Leaving mindees to play (free play)
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  1. #1
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    Default Leaving mindees to play (free play)

    How much do you police or involve yourself during 'free play' time? I have a playroom but unsure whether I should leave them to it during free play (though obviously nearby and with an ear out at all times) or whether I should be in there the whole time? What do you all do?

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    I tend to let free play be the children playing without me in the middle of it .
    Like yourself I am nearby but only get onebooked if they ask me. I did a start to play 2 year old course a few years ago and this is what they suggested.
    Tess1981

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    Free play is more productive. Once we get 'involved' the kids stop using their imagination. I've always been available to help and maybe initiate play. But unless they asked me to, I never joined in with their play. Adults can interfere too much, hence some kids not even knowing how to play by themselves and then declaring that everything is 'boring!'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripeberry View Post
    Free play is more productive. Once we get 'involved' the kids stop using their imagination. I've always been available to help and maybe initiate play. But unless they asked me to, I never joined in with their play. Adults can interfere too much, hence some kids not even knowing how to play by themselves and then declaring that everything is 'boring!'.
    Completely agree.

    I have had children come to me who have no idea how to play without someone playing "with" them. Usually they have an older sibling IMO.

    In answer to the original post, if children are playing then I tend to leave them to it. Wherever I am downstairs I can hear them in the playroom so only tend to go in if I feel I am needed. Sometimes I will sit in my chair in there (the old ladies chair I call it) and do some work on the laptop but I find it sometimes changes their play if I am in there too much.

    xx

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    My normal day consists of some free play and some adult led but if I were being inspected would I not be allowed to do free play as they wouldn't be able to see me "teach"?

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    Most of my observations and next steps are drawn from child initiated free play. Its also how I find out what my children's current interests are. Why would you not do it during an inspection? If it is part of your daily routine then by not doing it you risk unsettling the children. I often find that I end up joining in the game, interacting with the children, asking open questions, talking about number, colour, sharing, supporting them to solve problems, etc. That's when most of my teaching happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tess1981 View Post
    I tend to let free play be the children playing without me in the middle of it .
    Like yourself I am nearby but only get onebooked if they ask me. I did a start to play 2 year old course a few years ago and this is what they suggested.
    Onebooked .. . I meant involved lol
    Tess1981

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    I think inspectors would expect to see free play as well as the adult led activity they require. Children learn so much through free play, you can't "teach" everything. Children have to be given some independence and ability to explore themselves. This is all part of the EYFS. Just plan your day as you normally would and go with the flow. I'm sure you'll be fine :-)

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    On my Inspection day I had an activity planned but the children had decided they were going to build a den in my lounge. I just added some torches and light up sensory toys onto a table, without saying a word, for them to help themselves and explore with in the den. I never did do the planned activity or actually play with them, but answered their questions, added resources as and when needed and allowed them to 'learn' by their own exploration/experiences.

    The Inspector looked through their learning journals and listened to how we interacted, it was just a normal day where I was only involved when I was needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah707 View Post
    This is an important read before inspections change in September https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-balancing-act
    Fantastic thank you so much Sarah :-) :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah707 View Post
    This is an important read before inspections change in September

    https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-balancing-act
    Very interesting. Thank you xx

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    I was about to put the link to the Ofsted document again about 'balancing teaching and play in EY settings' but Sarah has done so.

    I did post it on 20 July in the ICM and got nearly 300 views ...it is useful

    My take is that the phrase 'free play' was used a lot in the past ...children play at all times, that is how they learn and what EYFS is based on.
    How we let them lead their play and 'intervene' to support/extend their learning is up to us and what methods we use such as SST or other simple ways to support without spoiling their independence and lead.

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    I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks.

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    Thanks for posting this. It's given me lots of things to think about.

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    I watch from a distance, I find they will set up a really good role play game with props, costumes and characters etc on their own and really get involved in a game - and if I make it known I am watching or sit in the middle of it - they don't tend to get as involved. I am right there if they need me to get anything or help with costumes, props etc or if they need to make anything for the game.

 

 

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