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Nursery Topics

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by inky, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I think you have to remember that what is old-hat to you is new to each three-year-old you encounter. Having said that, following interests is actually a pretty good way of planning topics.
  2. we have an overview of long term topics that we have to 'hang our hat on' but quite often these aren't done or are only touched on or altered as we follow the childrens interests. our topics include fairy tales, animals, journeys, weather. they are purposefully broad so we can take the route that suits the children. we also try to cover seasons, special events etc
  3. It's not especially old-hat to me as I only joined the school in September. However, I fear that it is becoming a little stale and possibly over-familiar for the nursery nurses as so far every time a new set of planning has come out, the dust has been blown off the same old resources and the same old work is getting reproduced year on year.

    Following children's interests is the way I would eventually like to go but as another poster said, I think it would be good to have a "back up" of long term plans. So far I have introduced interactive displays for chidlren and parents to add to, including a wish fish where children and parents add their favourite things to do. These are then incorporated into planning so we've had simple things such as more biro's and notebooks in the writing area to large scale hungry hippo's outside!

    I was really mainly interested in what topics were actually being loosely followed in other settings. I remember many years ago when I taught Reception (before EYFS) that we used to teach a topic about weather based mainly around the book Mrs Mopple's Washing Line. Would rather not run the risk of just repeating topics I've previously taught and getting caught in the same cycle I think has captured my nursery nurses!
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I see your point. How boring!
  5. I know where you are coming from because I have been in post 10 years but my nursery nurse has been in post almost 20 years - and guess what - April means april showers and rainbows and I am still battling in an ever so gentle way to change this!!
  6. We plan weekly by the children's interest rather than do a long term plan, so far this term we have covered:

    • Pirates
    • Castles (the girls love princesses, added in dragons to keep the boys interest
    • Fire engines (Fireman Sam v popular)
    • Dinosaurs (because i was fed up of the toy dinosaurs being pulled out every day no matter what the topic, after a whole week most of them were sick of them!)
    • Transport (Disney's Cars is popular, as is Thomas the Tank engine)
    • Fairy tales (a different one each day)
    • Wild Animals
    • Construction (Bob the Builder)
    • The Rainbow Fish
    • Farms
    As all of our 15 areas have to be different each day and have to relate to the topic and focus of the day we find it impossible to keep a topic going for more than a week
  7. .

    Yeah it is a complete nightmare!!!

    I'm not really sure why it all has to be tied into our topic. I am an NQT in a nursery attached to a school. My mentor and the head are very supportive and have asked for the planning to be done like this. Ofsted were impressed and awarded us outstanding back in feb.But it's completely exhausting!!!

    We have our 15 areas (sand, water, small world etc) and each has to relate to the weekly topic and the daily focus. So example, if the topic is transport and the focus of the day is mark making then all areas must show this : cars in sand to make tracks, paintbrushes and boats in water to paint walls/floor, cars in cornflour to make marks, paper under the garage and cars to draw roads etc etc

    It does look good but you're right, not all children are interested in the topic and this is frowned upon by management but we are still child initiated and children will often pull out other toys not related to the topic.

    Have often wondered if any other nurserys or foundation units plan and run this way???
  8. Just shows how crazy the system is we were awarded outstanding by ofsted as well and our planning is obviously more laid back than yours! makes you watn to scream
  9. Please note this is NOT a criticism of any OP's posts but does anyone else feel uneasy about the 'commercial' side to so many of the quoted child initiated topics...I am my own worst enemy in this respect because it would perhaps be easier to find such 'links' but I just dont see the value in them as themes or topics.
    I am ethically and politically opposed to Disney and other commercial ventures, especially Princesses (have a look at the OBJECT website http://www.object.org.uk/ and see for yourself if you are preparing your female pupils for a life of socially defined self -image) as I think it denies children a chance to think and imagine for themselves and they pedal so much third world made plastic tat .Also my kids come from economically challenged circumstances so , although not immune to current trends, they are not such consummate consumers as better off kids so I dont like to raise their interest in the unattainable.I genuinely challenge anyone to prove that a ben ten pencil makes boys write more...big paper, paper on the floor, under tables,maybe.
    I do look for children's interests to inspire topics so recently we have enjoyed pulling, pushing, friction comparing speeds of differnet vehicles etc and have doen lots of planting, watering and exploring soil and plants, den making and making buses, trains and trams (long lines of chairs) and tickets!
    Just a thought. X
  10. This sounds a lot of work....i'm keen to find a happy medium.
    Currently, I work in a nursery attached to a school offering 30 am and 30 pm places, 5 days a week and will be offering the same again next year before we look in to making it more flexible for parents.
    I am concerned that I don't take the children's interests into consideration enough. At the moment, we just write down significances from observations or child initiated play and incorporate these as best as we can into the following week plans. As you can imagine, some of the children's interests don't link to my topic whatsoever. Would I be penalised for this when Ofsted finally show?
    I've heard about another model where a setting only focusses on 5 children over the course of the week on a rotation basis. Their interests are met through planning for the following week and then a new group of 5 children are observed and their interests catered for.
    I have planned through topics on a half termly basis such as: 'Colour', 'Me and my New World', 'Seasons and Changes', 'Creatures and Habitats', 'Plants, Food and Growth', 'Holidays and Journeys', 'Dinosaurs', 'Homes and Buildings' and 'Africa' to name but a few. Sometimes, these overarching topics lend themselves to weekly divisions but not always, e.g. 'Holidays and Journeys' which focussed on week 1: car journeys, Week 2: boat journeys, Week 3: aeroplane journeys, etc. Maybe I shouldn't stick so rigidly and divert from plans when needed?
    Is anyone willing to share a model that works for them that I can somehow incorporate into my setting. I really need to change the way I work now to move with the times, but it's hard making the first leap when I'm not sure whether it will be right or wrong...
    Thanks in advance,
    From a confused (maybe just a tweak will do) nursery teacher!
  11. I have found that using books as a starting point is a way of creating child focused activities but as I select the books they do become themed by me. I've just introduced the idea of Easter using a book called Peely Wally about an egg. It's led to Easter egg hunts, cards and finger painting but isn't specifically about Easter so avoids the Easter bonnet and basket fest. Out and About In My Boots also led to an explorers box and is a good launch pad for Spring activities without using the theme name.

    I have a rough idea of a theme each week as I find children do need to be introduced to things in order to develop a preference. Some of my less obvious themes include Towns and Cities, Robots and Machines, Safari, Travels and Superheroes. Introducing books really helps avoid the standard link between a theme and activities which it sounds as if you've used to good effect in the past.
  12. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    Oh my goodness you must be cream-creackered. We have broad topics each term and the children share what they know and what they would like to find out. So our plan is based on their areas of interest and we try to link the weeks with exciting stories, films or songs. So each week there will be adult led activiites linked to the theme and there may be additional resources put out in some workshops. But there are always some areas left as CI.
  13. Hi Leapyearbaby64,
    "We have broad topics each term and the children share what they know and what they would like to find out".
    I had thought about doing this myself. I think it would benefit the likes of a working wall which our school wants to see incorporated into the foundation stage.
    Can you give me an idea of how you introduce this to the children? Do you tell them that you are going to be thinking about so and so topic and then find out what they know and what they would like to find out? I can see this working for me.
    Also, which broad topics have you used?
    If you would be willing to share your blank planning format also, that would be greatly appreciated but don't worry if not.
  14. Thanks for the book idea giffenl, I'll give it a go.

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