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Planning From Childrens Interests


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At the moment we teach according to topics. I was wonering how others organise planning from childrens interests. When i observe children i can pick out a childs particular interest but its rare that a large group of children have the same intreerst so how do you decide which childs interest to go with?

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Lola I wondered this when I really had to reflect on what I was doing and why so I have read around it and I now use PLODs and so rather than everyone following a theme or topic when I see children have a particular interest then I add resources to the environment to enable thme to develop. For example one child was really fasinated in filling a bottle from the water trough and then pouring it out on the ground and watching it run away. So we added tubes, colouring to the water, rubber garden trugs that can carry water, different sized bottles, sieves etc to this area and we planned that one of us would play there at child initiated time. We looked for stories about time and water and read these in our story time as well as leaving them in the book area.

 

Over the week more children joined and the conversation grew to how long it took for the water to empty from the bottle and how far it went on the ground so we introduced timers, tape measures, clip boards and pens. More children joined in and started measuring using the timer and the tape measure. The vocuabluary we used was great discussing the bottles and sizes and which bottle took the longest to empty and did this water go the furthest?

 

It was a really satifying week and had I been planning to a topic this would never have come about. So we are now using our observations more to plan for the environment and provocations than covering a topic.

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There have been lots of threads about this recently. We still like to keep a topic running for half term as it gives us a starting point for a few activities and see where it takes us from there. Sometimes the topic fizzles out after a couple of weeks, sometimes it is embraced and extended, all depends on what arises. it all depends on what works for your setting. we are a fairly large group-40 children a morning so to plan to all the children's interests would be impossible so starting with a topic works for us.

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This week my children have been taking a blanket and the food out of the home corner and having picnics.

So guess what we'll be doing for the next 3 weeks until the end of term?

I'm thinking with St Patrick's Day, Mothering Sunday, Spring and Easter that should keep us busy :o

 

jackie.

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For example one child was really fasinated in filling a bottle from the water trough and then pouring it out on the ground and watching it run away. So we added tubes, colouring to the water, .......

 

Over the week more children joined .....

 

It was a really satifying week and had I been planning to a topic this would never have come about. So we are now using our observations more to plan for the environment and provocations than covering a topic.

 

This is broadly how I work, although like moomy I have a topic in mind to start things off, but am pleased to abandon it if children's interests go elsewhere. I find that, as you say, following one child's interests tends to then interest lots of other children, too - it's kind of like that child has started a topic for other children to join in - in the same way that conventionally, the practitioners would have come up with a topic (based on experienced knowledge of typical children's interests - eg you know that, even if no child has mentioned it, a topic on dinosaurs will go down a treat!) and the children then become interested in the topic, even though they didn't actually choose it.

 

But I'd prefer to follow the children's interests. However, my main worry about the way i'm doing it is that although I follow children's observed interests and other children do become involved, it tends to be the same children whose interests really stand out and who lead the planning. If other children are involving themselves in other children's PLODS, does this matter? As it would be impossible (I think, without a proper keyworker system in Reception) to plan and cater for all children's interests, should I be ensuring all children have some planning coming from their interests atsome point each term / year? Without timetabling who you're going to plan for in advance (which seems to detract from the spontaneity and validity of it - I can just imagine it, 'No Charlie, we've followed 3 of your interests already, we can't possibly think about your new baby you're so excited about' etc!! xD:( ) how do you manage this?

 

I know this is a very garbled post, but please give me your ideas, as it's one of those burning questions for me!! :o

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Guest heleng

The way we try and do it is we have target children and we make sure we do obs on these target children one week so we know what their next steps need to be and what their interests are. The following week we plan and carry out activities based around those children's needs and interests, while drawing in other children who need to work on the same thing. The week we are carrying out the activities we have new target children, as well as making sure we observe the children who the activities were planned from. If we can, we also plan in any other interests the group have as a whole. I hope that makes sense!!

 

Yes, this does mean that at times we may miss out on a child's interest at a particular time but it also means that at some point all the children's interests are taken into consideration. Also the children are still given the opportunity to follow their own interests in their child initiated play time and we put in enhancements to areas of continuous provision.

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heleng I do as you do. the obs inform what we provide as resources and also give us some ideas on where to go with our support and questioning. There are some children who have not yet found something that totally fascinates them but they love to try the things from others and as you say at child initiated time they can all follow their own interest.

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