everyone, do the usual thing - continue writing your views and build up the evidence base of what you all feel, experience, think - and when the moment is 'right', we'll collectively 'down clipboards'.
I haven't abandoned you all - I've just been busy - and only today I was writing some blurb for our forthcoming website weobject.org.uk .
It hasn't been as quick in the launching as I would have liked (nothing ever is) but MrH has it on his list of 'things to do' and it's nearly near the top of that list right now!
When we're launched, I know that some of you will help me to find a good selection of our many threads on this forum where we have protested over and again at the nonsense (whilst the deaf and blind TES journalists ignore us!).
I shall then collate the threads and link to them from the new website.
I'm so glad i found this thread. I've been putting off doing my planning all this morning and its now 20 to 2 in the afternoon.
I feel like i'm working out a rota for a million things to be done in so little time;
jolly phonics, tricky dicky words, literacy and numeracy input on the carpet, focused activies for inside outside, continuous provision, mental maths, writedance, we do assembly, have to go to play with other classes (small infant school in wales) also child intiaited acitivies, weekly dance and pe sessions, 1 afternoon is ppa, another is the music teacher comes in. And inbetween all this we need to be observing the children during child initiated. ARghhhhh!!!!
Phew! ISorry did i sound like a maniac then? I'm torn between wanting the children to have free play while we play with them and learn from them and also 'teaching' them skills, modelling how to do things - but there's not enough time in the day!
Suppose I'd just better get on with it then! good luck everyone! hehe xx
Thank you, Debbie.
Am really looking forward to the website
How wonderful to have all the madness exposed in one place!
I wish Ted Wragg was still around! This is what he wrote in the Guardian in 2004 about the FSP. (I know it will be known to many of you but there might be some "newbies" who aren't familiar with it!!!
Ted Wragg: It is not often that I feel like celebrating something by doing cartwheels along the central reservation of a motorway, while singing the rudest song I can think of, but the publication of the Ofsted report giving a monumental pasting to the 117-item foundation stage profile was one such moment.
In a Guardian article in October 2002, I wrote a strong protest about the introduction of the wretched thing. It had no effect whatsoever. Reception class teachers must now assess children on 13 scales, each with nine different statements: 117 judgments. These labels are being assigned to four- and five-year-old beginners: for a class of 30 a grand total of 3,510 assessments each term.
Many of the tickboxes are ludicrous. Some are brainlessly vague, such as "maintains attention and concentrates" (on what, for goodness sake - setting fire to the wendy house?). The item "reads books of own choice with some fluency and accuracy" fails to distinguish between Little Twinky and War and Peace, while "uses everyday words to describe position" presumably earns a tick for both "'ere" and "45 degrees east north-east of Samarkand".
How on earth is one supposed to make a proper judgment on whether a four- or five-year-old child "has a developing respect for his or her own culture and beliefs and those of other people"? Reception-class teachers are supposed to go through all these ridiculous labels with parents. I wonder if anyone has yet dared tell a parent they weren't able to tick the "understands what is right, what is wrong and why" box. Are you suggesting my child is a psychopath? Well pick your choppers out of that, sunshine. Thwack.
The prize for gormless complexity goes to the following box, under "creative development". I swear I have not made it up. "Expresses feelings and preferences in response to artwork, drama and music and makes some comparisons and links betweendifferent pieces. Responds to own work and that of others when exploring and communicating ideas, feelings and preferences throughout art, music, dance, role-play and imaginative play." Er . . . yes, give him a tick. Hold on . . . maybe no. Too undiscriminating on tambourine technique and lack of empathy when pretending to be a potted plant.
In any sane society these dreadful 117 tickboxes would have been tipped on to the nearest dungheap where they belong. The very thought of administering them to every four- and five-year-old in the land would have been too stupid to contemplate. I finished my 2002 Guardian piece by saying we should not label children so young, nor bury teachers under a totally unnecessary bureaucratic avalanche. But we did, and now an Ofsted report has blasted the miserable instrument for all the reasons that were predicted.
So what was the official government response? Woe is us, for we are idiots? Shred the lot? We must have been collectively insane? We shall drink hemlock for a month? No, quite the reverse. The spokesman, as ever, denied there was a problem, just the usual teething problems, but it was a great idea.
What a pity Mr A Spokesman was not around throughout history. Ice spreading down from the North Pole across Europe? Nah, just a shower. Julius Caesar killed? Where did you get that from? He had a few friends round for a chat. Bubonic plague? Goodness no. Just a little cough and a few spots. London's burning? Sounds like a good title for a song.
The truth is that, for nigh on two years, this 117-item lunacy has been forced on young children in reception classes. Teachers who should have spent every second of their time getting to know their class and teaching them have been following them round with clipboards for too much of their time, just so that the mad statisticians in the DfES can have their utterly meaningless data.
All protests have been completely ignored. Even a damning report from Ofsted will be easily brushed aside. No problem, guv, a little tweak here and there will suffice. And in the totalitarian society in which we now live there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. Except vomit.
· Ted Wragg is emeritus professor of education at Exeter University.
Ted Wragg's words are as valid now as they were then!
We've had seven years, then, of this utter nonsensical system of assessing our littlies.
I can't wait until I get more time to expose this rubbish.
I just wish there were more people following these threads and that everyone would agree collectively to 'down clipboards' and to simply and totally refuse to cooperate.
This would maybe then hit the news at last.
I'm going to use Ted Wragg's description of the 'lunacy' prominently on the new website!
By the way, I wrote a couple of times to the TES people enquiring where our online TES petition about the early years can be located. Do you think it has 'disappeared'?
Does anyone who is good at sleuthing know where to find it please?
I'll do my bit of sleuthing re the petition.
Ted Wragg was my hero. A kind, clever, knowledgeable, humane and sensible man.
His death was a great loss, not only to his family and friends but also to this country's children.
The Petition was downloaded and sent to what's 'is name? So should be located at the offices of someone in education. I have copies of the reply which was sent to us.
It's reassuring to hear so many people echoing my thoughts- going from the children's interests is all very well, but how many boys would actually choose to write in preferenece to playing with the sand or choosing the computer. My children come from deprived backgorunds with little idea of the world around them- it's our job to excite thier interest and open them up to opportunities they might not have had before.
I did not go into this job to watch children play and write on post it's- I want to teach and given the right stimuli- I know that my children want to learn. They just need to know what and how to do it!