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Planning From Children's Interests And Next Steps


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Sorry if I sound a bit thick and if it has been covered before, but as a teacher of KS2 for 13 years I am struggling with following children's interests and planning next steps.

Here are my problems:

 

I have difficulty managing the assessment of all of the children in nursery and rising 3s - first of all, I have no early years training, so I need to research child development to understand appropriate next steps, but I have little time to do this at present! Therefore, I have been looking towards the Flying Start grids (combination of stepping stones and EYFSP) for next steps, as this gives me an idea of where to go next and there is pressure from LEA to raise standards. However, I feel I am 'teaching to the test' as it were.

 

Also, the amount of time taken to sift through and stick observations into children's individual profiles is excessive - Maybe I'm doing too much???

 

Then, the amount of information this throws up makes me feel overwhelmed at planning next steps - where do I begin? How do I resource this / plan for this within the unit?

 

Would it be an idea to group children following assessment on Flying Stasrt grids for Teacher directed tasks? (again, feels like formal class learning and teaching to the test, but how else to move on children's learning?)

 

Also, I am a member of the senior leadership team, so I am always conscious of pressure to raise standards.

 

Any help would be much appreciated!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, I don't know if this will be of any help but we now use a sheet for observations that we put the name, date and area of learning on, write the observation/anecdotal obs and then cut and stick it into the child's folder. We then handwrite the next steps in as we stick it in and we also link to 'Dev Matters'. we tried using post its but had to spend time sellotaping them onto the file paper! (just been through OFSTED and they liked the assessment we did. also do other things as well of course!

as we are sticking them into the childrens folders it helps as we re-read them. The sheet came from the forum, called 'catch as you can' I think? will try to find it again, but they have been great for us to use.

I don't know what the 'Flying Start ' grids are though so I can't make any comment on them.

best wishes

Cath

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Hi there, I came at the EYFS having been a teacher of older children, and I've found it hard to get to grips with it. The conclusion I've reached is that it is much more 'slippery' than the national curriculum. What you've got to understand is that we are talking about a totally different approach to learning here than you get once children enter KS1. It's basically back to the old child centered model that was around when I originally trained many years ago.

 

The idea seems to be that, rather than the teacher planning for where the learning should go, instead you follow the children's interests, so if little Fred suddenly expresses an interest in dinosaurs, that might inform the way you plan an activity for the next day. Of course what this means is that it's very hard to plan for progress, because it's child rather than teacher led. You might also notice that little Amy needs to work on her counting, and find ways to get her doing this while she plays. Or you might occasionally actually initiate an activity that you feel the children need or want to cover. I hope that makes sense?

 

In terms of working out next steps, the guidance should help you there, as the children will be moving upwards through the age levels.

 

With the profiles, what we do at our setting (I'm chair of the committee) is aim to fill in a few sticky labels during each session, with a short observation or quote from what a child has said, and perhaps where this fits within the EYFS. These are then put into the profiles.

 

To be honest, I do feel that they are trialing this new approach on the poor practitioners in early years, and that at the moment it is far too paperwork and assessment heavy. I'm watching with interest to see what happens with this APP stuff in primary.

 

Good luck with your quest to understand the EYFS.

Sue.

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I think it is more about knowing the curriculum so when you are playing with the children you can scaffold and extend their learning. So if a child is really interested in dinosaurs and you are developing their speaking and listening then discussion about dinosaurs will be of interest to the child. If you are counting then if you use dinosaurs the child will already be interested and more likely to fuly engage in the activity.

 

Planning for progress again comes from knowing development matters so when you are playing with the children or in an adult directed task from what you learn about them you can then go back to development matters and plan for the next step.

 

Play is how children form their learning it develops pathways in the brain and enables understanding my role as an adult in this is to model the learning, know the child and offer appropriate provocations to develop their learning. I don't see the EYFS as new it is what I have been doing for many many years!

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Hi there, I came at the EYFS having been a teacher of older children, and I've found it hard to get to grips with it. The conclusion I've reached is that it is much more 'slippery' than the national curriculum. What you've got to understand is that we are talking about a totally different approach to learning here than you get once children enter KS1. It's basically back to the old child centered model that was around when I originally trained many years ago.

 

The idea seems to be that, rather than the teacher planning for where the learning should go, instead you follow the children's interests, so if little Fred suddenly expresses an interest in dinosaurs, that might inform the way you plan an activity for the next day. Of course what this means is that it's very hard to plan for progress, because it's child rather than teacher led. You might also notice that little Amy needs to work on her counting, and find ways to get her doing this while she plays. Or you might occasionally actually initiate an activity that you feel the children need or want to cover. I hope that makes sense?

 

In terms of working out next steps, the guidance should help you there, as the children will be moving upwards through the age levels.

 

With the profiles, what we do at our setting (I'm chair of the committee) is aim to fill in a few sticky labels during each session, with a short observation or quote from what a child has said, and perhaps where this fits within the EYFS. These are then put into the profiles.

 

To be honest, I do feel that they are trialing this new approach on the poor practitioners in early years, and that at the moment it is far too paperwork and assessment heavy. I'm watching with interest to see what happens with this APP stuff in primary.

 

Good luck with your quest to understand the EYFS.

Sue.

 

Sue - I really like this reply and would second everything that you have said. Ref. the EYFS being 'slippery' - love it!

 

Hi fatange and welcome to the forum!

 

Sunnyday

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Thanks for that, sunnyday.

 

Emilia, I didn't mean 'new' as in new to early years practitioners, but the approach is very different to what's been going on at KS1 and KS2 in schools in recent years.

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Sue I suppose it depends on the type of school you work in. I have worked much more cross curricular in my school for over 8 years now so we are not finding it that much differenct.

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Sue I suppose it depends on the type of school you work in. I have worked much more cross curricular in my school for over 8 years now so we are not finding it that much differenct.

 

I'm in the same position as Emilia - we never stopped working in a cross-curricular way so it's not a huge shift for us either. Our English/Literacy usually linked in with our topic - therefore it kept more meaning if you see what I mean. But from talking to friends in other schools it is quite a big change so I can sympathise.

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exactly what should be done ...........observe children, do long obs, look at the childs interest and scaffold the learning as already said, i have always worked in early years and for me i cannot understand why you would make a child do something that he has no interest he will not learn to his full potential. What i dont understand is why this type of learning end at reception or ??KS1 my teenage daughter would be mush happier in secondary school if she was learning in a way that suits her, so digressed there!

 

another example is .. we have a child who loves cars so cars go into sand, water , paint, stories snack time even forest school and so on

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Or you might occasionally actually initiate an activity that you feel the children need or want to cover. I hope that makes sense?

 

Sorry but I don't agree with this - it's not occasionally at all, it's a continually balanced delivery between adults initiating and children leading.

Equally I can still deliver my learning intentions through a child's interests, I just have to adjust my context, not the learning I am promoting.

 

Cx

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I thought that it was meant to be only about 20% adult led/initiated but I could be completely wrong in my reading of the EYFS and the posts on here? I see what you mean about changing the context though. I do sometimes wonder whether always following children's interests is rather narrowing, in that you can end up only doing what they appear to like, rather than introducing them to new experiences.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought that it was meant to be only about 20% adult led/initiated

 

The 80/20% is often quoted. This refers to the Profile evidence - 80% of observations and "evidence" should be from child-initiated/led/independent activities to give a truer picture of what the child can actually do; 20% should come from adult led activities - guided/focussed activities.

In other words the bulk of our assessments should be based on what the children are doing independently.

Hope that helps

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Hi everyone

 

I always thought it was 80% of the daily routine should be child initiated and 20% should be adult led nothing to do with the observations. I am finding it also hard to go from the children's interests because how are you meant to plan your medium term and weekly plans if you are waiting to see what the childrne do or say. Also what if you have a variety of interests in one day or in a week how can you possible keep changing things all the time without getting the children confused and losing focus. There is only two adults in our Nursery including myself and I find it so hard to keep up with observations, profiles, catch as you cans and everything else as well as teaching. I think all this paperwork and assessment critera stop us from teaching the children to a high standard and getting involved in their play. It ridiculous!

 

kate

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Thanks to all you have helped to clarify a few things - I think I have been trying to make things harder than they actually are! Thanks Rea for the heads up on the Making Progress document - just ordered it. I can see there is still some debate around the child / adult initiated issue. I think I agree with one poster who said if this was the predominant strategy then it could become very narrow and we need to open children's minds to new things, but I also think that prescription can be very harmful - speaking from kS2 experience! I guess I'll have to try to use my common sense. I must admit, I am beginning to internalise the curriculum, so that makes things a little easier, but I still need more experience! Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to help me in my quest for understanding!

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Hi, I don't know if this will be of any help but we now use a sheet for observations that we put the name, date and area of learning on, write the observation/anecdotal obs and then cut and stick it into the child's folder. We then handwrite the next steps in as we stick it in and we also link to 'Dev Matters'. we tried using post its but had to spend time sellotaping them onto the file paper! (just been through OFSTED and they liked the assessment we did. also do other things as well of course!

as we are sticking them into the childrens folders it helps as we re-read them. The sheet came from the forum, called 'catch as you can' I think? will try to find it again, but they have been great for us to use.

I don't know what the 'Flying Start ' grids are though so I can't make any comment on them.

best wishes

Cath

Hi

I've been trying to find the "catch as you can sheets" as they sound very useful.. Do you have a copy you could post?

Mogs67

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Hi

I've been trying to find the "catch as you can sheets" as they sound very useful.. Do you have a copy you could post?

Mogs67

 

I will be able to do it tomorow as they are at school, will get hubby or teenagers to help me do it, they are very simple but that is why they are so 'do-able'.

Cath

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Hi,

here are the 'catch as you can sheets', as I said before someone else on the Forum devised them - not me, so a big thank you to them, I couldn't locate the originals.

 

They are so simple to do, I cut them out and stick them into my Obs file. If I only write a few lines I trim them or use the space for writing next steps or Dev matters.

 

enjoy!

Cath

Catch_As_You_Can.doc

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  • 4 weeks later...

Having just read this topic I felt like I needed to add a few things!

 

Child initiated versus adult led - the way I see it is that you can do anything through children's interests however, having 30 is just not possible so I look for common threads. If I know there are children who do not come within this then I will enhance other areas of the curriculum to their needs too - this may also involve the teaching of new skills within this area and not as a stand alone! We have to remember that adults need to provide new experiences as well - how will they know how to 'tidy up' if we never show them! (bad example I know but when I visit settings many practitioners moan about this and then I find out that they don't actually interact with the children they just tidy up after them and moan that they EYFS lets them run riot!)

The 80/20% has been 'forgotten' in my county as the EYFS clearly states 'a balance of child initiated and adult led' so as professionals we should know how and when to change the balance depending on the needs of the children?

 

Hope this helps a bit more too!

 

:o

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I still use topics to work around the children's learning. There are some topics that are a huge success year after year and others are provided by the children themselves, being when I ask what they like to talk about or learn about at the beginning of the school year, or when I observe a common interest in them and then I change one of the topics in the next weeks. I totally agree with Loolous and similar posts.

 

I cannot come to the school owner and suddenly say, "Hey, ___ is interested in _____. Please can you give me money today so I can go after school and buy toys related to that topic?" I would even arrive when the stores would be closed and that without doing a new plan for the next day. This only for one child. What about the rest? What I can do is that, if there is a common interest, and after planning it well... providing evidence and giving in the purchase request form on time, that I might be able to get permission. There is also a limited yearly budget. I can ask the child to bring his toy from home and then, 'play together'.

 

We also have to keep in mind that there is adult-initiated or led activities, like the phonics lessons. Aren't these required as well? And then, there could be that we have a child who doesn't want to do them or the handwriting ones... but the Rose report has pushed this into the EYFS. What can we do? xD Let him play while the others are working? I am alone with the group, so who would be supporting his play meanwhile?

 

I suppose we will never stop asking questions to ourselves :o

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I do sometimes wonder whether always following children's interests is rather narrowing, in that you can end up only doing what they appear to like, rather than introducing them to new experiences.

 

 

I think some adults do find following children's interests rather narrowing, but to children there interests are everything to them, however we continually are enhancing provision with new experiences, through interest tables, etc. For example we have a little boy who is obsessed with everything dinosaurs, to extend this interest we set some dinosaurs in plaster of paris, which all the children enjoyed digging out, this then led to a discussion about other things we could dig up, which really caught the Dinosaur obsessed boy's interest, to extend this new interest in digging, we placed potatoes into deep compost in the outside area, we also set up a dinosaur scene alongside in the builders tray, the little boy initially played with the dinosaurs but was watching the children digging in the compost, when a child unearthed a potato the little boy, left the dinosaurs and joined in, he was continually talking while digging and making reference to when he dug for dinosaurs.

 

The above shows that through being inventive with what we have, we can introduce new experiences to run alongside children's interest, and this I feel is where practitioners either embrace it ( ie continually thinking of new ways to plan for interests as well as new opportunities of interest) or where they start to become frustrated and think (oh hes only interested in dinosaurs so we will just continue to plan everything to include dinosaurs)

where as the initial interest can be the springboard for new interests, we just need to be very creative with how we do this and this takes time and effort on the part of practitioners.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Hi fatange, I'm not a teacher so not sure exactly what you need, but would this be any good for you? It the dcsf site Progress matters

 

 

Hi Rea

Thanks for that information, I've now joined Teacher net as well. :o

 

Sara

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So that we don't hijack the thread, why not go to introduce yourself so that everyone can welcome you properly.

 

I think planning for children's interests is always going to be easier where there are more staff available. I know in our group we have 3 adults in a room with 16 children, so we have been known to have 3 or 4 big 'themes' going on at once. Sometimes you can have one overarching theme, like we did with Bear Hunt (see blog) and be able to get lots of individual bits of interest out of that for groups of children.

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So that we don't hijack the thread, why not go to introduce yourself so that everyone can welcome you properly.

 

I think planning for children's interests is always going to be easier where there are more staff available. I know in our group we have 3 adults in a room with 16 children, so we have been known to have 3 or 4 big 'themes' going on at once. Sometimes you can have one overarching theme, like we did with Bear Hunt (see blog) and be able to get lots of individual bits of interest out of that for groups of children.

 

 

I agree - sometimes when I get everything ready (resources, stories etc) to enhance each individual child's interests there's just too much going on and all of a sudden theres a very cluttered environment

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The 80/20% is often quoted. This refers to the Profile evidence - 80% of observations and "evidence" should be from child-initiated/led/independent activities to give a truer picture of what the child can actually do; 20% should come from adult led activities - guided/focussed activities.

In other words the bulk of our assessments should be based on what the children are doing independently.

Hope that helps

 

Hi. Just read this thread. Agree with you about 80% of evi from observations should be from child initiated activities. From my understanding to achieve a good balance for Nursery education there should be a 50% adult initiated range of activities and 50% child inbitiated activities. Also got this from the mighty margaret edgington. Childrens' learning will progress at a faster rate with this balance rather than leaving the child to experience majority of activities as child initiated. think sometimes people confuse the 80%/20% figures of obsevational evidence with the amount of adult input needed. does this sound right?

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Hi everyone

 

I always thought it was 80% of the daily routine should be child initiated and 20% should be adult led nothing to do with the observations. I am finding it also hard to go from the children's interests because how are you meant to plan your medium term and weekly plans if you are waiting to see what the childrne do or say. Also what if you have a variety of interests in one day or in a week how can you possible keep changing things all the time without getting the children confused and losing focus. There is only two adults in our Nursery including myself and I find it so hard to keep up with observations, profiles, catch as you cans and everything else as well as teaching. I think all this paperwork and assessment critera stop us from teaching the children to a high standard and getting involved in their play. It ridiculous!

 

kate

 

50/50 (observations should come from 80% child initiated) but a balance of adult led/child initiated was how I read it....

 

One of the 10 key findings of Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (2004) (EPPE) shows that settings which resulted in good outcomes for children by the end of year 2:

provide children with a mixture of practitioner initiated group work and learning through freely chosen play …. In the “excellent” settings (where children achieved excellent outcomes) the balance of who initiated the activities (i.e. child or adult) was nearly equal, revealing that the pedagogy of the excellent settings encourages children to initiate activities as often as the staff.

The research also shows that: ‘Freely chosen play activities provided the best opportunities to extend children’s thinking.’ Standing back, watching and listening to the children as they play is as essential in facilitating the learning process as is assisting the children directly. By using our observations of the children we can adjust plans to take account of the interests and needs of the children and capitalise on unplanned events, particularly those initiated by the children.

 

Carla x

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  • 2 months later...

Hi I'm new to this (just subscribed) as I'm trying to gain some insight into diffrent types of planning going on in nursery. I currently plan in what I guess is the old style format to topics given by the school. However on courses we keep hearing people planning for individuals from their interests (especially considering Herts Quality Standards in this area) and I'm trying to find out how this works.

 

Having read some of the posts it seems like everyone has many different ideas and is working in many different ways anyway! i work in a 45 place nursery having moved from one with 15 children and am finding this quite overwhelming especailly trying to get to know the kids! I feel like a nursery manager rather than a teacher! Not sure how you cope with 45 individual interestes and needs at one time?? Does anyone have any examples of their planning that they are willing to share?

 

My other area of concern is that I believe we may be moving to a once a year intake which means very young 3 year olds entering which I have never had. I feel that we will need to change our nursery set up and planning as above. Any advice on this welcome!

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