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Right That Is It I've Had Enough...


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Ok! That's it. I'm sick to the back teeth of looking at planning:

 

styles, ideas, methods, what is right, what is wrong, what works, what doesn't, what is acceptable, what isn't, too much planning, too little planning, to many wrong spellings planning, ofsted don't like it planning, ofsted do like it planning, doesn't work in our setting planning, works for us planning... actually let's face it just planning. Is there enough adult led, too much adult led, where are the focus activities, what should I focus on yadda yadda yadda.

 

And so now, because I'm sick of it, I'm afraid you are going to have to suffer my rant.

 

Planning is child centered... I agree, but how the bloomin nora do I know what little Jonny wants to do on Wedenesday? I know what he likes, I know what he needs to know, I know what his mummy wants him to know... but i have NO idea what mood he will be in, whether he has decided that his obsession with trains has come to end and now he really fancies being a princess, whether he's tired, whether he's under the weather, whether he's had an o/d of E.numbers, in fact let's face it, although I knew Jonny yesterday, I don't know Jonny on Wednesday. All I know about Jonny, (if I'm a good practitioner-) is what his preffered learning style is.

 

quite frankly, I believe we should do away with short term, medium term planning and focus on two things... (I'm happy with CP planning!)

 

1) what we know about Jonny

2) educating and training staff to recognise a learning opportunity and how to exploit it to the max.

 

So my planning is going to look like this:

 

A large piece of paper for Jonny with notes about Jonny and what Jonny achieved today and that is it- and this will form his learning journey. I'm not going to think about Wednesday- because on Wednesday I'll do the same again write what Jonny achieved on that day- because I don't know what he wants to do/learn/develop tomorrow.

 

I'm sick of finding ways of ensuring I have next steps, obs, and how they are going to inform the staff's planning, does this show x, does this record y, will it be good enough for LEA, will it be good enough for Ofsted, will it be good enough for mummy. The point is- will it be good enough for Jonny.

 

Jonny is going to do the planning and my staff and environment are going to help him execute it and every activity is a focus activity.

 

So, in order for Jonny to plan his day I'm going to spend time with Jonny in the morning thinking about what he'd like to do today and we are going to write it down, and as we write it down I'm going to think ahead- because I can do that better than him- and ensure that everything is in place for him to acheive it. So when he tells me he'd like to be a Princess today we can make a crown that he wants, we can dress up, we can make a rocket launcher for him to to be a princess on the moon and get away from baddies, we can play in the sand and realise that princesses like soggy sand and how to get it soggy and we can suddenly realise that being a princess is not all it's cracked up to be and actually we'd like to just be Jonny playing with Billy in the garden.

 

And I don't have to worry about planning what is best for Jonny next Monday, because Jonny will tell me.

 

And all I've got to do now is execute it...

 

Large piece of paper divided into children for that day.

Scribbled with notes for their plan for the day with added notes of opportunities.

And write up time for staff at the end of their day.

 

 

.........

 

we shall see....

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Well this is much of what we do. We 'wing it' basically these days. As you say, children can be totally different every day and between morning and afternoon sessions too. They are very much leading the learning and we are noting down what they do and any thing that comes out of it. It seems to be working well for us and staff are much more focussed on the children than they used to be

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I hope your feeling better for the rant

 

our planning went out the window in september and nobody seems to have noticed!!! the routine is there the continuous provision sheets are up for each area and the staff are keeping the learning journeys up to date as for short medium and long term planning theres a sheet on the wall saying what festivals are due and any specail activities we have planned ie special visitors and stuff.

 

I think if we did away will the majority of planning half the early years advisors would be out of a job what would they come into setting to critisise if theres no planning??

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lol! at both!

winging it planning sounds good to me. And I agree with what would the advisors do! and I do feel better, thank you.

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Personally I don't care what planning looks like - I just want to know children are making progress and that progress is getting them towards the ELGs as far as they can get, despite any barriers to learning they may have and that their progress is commensurate with others.

 

However in my area of mainly school based settings there is far greater pressure to demonstrate what you will enable children to develop and I have been working very hard with my schools to look at the MTP as the driving vehicle which is then very much tailored down to the child's current interests as you go along.

 

(PS As an advisor - please don't dismiss us all in one sweeping statement!!! We do know how to work with children too you know and there is far more than planning to demonstrate when looking for outstanding quality provision in a setting! )

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I tried doing away with the short term planning and it just didn't work - staff really struggled with knowing what to do each day. i tell them til I am blue in the face we need to plan for the individual and have demonstrated this with my own key children, but they still struggle. My plan is to try this for next September - have Individual Plans drawn up for each child and staff ensure they cover what they need to - they really need to focus more on the children. They have put up with a lot of changes this year so I'm thinking it's been a step too far, so I will tackle this in september.

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catma, to be honest, there are times I'd be lost without my EY support and advisor so my apologies and if you are mine... thank you!

 

I think you are right CL much of the planning problem, revolves around staff knowledge, understanding, confidence (and may I be struck down by allthat is out there to get me struck down) age (sometimes!)

 

I've been thinking more...

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I don't think of it so much as a rant zlw, more of a 'eureka!' moment. All of your efforts to make sense of what everyone tells you has resulted in a clearer picture of what will work for you and that is vital actually. You have verbalised what you are going to do and also why, actually very forcefully which shows passion and commitment (peppered with the inevitable frustration). I pity the Ofsted Inspector who dares to question why you are planning as you describe, but I bet you they will go away full of respect!

One word of advice from someone who has gone through this already, pilot it for 6 weeks til the end of term, keep careful notes and discuss in your staff meetings how you are getting on and 'what it's like for a child' in your nursery. This is good evidence and is the kind of reflection that Ofsted will acknowledge, because we are all on a journey and there is no right and wrong.

 

I think your honesty may inspire others to nail their colours to the flag too! Thanks.

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Well done zlw! I think you have voiced what a lot of us have been thinking for so long. Many years ago..... many pre-schools generally worked like this anyway, except for one thing, nothing was noted down or assessed the way it is now.

 

It was difficult for us to pull away from the way we used to work, i.e. day to day to start all this planning lark and boy did we get it wrong according to our Early Years Advisor to begin with, over the last ten years or so I can't tell you how many times we have changed planning etc. I am lucky that all the staff I started out with I still have, well the core ones anyway, and we have learnt along the way.

 

Secretly, I plan the minimum amount I think we can get away with! We have long term plans for continuous planning and some plans for the following week from observations this week but that is about all. We follow the children, this week for instance, nothing that I planned to do with my key children happened - we just did different things, things that they were interested in on the day.

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I think this is the ideal of what many would like to be able to do and are aiming towards...My planning has gone in waves really - from tidal in the beginning when I did so much I was never doing anything else and if everything planned didnt get done I'd class it as a failure...to the current 'ripples' where I plan in a minimal fashion with the odd 'over the sea wall' splurge when I start to do extra plans or adjust the planning because I'm worried about it not being enough! Though those moments are becoming less frequent and I'm so much more relaxed about it and feel I am finally working within my own set of standards and beliefs rather than doing what I think should be done.

 

My only concern is how difficult it is to be so responsive and to have the time to really get to know what every child is interested in and to act on that when there is so much going on in a session and so many children to 'be there' for. Alot of the time it is exactly as you say:

.... this week for instance, nothing that I planned to do with my key children happened - we just did different things, things that they were interested in on the day.

I guess many of us are still learning to be okay with that...and to be confident that we can make others see that its okay too!

Writing up planning after the session / week so there is nothing written down to follow goes a long way to making that possible of course...and what better way to demonstrate evaluative and reflective skills...considering the learning that has occurred rather that trying to predict what will occur!

 

I definely agree that attending to schemas / learning styles is another key for planning success. Its responsive to individuals without being too 'specific'....you can plan resources and experiences that may suit the 'transporters' or the 'kinestetic learners' and it will likely always engage them!

 

And yes

educating and training staff to recognise a learning opportunity and how to exploit it to the max.

is one of the big challenges! For it to work staff need to take advantage of the spontaneous opportunities the 'flexible' planning opens up to move children on.

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Hi,

(please excuse me if i miss some spaces my keyboard is rubbish!)

Every time i read about the way people do their planning it makes me look at mine ans change it for the fifty thousandth time (not really sure thousandth is a word but it works for me)

 

In my setting (pre-school) we did away with short term planning from the day we opened, i hate deciding what the children are going to play with each day...who am i todecide what they will want on each specific day?

 

We decided to take photos of all the equipment and resourses and make up a low level display board that looks like a short term planning sheet. the children come in in the morning and sit on the carpet and as a group they decide what they would like to play with for the session and stick the laminated pictures to the board, this is then recorded. There are usually a few spaces we leave blank to explain to the children something the adults have chosen (to give a mix of adult chosen/child chosen) and these usually coincide with our theme.

 

WE have found that this works wonderfully as well as ticking a few boxes for ofsted we find if the children choose then they become more engaged in their play.

 

To extend our independence philosophy we bought (at great expense) the wheelable storage units that nurseries usualyhave for the storage boxes, we wheel them in and out every session giving the children the option to access the equipment throughout the session so if they wish to mix the cars and dinosaurs then they can (mixes their history slightly but gives you scope for learning). Our rule is as long as it gets tidied away properly then they can have what they want out.

 

So far so good i have to admit. We had discussions with the children about the pre-school and got alot of positive feedback fromthem re the storage and choosing for themselves so that in itself was reassuring

answers my debate of letting them play with what they choose.

 

Hope this is in any way relevant to your thread and hope it may be of some help.

 

Sorry if it makes no sense ha ha

 

Niki xx

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Hi ziw

 

Just a line to say that I agree with everything you said in your original post - and that is basically how we are working, but with just a very few Adult Directed activities thrown in for good measure!

 

Most of my 'planning' is now retrospective - this seems to be working just fine for us - all children are making progress (this progress is indentified in their 'Learning Journey' folders.

 

Haven't had an Ofsted Inspection since the dawn of EYFS - so will have to see what they have to say! I feel quietly confident that I can 'justify' the way I plan or more to the point the way I don't plan!!!

 

Sunnyday

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Hi ziw

 

 

Haven't had an Ofsted Inspection since the dawn of EYFS - so will have to see what they have to say! I feel quietly confident that I can 'justify' the way I plan or more to the point the way I don't plan!!!

 

Sunnyday

 

I shouldn't worry about it Sunnyday. I was all set to fight my corner about retrospective planning at my last inspection and the inspector said it was a great way to work and exactly what the EYFS is all about. That threw me!

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I shouldn't worry about it Sunnyday. I was all set to fight my corner about retrospective planning at my last inspection and the inspector said it was a great way to work and exactly what the EYFS is all about. That threw me!

Yahoo - thanks for that Alison - that's reassuring.

 

Sunnyday

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