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Opinions / advise needed please - child initiated learning!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by helenfw, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. I need some advise/opinions on how you structure child initiated learning sessions!
    Do all your child initiated activites link to the lesson you are teaching ?- e.g. in a Literacy session are all activities lit based. ( We only have 2 CLL and 2 PSRN adult led sessions a week, but whole class daily)
    Do you have a learning objective for all the independent activities out? What do you do if the children don't do what you had planned? Do you remind them what they should be doing or let them go with their own ideas?
    Outside: do you let children just run about, play chasing games or do they have to choose from the activities set out?
    How do you move children on when supporting their play? Do you have specific things planned out to move them on?
    Thanks for your help!!
     
  2. I need some advise/opinions on how you structure child initiated learning sessions!
    Do all your child initiated activites link to the lesson you are teaching ?- e.g. in a Literacy session are all activities lit based. ( We only have 2 CLL and 2 PSRN adult led sessions a week, but whole class daily)
    Do you have a learning objective for all the independent activities out? What do you do if the children don't do what you had planned? Do you remind them what they should be doing or let them go with their own ideas?
    Outside: do you let children just run about, play chasing games or do they have to choose from the activities set out?
    How do you move children on when supporting their play? Do you have specific things planned out to move them on?
    Thanks for your help!!
     
  3. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Thanks for asking this question.
     
  4. Do you not know the answer?!!!
     
  5. boatmanco

    boatmanco New commenter

    Child initiated is just that -it comes from the child so you cant plan for it! However what you can do is see what the children are interested in and plan for the following weeks play. This will help you enhance your areas within the classroom on a weekly basis.
    For example, my Reception class at the moment are really enjoying making cards for Mummy, sister etc so next week I will plan in some letter writing in our Literacy lessons and may add the post box to the role-play area. I will also put different sized paper and envelopes in my Creative area. They are also really into making puppets so to develop this I will add boxes of different sizes to see if they want to make a theatre. I will also add different scrap materials to see if they could make different puppets ie using differnet materials.
    My class also love role-play so they keep changing the area to suit this play. It was a Polar explorers area. This evolved into a shop and this week it has evolved into a den making area with lots of "home" type role-play. I have decided to leave this area as a general area with lots of different resources in it to let the children decide for themselves what they want it to be.
    My class has 50% child initiated play and 50% adult led input.
    Hope that helps!
     
  6. When the children are 'choosing' we will have one focus activity going on which will be adult led (although we don't make every child do it) and the other areas are a mixture. Some are enhanced and the children have a particular challenge in that area, but I don't stop them from doing something different provided they are using the area itself correctly and what they are doing is purposeful. Other areas are left 'empty' - as in there is nothing on the table but the shelves next to them are stocked and they can choose what to get out and use. Everything is labelled and organised so that it's explicit what it should be used for and where it goes. I do rotate what is out, and put things away if I think that the children are no longer getting anything out of them.
    In terms of moving children on, I try to intervene or offer suggestions where appropriate, it's a bit of a balancing act between standing back and not interfering, and then getting involved with a question or a suggestion, or just starting doing something myself and the children join in and then run with that themselves.
    There are also certain expectations in the different areas, and I increase the level of challenge in these, sorry I'm not explaining that very well! So for example in the construction area, at the beginning of the year they could put their completed model on the shelf if they wanted to save it, and then the rule was that they had to label it with their name, and then that they had to draw it. Now the children have planning sheets and they know that if they do a planning sheet and go on to build the model, it will be saved and I'll also take a picture and put that, with the plan, on our 'construction wall', which they are all keen to do.

    We're on a bit of a jungle/ safari theme which came from the children originally loving Elmer stories. But some children are really into vehicles, trains and so on, and one little boy draws me the most amazing plans for various machines, I told them how my car had broken down and he designed me a machine to fix it for example, and I told him that the mechanic might need a bit of help to decipher the plan so could he add labels, and now his plans have labels on them. If I'd stopped him and insisted "no, today we're writing about Elmer" I'd have missed all that, and he probably still wouldn't go near the writing table, whereas now he's there every day. We've started looking at jeeps and outside we built a 'safari train' so it's loosely linked to the topic.

    Outside is harder I think, balancing their need to charge about sometimes with the fact that there are a lot of children using a small space. We have quite strict ground rules and I've had to say no to football (just wasn't safe with footballs flying around everywhere - but I do still take them onto the larger main playground when it's free for some ball games) but I still let them choose what they want to do from the different areas, and try to be flexible about them moving things from one area to another - the inner control freak in me finds that hard!

    I think it's easy to anticipate total bedlam, or think 'they won't learn anything, they'll just play', and it does take a lot of training and support at first, but I'm really really pleased with how our children use the classroom, inside and out, now, and how well they are achieving. Well, today anyway, ask me on a bad day and you might get a different response!



     
  7. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Why the exclamation marks?
     
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Ah - now I get it! Nelly is such a fount of knowledge...[​IMG]
     
  9. No - its because no one seems to be able to tell me how to do it!!
    I have been told I need more adult direction during child initiated time and not sure how to achieve this!
     
  10. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    We need a new label to bandy around.
    Adult initiated play.
    This is where the adult builds a den with rugs and drapes and cushions, goes into the den with a clipboard and magnifying glass and just pops out occasionally shouting boo.
    The children will love this.
    Not sure about the senior management team though. Might need further thought.
    Just read that mutliculturalism isn't working on the BBC website so am feeling a bit fuddled.... we need muscular liberalism apparently. Is that like structured play?
    confused and going back under the table
     
  11. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I thought the term was child initiated play, not child initiated learning.
    Perhaps that's why nobody seems able to help the OP!
     
  12. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Oh phew thank heavens for you Inky. I thought I was going mad.
    yes that is it, child initiated play. Let me see, that is where we find their zone of proximal development and scaffold their learning etc. The place where the adult intervenes and leads the way forward.
    goes back into den for while to consider progress so far
     
  13. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Emerges half an hour later with a really big gun made from stickle brix and duplo, plus plans for said gun and laminated labels with easily decodable words like well, boo, and zap and bam.
    Still think SMT weren't thinking along these lines.
     

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