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#1 silvermakeup

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 08:52 PM

Basically asking for any help, and i mean ANY help, advice, comments, feedback, suggestions, what-to-do's and what not-to-do's in relation with planning for the under 2's. Long term, short term, medium term, childrens interest blah blah blah.

Still not got ours sorted and its becoming a big issue so i just want to ask for any kind of help from you nice people on here :o

Oh and i completly apologise in advance with regards to any rants or questions that may follow...

#2 androyd

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:00 PM

The key thing to remember with babies is that you absolutely have to key off them. So you might have planned to do something but don't insist on doing it regardless - the babies may want to sleep instead. We use a mixture of regular weekly sessions such as heuristic play and the rest of the planning is based on each individual's needs and interests. Where is each baby developmentally, what are the next steps? What are they fascinated by at the moment. These things may stay the same for weeks or may change rapidly depending on the individual. What you cannot possibly do is plan 'long term' or even medium term. So you might want to plan say three activities a week on some regular activities which you can write a plan for: eg messy painting, heuristic play and water play. In addition you need a settled daily routine for certain times a day eg quiet time before lunch, before sleep routine after lunch but other than that be as flexible to the needs of the children as you can be. As my star worker says : 'How can you plan in detail when three babies might all pooh at the same time?!'
Always always always make settling the babies a priority. If a baby is not settled, calming them has to take precedence. Insist parents go through a settling period and separate gradually. Often with babies it is the parent who has far more anxiety than the child - they are trusting their precious baby to your care and they have to be happy and confident in your ability to respond to their needs. Once that trust and bond is established you have the basis of a fantastic relationship with the family that can last for years.
Do not let anyone tell you that you have to plan things in detail in advance. It is bad practice and can lead to babies being given inappropriate activities. On the other hand you do need to record in detail what you have been doing and where you need to go next should flow naturally from that.
If you are unsure of next steps refer to development matters - it's fine for those early stages.
Don't be afraid to postpone something if babies are unhappy, and don't be afraid to be spontaneous. If it's a lovely day, get them out in it.
How many babies do you have and how experienced are your team?

#3 silvermakeup

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:28 PM

Thank you so much for replying :lol:

I understand what you are saying....However, i was half way through jotting down ideas for medium term plans as i read your reply :o

I'm not sure why im finding this all such a struggle to be honest, i have a good knowledge of birth to three and childrens developmental stages within this age bracket but i seem to feel the need the need to over complicate things far too much.

I previuosly worked with 2-3 year olds where i found things much easier to implement, less routiney stuff and more time to focus on activities, obs etc. but im finding that the baby room is just taken up by eating, sleeping and nappy routines that it doesnt leave much time for anything else!

I love the idea of being spontaneous, but i also feel that children and more so the staff, benifit from routine.

We are a very small unit, open all day, consisting of 24 children at the moment, all coming different days and sessions. But my staff consist of myself as the supervisor, a very old school part timer who has been there since time began and is VERY stuck in her ways (who only works mornings to cover our breaks), a 17 year old who is very enthusiastic but has only just started her training so has yet to gain an understanding of birth to three and one other girl who is lovely, very good with the babies, has completed her level 2 and is working through her level 3 but works very much in the way of 'you tell me wat to do and when to do it' and she will do it brilliantly... but being spontaneous is simply out of the question. So in that respect, i feel i need some kind of routine.

I was away to type out a huge paragraph as to what i was thinking we should do but really, whats the point? Should i just concentrate on individual children, split my children between the two full time members of staff and spend my time working with them on the childrens development and next steps and plan a daily activity every day just as somthing fun to do. We have a sensory/messy room that would be ideal for this, just something different i.e messy play, gloop etc. ?

But see then i feel that the activited i plan should have a theme....ARGHHH!!! I just cant seem to change my ways and accept the fact that theres less work to do and be happy with it!! :( I only mean for instance, doing 'eggs' for the week as part of Easter, so on monday putting different types of pretend eggs in the discovery tray, plastic, wooden, marbelled, glitter etc and on tuesday providing paint and hard boiled eggs for children to decorate is they so wish and so on? This way theres still some sort of theme but of course it wont matter if certain children dont get to do it one day because they are only in on a morning and they just happened to be sleeping at sensory time. Do you think this sounds half decent?

Would also like to implement continuous provision sheets in each area, roleplay, physical etc to help aid staff.

Sorry for the very long post, and any spelling mistakes!! :(

Edited by silvermakeup, 12 April 2011 - 10:54 PM.


#4 androyd

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:59 PM

Think of each child as their own 'theme'. You do need to try and let go of themesor at least themes you have thought up. Yes its Easter so why not do some work around eggs. It is always good to throw in new experiences from time to time. BUT
your 'tell me what to do and I'll do it ' person needs to be told to closely observe their children and note what they are interested in doing. Then you should sit with them a plan some activities based on that. Same really with the youngster. It seems to me you have the experience to do this. they should begin to get the hang of it. The point of less planning is so that your energy and concentration goes into the quality of your interactions with the children not on thinking up things 'to do'.
Get the old timer doing whatever they do best. Personally my old timer is my star!!
And yes you should split the children and concentrate on next steps but make time to plan daily for the next day with colleagues if possible and ensure you have a clear routine to ensure nappies are changed and there is a lead in to lunch and a lead in to sleep time. So a mixture of fixed points and flexibility.

Don't be afraid to let go. Trust the children to show you what they want/need and concentrate on responding to that and then put your planning energy into recording what you have covered not worrying too far in advance. With your numbers I would look at say a 3 week rolling programme for each child so consider 8 each week in depth.
I know it's very different from theme/topic based planning and it's always good to have one or two standby topical ideas (Growing/Easter) but these should be backups.
Try for the month of May to simply work from your children's needs/interests with no preordained theme and see what comes up. Run with that for as long as it holds their interest and then spot the next 'theme'. With 24 children they will have 'themes' of their own -we find often across all our age ranges that when you look at interests often a group share the same obsessions. Sometimes these fit into that term 'schema', sometimes they don't.
Go on, you know it makes sense!
Oh and remember always it's not about the staff, it's about the children. The adults need to be responding to the children's needs not the other way round. That needs to be non-negotiable.

#5 Gruffalo2

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 06:08 PM

I just want to back up what Androyd has said in his/her posts. S/he has put it so well.
The only further suggestion I have is that many settings simply have a statement exlaining their approach (which is exactly what Androyd has said). It helps to make it clear for parents, new staff, and any one else who may want to know, especially if you include some reasons for planning this way. Having something like this might help your current staff to understand your approach - or at the very least start discussion around the subject.
Good luck
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#6 silvermakeup

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 06:12 PM

Think of each child as their own 'theme'. You do need to try and let go of themesor at least themes you have thought up. Yes its Easter so why not do some work around eggs. It is always good to throw in new experiences from time to time. BUT
your 'tell me what to do and I'll do it ' person needs to be told to closely observe their children and note what they are interested in doing. Then you should sit with them a plan some activities based on that. Same really with the youngster. It seems to me you have the experience to do this. they should begin to get the hang of it. The point of less planning is so that your energy and concentration goes into the quality of your interactions with the children not on thinking up things 'to do'.
Get the old timer doing whatever they do best. Personally my old timer is my star!!
And yes you should split the children and concentrate on next steps but make time to plan daily for the next day with colleagues if possible and ensure you have a clear routine to ensure nappies are changed and there is a lead in to lunch and a lead in to sleep time. So a mixture of fixed points and flexibility.

Don't be afraid to let go. Trust the children to show you what they want/need and concentrate on responding to that and then put your planning energy into recording what you have covered not worrying too far in advance. With your numbers I would look at say a 3 week rolling programme for each child so consider 8 each week in depth.
I know it's very different from theme/topic based planning and it's always good to have one or two standby topical ideas (Growing/Easter) but these should be backups.
Try for the month of May to simply work from your children's needs/interests with no preordained theme and see what comes up. Run with that for as long as it holds their interest and then spot the next 'theme'. With 24 children they will have 'themes' of their own -we find often across all our age ranges that when you look at interests often a group share the same obsessions. Sometimes these fit into that term 'schema', sometimes they don't.
Go on, you know it makes sense!
Oh and remember always it's not about the staff, it's about the children. The adults need to be responding to the children's needs not the other way round. That needs to be non-negotiable.


Thank you, can i ask though - how does a 'rolling system' work? I have some idea but not really, shouldnt children be getting observed all the time? Or i have completly picked up the wrong end of the stick?

#7 Gruffalo2

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 06:34 PM

We have a rolling programme for observations too. You are right that we should be observing as often as possible but we find that having several 'focus' children each day just means that we concentrate on them for that day. It does not mean we take no notice of the others though!
Hope that makes sense
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#8 silvermakeup

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:12 PM

Ahhh right, so its like a daily thing? That makes slightly more sense than a weekly thig, especially when we have children wo attend all week and others who only attend one day a week. Also, this may sound very stupid, but is the development matters thing just for england?

Edited by silvermakeup, 13 April 2011 - 08:12 PM.


#9 androyd

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:02 PM

Do you have the EYFS in Scotland? I know there is a different version in Wales which runs to the end of Year 2. Sigh! I wish! If not there is nothing to stop you using it - just go to the EYFS website. (If this lovely government haven't scrapped it yet.)

It seems I agree with everything Gruffalo2 has to say as well :o You just focus on certain children to discuss in planning meetings but during a session what should be noted is 'significant achievement' - what a child can do new that hasn't been noted previously - a simple point which some people find it hard to grasp - the reaosn to have foucs children is that you will find there are what I call 'invisible children'. These are children that even though you intend to focus on them you find at the end of a week you have not done so. Often repeatedly so. There are usually three reasons for this - extremly erratic attendance, that they are doing fine and are pretty independant or that they are totally and utterly lost and not coping. That is why you need to make sure you focus on all your children - you have to find those lost ones who are not coping. Not so much a problem in a small baby unit - but once you get to 24 it might be.

#10 silvermakeup

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 08:10 PM

Do you have the EYFS in Scotland? I know there is a different version in Wales which runs to the end of Year 2. Sigh! I wish! If not there is nothing to stop you using it - just go to the EYFS website. (If this lovely government haven't scrapped it yet.)

It seems I agree with everything Gruffalo2 has to say as well :o You just focus on certain children to discuss in planning meetings but during a session what should be noted is 'significant achievement' - what a child can do new that hasn't been noted previously - a simple point which some people find it hard to grasp - the reaosn to have foucs children is that you will find there are what I call 'invisible children'. These are children that even though you intend to focus on them you find at the end of a week you have not done so. Often repeatedly so. There are usually three reasons for this - extremly erratic attendance, that they are doing fine and are pretty independant or that they are totally and utterly lost and not coping. That is why you need to make sure you focus on all your children - you have to find those lost ones who are not coping. Not so much a problem in a small baby unit - but once you get to 24 it might be.


Yes, i know whatyou mean. At our place, we call 'invisible children' the friday child, the ones who only come in on a friday and seem last on the list for everthing and by friday staff are starting to focus on next week already or starting to plan their weekend!! It drives me insane!! But yes, full - time children who attend every day and have bright and bold personalities are the ones who get noticed, the one afternoon a week, shy and quiet children do get forgotton about sometimes. (more so in our older, busier unit)

We dont use the EYFS in Scotland, since joining here i have been amazed everytime someone has posted a link to it or asked a question about it thats prompted me to look at it. It looks brilliant, so much detail, examples of stuff etc. But no, we dont really have anything like that up here... :lol:

So for instance (sorry, just want to get this clearer in my head) If each of my girls had a group of 10 babies each, would it be acceptable to focus on two a day, watching what their doing, finding out their interests, putting current next steps into pratictice etc so that all 10 children have had a specific day with their key worker? Then at the end of the week or month?, i sit down with each of them individually and go over their progress as well as the children's and work together to decide what our next steps ect will be? Correct me if im wrong....please!!!

#11 Gruffalo2

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 08:33 PM

You have got the idea.
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#12 silvermakeup

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 08:56 PM

Wow, thank you both so much for your help :o Now just to get to grips with the whole development matters thing...

#13 Pimms o'clock?

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 09:22 PM

Hi you do have the recently published "pre-birth to three" from Learning and Teaching Scotland. I think I have attached if not you can google it. Seems very informative to me but I have only just glanced through it.

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Edited by BMG, 14 April 2011 - 09:24 PM.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift; that's why we call it "the present".


#14 silvermakeup

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 09:29 PM

Hi you do have the recently published "pre-birth to three" from Learning and Teaching Scotland. I think I have attached if not you can google it. Seems very informative to me but I ahve only glanced.


Yup, i have read this over and over again, its like my bible!! Its good, but our setting (and many others) still feel like its too vague. The general idea it puts across is that it has been created for settings to interperate in their own way, which is great - means no set rules or guidelines to follow, but its always nice to have them at some points so you can see examples and get further ideas from these. So i think a mixture of the two is what might be needed.

#15 androyd

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 11:46 PM

To get the FS guidance go to:

http://nationalstrat...v.uk/earlyyears

It is all still current. Go to EYFS areas of learning and development. Then click all stages. On the sections in All stages click on the 3 age related areas most relevant to you - up to 26 months. Print off each of them. Its all still there but hurry who knows when it may disappear?




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