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Reception Planning Formats That Work!


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I've been a Reception teacher for a few years now and have worked with different people who have their own ideas about how to plan and implement planning into the classroom.

 

For the first time in my career, I am in a one form entry Infant school, and am planning on my own. I have continued with my old way of planning and teaching, but I'm not happy with it. I feel it is too formal and that I put too much into it and don't allow for enough child initiated learning and observation. :(

 

Unfortunately the head teacher and the Year 1 and 2 teachers in the school aren't really Early Years minded and are more interested in what level the children are going to be at the end of Year 2. This has meant that the pressure has filtered down to me and because their standards are so high, I feel like I'm not getting the children to the standards they will expect. I also feel that I am doing the children a disservice by trying to teach too formally. :(

 

How do other people set out their days to ensure the necessary skills are covered but that the children are initiating their own learning and that this is leading the planning? I have one teaching assistant with me during school hours but she is unable to help set up or change activities, so I need a format that is manageable. She also seems very uncomfortable with observing the children - she is a 'do-er' and is more comfortable if she is doing focus work with the children, leading the learning rather than facilitating new experiences. :o

 

Please could people attach their planning formats and routines they have set in place? I want to radically change my practise so it is more child friendly, but so that I'm not going to get bad-mouthed by the Year 1 teachers!!

 

I have looked in the EYFS documentation and on the CD-Rom but can't find any specific formats for planning - am I looking in the wrong place? :(

 

All ideas and advise appreciated!! xD

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Guest LornaW

I think planning is very specific to each person and the group of children. In the TES today there is a question to Ofsted and you will see they don't mind how we plan as long as we can show progress is being made and I believe this is really liberating!

 

I am attaching the pdfs from the EYFS disk that I have used to inform myslef and colleagues.

 

The names of the files are mine to help me find them on my computer but they are on the disk some in the In Depth section and some on the research papers.

 

You have already taken the plunge so go for it and devise a system that has meaning for you and your children.

 

Lorna

In_depth_planning.pdf

In_depth_planning_a.pdf

In_depth_planning_b.pdf

In_depth_planning_c.pdf

In_depth_planning_d.pdf

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Thanks Lorna - those are really useful documents - I especially like the individual plans (document d) that show the children's interests and reflect on future steps.

 

Just wondering if anyone could share a format that really works well for them in their Reception class.

 

When you're planning by yourself it's sometimes hard to think outside your comfort zone and you feel like you're not doing your job properly if you don't include absolutely every single detail. It'd like the detail to come more from the children but i'm not sure of a format that would allow for that and all the other stuff that needs to be covered.

 

I've seen some planning examples on the forum that have caught my eye but they seem to be more appropriate for nursery. Is it okay to plan in the same way as nursery? Do other people do that? Or are people generally more structured in Reception?

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[hi. I am teaching in a very small school with a mixed reception yr 1 and yr 2 class. Like you, I am still trying to get my head around the planning for the EYFS children and how I can effeciently record what they are doing and where to take them next. My school is a Montessori school so we have the montessori curriculum to map alongside the EYFS too... some days there is so much to think about.. my brain does not know which way to go! I am keen to develop a simple system... including plods, and observations - leading onto our planning for the next week but also keeping the paperwork down. Now do not feel that I have answered your question at all.. except to say.. feel in the same boat.. so if we can work out and answer together that would be good! :o

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xD glad to know I'm not the only one!

I'll keep researching stuff and if i come up with anything, i'll definitely post it here! Team work is definitely the way to go!! :o

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hello!

i felt exactly the same as you but i changed all my planning documents at easter, as i felt i was teaching too formal and not enough CI. i am the only Reception teacher in a primary school that is very junior orientated and newly qualified. when i asked for help my SMT tried to help but they have less experience of EYFS than me.

so i trawled throught the internet for help. Durham LEA have some great planning documetns that i have tweaked to fit the way i teach. this is a basic overview of my timetable, its still a work in progress. i have 1 focus activty that runs throughout the day, e.g. mon is KUW focus Tues is PD focus Wed is PRSN focus etc (PSED runs alongside them and i do circle time after 3.)

so children do 1 adult focus task a day. the rest of the time is either whole class or Child initiated.

9-9:15 assembly (church school so ahev to attend)

9:15-9:30 ish CLL input usually based around a story

9:30-10:15 CI and 1 adult direcrted actviity (1 adult outside)

10:15-10:30 snack/story etc

!0:45 -11:00 PSRN input

11:00 -12:30 CI and adult directed activty (i adult outside)

12:45 lunch

1:00 Phonics (2 groups 1 with TA 1 iwth teacher)

1:20 CI and adult directed (1 adult outside)

2:00 Reflection circle

2:15 Break

2:30 circle time/music/phse etc

3:00 get ready for hometime

 

i plan CLL and PSRN on 1 panner, the focus group tasks on a planner and i have my enhancments for continuos provision - with links to children interests highlighted here.

 

i obsere 8 children across a two week period (i observe 4 my TA obserevs 4) i call them learning stories and they are quite detailed with photos, next steps ect i gather these togetherand use them to inform my planning feeding them into the next two weeks (if that makes sense), while observbing the next 8 children in a continous cycle. i have 30 children in my class and it seems to be going ok, still sometimes struggle to find time but i do my best.

 

i hope this makes sense, like i say i have only just changed and it is a work in progress since easter i've changed my planning several times.

see what you think.

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Guest littlemissblonde

I adapted this planning format from the TES connect website. There are loads of excellent resources there. I'm not very good at uploading and hope this works. : :oFS2.doc It has worked but has a blank page at the beginning

Edited by littlemissblonde
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I like the idea of having an area of learning to focus on each day. do you manage to get through the adult led activitity with all the children every day or is it a bit difficult?

 

The other issue I am now having is that my head teacher wants me to start teaching whole class lessons like in KS1, so I am expected to teach a Literacy hour and Numeracy hour from now on in order to "prepare" the children for Year 1. Mind you, this head is leaving in July - I'll be so glad when she's gone, because she really hasn't got a clue! :o Think I might have to start up a new planning format and timetable for September when I can start fresh.

 

Our SIP person is coming in soon to look at Literacy in the Early Years too, in order to advise us about writing. I am going to make sure I am teaching a Literacy hour just so that she can slate our practise to the head teacher, so she gets it through her thick skull that it shouldn't be done like that in Reception!!!

 

xD:(:( GRRR!! I am so cross!!! ... can you tell?

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I adapted this planning format from the TES connect website. There are loads of excellent resources there. I'm not very good at uploading and hope this works. : xDFS2.doc It has worked but has a blank page at the beginning

 

 

Any chance you could attach a filled in copy so I get a bit more of an idea how you use it. Also, am I being really thick, :o but what does 'ISP' stand for in the left hand column?

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Guest littlemissblonde

Hi

will try to post in a filled in copy may take a couple of days. I fill in the first half of each page in advance and the evaluation etc daily.

I can get through my adult focused activities because we are a foundation Unit, my nursery nurse is the Key worker for some of my class and I plan seperate carpet sessions and focused activities for her group of children. I plan for the most able and middle achieving FS2 The least able of my reception children are grouped with more able nursery children and the Nursery teacher plans carpet and focused group sessions for them.

You are not thick ISP stands for Intensive support programme. We have to set curricular targets each half term does not really work in Foundation Stage but some times it is easier just to do it

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Guest littlemissblonde
I like the idea of having an area of learning to focus on each day. do you manage to get through the adult led activitity with all the children every day or is it a bit difficult?

 

The other issue I am now having is that my head teacher wants me to start teaching whole class lessons like in KS1, so I am expected to teach a Literacy hour and Numeracy hour from now on in order to "prepare" the children for Year 1. Mind you, this head is leaving in July - I'll be so glad when she's gone, because she really hasn't got a clue! :o Think I might have to start up a new planning format and timetable for September when I can start fresh.

 

Our SIP person is coming in soon to look at Literacy in the Early Years too, in order to advise us about writing. I am going to make sure I am teaching a Literacy hour just so that she can slate our practise to the head teacher, so she gets it through her thick skull that it shouldn't be done like that in Reception!!!

 

xD:(:( GRRR!! I am so cross!!! ... can you tell?

I don't prepare the children for year 1. Instead have pushed y1 to become more like foundation stage . Children who have not reached the ELG have to be taught from EYFs document. I am lucky to have a very supportive head who does not really understand EYFS but is happy to trust me and back me up. What will You do if The SIP likes the literacy Hour as they could be just as clueless

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I used to teach in a school where the head was v focussed on targets, levelling etc. and I had a real battle to implement a play based curriculum. I did get there in the end once she realised how much the children achieved! Hopefully your new head will have more of an idea about FS!! I am starting a new job in September teaching Rec/Y1 in a village school so am v interested in all these different planning formats. I am hoping to plan from the 6 areas of learning for the whole class, but I will be job sharing and things are quite formal at the moment. My new head is v keen on EYFS and v open to new ideas so we will see... I visited a Reception class today (which has just received an Outstanding Ofsted) and it was fab - all v child initiated and the level of achievement of the childrne was amazing. Lots of ideas spinning round in my head about how I am going to plan so any ideas warmly welcomed!!

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Hi

will try to post in a filled in copy may take a couple of days. I fill in the first half of each page in advance and the evaluation etc daily.

I can get through my adult focused activities because we are a foundation Unit, my nursery nurse is the Key worker for some of my class and I plan seperate carpet sessions and focused activities for her group of children. I plan for the most able and middle achieving FS2 The least able of my reception children are grouped with more able nursery children and the Nursery teacher plans carpet and focused group sessions for them.

You are not thick ISP stands for Intensive support programme. We have to set curricular targets each half term does not really work in Foundation Stage but some times it is easier just to do it

 

 

hi, am setting up a foundation unit, so reception and pre school will work together in the same room. is this who you work? if so where abouts is your setting and would it be possible for myself and the teacher to come and visit your setting please :o

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Guest littlemissblonde
hi, am setting up a foundation unit, so reception and pre school will work together in the same room. is this who you work? if so where abouts is your setting and would it be possible for myself and the teacher to come and visit your setting please :o

We are in North tyneside Tyne and wear and you would be welcome to visit

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Just thought I'd draw your attention to one of the articles on the site entitled 'Child initiated Learning' - very interesting! I'm going to pass it on to my head and senior leadership team and see if it makes them wake up!

 

Also, was in Birmingham this weekend, where i used to work. Birmingham has a good reputation for being quite forward thinking in terms of Early Years. Anyway, a friend of mine has just been appointed the role of Early Years consultant, which she starts in September. I was trying to pick her brains (we were on a night out, so had to chat quickly before we'd had too much to drink!!), and she mentioned about not planning through topics and also planning in Reception as they do in Nursery. Starting with observations, looking at children's interests and then planning around that, so you essentially have VERY open planning that is constantly changing depending on what direction the children go in. Am definitely gonna be changing my practise, and I'll just have to get all the documentation to back me up.

 

I feel like a woman on a mission!! :o

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I don't prepare the children for year 1. Instead have pushed y1 to become more like foundation stage . Children who have not reached the ELG have to be taught from EYFs document. I am lucky to have a very supportive head who does not really understand EYFS but is happy to trust me and back me up. What will You do if The SIP likes the literacy Hour as they could be just as clueless

 

 

I may have to ask if she has any specialism in Early Years before I go ahead with doing a Literacy hour for her visit. Because if she likes the Literacy hour then I will definitely be up the proverbial creek!! And I will have shot myself in the foot! Too much to think about!

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Guest littlemissblonde
Just thought I'd draw your attention to one of the articles on the site entitled 'Child initiated Learning' - very interesting! I'm going to pass it on to my head and senior leadership team and see if it makes them wake up!

 

Also, was in Birmingham this weekend, where i used to work. Birmingham has a good reputation for being quite forward thinking in terms of Early Years. Anyway, a friend of mine has just been appointed the role of Early Years consultant, which she starts in September. I was trying to pick her brains (we were on a night out, so had to chat quickly before we'd had too much to drink!!), and she mentioned about not planning through topics and also planning in Reception as they do in Nursery. Starting with observations, looking at children's interests and then planning around that, so you essentially have VERY open planning that is constantly changing depending on what direction the children go in. Am definitely gonna be changing my practise, and I'll just have to get all the documentation to back me up.

 

I feel like a woman on a mission!! :o

You sound very enthusiastic go for it. I do what your friend says and have an evolving medium term plan with an umberella heading I always start with ourselves in September but this can go in a number of different directions and gives me ideas for future learning. My medium term planning contains the skills the children will be learning rather than knowledge. I have just revamped, from a format found on the tes as I taught through topics. That was me being a control freak and wanting everything planned for and resourced in advance. I have learned to embrace the organised chaos and live in a pink cloud

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You sound very enthusiastic go for it. I do what your friend says and have an evolving medium term plan with an umberella heading I always start with ourselves in September but this can go in a number of different directions and gives me ideas for future learning. My medium term planning contains the skills the children will be learning rather than knowledge. I have just revamped, from a format found on the tes as I taught through topics. That was me being a control freak and wanting everything planned for and resourced in advance. I have learned to embrace the organised chaos and live in a pink cloud

 

 

I did think about my medium term planning and thought I would try - like you - to look at skills rather than knowledge so that I can at least make sure I am covering what I need to.

 

I think pink clouds are definitely the way to go, and chaos is often much more fun!! :(

 

Am in the middle of writing reports and got so bored xD the other night that I branched out and started thinking about September's planning. Was thinking of having a 3 week rolling programme:

 

Week 1 - Tch and TA observe each child for one hour as uninterrupted as possible (ahem!), to track interests etc. Use this info to plan for next week.

Week 2 - have 2 or 3 activities that have been planned for (maybe 1 each of CLL, PSRN and KUW) based around majority interests from previous week and led by an adult. Children are invited to take part if they wish, and permitted to take the activity in their own direction - planning to be very loose with Intended Learning Outcomes and Possible Learning Outcomes. Adult's role is to facilitate further learning and knowledge acquisition. Meanwhile the other adult plays alongside and with the other children in their own initiated play, intervening as necessary, but must have a clear understanding of the children and the skills that individuals need to develop - maybe by focussing on specific children.

Week 3 - observations made during adult playing with children in their own initiated activities then needs to inform planning for some small group focussed work that is adult led, concentrating on specific skills.

 

Then the process starts all over again. These are my initial thoughts, but maybe I am trying to achieve too much, and be too regimented. :o I don't know how well this will work, so any thoughts and suggestions are greatly welcomed!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok - so having read this thread - now very concerned that my class is very organised - possibly (probably) way waytoo much. the conrol freak inside of me is still struggling with all of this.

 

I like the idea of observing the children play

 

'Week 1 - Tch and TA observe each child for one hour as uninterrupted as possible (ahem!), to track interests etc. Use this info to plan for next week.'

 

(sorry don't know how to quote)

but what would you do? basically how would you arrange your classroom? i was planning on doing harry and his bucketfull of dinosuars in septemeber. So I would have a home corner ( not related i know) but then have dinosuar jigsawa, dinosaurs and buckets, dinosuars in the tough spot etc. (Actually I am that sad i would plan a full 4 week topic, knowing practically every lesson from day - but at least i am letting up now, and only thinking of ideas of where to take it, and only planning week 1 - but i have a feeling that even this might be a bit too controlling - help!)

 

But if i wanted to track interests would I do this, and then see where the children take it for next week - or (very scarily) set up nothing in the morning, and let them totally choose what to play with?

 

I'm sorry if i sound stupid - this is my first full year with reception - I'm the only teacher, and I really don't get it. (I'm too controlling, and used to planning to the last minute of everyday)

 

Would this also mean that actually planning would be done daily?

 

thanks

 

Emily

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Guest littlemissblonde

It is hard to ignore the control freak the pink cloud is very useful.

I am dividing my class into two key worker groups ,four if I include the fs1 children(we are a unit). I am planning for the two most able groups and the nursery teacher for thetwo fs1 groups which will include the least able fs2 children. This will include carpet, small focus groups and observations- .

Ok - so having read this thread - now very concerned that my class is very organised - possibly (probably) way waytoo much. the conrol freak inside of me is still struggling with all of this.

 

I like the idea of observing the children play

 

'Week 1 - Tch and TA observe each child for one hour as uninterrupted as possible (ahem!), to track interests etc. Use this info to plan for next week.'

 

(sorry don't know how to quote)

but what would you do? basically how would you arrange your classroom? i was planning on doing harry and his bucketfull of dinosuars in septemeber. So I would have a home corner ( not related i know) but then have dinosuar jigsawa, dinosaurs and buckets, dinosuars in the tough spot etc. (Actually I am that sad i would plan a full 4 week topic, knowing practically every lesson from day - but at least i am letting up now, and only thinking of ideas of where to take it, and only planning week 1 - but i have a feeling that even this might be a bit too controlling - help!)

 

But if i wanted to track interests would I do this, and then see where the children take it for next week - or (very scarily) set up nothing in the morning, and let them totally choose what to play with?

 

I'm sorry if i sound stupid - this is my first full year with reception - I'm the only teacher, and I really don't get it. (I'm too controlling, and used to planning to the last minute of everyday)

 

Would this also mean that actually planning would be done daily?

 

thanks

 

Emily

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  • 3 weeks later...

To be honest I'm pretty controlling at the moment too, which is why I want to change my practise. I think there needs to be a balance, and as long as your observation has purpose - i.e. you know what you want to get out of it - then I think it's okay to be a bit more free with your planning.

 

In answer to your question, about planning daily, then the answer would probably be yes, because I'd have thought you should be constantly evaluating what is happening, what is working, whether the children are getting anything out of the activities, and whether they are developing their skills. To be quite honest I have no idea if any of this is going to work, but I really want to give it a go. I am not sure about the logistics of it all, but time will tell! And being less rigid can only be a good thing, because it's all about 'assessment for learning', and if you don't allow for change, then you're not taking into account what is in the best interests of the children and their learning.

 

I have always planned very tightly in the past - ever since my training as a teacher 6 years ago - but from talking to different people and reading the various posts on here, I am drawn to the conclusion that there is no need to be so rigid. I plan to spend a good deal of time in the Autumn term getting the children familiar with the resources in the classroom and where they are kept, and that will allow them to be more independent in their play/learning, and then I can concentrate on planning small group acitivities that address the learning needs of specific children.

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Guest LornaW

I know this doesn't help but the only format that works is one that is meaningful to you and that you are comfortable with. I reckon if there was an ideal format it would be out there but as we are all different then so are the formats. for me a day book is my best friend. Plan on the left page and evaluations on the right ready to paln for the next day!

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ok, so I get the idea of planning daily, and taking the lead from the children (this despite planning to cover dinosaurs in september - though a big group of the children enjoyed playing with them on induction)

but... does this not take a lot of time outside of school everyday, doing the planning, making resources to match?

 

Sorry I know everyone probably knows all this, but I feel so out of my depths - am desperate to do it right, without admitting to my school I haven't taught reception much, and so don't know what to do.

 

Would you sugget then, letting the children chose the resources they want to play with, and have some already set up? and then plan for adult led activities for the following day based upon the activities the children chose?

 

thanks

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Guest LornaW

At child initiated time the whole environment is on offer to tthe children to do with and play with as they wish and I would never set up activities at this time.

 

Teacher directed and teacher initiated activities will be planned for and very many of these becasue of observations I have made in child initiated. After these sessions i will leave the resources in the environment in the hope that the children will then incorporate this into their play. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

 

I think in EYFS we do spend a lot of time resourcing the environment and making amendments to our planniing in the light of observations which is why I prefer a day book.

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At child initiated time the whole environment is on offer to tthe children to do with and play with as they wish and I would never set up activities at this time.

 

Teacher directed and teacher initiated activities will be planned for and very many of these becasue of observations I have made in child initiated. After these sessions i will leave the resources in the environment in the hope that the children will then incorporate this into their play. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

 

I think in EYFS we do spend a lot of time resourcing the environment and making amendments to our planniing in the light of observations which is why I prefer a day book.

 

 

Lorna W, the way you have described your planning is what I'm aspiring to, and I really like your idea of a "day book". Is it literally a book that you write in, or do you type anything up (something I'm in the habit of doing). Out of interest are you a Reception or Nursery teacher? Also what do you do in the way of Medium Term planning? Do you have any examples of your planning? I'm always interested in what other people do.

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Guest LornaW

ronald78 I am no longer in the classroom and work for the advisory service but this works for nursery, reception and further up the school.

 

It is literaly a book and certainly not typed up just hand writtten. I used to to treat myself to a nice A4 book from paperchase or some other good store!

 

Write your plans on the left hand side of the page and reflections on the day on the right hand side so that each day builds on from the other. After observations on the children interests or after introducing an idea I will brain storm with them on what they know about an idea, theme, topic with a mind map and then ask them what they would like to know about this and add that to the mind map and this is where my medium term plan will begin.Then for me the daily plans are the most important as each day I am building on from my observations.

 

My weekly routine is important also as this gives me a structure to adult led and child initiated times over the course of a day and week.

 

I think sometimes we over plan and this can hinder our ability to respond to the needs of the children.

 

If your leadership team want to see the weekly plan then the best thing is to give it in at the end of a week and this can be photocpied pages bacause you can have a wonderful weeklyu plan on a Sunday night and it can all go pear shaped on a Monday becasue of something totally unpredicted that happened - whereas looking at the daily plans and how the reflection on these plans has uinfrmed your future planning enables other to see how you have met the needs of the children.

 

My personl thoughts and it worked for me which is why in my first post I metioned that I don't think there is one foolproof way to plan but I do know that in 'Failing to plan we are planning to fail' as the old military saying goes!!!!

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Thank goodness for you all.... it's quite a relief in a way to hear the discussions because my head is spinning with which way to go next year with my planning and it appears I'm not alone! Thats a comforting feeling!

Have got as far as my TA timetable so far. At a minimum there will be 4 adults in my R/Y1 class at any one time due to all statements (all part time due to allocated hours for each child), 5 on a Thurs!, .....so am trying to think of best way to put it all on paper so everyone can sort out where they are and what they are supposed to be doing... me included! I will have one general TA but they will no doubt spend alot of their time filling in the missing hours for the SEN children.

Not sure A3 sheet will be big enough!!!!

 

PS big thanks to all who share their resources,

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Thank goodness for you all.... it's quite a relief in a way to hear the discussions because my head is spinning with which way to go next year with my planning and it appears I'm not alone! Thats a comforting feeling!

Have got as far as my TA timetable so far. At a minimum there will be 4 adults in my R/Y1 class at any one time due to all statements (all part time due to allocated hours for each child), 5 on a Thurs!, .....so am trying to think of best way to put it all on paper so everyone can sort out where they are and what they are supposed to be doing... me included! I will have one general TA but they will no doubt spend alot of their time filling in the missing hours for the SEN children.

Not sure A3 sheet will be big enough!!!!

 

PS big thanks to all who share their resources,

 

 

 

Love your reply and yes we are swimming in bits of paper for all the TA support (for statememnts) in our classes these days!! Find daily planning quite time consuming but also very rewarding as well planned adult time reaps very big rewards and when all adults are working to their plans you know that mega learning is going on in the room at lots of different levels and that makes it all worthwhile and satisfying:) :)

Redbase

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