Monday, 30 January 2012

Early Education and The Use of Worksheets - Problems with The Google Generation

Early Education and The Use of Worksheets - Problems with The Google Generation

This is an ongoing debate! I am often asked about this when I am visiting a setting or school - where do you stand.
We must question the use of worksheets and ask what is it exactly that I want the children to learn from this activity?
We must then always ask - is the opportunity I have planned for them going to give them the best chance of learning something significant.

This article outlines the 3 main practice attitudes to worksheet use in the Early Years and gives sound insight into the value of questioning practice.

Have a great week!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Outdoor Garage Role Play

The outdoor area has been a hive of activity this week as we turned some of the space into a mechanics garage. I have put together a good starter list for you with around 20 different resource ideas which are low or no cost to get you going.
I only wish I could take my own car for it's MOT here because oe of the children quoted me a pound to get it done! Click the link and it will take you to the ideas list for EYFS outdoor play planning ideas - role play garage.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

More Princess and Pea fun - this time KUW and PSRN activities!

The children have been utterly fascinated with peas - an unexpected offshoot of our Princess and the Pea topic that has turned out to be a lot of fun this week!
We have counted, sorted, got thoroughly messy and generally enjoyed ourselves investigating and exploring using all of our senses.
I am sharing my ideas for planning around the pea and hope you are 'peased' with them!
Just click my link below :)

Fun with peas in the EYFS!

Have Fun!

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Princess, the Pea and a very busy week ahead!

So the children have led me to the Princess and the Pea. It started when they began to build a castle in the construction area and then some of the girls asked if they take the dolls house furniture in there to play princesses. We talked about some stories which had princesses in and following on from our kite making instructions we made castles out of card to support our guided reading. I am all set for Chinese New Year this week - as you know from my last article. However, after reading several traditional tales at story time it is the Princess and the Pea that the children are fascinated by.

So, I am running this alongside Chinese New Year activities. It is going to be a fun packed and very busy week as usual.

Here are my literacy ideas for the Princess and the Pea theme.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Planning Ideas for Chinese New Year Topic Theme EYFS

Here are some nice ideas to get you started with your Chinese New Year topic theme in the EYFS. Great for all Early Years settings and childminders alike. I love this time of year! Click here to see these great Chinese New Year topic planning ideas!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Planning ideas for weather themed Early Years Topic

Our topic on weather in the EYFS is in full swing and I have been inundated with requests for planning ideas for a weather themed early years topic! I have decided to share the first article in a series about planning early years themes on the weather which I am sure will be of some use to my EYFS and early years teacher colleagues. In the link below, you will find a really good introduction and starter ideas to get your weather themed topic off the ground and as the children become more involved they will guide you if you observe their interests closely.

Monday, 9 January 2012

EYFS writing ideas - windy day activity follow up

The week ahead in our Early Years Foundation Stage Unit includes several activities based on the theme of weather.
The kite activities were such a success last week because they provided an exciting stimulus for talk.

Engaging early years children in writing is not always easy but the golden rule is to make any writing activity motivating, purposeful and have an audience for the child to present their writing to.

Talking, listening and communicating are crucial elements of the EYFS. The summative assessment culture of the English education system has lead to teachers and practitioners feeling pressured to move straight onto the actual physical act of producing writing in the Reception class. To produce quality writing, young children must have be given time to formulate their ideas, fire up their imagination and voice their experiences.

I used to get so worried that we were not doing enough writing but experience has shown me that if children have access to truly inspiring, sensory and meaningful activities it will prompt them to talk about them.

When children are confident to talk, structure and sequence their thoughts they are more likely to be able to write them down..

So, in the morning, we have a delivery of a letter. The letter is from the Year 1 class. It says:

Dear Children,
You had a lot of fun with your bag kites last week.
How did you make them?
Can you write some instructions for us please so that we can make a bag kite too?
Love from Y1.

We will then embark on talk partners. This involves the children pairing up and discussing through recall how they made their bag kites.

I will ask them just 2 questions. What did they use to make the kite? What did they do to make the kite?

The final part of the session will involve me listening to feedback from the children and modelling the writing process on the board. I will use a series of pictures drawn by my own fair hand and labels.

I will write 3 or 4 simple sentences to describe how we made our kites.

The carpet session will lead nicely into the individual and small group writing input where children will have the opportunity to write their own set of instructions.

We will make these into a book (after copying them for their learning journeys) and give the book to Y1.

Hey Presto! Motivation, purpose and an audience for EYFS writing!

Friday, 6 January 2012

More kite making resources

Following our kite flying (see article below) I have found this company that supply reasonably priced real kite making kits for schools based in Dorset UK.
Take a look!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

EYFS planning ideas for a windy day

We have had an amazing day in the EYFS unit today. It was so windy that we spent a lot of time outdoors making and flying these simple kites that actually work. I have always been annoyed when visiting schools to see 'kites' that children have made - that have never been flown and are just stapled to the wall on a display - this article is what it should really be about!