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Am I over doing the child led approach..?

(8 Posts)
OopsDoneItAgain Sun 05-Jun-11 20:56:20

Hi everyone
I've been minding for a couple of months so I am still definitely learning as I go. Before I started I had plans to have a semi-structured day until a CM mentor mentioned I should be ensuring everything is child led. So Im letting the children choose what they do in the day a fair bit...but its just getting repetitive it seems to me eg one child always heads for the lego, another sort of wanders around aimlessly until I crack and provide soemthing. I just googled 'typical childminding day' and lots of the links I read had really quite structured days to my surprise. Sorry starting to waffle - I suppose my question is, how do I balance providing some structure as well as keeping things child led? What should the balance be? TIA for any tips on what you do.

HSMM Mon 06-Jun-11 07:35:54

I think the idea is that they lead and you extend ... so the child that always wants to play with lego - is it building, colours, or what? You can extend this by finding other things to stack, sort, join together, etc. Child led doesn't mean that you can't direct at all, it just means listening to the child, in case their idea goes off at a tangent to yours.

Someone more knowledgable might come along, but that's what I think.

pippin26 Mon 06-Jun-11 08:17:43

I think that something like 80% of the day should be child led (cannot remember exactly how much at this time of the morning) and HSMM is right you extend what the child is doing if the child wants. Its getting a balance of playing with the children and allowing free play to happen.
Read the book by Roz Bayley and Sally Featherstone Like Bees Not Butterflies.

You can still include some adult led, structured, planned stuff - particuarly if you are aiming towards something for what ever reason.

You know your children, some children require more adult interaction, some prefer more structure etc.

frakyouveryverymuch Mon 06-Jun-11 09:03:34

I guess it depends what you mean by semi-structured. Child led can also be within a predetermined activity eg an outing or doing some cooking. Adult decides that they will do some cooking, children can decide what. Adult decides they will go to the park, children decide what to do there.

Child led free play can be influenced by your choices. You can rotate toys in and out of service to encourage exploration of different yet similar toys eg substituting Lego for sticklebricks. If you don't want to buy then try a toy library or swap with another local CM.

Within free play chosen by the child there can be an element of adult direction by playing interactively, modelling by playing alongside or talking while you do something else.

thebody Mon 06-Jun-11 14:17:31

i usually go with child led until bordom sets in and bad behaviour starts then its out with the crafts, music and movement or other games..
needs a balance, as long as kids are happy and lots of different activities are offered during sessions then i think thats fine..

ChitChattingagain Mon 06-Jun-11 15:12:03

Well child led has it's limits. Our nursery plans their week, and themes things. To match with the theme they have some tables with those activities, and the children can choose which ones they will participate in. So they can have a shop in the play corner, some shopping/numbers games on a table, some colouring in things of items you would find in a shop.

There's no rule that says ALL the toys have to be out ALL the time!!! Put the lego away for a few days to encourage that child to play with something else. Say 'Ooh, look, I've got some pencils and pictures here, who wants to colour in?' in a very excited voice. The children can then 'choose' to do that activity, if they want to.

Plan outings, that is very much encouraged under EYFS, regardless of it not being very child led..

OopsDoneItAgain Mon 06-Jun-11 19:44:54

Thanks for the comments, thats been really helpful. I do find it hard to extend from what they are doing tho, don't seem to get brilliant ideas of where something can lead very often. Ho hum. Hopefully it will come. Will check out that book, thanks.

woahthere Mon 06-Jun-11 22:51:48

I think its helpful to have a structure to the day but it can still be child led. As you get to know what the children like then you will notice more about them. So one day you might notice that child has suddenly discovered a love for digging and dinosaurs, so you then plan activities for the next week that might involve these things, like making a dinosaur land in a tuff spot using compost etc...then you observe and assess this and this might lean on to them doing or liking something else, like in the middle they might decide to make mud pies and so on. However, there are some things they arent going to know they like or how to do if you dont get it out. So, i tend to have a table with different activies on every day for variation like jigsaws or blocks to draw attention to it, they still have access to these things everyday anyway but it can help to draw them in more, they might completely ignore it which is fine because if you have everything else accessible it doesnt matter. Last week I had an arts and crafts activity out but they just werent interested because the weather was good so they were out playing in the water, this week though they fancied doing it. To be honest with regard to extending ideas, if you have enough available to them, and I find this is where planning comes in useful, then they will make their own fun and you should have to do very little yourself. I think its also fine to have a structure in terms of AM: Toddler group, pm: lunch and rest/stories, collect children from school, freeplay with...
Etc, etc. Hope this helps.

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