It's nearly the end of the summer holidays. So naturally our thoughts have turned to our new cohorts. We're excited by the thought of starting again - new children, giving new ideas, a new energy, leading to new experiences. And obviously, this means getting your setting ready. But where do you start? If you're an NQT or you're moving rooms/schools then this could mean a new start. And if not, then you have an existing environment to consider.
For us, we start with the children coming up. Throughout the year, from the very beginning, we shape the setting around the needs and interests of the children. Obviously this isn't possible over the Summer holidays so what can you do? Well, how about those transition forms? We read through the transition forms so that we can get to know the children. If there is a particular activity or area that some of the children enjoy, then perhaps recreating this means that the children will settle more quickly. We will look for where the children might have lower attainment, for example Speaking and Listening. Then we will think about how we can change the environment to support and develop this area.
So when Mark went into school this week - this is what the classroom looked like....
Tempted as he was to ride around on the floor buffer, instead he thought he had better be a little bit more constructive. He couldn't move the furniture as the floor wasn't finished being cleaned so he got on with some displays....
The cohort has shown a need to ensure lots of opportunities for speaking and listening. Mark used a display box from Ikea and added a puffer fish that he found in the Science cupboard. It's sure to start up some conversations! He plans on changing the item in the box regularly - perhaps even letting the children bring in their own talking point items!
Another change to Mark's classroom has come in the shape of this mark making station. The roll of lining paper is simply loosely trapped between the unit and the table, allowing the children to pull more through when they need to! Over the year this will evolve to reflect the needs of the cohort but to being with we'll be talking about 'Ourselves' so it seemed like a good idea to get them drawing!
Mark has also moved his reading area so has created a 'woodland' themed book 'corner'. There is also a woodland backdrop to go up - pictures to follow soon!
It's not the 'perfect' classroom but then - what is? What it will be is a reflection of the interests combined with the needs of the children (using a combination of transition data and observations). And if that is exactly what it should be.
Why not share your classroom pics to inspire fellow Ace family members?!
Have a fab start to the new year!
Anita and Mark x
So it's the holidays! Phew! And always a time to reflect upon the previous year and make plans for the next. Although, that is of course after taking time for yourself. We know that for us, we don't want to and/or can't stop work completely - the holidays are a good time to focus on Ace Early Years. But for some the holidays are a time to forget about work for a while.
Whichever way you like it - don't be hard on yourself. And don't think less of others who do it a bit differently. Some people are always working - thinking, planning, organising. Maybe they like to keep busy and can't stop for too long. Or maybe they have to stop thinking about work for their own well-being and they will be unfollowing work Facebook pages. You can always check out our #Aceresolution page to read about being kind to yourself (though lots of the quotes/ideas are about term time).
Anita and I like to spend some of our holiday time together. And although it might be 'work' we love it because we make each other laugh so much! And laughter makes you feel better. It's science. Honest! That's why we made some of our 'Ace Quotes' into a video - to make people laugh!
So we spent some of our holiday giving the website a little spruce up. We have given it a more 'visual' feel - hope you like it! We'll also add a couple of new sections - keep your eyes peeled for the new tech page, for example!
And whatever you do - thank you. Thanks for your support. We don't aim to be the best. We don't aim to give THE answers. But if we help you find an answer, then brilliant. And if we can all have a laugh along the way then even better!
Love Mark and Anita x