Working effectively with larger numbers
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  1. #1
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    Default Working effectively with larger numbers

    Hello :-)

    I've not been on here for a while but hoping someone can help :-)

    I am now working with an assistant and consequently groups of 6/7 children from8 months old to 4 years. I want to improve the effectiveness of my setting and looking for ideas on how to manage and plan for such a range of ages?
    I find activities and group work is often meaning that some children are not promoted/as involved.
    When I was working with 3/4 children it was much easier to meet their individual needs....
    Can anyone with any experience offer any advise!?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    I only work with 3/4 ey children, but as you work with an assistant I would look at the activities you are offering and tailor them to the children each of you have, rather than having one of you doing an activity with all the children. So like you were doing when you were working on your own.
    Or plan a little 1-1 focus session for each child. Other children can join in, but the focus is on a particular child.
    Alot of activities can be made accessible for all ages.
    ie ..playdough ... a baby can poke, squish, taste, a toddler can pile it up, squash it flat, an older child can use tools or create creatures etc. The skill is in enabling all children to access the activity at their own level.

  3. #3
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    My daughter is my assistant and we can have 10+children sometimes ranging from 1 - 10 years old and as already mentioned one activity can suit all ages. We find they do not all want to do things at the same time e.g. after school some go in the garden to get rid of energy, some sit at the table with a craft activity, some watch t.v. and some play with toys in the garden or indoors. We offer things for them to do and let them choose then we can interact with different children as and when needed. When there is a larger number they often turn to each other so we can concentrate on those who need us.

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    I would have said the same as loocyloo.

    Focus/reflect upon your 'environment' rather than activities. Is your environment an 'enabling' environment? So for example, your 8 month old's next steps in physical development might be pulling themselves up to a standing position - so what have you got in your garden that enables them to work on this? Maybe a low wall with no obstacles in front of it so that the baby can access it, or some crates, or a sturdy bench. Pop a favourite toy on top to encourage him to pull himself up. Maybe your four year olds next steps in his physical dev would be to work on a pincer grip for writing, and so you could add some small droppers to the water area outside, your 2 year old needs to work on developing hand/eye co-ordination and so you are addressing this by having different sized scoops and containers in the sand tray, or different sized jugs and containers in the water tray. Don't just provide the containers/jugs/scoops and then think you have ticked that box - keep it interesting, so maybe add a different jug or a scoop every couple of days, or alter the material that they scoop/pour with - so, one day you will provide dry sand, the next day wet sand, or coloured water, or present the water play in pots and pans rather than the water tray. Of course all of the children will wan to play with the equipment and that's fine. You are probably doing this already. x

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  6. #5
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    Thank you everyone for your advise.
    I think I am already doing the things you have suggested .... Maybe I am over thinking it!! ( I do this a lot!)
    It's just that a friend of mine in a similar sized setting recently had Mrs O and they were told they needed to improve how they managed the larger groups to promote learning and development of all ages ..... Which has led me to think about what in doing to do this.

    It's reassuring to read your replies, thank you so much! :-)

    Out of curiosity do any of you do a structured circle time ? We have story time etc which links to other discussions and the children are free to join in or not ..... but wondered if I should be doing more structured 'times'
    Xxx

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    Quote Originally Posted by S Stars View Post
    Thank you everyone for your advise.
    I think I am already doing the things you have suggested .... Maybe I am over thinking it!! ( I do this a lot!)
    It's just that a friend of mine in a similar sized setting recently had Mrs O and they were told they needed to improve how they managed the larger groups to promote learning and development of all ages ..... Which has led me to think about what in doing to do this.

    It's reassuring to read your replies, thank you so much! :-)

    Out of curiosity do any of you do a structured circle time ? We have story time etc which links to other discussions and the children are free to join in or not ..... but wondered if I should be doing more structured 'times' Xxx
    It depends on what you do in Circle Time and whether you think it would benefit the children to do more - or less.

    I only ever did childminding with small numbers - just one or two children (occasionally three if my DD was on holiday) and so it would seem silly to sit in a circle to do anything. At school I used to do Circle Time to discuss feelings, or behaviour etc. I still had sessions like this with the childminding children but not necessarily in a circle.

    I think that, regarding your friend's situation, if you are doing a specific adult led activity with a targeted group of children, then you need to now that, even though the other children are not getting your direct attention, they can still be moving forward in their learning because of the enabling environment you have set up - with your individual mindees in mind and their current needs.

    In some settings (including home with parents) babies can get overlooked and just 'occupied' or strapped in somewhere, or the older ones can get overlooked and just given things to entertain them, or maybe the 'easier/quieter' children get overlooked etc. Maybe your friend's setting was a bit like that. Did the inspector give her any specific examples?

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    As you have an assistant would it be easier if you could each have 'key' children instead of you looking after everyone's needs and your assistant doing as you say/plan for the group as a whole.

 

 

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