After a year in Reception and developing the areas of provision, its always good to review the areas and reflect on what has worked well.
This year the children have enjoyed playing in the provision. I have stood back many of times and just watched how they have turned into independent learners. The resources, planning and provision ideas have sparked their curiosity, leading them to further challenge and work with their peers to move their learning on.
I have had parents explain how their child loves the classroom and counts down the days until they are back in school. They just can’t wait to ‘play!’ I truly believe hard work pays off. I have spent a long time planning and resourcing each area of provision alongside some amazing support too. So today, I am going to review the message centre. An idea taken from Greg Botrill, I completely changed my mindset and way of thinking about a ‘writing area.’ Greg inspired me to create magic around writing and messages. The children would traditionally hardly use the ‘writing area.’ They would spend ages drawing or colouring if they were in there. Boys would avoid it due to thinking they had to sit and write and that just sounded soooo boring! Especially to reluctant writers. Who would want to sit in a WRITING area?
I introduced the message centre right from the beginning of the year. It’s always been filled with different coloured paper, post it notes, envelopes, pencils, pens, highlighters, felt tips and of course… every so often we receive SECRET MESSAGES!
The children absolutely love finding a message. I have had messages from pirates, dragons, kings, queens and aliens. After a child finds a message the area is immediately flooded by children wanting to reply and write. I introduced secret symbols at the beginning of the year. Children were eager to write messages back despite not knowing all of the ‘phonemes.’ I did wonder how children would transfer from writing these symbols to writing words but as they became more confident with their phonics the children naturally started to write words instead!
I have to admit that the message centre is by far one of the most popular areas of provision and it is rarely ever empty. The shift of it being a ‘writing area’ to an amazing, magical message centre has certainly had a huge part to play. I would highly recommend purchasing Greg Botrill’s message centre course. You can find out more here:
Greg Bottrill on Messaging and the Message Centre – Early Years TV
**Please note I am not being paid in anyway for this post!**
Thank you for reading!