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Planning For Child Initiated Learning


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Hi all!

This is my first post, so hope its ok.

My head has asked me to plan for CIL, but im not sure how to do it. She has asked me not to use a planning board, but to just try different ways. I am an NQT this year and really can't think of any different ways. I have year one children in my class as well who need support when working. I do have a full time TA, but one of us has to work with the Y1 children!

Help! My head keeps asking and I have no answers!

Any advice would be great!

Thanks x

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Hi Rachel and welcome to the forum! :o I'm not reception so can't offer advice but someone more knowledgeable will be along shortly, I'm sure.....

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Always a tricky one convincing the head that its the resourcing and environment/learning opportunities that are planned for CIL. If the activities are tightly planned it becomes adult directed.. you may find making a poster of potential learning outcomes/possible questioning to support each area will help. Good luck!

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Hi and welcome to the forum :o


Basically you can't plan for CIL or it stops being CIL


CIL is "A self initiated activity is an activity wholly decided on by the child itself and is the result of an intrinsic motivation to explore a project, or express an idea. In doing this they may make use of a variety of resources and demonstrate a complex range of knowledge, skills and understanding."


This definition is from the NAA and is likely to be the one used by OFSTED for inspection purposes.


It is not truly CI when adults

set an agenda or suggest what children are to do

send children to a particular area

limit what they can use

organise groups to "play" together

limit the time children can spend in an area

rotate groups around provision


When children are initiating their own learning they decide

where to go

what to do within boundaries of expectaions of behaviour

who to collaborate with

how long to be there within the boundaries of the day

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Thanks everyone, I have tried to explain to my head that it is not planned for, but she seems to think that children choose how to complete activities we have planned for them and not that they choose their own activities!


She is my NQT mentor as well, and she has put CIL planning as my target for this term! Im scared!

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Hi Rache and welcome

oh dear, sorry to hear of your dilemma.


You should be able to find the references Marion has given online at NAA, you could try printing it out and approaching your head with the info that you have found in your research along with some continuous provision planning, there are quite a few different examples of these in the resource library and the ones donated by Jacquiel could be a good place to start.


Have it clear in your own mind what it is you want to achieve and perhaps you can sway your head as she will at least see that it is not just ad hoc?


Good luck.

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Hi, I've just finished my NQT year and was fortunate to be sent on a really good 'New to Reception' course. One of the things to come out of it was a plan of "enhancements to continuous provision" - children still have complete access to all the resources but this plan details for example what to put on the table in the writing area, shaped paper, different pens... This is adapted where nessesary everyday based on the children's interests and activities and their use of resourses in each area to extend them/challenge them. Sorry thats very waffly and doesn't seem to make sense when i try and write it down. We type up monday's plan, based on last weeks interests and obsevations and then annotate by hand through the week. This would give senior leadership overview of what has been happening showing how you have been following the children's interests and planning opportuies to extend them further. Our observations of children accessing resources may also influence whole class or adult led teaching activities, for example this week, teaching how to use a tapler effectively, this then becomes evident in our daily planning. We complete these 'enhancement' plans for Classrooms, Outdoor classroom and Messy Play area, i will try and upoload some x

I was lucky enough to have a mentor who admitted she knew very little about Foundation and as eager to learn from the ideas i took to her (andmy partner teacher, we are a two form entry school) from courses and discussions on here! Good Luck x x




PS sorry could only find last term plans on my computer, rest must be on the stick! x



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Kiki thanks, you weren't waffling it actually made complete sense to my addled brain and will help me take over our pre-school planning!

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  • 11 months later...

Thanks for the planning ideas I know its a bit of a cheek but have you done any other ones as they will help me to explain to our governors how it should work I am still trying to get them on side

Ta Carmad

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  • 9 months later...


Im just starting my 3rd year of teaching reception, when i started as an NQT 2 years ago i felt much like yourself about child initiated. I have learned that child initiated is not child initiated if you plan directly what will happen within it. However i cover myself by at the beginning of each term creating an 'environment plan' which has each area of my classroom and the outside area - i simply list things that could be placed out for the children to choose over that term - linked to our topic where possible. This allows me to make sure that i have looked at each area of the curriculum. I also ask the children what they would like to learn about or do with our next topic and i try to create oppotunities for them to do these during child initiated.

Hope this helps - good luck :o

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this is just what i was going to say plutoclass

also add to the areas that you have , use your obs to enhance them

if an area is not being used then look at ways to make it more enabilling

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