Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Planning Confusion


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

hi

 

i am getting so confused with planning.

 

we revamped ours if you like and now each key person plans for their key child on an individual basis (daily). therefore each child has a planning sheet in their file and planning is around the children's interests. staff understand that some children's interests will be ongoing and therefore they would continue with that theme for the child. (basically the children direct their learning)

 

we have clear continuous provision planning up in all our rooms that relates to the age range and our environment and how the environement and adults role work in supporting the delivery of the EYFS

 

the pre-school staff have highlighted that they felt the children in their room needed some focused adult directed objectives on areas such as counting, numbers etc. so we now plan a group time that the children have to do? (ten mins a day), are we allowed to do this?. the children are 3 - school age.

 

are we doing to much individually planning, i just don't know anymore!

 

dawn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can the adults not 'direct' as required during CP time on an individual basis. I personally think that counting, numbers etc is understood and learnt best when adult supported within the child initiated playtime, as an enhancement.

 

What reasons did the staff give for feeling that the children needed this adult directed time?, did they mean within a small/large group? Have they considered how this may stop the flow of creative thinking / exploration of concepts. Could they think of ways to 'promote' concepts such as this to the children whilst they play at their self chosen activities?

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi everyone, this is my first time replying!!! lol

I work in preschool and we have group times (10-15mins) with snack time following on from this...... It is very effective and the children really enjoy it (as long as the activities are stimulating and in their interests)

My group time this term usually goes as follows:

- first we go through name cards (each child has a name card and they are diffrentiated for their development) some may just have their first name and some may have a sentence e.g. my name is ...... The children can then either just recognise their name or sound out letters in their name...

- - secondly we do a days of the week and weather board, the children really love this! (and baring in mind most of the children in my group are boys, and they are really involved)

- - - and last we either do a story sack or another sort of short activity!

(Bare in mind - my group is the more advanced group , but we have other groups and the younger children simply sit and sing songs, or do construction for shape/size and counting development, its up to you to decide how far your group can go and how long they can sit for.....)

 

This is then followed by snack time, the children can extend their numbers and counting through this and our setting has found this very effective.... again this can be diffrentiated, from simply counting how many children are in the group, to, counting how many boys and girls and adding them together... we count plates, cups and talk about snack e.g. where does this fruit grow, watching changes when having cereal......

Yes group time is allowed, and its a really benefitial time for your children to sit as a group and talk/interact together....

 

sorry for the long post... I am just very passionate about group time, and i know with the right activities it and be a very benefitial learning opportunity, as well as having fun!!

 

Will be nice to hear what other practitioners do for group time?? :o

Emma

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Emma

welcome to the forum, it is brilliant for getting advice, finding new activities, making new friends and just for talking things through.

we also have a circle/group time every morning. we vary the things we do but it usually goes like this: take or sing the register and talk about how each child is feeling, a boy is chosen to count the girls and a girl is chosen to count the boys,after which we ask are there more boys or more girls, then another child is chosen to count them altogether. sometimes we will pair the children off to see if it is an odd or even number ie if there is one child left they know it is an odd number. After this we sing a days of the week song and change the calendar followed by a short activity, story or singing. the children all enjoy this together time and it helps them to get to know each other, to talk in front of their friends, to share ideas, things they have done at home, interests etc. I think it is an important time of the day. Our day is 10 hours so there is plenty of time for individual work but I can see that if was is only a morning session it would seriously cut into this time and could prevent deep involvement in activities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Emma, good to see you getting involved with such a helpful first post.

 

Dawn, sorry you are getting into such a pickle with your planning. As you will have read here, there are so many ways to plan, finding one that works for all of you and your children is really important.

The EYFS talks about a 'balance' between child initiated and adult directed activities, even though it doesn't state exactly what that balance should be.So doing an adult directed or led activity would be fine. They can still be based on children's interests.

 

It does sound like you are doing a lot of paperwork if you are doing individual plans for every child every day. You have CP plans and are enhancing those as you observe the childrens interests, perhaps your staff could plan a key person group activity in pre school rather than individual plans?

 

Why not let your staff try out ways of doing the things they would like to include and come back to review it after a few weeks?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

planning is about planning for individual children and not whole group ,why make group of children do something if it does not interest them all?

what peggy suggested is how i see it, enhance chilrens learning with what interests them use adult support at child intiated

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well like stated in my last post, our children are very involved in group time and love it!!!! and it plans for individual children's needs and development through differentiation...... if you know your children you will know how to make group time work (small groups always works better)

I sometimes think that people are taking the EYFS 'child initiated' too far.... for example, I work in a private nursery (pre-school) open 7.30-5.30 are the children expected to play 'child initiated' all day??? group time is a nice way to focus the children in small intimate groups, where they know the routine of the group, with the same children, there is a feeling of security, which then gives them more confidence to learn and interact with groups of children (which lets not forget, is a vital skill for their transition to reception)

Obviously, if you are a setting only open for the morning, or a few hours a day then group time may not be a good option, as there just isnt enough hours in the day for it.... but if not, then i really agree having a group time... its also a nice time to have fun with your key children as a group and form a really strong bond!

 

Emma

x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i guess we will have to agree to disagree our setting offers security and routine for all our children even though it is mostly child led we have a welcome time which is adult led but children choose to join in... most do, and story and singing at the end of the session where our children are divided into 3 small groups

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is one of those subjects which will never be resolved as everyone's setting is different....what suits some may not suit others. As long as you are happy with the way your setting flows and you are giving the children the best opportunities either through their interests or with adult input then everyone should be happy.

 

personally we dont have set group times......i guess maybe you would look at our circle time at the end of the session as one but the children are encouraged!!! to join in. This is usually an opportunity to talk about news, sing or read a story. Singing, storytime etc is offered throughout the session so the children that are ready and really want to get involved in this are and gaining much more out of it because they want to.

 

Am I making sense...i seem to be waffling!!! :o

 

As for planning, again down to the individual setting I guess...we plan from the childrens interest and then from this pop in an adult led activity. It is confusing and Im not 100 % happy with the way my weekly planning looks and am trying to tweek it but seemed to have hit a brick wall at the moment!!!! xD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not waffling at all and makes perfect sense

and very similiar to what we do

 

we plan for childrens interest we choose what is of interest at the time for example a small group of children had made a police workshop so thats what we planned in and gave them ooportunities to explore this further

 

we also have planned themes like chinese new year or easter or christmas

i think we finally have tweeked ours and am happy with what we do

we have always planned for indivual children so for us it was not different it is more a case of helping new staff to get there head round it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Emma, Welcome to the forum and thanks for your passionate first post. :o

I agree with Mundia, there is no one fits all, there are so many influences to consider in how a setting is best managed, each setting is as unique as the children within it.

 

The environment (shared or not, purpose built, within a school or in a forest), the staff knowledge, skills and interests, the children and the parents, the values and beliefs of adults plus things like budget all impact on 'practice', plus of course government legislation, guidance, advisor and Ofsted input.

 

In my preschool, which was a large scout hall, pack away setting, our routine was basically arrive, play, stop for lunch, play, then hometime. (8:45-15:15). All resources available at all times, access to outdoors was sometimes free flow, at other times twice daily walks around the local area. Snack bar available from opening time to closing time. We very much followed not just the childrens interests but also their moods which changed on a daily basis, dependent on many factors such as time of year, September being settling in period etc, compared to Summer when most all children had developed autonomy, independence and ability to make choices.

 

In the last few months before I closed my preschool (to become a foster parent) I observed how the children actually had formed such close relationships with their peers that they had natural leaders and followers, the children orchestrated their own routines, groupings, when to rest, when to be active, how they wanted to 'use' the resources available, often in ways my 'imagination' could never imagine. One girl would start off singing time and the whole group would join in, participating in their then favourite 5 little Aliens action song. They individually showed how they understood their own appetites and body clocks when it came to snacks, showing clear 'regular' times ie: boy A always accessed snacks on arrival, girl B 'naturally' always had a snack between 10-10:15am, others had similar body clocks, all evolving naturally.

I did an observation of a child who started a creative model making activity at 9:30am which she worked on consistently until 15:10, only 'pausing' for lunch. The observation showed so much understanding, knowledge, skills that we would never of seen if she had had to fit in with an adult orchestrated routine. The only times I would intervene with the flow of play (which to me is the flow of exploration and discovery) is if my observations indicated that play was not purposeful, often denoted by rising noise levels.

 

I have had some very successful full group activities, but these have not been planned, they tended to evolve from me in a spontaneous way, responding to the 'feel' of the set of children present at any time of any day. Always in mind either a concept I felt would benefit the children being introduced but in a method that came from their interest. ie: Boys were particluarly interested in block play, one day I formed the children into a whole group, gave them a block in each hand and we enjoyed some rhythmn, clapping blocks together and on the floor, counting from selected (from a bag) number cards, we then went on to build block towers relevant to each number card. Not planned, very successful and the children carried this on in their own ways during their continuing free flow play.

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were Ofsted'd last week and the inspector asked if we have small group time. I explained that yes we did each colour group (we have four) spend time with their key worker doing an activity in the small group room which has been planned according to their observed next steps, she said this was fine and a good balance.

 

All other time in the pre school is spent following children's interests, other activities are offered but not directed to ensure a balance of provision. All the staff support the children during free play and will differentiate, extend and support as and when is needed.

 

I am based in Somerset and we recently received a letter from our LEA who added what settings were being marked down on in the Sept 2008 inspections and at the top of the list is settings planning too many adult directed activities and not enough free choice based on childrens interests.

 

Claire x

Edited by cupcake
Link to comment
Share on other sites

...to learn and interact with groups of children (which lets not forget, is a vital skill for their transition to reception)

 

:( This statement is one of my pet 'concerns' - as throughout the Foundation stage period, and now even more so with the EYFS, advisors and the literature are always quick to tell us that reception is supposed to be a seamless transition with no sudden cut in play opportunities and more sitting at tables, or working in large groups...free play is still supposed to be the main means of promoting skills and knowledge.

When parents or committee say can we get children to write their name or sit down at snack time until everyone else is finished because "they'll have to do that at school" I really want to say "well no they won't actually" but to be honest I'm not certain that is how it goes...

 

Ive been into a reception class with ALL the children having to make identical pictures (with suggestions to alter or move pieces so they were better arranged) BEFORE they are allowed to go and play as a reward xD Also a group of 30 ish children doing a musical activity or show and tell involving taking turns around the circle!

I felt so bemused to see it because we've moved away from that years ago! And yes this was after the EYFS was introduced.

 

Off target a little but I just think we should be careful about looking forwards to school and think about what the children need now. Its clear that reception classes are struggling because teachers have the keystages on their backs....but we need to hold firm. I know lots of practitioners have to do what their managers or company tells them but if we do have a choice we can change things little by little.

 

Interacting with groups of children is a vital skill but there are many ways to promote it.

My opinion is - Yes group time is fine and works well IF children are free to say NO to it, free to change it, free to organise it, they can do it in small groups and it is kept very short and informal and fun.

 

Peggy's scenario is an ideal and one we are working towards...we have free play all morning, cafe style snack somewhere in the middle (sitting with a group and an adult at the table, but free to come and eat (or not) within an period of about 1 hour)

Then about 11.40 we pack up and have some songs or a story before home time...not because it gets them 'ready' to do more sitting down at school but more for organisiational and safety reasosn we need to gather the children in a group before we open the door. However we are beginning to offer alternate quieter activites during this time (puzzles, dough) for those who dont want or are not ready to join in.

We do offer 'special' activites led by an adult on some mornings (cooking, making playdough, mixing the paints, etc) but no child ever HAS to complete any of them.

I find that often during the sesssion I am surrounded by a small group and am in the middle of what has become a group activity that the children WANT to persue....and then I write it up after the event :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Trekker.....

You make some valid points, but isnt the EY's all about making foundations for later life.....

Yes we have group time and yes all children interact with this,(because they love it) and yes it does break up some of the day. BUT

You can never offer children the chance to play the whole time they are at nursery, because they are going to be interrupted at some point, e.g. dinner time, home time..... how do you know if their play is finished by then??

Play is never compromised, we fit group time around the children's play.... obviously all children dont finish their play at the same time..... to help children with this, we ring a bell and show children a sand timer (5mins left to play) children then have the option to either finish what they are doing.... OR .... leave their activity where it is so they can return to it after group time.

 

At the end of the day we all know we do the best job we possibly can and follow new guidelines every time a new 'initiative' comes into practice whether we believe it or not.....

I think 'Flexiable' is the world we all work towards.... flexibility is the key when working with young children... giving the best possible care, experiences and environments and providing a good balance between 'child initiated' and 'adult focused'

 

I think this post could go on forever with peoples views.... but I think it will never really be solved, as we all have different settings and different practices. We all know we do our jobs well!!! Keep it up :)

 

Emma

x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we all have different settings and different practices...flexibility is the key when working with young children... giving the best possible care, experiences and environments and providing a good balance between 'child initiated' and 'adult focused' .

 

Very true Emma :o

 

We do the same as you - with the sand timer when it comes to pack up time at the end of the morning...there does have to be some 'endings' naturally and home time is one of them that you cant really change but others can be worked around...if everyone is on the same wavelength.

We used to do snack all together and we felt that there was no other way to do it. We'd tried cafe and it hadnt worked so we'd gone back to the old 'familar' way....but after many tries, we got it to work and I love it now. I used to feel frustrated myself at having to finish playing and observing children by 10 am because we had to pack up for snack! So I know the children did. Now we have over two hours to play, support and observe - lovely!

 

Given a choice about joining a group activity children (especially new ones or young ones) may decide they dont want to do it at first because they are still exploring but eventually, in their own time they may actually choose to join in...I have read alot about summerhill school and the sudbury schools that are all about giving children choices in education ...admittedly taken to an extreme that most of us cannot or would choose not to persue but even so very interesting to see how for many children it works incredibly well!

They even do it from preschool age...amazing.

 

Do any of you set up group times for letters and sounds activities or do you do these within free play too. I feel it would be easy to do a daily group activity based on the materials but I'm trying to fit it in more fluidly, while making sure all children get access to it...not working as well as I'd like at the moment but will get there.

Does anyone NOT follow letters and sounds? I like the 'foundations of literacy' better myself...so trying to combine the best of both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes we do a lot of Letters and Sounds activities.... some from the pack and some of our own....

I encorporate some into my group time sessions, silly soup, Old Mc(yourname) had a bag......etc they all work nicely and children enjoy these!!! its amazing how much they progress with these activities and learn sooo much..... My group is dominated by boys and I have seen major changes in their Letters and Sounds understanding!!

Environmental sounds etc are encorporated into everyday activites, such as outside play, sometimes we take drum sticks with us and tap various objects and listen to their sounds!! You will be amazed at some of the vocab the children will use and how they compare the sounds to other sounds that are similar!!

 

It is vital that children are getting these early experiences, and we should all be actively promoting Letters and Sounds every day, because the whole point of using letters and sounds is to give the children a strong base into listening to sounds (eventually listening to the sounds of letters in words) this then helps with phonics in later years!!! By the way i would really recommend attending Letters and Sounds training, it is really informative and inspiring!!!

 

Im sure we all encorporate 'Letters and Sounds' techniques into every day practise, e.g. sounds out letter sounds rather than actual letters... (some examples of this on letters and sounds CD)

Emma

x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all,

 

This is my first ever post to this forum, so be gentle with me! :o

 

I think that Emma has it spot on when she talks about flexibility. In our playgroup we plan a couple of different adult led activities every session but, depending on the flow of the morning, we may or may not end up doing these.

 

We have set "circle time" first thing in the morning (registration usually followed by a story or talking about what we have available for that session) and then at the end of the session when we take the kids through to an adjoining room whilst the parents come in to clear all the equipment away - we are in a village hall so do not have the luxury of leaving it all out!

 

We often plan a large group activity somewhere in the middle (Music & Movement, Parachute Play etc) but if the kids are in the flow of other things we just roll with that and let them pursue whatever it is they want to do.

 

I think the most important thing is to have a range of things available to all and, wherever possible, to include resources that directly meet the observed interests of individuals. Personally, I have recently started building Mind Maps for each child, incorporating information on their interests, gleaned from various sources (parental questionnaire, discussion with child and direct observations). I find this a really useful quick reference guide to an individual's like/dislikes and they can be amended and added to as you go along. When you come to plan future sessions you can, at a glance, get ideas of what to make available.

 

Phew, OK, that's more than enough waffle from me for now! Thanks for listening...

 

Martin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is my first ever post to this forum, so be gentle with me! :(

As if we'd be anything else! :o Unless of course you're an Ofsted inspector then things might get a bit hairy... xD

 

Welcome to the Forum Martin - make yourself at home and get stuck in!

 

I like the idea of your mind maps - very useful to log all that information we keep in our heads, and for talking to children about what they like and don't like!

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone, I can assure you that the last thing I would ever be is an Ofsted inspector! :o

 

I hope that this forum will be a good resource for me as I ease myself into the whole Early Years thing - so far so good! xD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there,

This is a fascinating thread.

 

Thanks, Peggy for confirming what I believe to be best practice!

 

I attended Letters and Sounds, which I very much enjoyed. However, feel very constrained by EYA to DO small group activities every day. Reminded her that this is not a statutory requirement and that we have incorporated some of the ideas, together with the pretty good ones we already had. Have also given a handout to all parents of pre-school aged children.

 

I think that trying to plan a regular small group activity session will, as some have said, drag children away from their independent play at a point when they might just be making an important discovery/connection.

 

As others have said, my planning is retrospective mainly, as I aim to follow the children's interests.

 

After discussion, EYA is coming back next month and I have requested that she spend the entire session with us so that she can advise me how to incorporate better than I do already.

 

I recently visited nine of last year's group in their reception class (in November). Came back feeling very sad. These lively, bubbly children had to sit around in a whole class group sounding out 'e' for an interminable ten minutes. As someone else said, this is after EYFS!

 

Lesley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all,

 

This is my first ever post to this forum, so be gentle with me! :o

 

I think that Emma has it spot on when she talks about flexibility. In our playgroup we plan a couple of different adult led activities every session but, depending on the flow of the morning, we may or may not end up doing these.

 

We have set "circle time" first thing in the morning (registration usually followed by a story or talking about what we have available for that session) and then at the end of the session when we take the kids through to an adjoining room whilst the parents come in to clear all the equipment away - we are in a village hall so do not have the luxury of leaving it all out!

 

We often plan a large group activity somewhere in the middle (Music & Movement, Parachute Play etc) but if the kids are in the flow of other things we just roll with that and let them pursue whatever it is they want to do.

 

I think the most important thing is to have a range of things available to all and, wherever possible, to include resources that directly meet the observed interests of individuals. Personally, I have recently started building Mind Maps for each child, incorporating information on their interests, gleaned from various sources (parental questionnaire, discussion with child and direct observations). I find this a really useful quick reference guide to an individual's like/dislikes and they can be amended and added to as you go along. When you come to plan future sessions you can, at a glance, get ideas of what to make available.

 

Phew, OK, that's more than enough waffle from me for now! Thanks for listening...

 

Martin.

hello and welcome !!! your ideas are spot on with the eyfs line of thinking!! love your mind map idea, think ill pinch that one for monday morrning!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)