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Knocking down the wall...help!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by peatles, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Our head has had the great idea to knock down the wall between the 2 reception classrooms. Yes I thought, I'm all up for a more open space but...he doesn't want any doors at all between.
    I think that for getting children in,especially when they first start school and for quiet times, circle time, etc we need a sliding door of some sort. I don't want my group being disturbed by the other groupa t this time. We will have 61 children and 4 adults.
    He saw this idea at a nursery/reception unit, we too went to visit and it is so different to what we will be left with.
    When asked the teachers in this environment said no, don't do it!
    Does anyone actually teach in this way? The way our rooms are set out regarding fire doors etc would make it impossible to be at opposite corners of the room for inputs.

    Help!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. Our head has had the great idea to knock down the wall between the 2 reception classrooms. Yes I thought, I'm all up for a more open space but...he doesn't want any doors at all between.
    I think that for getting children in,especially when they first start school and for quiet times, circle time, etc we need a sliding door of some sort. I don't want my group being disturbed by the other groupa t this time. We will have 61 children and 4 adults.
    He saw this idea at a nursery/reception unit, we too went to visit and it is so different to what we will be left with.
    When asked the teachers in this environment said no, don't do it!
    Does anyone actually teach in this way? The way our rooms are set out regarding fire doors etc would make it impossible to be at opposite corners of the room for inputs.

    Help!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    We are in a new unit with nursery and 2 reception "groups" - 72 children ... 3 largish areas, each with double doors to outside and sets of sliding doors between them so we can have time with them closed and have teaching groups when we all go to our carpet area. The sliding doors though are a health and safety risk - they are heavy (one came off it's track within a week) and we have had children trap other children's heads in them and fingers ... and where they slide away to is a bad accident waiting to happen with someone's fingers as the gap is just the right size for a child's fingers to get into and if the door was moved at the time ... OUCH!!
    It's taking some getting used to and at the moment I wish I was in my own room with "my" class ...
     
  4. Peatles, tell your head not to do it. I worked in a reception unit like your head wants for a year and it was awful. The noise was absolutely dreadful. There were no quiet areas, and you could just see it was too much for some of the more shy children. When we had carpet time I was really conscious of the noise my children made. If I wanted to use the IWB it disturbed the other group (we taught at opposite ends of the unit). Never again (didn't help that I hated the school anyway).
     
  5. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    We have two Reception classes sharing one 'normal' classroom and one open plan area off a corridor which other children have to walk through. Only the classroom has an IWB and only the open plan area has access to the outside area and to the sink. Because of this we have to have a complicated timetable moving around so all children have access to the facilities available every day.
    If I had a choice I would opt for separate classrooms with doors every time.
     
  6. We work like that now, when I started at this school it was two separate classrooms and the wall came down after my first term there. The other teacher and I wanted a door but were told no.
    It took a lot of work/ transition, but it works really well now. We have the areas spread over the two classrooms, and we have our own carpet areas for carpet times. The children are used to using the whole space during continuous provision, they use the areas really well and the noise isn't that bad because they are generally busy and engaged, and there are 4 adults to help keep them on task. The doors to the outside area go from 'my' side of the classroom and that being free flow helps to ease any congestion too.
    Like I say, it took quite a bit of work and readjustment, but it works really well now. We have one adult on the focus inside, and one observing/ supporting, and the same outside (though obviously it's flexible depending on where the children are gravitating), we coordinate our carpet times, tidy up times etc, we do some joint inputs, and some stuff in key worker groups, and generally I can't imagine going back to how it was before!
    Having said all that, our classrooms were absolutely tiny before, ridiculously so, and there simply wasn't space to have the different areas, and no scope to extend, so this was the best option for us.
     
  7. I have worked like this off and on for years - as a regular supply teacher - including a whole term long term.
    You have to have a completely different approach to your planning and classroom organisation. The unit worked as a whole with the teachers sharing planning and the classes merging for almost all of the day. The key worker groups included children from each class and displays were of the work from both classes. Although the children know "whose class" they are in it makes little difference to them apart from where they go first thing in the morning and after lunch. The teachers work with the children of both classes- so one will do one activity with all of the children while the other does an activity. It works brilliantly!
    A word on sliding doors. They are rarely good insulators against sound. You may (or may not, as mentioned by another poster) be able to draw them across but the sound just boogies on through.
    You may have to completely re-think your approach but embrace with a smile and a song.
     
  8. Thanks so much for all of your ideas, jusy need to hear how it works for different people, well lets go for it!!!
     
  9. You are being admirably positive about it.
    I think it's crazy and just down to fashion. Why would you want to increase noise in a room full of 4/5 year olds? Not fair on them, and certainly not fair on the teachers.
    There was a fashion for open plan schools about 30 years ago. In most, the walls have long since been put back in.
    I'd love to know the rationale for it. If you want children to mix and access both rooms there are other ways of organising it.
     
  10. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Senior commenter

    Open plan areas are much harder to teach in
    They can be supervised (if that is the right word) by less adults
    Where do we get this idea from? We don't knock down the walls into the outside area but the children still manage to get there. Doors are such a fab invention. And wall, they are great too.
    I recently visited another setting, where they have two reception classes with shared outside area. Two small classes with their own staff and their own ICT etc. Obviously very adult led in terms of activities. But attractive and playful and producing good outcomes.
    It made me sad for the years I spent trying to teach reception with nursery wandering around, turing off the IWB activity and so on. Or trying to teach nursery with reception swanning around dominating the activities prepared for nursery.
    With two spaces you can have for example, messy creative areas and dry areas with more focus/adult led activities. You can have literacy and numeracy input, follow up activities and the chance for children to listen, hear and concentrate. So much potential for shared teaching.
    Whenever I see anywhere that is well thought of so to speak, there is always some kind of room or class space where children can go off for group work, phonics, guided reading, speech and language, noisy singing etc. But then the recommendations for improving settings seem to bring along some idea of demolition as a desirable action. Free flow can happen through doorways too.
     
  11. we already have a door between us and access to outside from both rooms into a shared outdoor area so chidlren can flow all the way round but we can also shut the door for quiet times and when my abusive child wants to call me a f***ing meanie or other such expletives only 30 chidlren hear not 60 but hey ho!!!
     
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Would he go for semi open plan?
    We have an opening where the door into the linking corridor was and the dividing door opening has been enlarged. It means we can retreat into our own space when we want but free flow at other times.
     

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