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Managing Reception free flow

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by gs019, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. gs019

    gs019 New commenter


    We are a three form (90 intake) infant school. In reception we include free flow to the outdoor area throughout our challenge time so children can access activities inside or out. We have an extensive outdoor area with a covered area providing table space, a space for bikes, a slide, a physical area and a role play/construction area. We have tried a number of different ways to manage this to ensure all children receive quality adult interactions both indoor and out, but we are still not happy. We currently say that when a class is running free flow, one of the classroom adults should also be outside. We have a rota for setting up each area and have tried basing the adults within these areas when all 3 classes are out so that there is someone available to support.

    I would be really grateful if others who run free flow within reception could share how they manage it to help us find a way that works for us.

    Thank you!

  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Are you saying you only have three adults supervising 90 children?
  3. gs019

    gs019 New commenter

    We have 2 adults per class - teacher and TA and an additional TA across the year group. If all 90 children go out then there would be all of the adults outside. Otherwise if only 15 children from each class are out then they would have one of the adults from the class with them and often an additional spare adult when available.
  4. squashball

    squashball Occasional commenter

    We are also 3 form 90 child reception with a shared outdoor area for the 3 classes - we have a covered area, mud kitchen, huge sand pit, giant building blocks, big art, books, musical instruments. Our bikes are only ever used when it's pouring with rain and nothing else can be safely accessed (so we keep them out of the garden altogether - don't think they need to have the bikes every day by the time they're in reception anyway).
    We run a rota for staff - 1 adult outside for an hour at a time after carpet sessions 9-30 to 10-30, then another adult takes over until 11-30. Final shift happens in the afternoon 2-3. These shifts are our free movement times for children - it's carpet time during the other hours of the day. It means that 1 adult from each class per day does a shift outdoors, either the teacher or the TA (and we do a week on/week off rota as we have found this helps too). Teachers set up the outdoor area at 7:30 and the afternoon adult is responsible for closing down. The timetable is sorted our during PPA time (it's complicated as we have to take into account PE lessons or times when staff are used for forest schools or in meetings). Crucially we only allow 7-9 children outside at a time (from all 3 classes) which makes managing the outdoors hard work but do'able. It is MUCH harder in the Autumn terms when all the children want to go outside all day and none of them know the rules or how to tidy up, so we normally run with 2 adults for bits of the first and last shift.
    It sounds like your outside area is much larger than ours - we wouldn't have space for any more than 25-30 children outside at a time and would never have just one class outside on its own. I would say to you, relax - you can't be everywhere and children don't need to interact with an adult to get the benefits of being in the outdoor area. Choose where and with whom you are going to work and get on with it whilst keeping a wary eye on everyone else - but be absolutely firm with rules (no running, no mud in the sand, or whatever) and send rule breakers in. We manage this with the 6 of us all year. Don't know if this is any help?
  5. gs019

    gs019 New commenter

    Thank you! Very reassuring! As you say - I think it's best to relax! I think I will focus more on developing the environment and resourcing etc as I think this will help in the long run!

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