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Extra info for Early to School (NFER-Nelson)
The activities are very much bound up with the curriculum. They are in a sense the vehicle through which much of the curriculum is transmitted. This chapter explores the curriculum with regard to breadth and balance and continuity with the National Curriculum. It considers how the various subjects can be integrated, how different activity areas can be defined or linked and how use can be made of the wider environment. Attention is then turned to the quality of the activities, whether they: offer challenge and extension, meet the needs of individual children and offer opportunities for talking as well as doing.
A Staggered Start Professionals who were interviewed felt that a staggered starting date allows children to be admitted to school singly or in small groups. This gave the adults time to be with the new entrants, to listen to them and evaluate their stage of development. The information gained could then be taken into account in subsequent curriculum planning. In practice the length of time involved in admitting children can vary from a few hours or days to a period spanning several weeks. Usually the process is completed by half-term with the oldest children attending first.
These sessions were supervised by the nursery nurses or the dinner ladies. The Select Committee suggest that: ‘Playtime and lunchtime with a big group of older children can be overwhelming for three and four year olds, and they should be protected from this experience’ (House of Commons, 1988, para. 7. 10). Playtime Blatchford (1988) remarks on the barren environment provided by many school playgrounds and suggests that improvements should, and could, be made for all children, not just the youngest, at lunch and playtimes.