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Incorporating 2 year olds with 3-4s?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Scribbles10, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. In our pre-school (voluntary) we have just started taking 2 year olds as part of the enhanced provision. Some of them are not yet, or only just 2.5. They all come from vulnerable backgrounds and are very emotionally young as well as having limited speech.

    Does anyone have experience of how we can integrate them into the setting with the existing 3/4 year olds? There will only ever be 4 two year olds maximum per session, alongside about 10 - 20 three year olds. There are 3 staff.

    Our manager is keen for us to do adult led group times with the 2s 3s and 4s mixed together and for us to include the 2s in circle times etc.

    We are finding this very difficult - to provide the right balance of challenge and support for 2s, 3s and 4s.

    I would really appreciate hearing how others have managed this situation, Particularly the adult led times.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Hi,
    I have a pre-school with 2s, 3s and 4s all together, up to 8 2 yr olds as part of a group of 25 (with 5 staff). Things I have found useful:
    >making sure there are enough sensory things - 2 yr olds mostly want sand and water, especially the very young ones. Plus lots of outdoor time.
    >I have a circle time of songs and rhymes. I use lots of songs with Makaton, so the pre-verbal children can still join in. Baby signing videos are a great resource for learning these - I use Sing and Sign (2 DVDs available) which mostly uses familiar tunes. Also a really easy way for adults to learn the appropriate signs!
    >I differentiate story time. I do an oral story with props (a very basic puppet show) for our main story at the end of the session - same one for a week at a time. My littlies go off with another member of staff for a separate story, which is very simple. A little boy and girl wake up, greet their carers, have breakfast and go out for a walk. They meet whatever is around at that time of year - lambs, apple tree, etc - and we do a little song or rhyme for this (Mary had a little lamb, the Rosy Apple song etc). Then they go home, have tea and go to bed. The story is exactly the same every time, except the things they meet change about every 2-3 weeks. When they are ready to listen to a longer, more complex story we move them in with the older ones.
    Hope that helps a bit!
  3. PS The little ones' story also has props - 2 little dollies, plus whatever is in the story. Much easier for the children to maintain focus when they have something to look at as well as to listen to.
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    That sounds a more appropriate ratio of staff to children than in the OP's situation.
  5. Really helpful. Thank you. Do you do any adult initiated tasks with the 2s, other than the circle times?

    Yes. Our ratio is very tight, but unfortunately not within my control :-/
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    kath seems to be in a pre school so a very different set up to a school nursery.
    In theory some schools could have 2 year olds in FSUs with rising sixes and ratios [​IMG]
  7. You need to think about your staffing ratios. Four 2 year olds will take one member of staff. The other two members of staff can only manage 16 older children so you need to have four members of staff if you have more than 16 older children.
    Also, you might want to think about schema with children of this age. There will be a lot of transporting - i.e. carrying everything out of the home corner to another place. Also trajectory - loading the pushchairs with everything or nothing and pushing in straight lines just for the fun of it. Plus all the throwing and kicking of objects (also trajectory). I know you will already be used to this but younger children will probably be doing more of it so it would be useful to provide for this in your constant provision and make sure staff are aware of why the children do these things.
    As regards doing mixed group times - quite honestly I would avoid it if at all possible. Immature 2 year olds are not ready to sit for very long at all unless they are very interested e.g. with a treasure basket or other heuristic play idea. To expect them to work at a similar level to four year olds is unrealistic and you will spend all your time trying to get them to behave as an older child. Also of course it will distract the older children. I would just do a shared song and rhyme time and leave the larger group times for the older ones.

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