Bits & Bobs

Seven top tips to help your children become familiar with their new environment

We all feel a sense of pride when we look around our newly organised, clean and inviting environment when we have worked so hard during our holiday! How many of us then think to ourselves how long will it look like this once the children start?

We don’t have a magic wand but we do have some top tips that will save you time and get your environments ready for learning the next day.

Routines, rules and expectations need to be set and established and consistently applied so that the children become familiar with them as soon as possible. 

Spending quality time on establishing routines, rules and expectations at the very beginning will be time well spent. It will help the children become familiar with their new environment and will set the positive ethos for the year. 

Seven Top Tips:

  1. The Odd One Out – Put a resource in each area that does not belong. Invite the children to explore the environment and try to spot the odd one out. Encourage them to explain why it does not belong in that area and to see if they can find where it belongs.
  2. Bits and Bobs Box – At the end of the day out the random resources that are lying around the environment in a special box. Reveal each item out of the box and challenge the children to find where it belongs. 
  3. Shadow Labels – To help your children know where to put resources back on a shelf draw around the outline of a resource and stick the shadow to the shelf. This way children have an outline to match against when tidying away. This works particularly well in the construction and investigation areas.
  4. Give Us A Clue – Hide a photo of a child (mini me) in an area of the environment and give the children clues about where that person is e.g. this person is in the area where you get messy and need to wear an apron. 
  5. Photo Reminder – Remember to take photos during the first few days and weeks of children demonstrating the correct behaviour in each of the areas. Display them on the wall in a book and encourage the adults to use them to remind the children about your expectations in each area. 
  6. Less is More – Look around your environment and reflect on how many of each resource you have e.g. do you really need 40 pencils on your writing shelf? The temptation for children when there are too many resources is to just tip them out and walk away! Reduce the amount of resources by putting a set number in the container e.g. 8 pencils, 10 objects, 6 scissors. When tidying up children can find the right number of objects and count them back into the pot. Remember to label with the number.
  1. Invest Time – To ensure that your continuous provision works effectively be brave! The best way to ensure that children are using your environment effectively is for the first half term to make sure that all your adults are in the environment with the children. Be careful about running small group time when other are exploring the environment. Make sure ALL adults are in the environment so that they can model, narrative and demonstrate how they want children ‘to be’.

Invest time now because you will reap the rewards later!