Early Years Teaching and Learning through Play

Nursery and P1 learn through play. This is not possible in a social distanced school setting. Even the idea of getting them to only use their own pencil would be tricky.

However, if you were able to use Early Years Practitioners in P1 you could reduce groups to 5 or 6 who attend school part-time for 1 and a half hours everyday.

In this scenario a class of up to 25 P1 children needs one Teacher and one Early Years Practitioner (together I will refer to them as Learning Professionals) each.

2 groups attend between 9 and 10:30 (or a similar time period which is offset in order to allow easier social distancing).

Each group is taken by one Learning professional . Both Learning Professionals delivers direct learning planned by the Teacher. This Learning is split up with a break outside (hopefully).

The second 2 groups attend between 11:00 and 12:30.

And the direct learning is repeated with those groups.

Cleaning can be undertaken between 10:30 and 11:00. I suggest that it is inadequate to expect this Cleaning to be done by the Learning Professionals. They will be using this time to swap resources to ensure each child uses only their own things.

In the afternoon the Learning Professionals would create play packs to ensure that children have access to resources and opportunities of learning through play at home . These packs would contain activities both for the child to explore independently and with the adults they live with.

Pros - P1s would still access direct teaching.

Adequate resources would be available to all children regardless of their economic background. Learning through play would be easier to support at home compared to the current situation.

Children in this scenario could be kept in small groups and it would be relatively possible to keep them somewhat distanced.

Children would have daily time with Learning Professionals.

Children and their parents or carers would have you the opportunity to ask questions or clarify what is happening with Learning Professionals (because this people would be overtly available in the afternoon to call)

Similarly Learning Professionals would have greater opportunity to support children and their parents than in the current home learning situation. Newly vulnerable children would be easier to identify.

You could extend this idea to Nursery children dependent on staffing and space.

Cons - This is a huge compromise on learning. This is not how I would recommend anyone teach 4-6 year olds, apart from in the current complex circumstances.

Probably many schools would need to roll back Nursery provision.

Learning through play would be compromised (though not as much as it is currently, when many children in areas of social deprivation will have little access to the type of opportunities and resources available in school).

This would be very difficult to manage alongside working for some parents. Obviously key worker care would need to continue alongside this model.

Learning Professionals with Children will probably not have adequate childcare to work normal hours.

Learning Professionals may need to self isolate. Therefore staffing this model continuously may be tricky.

Why the contribution is important

Because children need direct teaching and that is difficult to provide to young children virtually, especially if their parents are attempting to work from home.

Many Children in Poverty will not access to the resources and opportunities provided through learning through play during lockdown and this is a way of mitigating that situation.

There is no doubt in my mind that the school closure and the lockdown will cause a widening of the attainment gap and greater educational inequity.

Solutions must be found to mitigate this situation.

by P1Teacher on May 06, 2020 at 10:05AM

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