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Good practise in Early Years

As part of my Head of Service role, I am fortunate to visit our Trust Early Years classes to observe and then share their good practice with colleagues. I’ve recently been to Rendlesham Primary School and seen how they have improved their provision to support children’s gross and fine motor skills.

In the nursery class, the children are allocated a weekly fine motor skills task which is specifically designed to support individuals to achieve their next step.  Children arrive for their session and find their photograph which is placed near the activity. Zoe Drackford, the class teacher, carefully assesses the children’s current pencil grip and provides suitable activities to ensure progression. An example of the type of pencil grip posters she has displayed, can be found here:

https://abcdoes.com/abc-does-a-blog/2011/05/07/resourcesdraft/

Some of the activities implemented:

  • Squashing playdough with a potato masher
  • Posting milk bottle lids into a Pringle tube (slot cut into the lid)
  • Paint dotting with a cotton bud
  • Target practice (on the floor) with beanbags in a pair of tights
  • Prewriting patterns on the Clevertouch board (different coloured pens)
  • Pencil control worksheet
  • Hammering golf tees into pumpkins
  • Pop it fiddle toys
  • Tap Tap Art
  • Large nuts and bots
  • Rolling paint on a horizontal surface
  • Bingo dabbers

Zoe’s careful planning ensure the children develop their shoulder, elbow and wrist pivot before moving onto to strengthening their finger joints. For those of you who accessed the ‘Getting Ready to Write’ online CPD, you’ll be familiar with children’s physical journey to become a dexterous mark marker.

In the reception classes, children spend most of their time in free flow where they have access to a large shared outdoor area. Kirsty Cook and her dynamic early years team have been busy developing the continuous provision including planning more opportunities for children to develop their gross motor skills:

Some of the activities in the outdoor area:

  • Sweeping leaves with large brooms
  • Using paintbrushes (or rollers) and water on vertical surfaces
  • Vertical target practice using small balls in tights
  • Tennis racquets to hit tennis balls in tights
  • Football in tights to develop catching skills
  • Jumping to reach a hanging target
  • Snowball target (indoors)

I can see from the CPD evaluation form responses, many early years’ practitioners (and a KS1 teacher) found the ‘Getting Ready to Write’ online webinar informative and are excited to implement new ideas into their classroom. I look forward to visiting you in your setting later this year to see the direct impact on your children.

Caroline Richardson, HoS EYFS