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Help Me Help Me Help Me - Planning And Observations


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Hey all, this is my first post, so would like to say hello to you all.

 

I've recently returned back to work after being on maternity leave and have been moved from the baby unit into a 3-5 age group room. I have taken the post of room leader, but I feel totally adrift as I have little experience of this age group and have no knowlegde of the eyfs. From reading things on here it seams to me that i have a huge amount to do and to learn. To make matters worse the nursery has failed its last ofsted inspection and is due another at any time, so im running out of time.

 

so my questions are:

1. We currently have weekly planning sheet which covers the areas of provision, there is also a planned activity for the week which goes into more detail. With this in place should i still have continuous provision posters in the different areas?

2. Should keyworkers be planning activities for their key children rather than me planning detailed activities? If so how many activities should there be every week? Should it be one activity per keywoker per week? or more or different every day???

3. Is there any advice from anyone in regards the eyfs as i feel totally clueless.

4. Should i really be using topics such as 'my family' or 'bears', or should the planning reflect learning goals instead???

 

I work with 2 other nursery practitioners and we have up to 18 children at the moment. and the girls have little idea either as they have only recently moved to the room. Also the childrens folders are virtually empty! How am i going to do it all?

 

many thanks

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hello and welcome to the forum - conratulations on your baby :o

 

i think you need to take things slwely and try not to panic.

 

in my group my staff plan for their keychildren as they know them best and where to progress them on to. They plan an activity once a week for thier key group.

 

we like many others have moved away from topics and plan for what the children want to do/ or have enjoyed...

 

As for the EYFS - it really isnt too different from the cirriculum guidence and i would just start looking at it regulary

 

good luck im sure you will be fine just take it slowly and it will fall into place xD

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ok, thanks i know im panicking but with ofsted due, i dont want to be the one who lets the nursery down!

 

what about continuous provision posters? I've seen some on here that are very pretty, and would like to have some of my own as my room doesn't have anything like this? With these do i still need a weekly plan? (im thinking yes, but another nersery person said i dont need the posters???? and just need the plan?)

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It does seem overwhelming at times doesn't it? I think the secret is to break it all down into little chunks. The way I see it is:

1) Get the observations going FIRST. Even if it means planning NOTHING for a couple of weeks and allowing the children to self-select for the whole time. Decide how you are going to handle the incidental "catch as you can"type observations (on post-its? on designated sheets that you stick into each child's folder?etc) and how you are going to make sure every child is observed (ie a lengthier observation) roughly every month/six weeks/however often you choose.

2) Once you have a slection of these lenghtier observations, it is easier to see how you can plan for these particular children's needs (and very often the needs of many of the other children), because you start to really focus on what they are interested in, and what they can do.

3) Then plan one of more experiences or activities for the following week for each child you have observed in the week (ideally key persons in discussion with each other). I don't think there should be a set number of planned activities per keyworker/child, etc.

4) Once you start planning for these individual children, you can start to think about themes, and sometimes (but not always!) relate the experiences/activities you are planning, to a theme; if and only if, it has a nice "fit". I see no point in making things fit a theme if none of the children are interested in it! Some practitioners like to have a basic, loose topic to hang activities on, but it doesn't have penetrate everything you do!

 

Hope this helps a bit. In your weekly planning that covers the areas of provision, do you mean the graphics area, the investigative area, etc., or do you mean the six areas of learning?

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Right - first; hello and welcome!! :o

 

Next - DO NOT PANIC!!!!!! I would think it a good idea to try to get yourself on some eyfs training, but when Ofsted walk in, make your situation clear. Tell them you are doing all you can to get yourself up to speed, but at the end of the day, it's the Manager's responsibility to ensure things are running properly, inasmuch as they support staff to know what they're doing.

 

Have a browse on this forum, there's some great stuff, and plenty about EYFS in the various articles.

Get to know EYFS - browse the cd (some great links on there) and the cards - they will help you get to grips with basics like Principles, Commitments etc.

 

Your Birth to 3 experience will help, as the ethos has moved much more that way for all age groups. Personally I would go with children's interest over Topics, but you may want to hang fire on that until you feel comfortable with the age group - although you should be in that mode of thinking , I would imagine, having previously been in Baby Room. There is an article in the Member's Section on Motivational Planning which may give you some pointers on that front.

 

I would start by ensuring you do plenty of observations and for now file these in children's folders to show your intentions - this approach should make the big O realise you are on the right tracks, just getting things organised - Rome wasn't built in a day!!!!! Little post-its are just as valuable as full obs, so long as you show you are using them! Like I say, I feel following children's interests is important, by doing this you are showing a commitment to this approach.

 

If you are worried, you can always pm me, I have shedloads of experience with age group, but I'm sure you'll get lots and lots of help, support and advice.

 

Good luck and, as always - let us know how you get on

 

Sue xD

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Ooh, Helen and I crossed, but there's not too much conflict in what we've said, is there?

 

Good point in there about the individual activities - I missed that!! - Helen saves the day, as always :o

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Helen, yes, indeed!!

 

ok, thanks i know im panicking but with ofsted due, i dont want to be the one who lets the nursery down!

 

what about continuous provision posters? I've seen some on here that are very pretty, and would like to have some of my own as my room doesn't have anything like this? With these do i still need a weekly plan? (im thinking yes, but another nersery person said i dont need the posters???? and just need the plan?)

 

 

As I hope I made clear, it won't be you that lets the nursery down - more, those in charge!

If you go with Continuous Provision sheets (and they save SO much time!!) then all you will need is the planning for individual children. This will largely be Keyworker/keyperson's responsibility, but while you're all getting used to things there's nothing to stop you all working together, which will also give you all some experience on this kind of planning.

If people are twitchy about no planning, just have a general idea (on a sheet, maybe) of the kinds of resources you will have out for perhaps Monday each week. Hopefully you will be so flexible and child-led, the rest of the week (and probably even the first day) will just 'go with the flow'.

Word of warning, you might want to monitor your provision so you can identify any obvious imbalance in provision, but don't allow it to rule you. More a check.

 

Sue :o

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welcome from me too.

great advice already. I'd agree not to try to do too much at once. Get to know your children and discuss with your team how they would like practice to develop in the room - draw on their strengths too. Agree some targets so that if Ofsted do come sooner than hoped you have a clear action plan.

Personally I would do an audit of what resources the room has, spend a couple of weeks observing the children and choose a system with your team for recording observations, once documented you can plan next steps for the children based on those initial obs and begin your planning that way, trying out different systems until you find one that works.

I'm in a completely different setting but my system is - continual obs in a notebook, take lots of photo's, at the end of each week these are transferred into Learning diary, links are made next to some -not all - of the obs to either principles of the EYFS or the areas of learning and next steps are identified. I then use an enhanced continuous provision sheet to add resources or experiences to specific areas for my planning based on children's interests and in addition to that one weekly adult led activity which is a fuller plan including learning intentions/evaluation/next steps and whether I have met any principles/commitments of the EYFS.

When I started using the EYFS I focused on the practice guidance and assessment side of things. now I understand it better I've realised - for me - it's more important to focus on the commitments and how the things that you do with the children meet them.

Best of luck, it sounds quite an exciting opportunity to me!!

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Ickelhels hi there and welcome to the forum.

Good advice there already.

Get to know your children first, the way the nursery works (if this has changed since you were last there), use those early obs to do this. Try to find out what the other staff have been doing.

 

If you have access to training, try and book yourself on if you can, our LA still runs 'basic guide to EYFS' for exactly people in your circumstances. Also think abut asking your EYAT if you have one to come out, they should be able to put your mind at rest and help you sort through your priorities once you've settled a bit.

 

You will find that you have more questins than answers, and this is quite normal. Yo wont answer all your questions at once, but as you settle you will find that some things will start to make more sense to you.

 

Good luck with it all.

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Hello and welcome, :o all good advice already, I would also look at the actions from your last Inspection and work through those. hey may need to be linked to the new EYFS (as last Inspection would have been FSC) which will help you start to become familiar with the new document.

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

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Welcome to the forum icklehels!

I haven't got any more advice to add to the fantastic words of wisdom already posted! But would emphasise the breaking it down and not trying to do it all at once. Make an action plan and do it bit by bit. If Ofsted turn up before everyhting is as good as you'd like it to be (and, to be honest, when do we ever feel we've done enough and have nothing left on our list of things to do to make it better????) focus on the things you have implemented and the progress you have made so far.

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Helen, yes, indeed!!

 

 

 

 

As I hope I made clear, it won't be you that lets the nursery down - more, those in charge!

If you go with Continuous Provision sheets (and they save SO much time!!) then all you will need is the planning for individual children. This will largely be Keyworker/keyperson's responsibility, but while you're all getting used to things there's nothing to stop you all working together, which will also give you all some experience on this kind of planning.

If people are twitchy about no planning, just have a general idea (on a sheet, maybe) of the kinds of resources you will have out for perhaps Monday each week. Hopefully you will be so flexible and child-led, the rest of the week (and probably even the first day) will just 'go with the flow'.

Word of warning, you might want to monitor your provision so you can identify any obvious imbalance in provision, but don't allow it to rule you. More a check.

 

Sue :o

 

Sue do you have a copy of a planning sheet that you would use to do this?

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What? - the weekly ideas sheet? If so, I could probably find one, it is a grid with the days of the week and the areas (or workshops, or whatever term you prefer) so you can sketch out ideas if nothing obvious crops up. The KW planning is really just notes in each child's folder about what the KW is planning based on prior achievements, interests etc.

 

Sue

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thank you ladies - you have been very helpful, i've written an action plan, i just hope i get the time to complete it!!

 

Another question, the childrens development and observations are being recorded in the old way (stepping stones?) should i not be using the eyfs by now - otherwise this is going to cause me problems with planning surely???

 

how does everyone else do it??

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the development matters are fairly similar to stepping stones with a few changes so I wouldn't have thought it would be too difficult to just swap over to EYFS.

I use a list -aargh, know some people hate this - of development matters , each child has there own, every time I observe them working at the level of a particular point I highlight it by term so that I can see at a glance how each child is progressing in each area of learning. Not sure whether this is good practice or not, I don't plan around the dev. matters but for the needs of each child so I feel it's a useful way of monitoring. Also parents like to see that when a child started the observations were mainly highlighted against 0-11mths and now 2 terms later they are mainly in the 16-26mths.

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Hi All - I have been away for too long!! Busy busy busy as ever!!

 

Lots of great advice here. We do the basically the same as everyone who has posted here!

I agree totally that you need to look at the Ofsted report and any reports from your advisory team so that you can write an action plan. Don't focus on it all but think about what is most important. Ofsted can only praise you for that as you have clear direction and vision! Link this into what you are doing in your rooms and training requirements.

 

With regards to the children's learning experiences we took a couple of weeks to watch and observe children's interests then we started to plan from there. Our continuous provision is our long term planning then we have a weekly planning sheet with the 6 areas of learning and we plan new experiences and enhancements to our continuous provision based around the children. This is not set in stone and staff use it as flexibly as possible! We too are looking at a more detailed learning journey possbily half termly as we have a lot of sessional care children who are term time only. We then transfer any observations to our children's 'scrap books' and on some observations put in next steps in their learning showing progression. Of course a next step can be practise and consolidation of something and does not always have to be new!

 

I hope this helps! Remember it's small steps that make the biggest difference!

 

:o

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Guest Barbieb

Hi, aswell as all of the excellent advice you have been given I would get your manager to contact your LA, they must have a support/advisory team who can come out and give you some 1-1 support. Also you should book onto some EYFS training.

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