Free Flow Play
Free Flow Play
by: Tish501 - 04-10-09 10:17
Can anyone let me know how they are managing free flow play..I thought it was Statutory within the EYFS framework..and am doing so,yet am hearing stories where settings don't let the children outside:have 20 mins outside,etc...aren't we supposed to let them come and go as they wish,much like they would if at home...(.bearing in mind fostering their independence with putting their coats,hats etc if cold .....).All practitioners should be willing to encourage children to play outside,take risks,grow independent and strong....and bring a warm coat for themselves......
RE: Free Flow Play - 04-10-09 12:15
I think their is only a legal requirement for children to have to spend at least a minimum of 10 minutes outdoors. How practitioners achieve this is down to them - some do not have access to an outside area so this is quite a difficult area for them to achieve - how they do this I would be interested to know - what I did find for you is:-
Requirements of the EYFS framework
‘Ensure that children have opportunities to be outside on a daily basis all year round.’
(Principles into Practice: 3.3 The Learning Environment)
Under the Childcare Act 2006, from September 2008 all early years providers will have a legal responsibility to ensure that their provision meets welfare, learning and development requirements that include:
- outdoor and indoor premises and equipment that are organised in a way that meets the needs of children
- adequate space to give scope for free movement and well-spread activities (this is much easier to achieve indoors when the outdoors forms half of the overall environment)
- an expected norm that children have access to an outdoor play area: rain does not stop outdoor play. In provision where outdoor play space cannot be provided, Ofsted inspectors will want to see that children are taken out of the premises on a daily basis
- outdoor spaces and resources, which are safe and suitable for their purpose
- good risk management processes, taking all reasonable steps to ensure that hazards to children are kept to a minimum. This does not mean removing appropriate experiences that have high developmental benefit; it does mean finding ways for children to engage in them without undue risk of harm
- all practitioners having a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities: this will include being clear, positive and confident about their roles in supporting good-quality play outdoors
- planning and organisational systems that ensure every child receives an enjoyable and challenging learning and development experience, tailored to meet individual needs and delivered through a balance of adult-led and freely chosen or child-initiated indoor and outdoor play activities.
RE: Free Flow Play - 04-10-09 12:17
It depends on the Management and how they feel about outdoor play - some still feel that it is just to allow children to let off steam whilst they organise the next set of activities (not in line with EYFS).
I have seen some really good settings that keep the door open all the time - staff are split with their key children and its hard, but they seem to manage really well.
RE: Free Flow Play - 04-10-09 12:48
We can not have free flow play because of the design of our building. It is 2 Edwardian semis. Pre-school is upstairs and the only access for the toddlers downstairs is through the utility room, which requires supervision.
We do have a rota so that all the groups get their time outside. We are all flexible too, so that we can spend more time outside if we and the children choose to do so.
RE: Free Flow Play - 04-10-09 13:05
It's good to hear that someone else does not have total freeflow. I am sick to death of hearing from early years and ofsted about free flow, Our nursery is all on one floor and as we have 2-3 year olds and 3-5 year olds letting them run riot throughout the nursery is not possible! We have a routine which is flexible but we also have to make sure that all children can access each room every day ( we have a seperate messy play room, sensory room and pool ball room) It is neither safe nor practical to say for example have 5 two year olds and 8 pre school children cram themselves into the sensory room because they want to. We do have free choice in the rooms and routines can be changed sometimes (taking into account the other children) When will they realise untill you change the ratio's to have how many you want and take safety issues and throw them out the window that total free flow is not always an option.
RE: Free Flow Play - 04-10-09 21:00
Free flow is not always possible, but if children want to go out, then they should have the opportunity to go, even if it is not with their keyworker. Settings with no outdoor area then need to be going out every day to the park etc.
Mia, i take your point, but have you tried having freeflow? Do you find that some rooms/ areas do really become very overcrowded, and could you put a system in place to deal with this as and when? If your setting is all on one floor, why can't children move in and out of doors freely? If they are marauding, then it sounds like there is a fault in the setting, not the children.
Most small people are perfectly capable of deciding whether they want to be in or out, and in going in or out without a fuss - they just get up and go, surely.
RE: Free Flow Play - 04-10-09 22:15
Yes they do get up and go at mine,but we are having to move their coats, as they rush out without thinking about the weather...or closing the door,so have bought those plastic door strips to keep the heat in as they go out .LOL
RE: Free Flow Play - 05-10-09 16:37
by: kaz (the first one!)
We have free flow. We are in a scout hall. The door is open (and not just openable but wide open) through most of the session, usually about 2 hours in a 2.5 hour session. The children's coats are put on a box and they find them themselves and put them on, returning them when they are done. There is always 1 staff outside and 1 inside and 1 that goes where the majority is. Sometimes I am sitting inside all on my own for an hour!!If we have obs to do on a particular child, we swap ourselves around.
We've only had free flow just over a year when we fenced off our car park as a playgound during session times. We love it!
As for the heat, yes it gets cold but we dress warmly (thermals for staff outside) and we keep the heating turned up so it is a minimum of 18 degrees inside. I know some managers are really fussy but it is part of the job!
RE: Free Flow Play - 05-10-09 20:10
Who pays the electricity bill though Kaz??
RE: Free Flow Play - 06-10-09 08:15
Free play on a ground floor should be possible. - Not sure what you mean by marauding children - do you mean they are running indoors and outdoors, not concentrating on anything in particular?
The only time I have seen children run riot in a nursery is when they feel they are cooped up and need space to run jump and play - particular requirement of boys -
If their are challenging, interesting activities outside rarely will children riot between the outdoor and indoor. Good behaviour policies need to be in place with the children - perhaps use cue cards, praise.
I know staff are frustrated about being outside, as an assessor I have seen this frustration and annoyance quite a lot, but I have seen settings that really work well with free flow play, the children are calmer and more receptive to everything and everyone around them.
RE: Free Flow Play - 06-10-09 19:44
by: kaz (the first one!)
Tish - the scouts do and we pay them rent.
RE: Free Flow Play - 06-10-09 20:25
Millie - I think I used the word marauding, not Mia!!!
But I agree that outdoor play is good for behaviour. As is respecting the children and their ability to make sensible use of space.
RE: Free Flow Play - 06-10-09 22:59
Millie--as an assessor how do you feel about settings that cannot or will not introduce freeflow play...what happens to their boys.....I agree totally that the boys in particular flourish outside....we have our boys wanting to write everywhere outside,on the tyres,on the artificial grass,on the whiteboard,blackboard,work sheets in their 'garage',taking orders for a pretend -take-away ....the list is endless and a joy to watch,since the boys do not seem to have the same interest in reading or writing indoors.....what happens to boys in other settings where they NEVER go out (and I know of some--they make excuses about having to cross roads to get to the park etc....do you not fear for the boys' development in these settings??? Would be interesting to hear your opinion as you go around your settings.
RE: Free Flow Play - 07-10-09 16:29
Usually these settings wonder why children are noisy and wrongly boys are often labelled with ADHD - or some learning difficulty - its just that settings like this seem not to understand the importance of children's self-chosen play - I am not being stereotypical here - but a lot of boys and girls will choose to play outside - all activities can be undertake outside - its just the staff and management who do not want to try this sometimes as perhaps their hairdoo may get messed up through the rain!!
Sorry I do not mean to sound sarcastic - its just that I have seen the benefits of free flow play, far out way children being in one hall or room (even split rooms) for the best part of the day.
RE: Free Flow Play - 07-10-09 16:49
by: kaz (the first one!)
Tish - I know we are lucky! I know that if I was paying the bill I wouldn't be so keen! I can understand howowners feel. I'm also conscious as the waste of heat but yet to find a safe alternative.
Millie, I agree about the behaviour. We had a little boy with an IEP on his behaviour from another setting (with no outside) - they were concerned that he was ADHD. Since he's been with us and had free flow outside, he's come on brilliantly. Thankfully his health visitor recommended us and his mum has been really pleased with the difference in him.
RE: Free Flow Play - 08-10-09 18:09
My point exactly, we need more settings like yours that can extend the child, rather than inhibit them and then label them because the child does not conform when in a confined space all day.
Well done, so pleased for mum and the little boy
RE: Free Flow Play - 08-10-09 19:45
When is someone going to say “the Emperor’s got no clothes?”
I have been working in childcare for over 25 years and in my opinion this current notion of ‘free flow’ is just a re-hash of the 1970’s style ‘free play’ playgroups which were run mainly by well intentioned but unqualified parents. Have we come 25 years full circle, with all our qualifications, legislation etc etc only to be going back to letting children do what they want all morning. Is this really what most parents send children to nursery for. If so, wouldn’t most of them be better of at home?
Of course I advocate giving children free choice in what they do but I also know from experience that children love routine and structure?- It helps them to feel secure, to focus and gives them a sense of what’s going to happen next. Why have so many wonderful nurseries thrown away years of established good practise to jump on the ‘free flow’ bandwagon which in five years time will have moved on to something else. What happens when children used to ‘free flowing’ in their nursery move on to primary school. Will the headmaster let them ‘free flow’ out of assembly? I think not. And can you imagine applying a ‘free flow’ philosophy to mealtimes? Do you think children could choose for themselves a balanced diet? Of course not, no more than they can choose a balanced curriculum.
So please, get a life and tell the emperor to put some clothes on!!
RE: Free Flow Play - 08-10-09 20:55
by: kaz (the first one!)
I understand everything you say and yes that is how it is often interpretated. But having also a few years of experience I think we can strike a good balance between letting children come in do whatever they want and keeping it structured. I agree all children need routines and structures and we still have registration on the mat, a dedeicated snack time (even if it is a rolling snack over 45 minutes) and of course tidy up and story time.
Children in my setting are taught that they should choose a healthy option at snack (sounds so naff but it does in fact work!) We allow the nice things in moderation but allow more fruit and veg and found that nearly all of the children are happy to have one piece of toast and three pieces of fruit.
I can speak for school because I'm not one but surely most children would consider assembly just like registration or storytime and understand that it is a time to sit with the others and not wonder off?
I think my emperor wears very nice underwear thank you! :-)
RE: Free Flow Play - 08-10-09 21:28
CIA - your post just reminds me again why Early Years is better than school and why I don't really want my child to go to school and be forced to comform to someone else's agenda at the age of 4.
Parents send their children to nursery so that a) the parents can work/ study/ deal with household management and b) so that they can have fun and meet new people.
RE: Free Flow Play - 09-10-09 15:15
Is that why parents send their children to nursery? My parents send their children to nursery so they can learn......
RE: Free Flow Play - 09-10-09 16:06
CIA - Sorry, I was conflating daycare nursery and nursery class.
But what do you teach that the children couldn't learn at home? Definitely social skills, but that comes under my second reason for parents using nursery. But when I first saw the EYFS and looked at the planning and resourcing column, it struck me that lots of parents are naturally and instinctively providing experiences that enhance and develop chidlrens learning.
I send my daughter to pre-school so she can have an independent experience and so she can socialise with other adults and children. While I am very happy with the quality of provision there, she isn't learning more than she could at home.
RE: Free Flow Play - 09-10-09 16:09
What makes you think that children are not learning when they are undertaking their choice of play?
Did children really learn when forced away from their interests to sit down through rigid routines of what the practitioners thought the children needed to know. Why is it that research suggests that boys learn more during out door play - not sitting at a table doing onerous templates or listening to an adult drone on?
Results show that children who follow their own interests (but supported by good practitioners who understand child development) - who are able to use surplus energy concentrate more - I agree with Lolo that LEARNING THROUGH PLAY is far better than the old rigid routine which only suited the girls - thats why so many of our children burnt out and never reached college or university as they had been curriculumed out from a pre-school age.
The whole idea of children going to pre-school is to learn to have fun through play, to socialise, to begin to communicate with their peers - the emphasis is not on the old terminology EDUCATION - but care and learning go hand in hand.
RE: Free Flow Play - 09-10-09 16:47
I quite agree that children primarily come to nursery to learn social skills and I am a great advocate of the importance of the home enviroment for children's well being and emotional security. The difficulty is when children are looked after in a group adult ratio's vary between 1;4 -1;8 compared to 1;1 or 1;2 at home. Without the presence of some structure the quality of learning experiences suffers due to the adult/ child ratio. I believe this latest 'free flow' trend is fundermentally flawed for several reasons and groups that still sit children down for registration, snack,and story time cannot honestly claim to practise 'free flow'. I am a great advocate of offering choice and exploration but I also believe that as child carers and parents we have a responsibility to choose what's good for our children.
For example, when my own children used to do swimming lessons I wouldn't just let them 'opt out 'of going one evening just because they felt like it. You would probably accuse me of making them conform to my agenda but I was doing that for their own good. Children don't always know what's good for them eg When you ask a child to put on a coat, hold hands to cross a road or go to the toilet they don't always comply even if it is in their interests to do so. Without some sort of structure at preschool it can quickly be reduced to organised chaos which although is probably not very harmful is not what 'many 'parents are seeking from their child's nursery school.
RE: Free Flow Play - 09-10-09 22:52
Well, can anyone give a definition of free-flow, perhaps from research/ theorists - that way we can see if we are all talking about the same idea.
I think the intial post referred to whether children could choose to be in or out, and how settings managed that. I think in settings with level access to outside, it is fairly straight forward to allow children to pop in and out as they choose. And with a good range of resources/ activities they will be engaged and learning across the 6 areas.
I think we need to give little people a bit of credit for being sensible - and for being autonomous learners.
RE: Free Flow Play - 10-10-09 08:20
Good post Millie.
I love free play, and yes it does remind me of when I ran playgroups way back when there was no OFSTED and we were regulated by Social Services.
But, we know and understand a lot more about how children learn than we did then.
The EYFS is about putting the child at the centre of it's learning and the child learning through play.
I like the old Chinese proverb
'I hear, I forget
I see, I remember
I do, I understand'
To me, that proverb sums up how children learn.
RE: Free Flow Play - 11-10-09 13:52
What a fantastic proverb and so wise!!! The trouble with the old system prior to EYFS was that the adults mainly did (templates, conveyer belt system of producing something for children to take home that looked as if the adult did it and not the child!)
I wonder what the children learnt - that they had to come away from what they were really interested in to undertake an activity to justify the adults input within the setting.
As for free flow - I agree with lolo that if practitioners are ensuring that activities reflect interests and are resourced indoors and outdoors and supported by good practitioners, the children will learn and encompass the 6 areas of learning.
Free flow play is an absolute must for some children as they become engaged in what they want to do
RE: Free Flow Play - 13-10-09 20:37
Now we are just using templates and conveyor belts to produce something for OFSTED to take home!!!!
RE: Free Flow Play - 14-10-09 21:04
If the planning is done properly, there is learning going on inside and out.Formal education in this country seems to be getting younger and younger. Soon we will have our babies sitting in a high chair in front of the white board and there will be no childhood. I will not be in this job when that happens.
RE: Free Flow Play - 14-10-09 21:47
Some great posts here :)
I am not sure why there is such hesitation about having both inside and outside freely available. Unless your building is absolutely restrictive there isn't really a good reason not to free-flow. As Dons said, if the planning is done properly, that is with all staff involved in the observation, planning, evaluation and set-up for ALL children (whether they are your key children or not) then just as much learning takes place outside as it does in.
To CIA: we have the registration, snack,and story time and we easily follow 'free flow'. I will tell you how:
9-9.30pm Parents arrive with children, there is a member of staff to ensure parents sign in and children self-register on the board. Children then choose their own activity inside. Snack is available from 9.30am, those who want it come and have it.
10am When all staff have started work, outside is set up and doors are open. Children have free-flow access. We are on a first floor- but children go up & down the fire escape!(OFSTED recommendation)
Staff position themselves so that they can interact & keep everyone safe.
11.30am Everyone helps to tidy up
11.45am Small group times (storytime) & roll call
12lunch Children wash hands & sit down for lunch.
12.30ish Outside open - free flow on offer again.
2.30pm Everyone helps to tidy
2.40pm wash hands, roll cal, storytime/group time
3pm HOME!! :)
We do offer extended day until 6pm, but essentially this is our nursery day with free-flow. Every day, rain, hail, snow or shine :)
RE: Free Flow Play - 14-10-09 23:10
Sounds much like my Nursery...I love it..children love it, what more could you ask?
RE: Free Flow Play - 15-10-09 07:40
by: luby lou
CIA - I love your train of thought. As a Mum my children had 'freeflow' but not every single day due to weather or other things. Also what about the children that have conditions such as asthma, we recently had a child who follwed everybody else outside and due to cooler damp whether had an asthma attack, luckily not a bad one. what happened if it had been a bad one. how do you tell a parent, 'sorry but they wanted to go outside' If parents don't want their children outside due to medical conditions etc that can be affected by the weather - what would OFSTED say 'sorry but it's their right!!!!!
My children also 'learnt' at home that they didn't always get what they wanted. They also learnt through 'adult lead' activities and I now have a son who can draw,design and make fantastic things. What would his drawing ability etc be if he'd had his own 'freeflow'. I also agree children need specific routines and boundaries - look at the youth of today whose attitude is ' I can do what I like and you can't stop me' Why are we 'teaching' children as young as 2 and 3, is it because parents are 'opting out' (like alot in our area) and deciding work is better than be a stay at home Mum. I agree in this day and age some parents do need to work but how much are the children losing out being put into early childcare at very young ages.
Regarding adult lead activities, it was so nice as a parent to see the lovely activities my children did even cooking and yes I was aware that it was more adult lead than child but the child was so proud as they could see what they had achieved. The 'paintings' etc our children now take home go one place only - the bin - because they are unrecognisable as anything but mess on a page and please don't anyone tell me thats ok as it's what the child did!!! I hate to say it but children theses days are far less able to do anything than those of even 10 years ago. They have no patience, no listening skills, an inability to sot for more than 2 secs and don't care if an adult is talking. Is this because there is a lack of input at home or children be allowed as much 'freeflow' at home as they like. I can understand why very young children need to be 'taught' at pre schools etc but why in such a regiment , goal met system. As we see with our older children at school, however 'far behind' they are at a younger age they have all caught up (bar a very small %) by 7 or 8. Yes boys are different to girls but they still need to understand manners and routines and there are other ways for them to burn of energy rather than being allowed outside everyday. To all those envirnomentally friendly people out there, what is our carbon footprint going to be like if loads of day care, full or sessional have doors open and heat on in winter and doors open and air con on in summer. What are we teaching our children now about 'saving the planet'
Sorry this is so long but i know through chatting at courses etc that not everyone feels EYFS is fantastic and that some of the old ways are alot better and these are not all people who have been in childcare for years .
RE: RE: Free Flow Play - 15-10-09 13:04
Finally, there is someone out there that understands where I'm coming from. Luby Lou , you would like the Open eye campaign http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Open EYE which challanges much of the EYFS as it currently stands.
I totally agree with everything you've written. -and so do all my parents and those on my long waiting list. I have always listened more to what parents want than what happens to be the lastest Ofsted Fad. And I still get outstandings in 50% of my Ofsted rateing and Goods in the remainder. It is no co -incidence that my nursery is one of the most sought after in Hertfordshire.
Very few parents actually want the 'organised chaos' that they see in sadly so many other settings at the current time.
This government has deskilled so many parents by making them think that their child is better off in daycare and now it is doing its best to de- skill early years staff with alot of liberal nonsence.
RE: Free Flow Play - 15-10-09 19:46
by: luby lou
hi thanks, will log onto website next. Another problem is that our 'next step' will be ...... what's going to happen next May. will there be a new Government, will they want to change things. Hopefully someone somewhere will realise we are dealing with very young children who need help onto the 'bottom rung of the ladder' without having to tick every box possible!!!!
RE: Free Flow Play - 15-10-09 20:32
Lubylou, I am going to challenge you and say that it is OK for children to come home with a blobby painting because that is what they did. I don't want my daughter coming home from pre-school with artwork crafted by the staff. I don't pay my fees for the staff to have fun gluing and sticking. Some children don't even get the paint as far as the paper, and that is OK too. Following instructions to produce something is a skill - but it is a listening skill, not a creative skill.
And children should all be outdoors everyday. Being outdoors in natural environments is good for the soul, it is good for the mind and it is good for the body. I would be willing to bet that if the child with asthma spends a little time outdoors (correctly attired) each day, his asthma will improve. Also, he will be less likely to feel the need to charge outdoors everytime the door is open, and will be able to stay inside if it is really damp. If Swedish children can cope, ours can too.
RE: Free Flow Play - 16-10-09 11:34
Yes , but in sweden children don't free flow in and out . They get togged up and spend two hours outside whether they like it or not and anyway why do we keep compareing ourselves to a country that has the highest suicide rate in Europe???
RE: Free Flow Play - 21-10-09 07:15
by: luby lou
Hi Lolo - Having some medical background I would like to disagree with your Asthma theory - some children, yes grow out of asthma but for a vast majority their trigger is the cold and the damp - which we have far more of than our lovely summer - acnd can be very serious, some can children/adults die from asthma, it is a medical condition and has nothing to do with togging up. I am in full agreement with outdoor play -mine loved it, as most children do. However life is about learning, structure, routines,rules. How would office life and governmental life run if adults' did as they please' with an 'I'm going to sit outside for the next 2 hrs as it's my right'!! Adult life runs by rules not 'freeflow' otherwise anarchy rules.
Regarding 'blobby' painting, again I will agree SOME blobby painting is great for the children but I bet Leonardo D. V had a bit more input that 'freeflow'. Children need guidance and help. We don't do all the work for the children, we suggest, help, move their hand if needed and praise what they achieve and funnily enough, children who can see what they done and receive praise actually react differently to the children who get praised for a mess (and this refers to 99% of childrens painting work) not blobby painting. (as we found out by OBSERVING our children during creativity time). I was trying to explain that if you leave children and paint alone together a mess is generally created. That's why children paint etc at home (which is becoming rarer and rarer) they generally do it around a table, in a specific room with parent/carer on hand to help stop spillages, paint going where it shouldn't etc. Children do need to be able to express themselves but they also need to realise that with help and guidance and adult input (not takeover) that they can produce some fantastic, painting, creations, 3d junk modelling and cooking.
RE: Free Flow Play - 21-10-09 11:12
Hi Luby Lou,
You have just described Vygotsky's theroy of how children learn by socialising with more able children and adults. What a shame that so many practitioners appear to be ignoring this practise and going over board with the 'free flow' philosophy which is not based on any real theroretical research.
But don't worry, it will all reverse again, I'll give it two years!
RE: Free Flow Play - 21-10-09 14:35
Free Flow is fine if you have the staff who are organised with it. At my old setting we introduced free-flow and all the staff felt that it was just sitting back and letting the children do as they wish and never encouraged them to put things away or do anything! Hence the organised chaos that then occurred!!
Would you sit your own child down and say right we are going to play with the cars now! Even if they have no interest in cars and all they want to do is draw!!! (?) I would not and would not be happy if my own child was not given the same choice at his or her setting!
free-flow is a great idea and when managed by staff who understand the concept of learning through play and own interests is a great learning tool for all children to feel valued!! My self and other half are looking at secondary schools for his son and are delighted by the school that is now our first choice as they do topic lead learning?! sounds like interest lead learning to me?!
RE: Free Flow Play - 21-10-09 20:01
Luby Lou - I think your post comes across as unintentionally pompous. I agree that there is a place for teaching technique. But if you are going to use artists as an example, many discover techniques or are self-taught. Many go to art school to learn all the formal rules, just so they can break them in their own work.
If you observe children painting, you will no doubt realise that there are many things going on, not just the production of fine art! Some are mastering the physical skill of manipulating brushes. Some children become absorbed in the activity and find it almost hypnotic to cover the paper in layers and layers of paint. Other children delight in mark making and want to smear the paint everywhere. There are others who want to experiment with colours and different ways of making marks. Others want to produce a painting that looks like something - and their way of doing this may not be comprehensible to an adult observer.
All these are valuable experiences.
RE: Free Flow Play - 21-10-09 22:00
I think you are all missing the point here!!! The EYFS states that there should be an equal amount of adult initiated and Child initiated play. Why oh why does it always have to be one or the other!!!! I am costantly having to battle with staff who either think it's ok to set up activities and leave it for the children to 'explore' (what are they going to learn if know one is there to chalenge their thinking!!) or a recent one i had to contend with, where the children were being encoraged to trace over there name! It seems that most practitoners today are lacking the skills to be able to use the new framework in the way in which it is intended and that is the real issue! It is guidance and advice about best practice. I for one think the EYFS can be a usefull tool if used correctly, and as for the poor children who's paintings are in the bin! Im sure they all have really positive Learning dispositions and feel as tho you value and support there efforts!!! Totally agree with you Lolo very pompous indeed!!
RE: Free Flow Play - 22-10-09 10:23
by: luby lou
Lolo and Leanne - if i came across as pompous I do apologise.
Lolo - you hit the nail on the head when you said' many go to art school to learn formal rules. We all need to learn formal rules to understand their concept and then fit them into our lives/world. Taking away the 'formal' rules from Early years is the problem, children are given the understanding they can do what they want, and yes I do observe our children painting and I have observed a change in their ability - unfoturtunately a decline not an increase.
What gets my goat is alot of early years 'professionals' allowing and using EYFS and an entitlement for children to 'do as they please' without structure routine or anything else. Our E.Y adviser has restricted our 'teaching' time with children as it does not apply to EYFS!!!!! she has also stated only 20% is adult initiated the other 80% is child initiated!!. Everything is child observed,the children through their own initiative can access ANYTHING they want, if they want to make a 'mess' with anything they can as it is their 'right'. We are only allowed a few adult lead activities and these again are based around what the children want and not necessary want they need to learn. We have even been told that at Christmas time if a child doesn't want to make Mummy and Daddy a Christmas card they don't have to. What does this teach children - it's my Birthday I want a card and present but I can't be bothered to do a card for Mummy and Daddy!. As it was discussed on early morning t.v following the recent report on our Education system and the age children start to learn - a qualified professional headmistress stressed that a 4yr does not knw what they want/need and need guidance. Our children are no longer allowed to sit quietly whilst waiting for each other to wash their hands before snack time, they have to be 'doing'something, singing ,dancing, ring games etc. this does not teach children patient, which alot of society now lacks. Our whole structure has been changed which has affected the children. The nursery into which our children go always commented on how they knew which one had come through us due to behaviour attitude etc. Recent feedback has shown how the children have changed over the last year following EYFS and how much more basic input nursery has to give. I'm sure they are not the only ones.
I'm in in full agreement to children being able to display their own abilities, as mine were allowed to however when this means children are given the right to take every single thing out to play with, draw with, paint with etc - which is what our EYFS support has told us the children can do under EYFS - as it shows what they are interested in!!! it doesn't teach them anything. It is surprising how many helpers, mums and grandparents included have commented on how children 'don't know how to play' and they don't. Very very few sit quietly and play with cars, small world, construction etc. They also lack the ability to tidy, we can spend alot of the time encouraging the children to put away, especially as there is now so much to put away and as all children if they can get out of a job they will do. We are a sessional setting so this all impacts greatly on what happens.
When will children be allowed to be children. I know there are some great settings and 'teachers' out there but funnily enough alot are saying the same negative things about EYFS.
This topic can go on and on as we all have totally different ideas being that we are also 'unique'. If only those who make the rules would discuss with the people who have been doing this job for a while, people with experience and possibly look at our system. I started education at 6yrs old and from 4-6 spent 2 very lovely years in a nursery playing. My teachers didn't have to make sure I met all the goals children of today do. I didn't do formal homework til 11 yrs, mine started homework at 5yrs. 11yr olds of today now have to stay in education til 18yrs following governmental change. With the 'bad' education I had, I managed to obtain a very professional career (until my family). If we are not careful we will be breeding a generation of 'burnt' out children as children today do far more education than mine or other generations. How did government ministers get where they are today if education was so bad.!
I will stop as I could go on for ever - as you can imagine!!!
RE: Free Flow Play - 22-10-09 12:42
Well said Luby-lou.
There have to be some ground rules otherwise how do children learn about boundaries. This is particularly important in my setting as it is also my home. What seems cute at 2 when they paint each other is not so cute at six.
RE: RE: Free Flow Play - 22-10-09 18:41
There is a gross assumption being made that before EYFS we were all sitting children down and making them do what we wanted them to do. This was never the case in my nursery or any of my experienced collegues nurseries. However in those golden years we were free to offer the routines and structures that we felt were most appropriate to the children's needs,development and ages. The problem now with the way the EYFS is being promoted by our so called LA 'early years team's is that they seem to believe in a one size fits all mentality of doing things which many of us are extremely unhappy about. What may be absolutley wonderful in your nursery may be a disaster in mine. Just like famililies there is no one way of doing things.
RE: Free Flow Play - 22-10-09 20:51
CIA< I thoroughly agree with you when you say, "The problem now with the way the EYFS is being promoted by our so called LA 'early years team's is that they seem to believe in a one size fits all mentality of doing things"
There is a big contradiction between celebrating the unique child and being child-centred and working from the child's starting point, but only in the one "Approved" way with the specified planning sheet and no deviation. We have to be unique practitioners and unique settings too, for this to work!
RE: Free Flow Play - 23-10-09 18:38
by: luby lou
Hi CIA - isn't it a shame we are unable to offer those good old routines and structures that were most appropriate to our childrens needs, development and ages. It's like the e-mail circulating re 'RIP common sense'.
Re your previous thread giving it 2 years - I await next May in anticipation!!! good luck in your setting - alot of us need it
RE: Free Flow Play - 25-10-09 20:45
I work in Irish pre-schools and we are way behind you guys, I am sick to death of the day being centered around art activities where the staff take pride in mass producing 'children's' art work with the motivation of having something to show the parents. It results in one staff member spending the day sitting down doing art all day. Is there any nice way of explaining the error of this to a staff member who has always done it this way and takes pride in their creativity with the children. I have worked in a lot of settings and it seems to be a problem everywhere that no-one recognises.
RE: Free Flow Play - 25-10-09 21:40
Hi Saffron..I found a poem called What did you do today? for my parents...have just spent a few minutes finding it for you....it says by Sue Heard In Nursery World...it sums up the 'Imust make a picture for mummy'attitude....perhaps you could copy it print it mainly for the parents but mention at next staff meeting or before, to read it and take on board...I would say our EYFS here in England is not like that,the children have free rein to paint where they like,what they like...but I am not totally convinced yet of the wisdom of that...I think the jury is out until the government changes....
RE: Free Flow Play - 28-10-09 17:38
Thanks very much Tish, I am fascinated by the differences in approach you have in the Uk. I am going to look up that poem, we don't have staff meetings yet btw, but it may come in with our new early years framework.
RE: Free Flow Play - 28-10-09 17:48
I found that poem and am going to put it on the wall in our playschool, its great!
RE: Free Flow Play - 02-11-09 06:59
by: Melissa Lumb
I think free-flow play is just a fantastic opportunity to do all your narrative observations. Planning is then taking from these observations, so free-flow play is a must. It is child-initiated, you can focus on one child or a group and then if need be guide or 'scaffold' their learning as appropriate.
I think there are benefits to having a set structure to the day, as some children certainly learn better this way. Nearly every setting I have worked in I see set timetables on the walls saying for example 1,30 - 2.30 child initiated play then tidy up, then from 2.45 - an adult initiated activity from the planning sheet should be taking place - arggghhhhh. I think it should be more fluid and can be acheived this way especially in a nursery environment where there are more staff, so more observations can take place and learning can be much more tailored and specific to an individual child.
In a reception class at a school for example I do see the need for a more structured day and to re-focus the group and for children to conform to school rules etc and know how to behave and learn how to listen etc. I don't think our younger children at 2 years old, should have to conform to these structures as their dispositions and attitudes are completely different to a 4 or 5 year olds.
RE: Free Flow Play - 14-02-13 15:52
With our Nursery being 2 floors, we struggle to get free flow for the 2-3 children (who are upstairs).
Does anyone have any suggestions of how to achieve this?
Do any nurseryies have babies on the first floor? Does this become inconvinent for parents? Or Fire Evacutation?
Replies would be much appreciated! Thanks!
RE: Free Flow Play - 15-02-13 07:29
You have to work within the constraints of your building and being upstairs would make it dangerous to allow children to freeflow.
In that case, the staff must be tuned in to the childdren and give them the chance to go outside when they want to.
That's how it worked in an outstsnding nursery i worked in recently- the pre-school was upstairs so the children could not go in and out as they wanted but they were no set times for outside play and as long as there were enough staff, some children could go out with one member of staff.
RE: Free Flow Play - 17-02-13 18:29
by: kaz (the first one!)
I have two settings - one has free flow (large hall) the other does not (house type setting over 2 floors.) Both work well as my staff are in tune with the children and can tell when it's time to get outside. We also have planned activities outside so it's not just about letting off steam and each setting goes on a walk twice a week.
RE: Free Flow Play - 14-03-13 14:16
by: Lil Miss Purple
Freeflow can be good but a problem I found was you couldnt really have a group of lively pre schoolers out at the same time the babies went out. At most nurseries I worked at we had to have a timetable so that all ages got a turn outside. When I was in the garden I got out bikes, balls, balance beams, hoppers, that kind of thing, but a manager at an old place said she wanted to see sit down activities such as puzzles, books also. All good if you have a big garden, but if it is a small space is it safe to have tables with books and puzzles as well as bikes, balls, slide etc. Maybe I got freeflow wrong. I would set up activities that would tie in with childrens interests/planning/staff ideas. I also had areas where the children could choose what went out, eg cars on the mat. The children could go to each activity as they wanted. We did have a set snack time, as well as story time (or singing talking, depending on childrens interests) set garden time (because of varied agegroups as I mentioned before) It was never a case of this is when we do this and this is how we do it, there was always flexibility. I think the children need some routine and structure. I wouldnt allow a child to take a bucket of water into the home corner as it could be dangerous. If they wanted to 'wash up' we planned a 'washing up' activity. Paints had to be kept in the paint area, etc, because my attitude is if I allow the child to paint where they want eg in the book corner, what is stopping them painting on books, on walls, at home. They still got free choice (say if they wanted to paint thier hands rather than use a brush, could go in the garden if the babies were not out there, could go in home corner etc) and there was no rigidity (if such a word) but the manager decided she wanted us and an adjoining room to freeflow together, all the time, with a snack table in just one of the rooms where children helped themselves (all good in theory but one parent complained that thier child went home thirsty after the morning session because they said they were too busy playing so they didnt want a drink, her concern was that this never occured when we all sat down together to have snack/drink) and as much as we tried, it was chaotic, and as a result a child once went home and painted all over his parents newly wallpapered wall after he was allowed to paint in the homecorner! I think it works at set times. May cause a backlash with this, but giving a child a message "you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, yep take the water over to the homecorner, oh dear you spilt it on the electrical toy, never mind! It's ok if you want to draw in the book corner, funny how all our new books have now been scribbled on!" is a little dangerous. Sorry if you disagree with me.
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