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Why are Foundation Stage Units "good practice"?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by adnarim, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Does anyone have a convincing reason to explain why Foundation Stage Units are 'good practice'?

    I work as an F1 teacher in a unit with 36 / 36 F1 children and 60 F2 children. During our 'unit' times 'practitioners" (teachers and support staff) are told exactly where they have to go by the Unit leader. Teachers are also told what areas they are allowed to plan - this may be work that will only ever be carried out by other people, and they will also have to carry out work set by other teachers.

    My role as a teacher during these times is nothing more than being a stall holder in a given area. I am expected to write 3 reports a year on each child, carry out a Learning Journey with photographs and quotes on 12 children, yet I don't feel I can ever really get to know the children beyond our daily 15 minute key worker session, let alone the others who are not my Key children.

    I can't see any particular benefits for the children in this kind of set up, especially for the younger ones, and I feel very deskilled as a teacher. Worryingly, Ofsted really liked the way that they couldn't tell the difference between teachers and support staff.

    Whenever I have questioned the rationale for a Unit I have only ever been told "because it's good practice" but no one seems to be able to explain why this is so.
  2. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    I am going to follow this thread with interest as I want to know the answer too! I am in a new FS purpose built unit with 26/26 F1 and 45 F2 and I am finding it very frustrating ... "free flow", child initiated, learning journeys, observations, crowd control, spinning plates, ... and imo alot of time wasted and not enough "teaching". Most days I long for "my" 30 children with me and TA - maybe I'm just "old fashioned", stuck in a time warp ... ie just too old maybe????
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We decided to become a FSU many years ago before it became the "norm" simply because we believed that for our children it offered the best start to education but we looked at other successful units and the message was clear ... small is desireable (no more than 60 per session) with higher staffing levels. I may be wrong but most of those posters who have "problems" also have large units
  4. I really identify with your experience, sadika. If I could see how the unit set up benefits the children I would happily jump out of my time warp - but no one seems to be able to say in what way it does benefit them.
  5. Thanks Msz. In what ways did it offer children the best start, particularly the 3 year olds? Perhaps it is simply the large size that is the problem - interesting that people in large units are the ones with problems.
  6. I worked in an FS unit where we had a maximum of 50 chidlren at any one time. we found that it gave the children who were older or younger to work at developmentally approaprite level ie we used to put chidlren in FS1 who were "ready" for phonics in with a more structured phonics group and some FS2 children in phase 1 groups.
    The children were also able to learn from each other - The PSED side of both FS1 and 2 children was amazing to watch and see how it developed. You have to be careful and monitor that some of the FS2 chidlren do not take over the younger ones.
    The fact that you have a much bigger space gives scope to doing much more and creating more areas. We also made sure that we definate times that were for FS1 and FS2.
    I worked with a wonderful team who suppported the idea whole heartedly. We zoned each area and each adult was repsponsible for that area for the week. The routines of observations, asssessments, displays, planning, setting up and creativity was shared.
    Thinking about the other threads that have been posted on the forums .... observations and evidence are useful but you know your children the best. They learn just as much from you as they do from each other.
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We found the older children supported the younger children (many had siblings in reception ) and they settled very quickly into routines because they felt secure. We found it improved outcomes especially in PSE and speaking and listening for both age groups.
    One of our main motives was to limit changes so we argued that as children would know all staff well and be familiar with the "setting" there wouldn't be an issue of transition from nursery to reception which can worry many children and parents.
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My son went to nursery set up that was quite similar to this. There were over a hundred children in premises which consisted of one large classroom, one double size classroom, a gym room and occasional use of a large hall. It worked extremely well and he was very happy there. But the very youngest child there was three and a half and most were four when they started (it was in Scotland).There were about ten children per member of staff which sounds quite favourable compared to what other people are syaing. So I'm sure it can work but the classrooms would need to be suitable and spacious, I'd have thought, and I doubt it would be suitable for the younger children who are in nursery classes now.
  9. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    I won't be at all surprised in a few years that these will not be "best practice". IMO there are too many children - ranging from some just 3 to others 5 years + and the development range is HUGE. The 3 year olds will now spend 3 years in this unit - that will be something to think about in the future...
  10. Sometimes,and cynically, the word 'factory' springs to mind. Whenever this presents itself in my planning I revolt and do s'thing unusual.
  11. I can see some advantages but when I went into my class it was never mentioned that next year we will be a 60 place unit with wall knocked down, if we add nursery we could be 90! Our main problem is that about 12 will be year 1 as we have a one and half class intake.
  12. Digging up this old thread! I have the same issues, how do you work as a unit? We are just 2 classes who happen to share a room, the children don't even interact with each other! 1 AM nursery class, 1 reception, 2 teachers, 2 TAs

    My idea is to plan differenciated focus activities across the unit and deliver them simultaneously, nursery with 1 FA & phonics a session and reception 2 in AM & phonics?

    Would this even work? We are struggling with unit continuity , also our TAs have lacked guidance over the last few years so need monitoring. ( e.g had never done a proper observation linked to eyfs before this year despite working in early years since 2007 and longer.)

    Anyone work in a successful unit who would care to share their routine and practice?? Thank you!

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