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Planning From Children's Interests


Guest Wolfie
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I know it's 6.30pm on Saturday night and maybe I should be doing other things but I've been thinking about this all day....

 

For all of you out there who have abandoned themes and topics as a starting point for your planning, do you still monitor, through paperwork, your overall, long term coverage and promotion of all aspects of each area of learning in what you provide for the children in your setting?

 

In other words, do you have some "long term" system of ensuring that the activities, experiences and resources that you provide in your indoor/oudoor environment enable the children to work towards the full range of goals across all six areas? And if so, how do you record this monitoring and use it to inform your future planning? I remember Peggy having some king of long term plan which stated particular aspects of each area of learning that they would be concentrating on over a period of weeks - does anyone esle do anything similar?

 

I hesistate to use the word "curriculum", having discovered yesterday that the term is not used once in the EYFS documentation, but what I'm curious about is people's systems of ensuring that their provision continually promotes learning across the full range.

 

I'd also love to look at any associated proformas that people use and find "friendly" and effective! :o

 

Thank you!

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ok if im being honest have my long term plans which cover EYFS and principles- have my meduim terns plans - what we cover each each term from kiddies interests etc! - have my weekly plans from how we progress from daily activities - BUT (and please dont tell EYPS asessor whos coming next week) .....although am really trying cannot pull them all together :o

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sorry wolfie. Im not experienced enough to help but looking forward to reading the answers - what an interesting subject!

 

At uni we were taught that we should always set our learning objectives first then plan around them and this makes a lot of sense to me at the moment. Even if you're working around topics it only takes the teeniest bit of creativity to find stimulating learning activities to meet needs of the children. Much better than thinking "Right week 10, we do this book and these worksheets" (TRYING to find the feeling disgusted emoticon but cant sorry)

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ok if im being honest have my long term plans which cover EYFS and principles- have my meduim terns plans - what we cover each each term from kiddies interests etc! - have my weekly plans from how we progress from daily activities - BUT (and please dont tell EYPS asessor whos coming next week) .....although am really trying cannot pull them all together :o

 

 

hali - I think you should be very proud of yourself- hope I get to that stage soon.

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I now plan from the children's interests and I have a copy of the develoment matters statements and ELGs. I look back over the half term and simply highlight which ones we have covered. I plan to have a different colour for each term. This way I can see if there are any gaps.

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first of all - best of luck for next week Hali

My system sound similar to yours Hali but I'm really cutting down on the planning and no longer write in depth plans with learning intentions unless it's something really different that I'm attempting or an individual plan for a child. I use my learning diaries as a form of planning as all my next steps and development matters are in there. I also use them to see if each individual child is developing across each area of learning, as really just because you are covering each area of learning doesn't mean that all children are accessing it and progressing in it.

I use continuous provision sheets as my daily/weekly planning based mainly on observed interests and some adult led. I have a long term plan to ensure balance across the curriculum that also shows how I meet the principles of the EYFS, I then have a grid where I look back over the previous month and tick off if I actually have covered an aspect within each area of learning. It can seem a bit disparate but I'm sure it does all link together. For eg. today I've completed my CP sheet with planning based on observed interests from the previous week, as it's the start of a new month I've then looked at my longterm plan to see if I need to add anything - as it's december I've got digging frosty beds at my allotments for PD equipment and materials and a trip to the post office to post xmas cards after making them for KUW Time, place and communities for eg.

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I also look over my short term planning each half term and tick off the aspects that have been covered. I then keep note of the ones we haven't covered and fit them in somewhere over the next half-term.

I'm currently umming and errring over medium term plans. Can I ask Hali: do you always cover the learning intentions that you've identified in your medium term plans? I find that the learning intentions change from week to week and that I don't always (need to) cover those in the medium term plan.

It's an interesting comment from dcn about how covering each area of learning doesn't necessarily mean all children have covered it.

 

Green hippo

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Ok - I'll try to write this clearly (as I'm watching Ruth murder a song on X factor. Has anyone noticed that Diana sounds like a cross between Cilla Black and a duck!?)

 

i don't use topics anymore. i assess the children during the week and complete their learning journey with them. this contains their learning goals. From this i will provide opportunities for children to meet their goals. This usually incorporates their interests where possible.

 

I do plan for weekly things eg we're doing the nativity story this week cos the play is on Wed/Thursday. I don't plan too much because something always turns up! (like a load of bedding plants and 200 bulbs this week) I do consider the class as a whole and choose one or 2 ELGs that they need to work towards. I highlight this on a sheet to make sure I have good coverage of all areas over the term.

 

Hope this is not 2 confusing!

 

Moo

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in reply to OP, Wolfie- have yo looked on the dURHAM CNET website in their EY section? I have been using their CP pro-forma as it makes you consider each area indoor and outdoor each week and also you can then ensure you are getting a balance over a half term, might be useful for you?

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this is an interesting thing, one which i am struggling with- have small arguements with myself sometimes over what is the best thing to do.

 

If we are truly trying to meet childrens individual needs then surely we do not need to highlight what aspects of the areas of learning we have covered over a certain amount of time, as we are providing what each of the children need over time, at their own rate- so through obsevration i may see that child A need support with CD aspect 1 ( just an example) then 3 weeks later i may see that child B needs support with the same aspect- if i where to highlight what aspects where already covered then i may not cover CD aspect 1 again

.

what i mean by this is that for example, if through obseevration you see that Child A needs creative activites to help them develop, then they get creative, if child B needs prsn they get prsn- etc etc if we are to be concerened over the fact we havnt provided KUW or PSE in these instances then we are not truly meeting childrens needs as these are not the areas we have identifiied as what the children need, there and then. does any of that make sense?

 

the continuous provision part of our environment should provide children with a broad and balanced learning envrionment which meets all areas of learning. therefore though continuos provision children are accessing all areas of development.

 

however, the other side of my own arguement is that we could be missing out on certain areas of leanring- for example if no children show a need for CLL through obsevrations (these are only examples, prob would never happen) then there would be a worry that no CLL focus activities would take place so highlighting aspects already covered and therefore seeing which havnt, would be a good thing.

 

?????????????????/

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by the way our long term plans or rather our continuous provision plans state how each area of provision meets the principles of the EYFS and under Areas of learning and development we state that " all areas of learning are connected therefore this area of provision will help children to develop in all areas of learning"

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Alexandra rocks!!

 

I am highlighting to see how the coverage works. I'm only doing this for my PPA sessions to help me ensure I'm covering the areas of EYFS I have been given-KUW, RE, Music

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We did have a long term plan showing which aspects we would be covering each half-term but this week were told that we didn't need this as continuous provision sheets in each workshop area should cover this.

Anita

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well my planning has gone to complete pot, I think I'm just not going to do any ever again. :o

 

My thoughts were that I would fill in my medium term plan after we'd done it, I'd do a weekly plan, and my spontaneous obs would probably come from continuous provisions.

For one I don't have time to fill out my medium term plans, half of the weekly plans don't get done, and it was so long ago I made my long term plans I don't understand them myself. xD

I made this hugh tick list thingy so that I could mark off what areas I'd planned and what areas the children had achieved. All looks very pretty with various colours, but it takes forever.

 

I've spent all afternoon putting learning journeys up to date and still have half of them to do.

 

Clearly my system isn't manageable or working so it's back to the drawing board, but I'm blowed if I'm going to spend my Christmas holidays doing paperwork. :(

 

Sorry, can you tell I'm fed up with it all,

 

jackie.

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Like many of you I would love to say, I teach a small nursery/reception class. Since September I know the children and their parents very well. I plan with the children and their interests, I use continuous provision, I have free flow indoors/ outdoors. Things change everyday and I go with it but unfortunately I find it difficult to write this down. I make the resources and I make it excticing and fun for the children and they are really responding to this but ..........

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Hey, i've never actually posted on this before so hopefully this works. I just wanted to share how we do our planning incase it helps,however i'm not promising it's right.

At the begining of the year we do like a long term plan of what stepping stones we plan to hit in each term,this sort of decides itself do to development. We then do weekly plans that hit these most of the time but also includes the children's interests at that time and things which happen at certain times of the year such as Christmas. On top of this the key workers also monitor their children and set up activities which follow thier interests and target the indivuals development. These activities can be accessed by all children as we opperate a free flow system,they are then added to the planning sheet. This sounds like a lot but it really isn't if it helps i could always attach an example to show you.

Ang x

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This sounds like a lot but it really isn't if it helps i could always attach an example to show you.

Welcome to the Forum Ang - congratulations on your first post! I hope it will be the first of many.

 

Please feel free to attach an example because planning seems to be the thing most of us are anxious about!

 

Your system does sound very comprehensive - what sort of setting do you work in?

 

Maz

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I think you're right about CP planning providing a broad and balanced curriculum Anita, however I do think that a long term plan can be useful.I use mine to put the dates of all the children's birthdays in, festivals and celebrations and things that I tend to do at the same time every year - for eg. blackberry picking and making jam in autumn, visiting the farm in spring to see lambs etc, so not restricting myself to topics but giving myself a reminder of things to incorporate and therefore, again showing a balanced curriculum (that part might be for benefit of Ofsted as I know I provide a balanced curriculum through each child's learning diaries). I also have a section on my longterm plan reminding me what other paperwork I need to complete -eg. All About Me summaries of progress and parents contributions each month for under 3's and each half term for 3-5's, transition planning in summer term etc.

I'd be happy to share eg. if anyone would like, i only designed it this year and have yet to decide how effective it is.

Jackie, I feel the same, it is hard to take a break from work and not feel overwhelmed by it, instead of posting on this forum I should be updating children's diaries - aswell as cleaning the house, getting resources together and maybe even actually paying my own children some attention too!!! xD

I decided that I would have to spend less time doing something and that something was planning!! :o

When I've got a minute I'm going to work on putting some 'stock' plans together of things I do all the time and write up possible learning intentions and links to the principles and commitments of EYFS - eg. nappy changing, snacktime - does anyone else think that's necessary?

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Wow, what an interesting discussion I started, my thinking on a Saturday has been all worthwhile! Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and suggestions!

 

It really does seem that long term plans for continuous provision - supplemented by information on enhancements to that provision, based on observations of the children's activity and interests - are the way to go, doesn't it? Dcn, I think your idea of building up a stock of plans for your "routine" activities sounds a very good idea...not sure about "necessary" but definitely a good idea and I think I might do the same!

 

Northernbird, I completely understand your point about "missing out" aspects of areas of learning in your provision if they're not highlighted on the plans for individual children but...and I THINK this makes sense.....if they're not higlighted as needing attention then that must mean that your provision IS already promoting them effectively? :o Does that make sense??

 

Welcome the the forum angwalker and thank you for a lot of information! I too would love to see your planning example. Just one question, when your keyworkers plan individual activities for their children, that all children can access, do you have some system in place of your team getting together and sharing information about what they have planned so that you don't duplicate activities or have two keyworkers wanting the same resources at the same time? We're open 8-6 and team communication is a big issue for us - there is never a time when the team of staff in any of our rooms can sit down together and plan!

 

I still haven't come to any conclusions about monitoring coverage really - some more thinking on Sunday required I think! xD

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Dcn we have continuous provision plans for mealtimes/ baby feeding, nappy changing/toileting and carpet time, rotuine parts of the day as u suggested.

 

x

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in the top grid i put the date we have planned an activity in response to an observation, we usually plan a week ahead using the observations / next steps from one week to plan focus activities for the following

 

in the bottom part i write the date and the area of learning an activity links to in the activity column i write a couple of words to describe the activity and in the in response column what happened so for example one windy afternoon 3 children took the long ribbons outside this led to more than half the group being outside with whatever they could find to flap in the wind we took the cd player outside and they danced to the music so in the first column i put the date and CD 1&3 the second had 'ribbons' and the third had children taking ribbons outside in wind we had a couple of photos as evidence in the planning folder

 

this shows that we are panning for the next steps (part 1) and covering the child initiated activities too hope this makes sense i am not good at describing lol

overview.xls

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Hi what we do for our planning across the fs is Have an idea of what topics we would like to look at with the children with some ideas of activities (MTP) Weekly planning we choose the activities however if the children want to learn in a different way we adapt eg for colours we thought we would teach it through Elmer but the children started talking about the rainbow and thats where we pitched our teaching. So in reception we have team planning which is then made more specific for the class when the children start suggesting ideas.

In Nursery i have ind. planning sheet, key group time sheet and adult led activities planning. Each session we have a time when we have adult led activities and time when we allow the children to lead the learning and the adults support it. At the same time we have someone observing the children all the time. We put samples of the children's work in their learning journals and have free flow and activities planned for the outdoor area all the time. I don't know if what we are doing is correct and do worry all the time.

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Each session we have a time when we have adult led activities and time when we allow the children to lead the learning and the adults support it.

 

Thanks for that raz - very useful! Just one question - how you decide what your adult led activities are going to be, what sort of paperwork do you complete for them and who DOES the paperwork - is one person responsible or do you take it in turns?

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I work in a pre-school offering sessional care for children 2 yrs 9mnths until they reach school age. We are set in the local cricket pavillion which on one hand is great because we get visits from lots of wildlife on the other we have to pack every every friday(minimum).

 

In response to the other question we have a staff meeting every two weeks so this gives us an opportunity to discuss our individual activities to see if any other children could benefit. We operate a free flow system within the same room so there is never a problem with resources.

 

I've attached this weeks plan ( we work from Weds to Weds) and i will get an indivdual activity plan and evaluation sheet from work tomorrow and then upload these

Short_term_planning.doc

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Hi Ange

Have just read through your weekly plan and its quite similar to mine. I am however struggling to link the evaluation of last weeks planning into the sheet. I really like the way your's is set out and makes more sense than mine.

 

Do all your staff have key children and do they plan for their individual needs also , or does your weekly plan cover this?

The problem i also have is that a lot of my staff are really struggling to come to terms with having to contribute to the planning. in the past (before i took over) the supervisor did everything they are slowly getting used to the 'learning journeys that i introduced and should be planning for their key children but we dont always have time to sit down with each other and have weekly staff meetings. I have introduced a big bubble shart for htem to add ideas etc but not much gets written.

 

I will try to attach what i do at the moment, please be patient i am a novice! oh just realised the doc is in pages ( a mac thingy) need my hubby to help will post in a min.

 

Lisa

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hi Lisa We have had problems with staff not feeling confident to contribute to planning before however that is starting to change.All staff have keyworker children and fill in activity sheets at first they were a bit unsure but are now confident with it.We only really use the staff meetings to discuss any concerns and quickly share if anyone would like anything in particular recording. i'll post a copy after work tomorrow so you can have a look. We tend to do lots of little managble things instead of one big thing. These then all link together. It seems to work for us and will probably make more sense after you've seen everything .

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