After the gales on Thursday we decided it would be a really good idea to go to Keldy forest park and stay in a tree house!
Luckily the tree house was far more substantial than it sounds so there was no chance of us blowing away! We had an excellent time that was over far too quickly! If I am honest, it is not as remote outdoors as it sounds especially when you find out that the tree house is attached to a lodge that sports its own hot tub and Wii!
Lets just say you wouldn't find Bear Grylls doing an outback special there. Having said that there was loads of wildlife to be seen, forest to be explored and dens to be built…
Today I was mostly delivering a key speech and workshops to out of school providers. The organisers also had delegates exploring the possibilities of mud, doing street graffiti art, making willow models and constructing dens. I was sad that I had to listen to me as I really fancied a try with the other things.
As with lots of aspects education, funding is going to be scarce for the out of school providers in the near future. So it is about securing the best provision without spending the most money!
Many of the issues that were raised by the delegates were shared ones. Mainly centering on time, Ofsted, EYFS and money. They all seemed to have limited time for set up and clear away and often had no space to store any resources.
Trying to span 2 years to 11 years age range with appropriate activities would be a challenge for anyone!
I talked about how if activities were very structured (everyone do the same) then they can take much longer to set up and likely have less educational input. If you are making a cotton wool ball snowman card with all of the children then you have to cut out and set up all of the resources and you are not allowing the children to make their own choices.
If you are just setting up a workshop area with lots of free choice, not only is that quicker and easier – it also allows children to make their own choices based on personal preferences.
I have also used the child initiated planner with out of school providers because it can cover the interests of all age groups at their different levels of engagement. Also, if you have occassional visitors as well as regular attenders they can dip in and out of it when they are there and they know (roughly) what is going on!
I also talked about how the Environment Map would be a really useful document to fill in and use to show how the environement is responding to the needs of the children in it. That would work if you were in a bespoke setting or a church hall.
There was SO much we could have got our teeth into – but only an hour and a half to do it in.
The rest of this week I am going to see how the Reception/Year One unit that I have been working with is progressing and also how the children who have had continuous provision throughout Year One have transitioned into Year Two.
Then I am doing 4, half day conferences back to back followed by an ECAT conference on Saturday (followed by a lie down in a dark room)!
I do love it though!