In my setting very young children are given the choice of what activity they wish to participate in. A number of zones are placed in the nursery/reception class (ie dressing up, play house, reading corner, construction, drawing /painting etc) and each child is given the choice at the beginning of the day.
Evaluation: If there are more than the recommended amount of pupils in one particular area, then children are asked to choose a different zone, and will be given an explanation as to why they cannot chose their first activity (ie Sorry Jane, but there are too many children there at the moment, if you choose a different activity for now, then you will be able to go there later).
Most of the children are acceptable to this when they are put in this position, and understand the reason why, as they know that there is a restriction on the amount of children per play area.
Circle time: The children are placed in a circle and discuss different subjects and topics of interest.
Also Weekend News is discussed, and each child will be given the opportunity to give their account of their two days off school (or school holidays). Pending off-site outings will be discussed and what is expected of them on the trip and how they should behave. The children are encouraged to vent their views and ideas about the trip (ie what should we do when were on the bus? should we go off by ourselves? Who should we stay with? etc).
Also topics such as Bullying and Healthy Schools will also be open for debate.
Evaluation: The children are very open to putting their views forward, and it also teaches them to be patient and it develops their listening skills. It makes them realize that others have an opinion. Most of the children will sit still for this activity. There are a small number who fidget and try to disrupt the class, but this is minimal. In this instance the children in question will have to wait longer for their turn. It is detrimental to the activity if the children are placed in a different area or timed out, as this does not allow them to learn by example, by seeing others pupils appropriate behaviour.
Quiet Area: Some children need the option, just to, chill out and relax and have time to themselves. This is provided in one corner of the nursery/reception classrooms. Comfortable cushions and reading material are usually placed in the area as well as soft toys. If the children are feeling unwell or maybe a little tired as young children are, then they are encouraged to Take 5 to gather their thoughts.
Evaluation: Works well for those children who enjoy their own company. Some young children are extremely tired first part of the day, and to let them have a few minutes to themselves, helps them ease into the routine for the day ahead. We, as practitioners, have to be