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How Much 'topic' Work Do You Plan For Each Day?


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I really struggle with my short term planning, knowing how many 'topic' activities, be it adult lead or child lead, to set out each week. We have an interest table linked to the topic but I find that I tend to plan for the role play area to be linked to the topic and a couple of adult lead activities each week. I feel I should be offering topic based activities daily but do struggle to think of enough to offer. But then I think that if our settings are suppose to be mainly child initiated then just a small injection of topic based activities is enough - just to introduce them to new experiences.

 

Oh I don't like topics :o

 

ppp

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Well there are usually a couple of interests going on - take last week, some girls were really interested in some birds outside, now I knew they were sparrows but the children didn't so I suggest we go and have a look in the book. As we're obviously doing something we get a 'tail' of more children and before long we've the bird spotters guide out and the sets of binoculars. Paintings, drawings, models,sticking and looking at feathers follow over the next few days.

At the same time there's interest going on with some others in the water tray - they are exploring capacity and another adult takes this group of children long their own learning path with that theme.

Some of the older children are wanting to know what everything is called in French - that's a very loose theme that is ongoing as we look at words for water, and for birds etc in French.

Other children are still exploring the properties of magnets. This is something they became interested in before half term and are still exploring.

Does this help at all?

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Thank you Cait it does but how do you do your long/medium term planning if no specific topic to plan around as a guide?

 

Sorry for all the questions

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I would agree with everything that Cait has said - we work along the same lines.

 

During this past week we have had a couple of 'adult led' activities - but in response to current interests - we made robots cut from card - joined arms and legs with split pin fasteners (so that they moved) - no one 'required' to take part but all chose to!

 

We have also made little 'planting and growing' books - this linked with recent planting activities - again all children very keen to take part!

 

Our EYAT advised us that "your environment is your long term plan" - I would agree with that wholeheartedly - continuous provision sheets are 'on display' in each area and copies included in 'planning' file.

 

Hope that helps - would add we haven't had an inspection under EYFS - so hope this will get their approval!!!!

 

Sunnyday

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I too do pretty much the same thing. Most of our planning comes from key person individual planning or continuous provision. However we do have a 'medium term plan' which we link to developmental areas rather than topics. Each term we focus on sub groups within each area of each learning (ie PSRN - Calculating/Shape, Space and Measures, KUW - ICT/Exploration). Each week we then concentrate on one area and try to ensure that either a focus activity linked to this area is planned or that there are lots of resources linked to this area available during the week. We also try to match yearly events to a related area of learning (ie our annual Shoebox Packing for Rumanian families would link with KUW- Communities).We have a blank 'Focus Sheet' which we fill in with pre-planned and occasionally unplanned (evolving) activities/resources . We find this helps with observations and since we know in advance what areas we are looking at we can (not always but occasionally) include activities to link with home or ask for suggestions (via newsletters notice board) from parents.

 

I am not sure I am explaining this very well so am attaching our Focus Sheet which might help?

Activity_Web__NEW_spring__2_09.doc

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Understood your reply without any problem Val and really liked your 'sheet' - I have a similar sheet (not as 'pretty' as yours, hmmm......may have to steal that!!!) I use mine retrospectively - but I do also have a very simple 'planning' sheet - not much detail recorded on there - it has - day, date, continous provision + and then I fill in any pre-planned activities, enhancements - this has passed EYAT scrutiny - wil have to wait for the big O to approve - or not - as the case may be!!!

 

This is quite a departure from my old style of planning - so it's reassuring to read that others are taking a similar approach.

 

Hope ppp will find this all useful!

 

Sunnyday

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I hope so too and feel free to 'steal' whatever you like. I have picked up loads of ideas from this website and like most of you can't turn on the PC without having a 'forum post'check.

 

I also have an annual provision check list which I am attaching. Whilst I am a great advocate of child initiated/ observation led provision I just find this additional focus helpful and it ensures that we do regularly look at all development areas (in some way) over the term/year.

Long_Term_Planning.xls

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Thank you everyone. Your methods sound like they're a good thing but sadly I don't fully understand - probably because I've only been planning for pre-school for a short time. Planning has always been a weak spot for me.

 

Thank you anyway,

 

ppp

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Thank you everyone. Your methods sound like they're a good thing but sadly I don't fully understand - probably because I've only been planning for pre-school for a short time. Planning has always been a weak spot for me.

 

Thank you anyway,

 

ppp

 

Sorry - ppp - which 'bits' don't you understand - let us know and I'm sure we can help.

 

Sunnyday

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Our planning seems to be an amalgamation of all three!!

 

Simply put we have a LTP - similar to valp.

Linked to festivals and events this has an even coverage of all six areas equally. We also use this to help initial set up of room. For example if the weeks LTP is- say CLL 'handwrting'.... we would make sure lots of 'extra' handwriting opportunities are out as well as any follwing children's interests.

 

For our group this means that our less confident staff' have a focus on what to observe, and I know that over the course of a year all areas will have been observered.

 

 

Like Cait, much of our day-to-day planning is following the children's interests, we have a lot of interest in trees at the moment.

 

 

So, as Sunnyday says we then plan 'acitivities' around these interests- tomorrow we are doing leaf printing.

 

 

We do one adult led 'arty type' activity a day......... if not linked directly to children's leads (like tomorrows leaf printing)- then basic favorites such as spaghetti or bubble painting. We encourage all children to 'have a go' but they are never forced.

Staff used to call this creative...but personally I don't think it's 100% creative so I call it the art area!.

 

Staff are free to observe anything needed for keychildren and will set up room accordlingly each session. We have the LTP planning aims just to ensure that all areas are covered over the year.

 

ohpps fogot to add we don't have actual 'topics' other than festivals......... but we do have little themes, such as trees but they may only last a day or so, but sometimes much longer.

xxxxx

Edited by louby loo
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we do very similair... long term plan with festivals, staff meetings, nights out etc... also have continous provison plans like others have pinned up around the setting and a copy in planning folder.

 

we no longer do a medium term plan

 

back in september we were completely child initiated when it came to themes.... we would go with what they were interested in... this lasted till march, then we found we weren't covering anything new... so we have started doing mini themes which the children are loving....at the moment we are doing under the sea......this has introduced alot of new language, and new ideas.... and the children are really interested in, we then take their lead once the adult has introduced it.... hope this makes sense...

 

we also do 2 adult focus activities a week...

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we to work along the same lines as cait we have no set topic we go with childrens interests and could have a few things going on at a time

 

we do not do medium plans have not done so for the last 3 or so years, waste of a good tree in my opinion

 

i do long term and weekly

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I like the idea of no med term planning - my FS lady said to do them! I feel that my planning needs a good overhaul during the summer hols. Thanks for all your ideas, good to read them.

 

ppp

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hi, just been reading about the topics, in my seting which is a private school, i teach the toddler class( 2-3 yr olds). i always have planned topics that we work to, which we then focus the adult led activities around which is normally 1 a day and the topic will last around a term depending on the children. now im getting a little worried as i think we might be visted by ofstead soon, and should we be doing'topics'? please can someone give me some advice as ive never been seen by ofstead, only been taching a year.

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Welcome amylou. I think that however you plan for your children, as long as it is rooted in the principles of EYFS you will be fine. Many people are still 'doing' topics and as long as you are tying these in with the children's interests or you can demonstrate how you are planning for their interests in other areas then Ofsted should be ok with it. However, as we so often discuss here, what is 'right' with one Ofsted inspector unfortunately isn't always with another.

 

Whatever you do, if you can justify your methodology and reasoning properly you should be fine. If you have only been teaching for a year does that mean you still have links to your supporter/advisor - they would be the people who can look at your planning and tell you what they think Ofsted will say.

 

Congratulations on your first post

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I also have an annual provision check list which I am attaching. Whilst I am a great advocate of child initiated/ observation led provision I just find this additional focus helpful and it ensures that we do regularly look at all development areas (in some way) over the term/year.

Long_Term_Planning.xls

 

Sorry to take this topic back a few steps but can I just ask, valp59, do you have a way of evaluating this long term plan or showing that you have covered all of the areas in the long term plan?

 

I know that in reality they will all be covered every day but we have to put that on paper somehow don't we?

 

I hate this aspect of childcare. I can feel my anxiety levels rising every time I think about adding a layer to my planning and evaluation!

Edited by AlisonP
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i use a copy of the children's assessment records to record which areas have been planned for, when we specifially cover an area it gets highlighted and the date put against it, if it gets covered again whether as specific or linked to another that date also goes next to it, this can easily be crossed refrenced with planning sheet for that week to see what was done/how it was covered, it also shows up which areas/statements are not being adequatley addressed, if a statement is covered by continuous provision that gets recorded next to it also.

 

hope that makes sense.

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I started my children's centre post last week and I have been thrown in the deep end literally. I am an NQT which they know and when I think of planning I think of paper, lots and lots of paper. At the moment the interest is going to school (which has been since easter - too long in my opinion but anyway) the NN informed me that mark making is a big issue and that the boys do not mark mark as much as what they should be doing.

 

So, the activities I did were;

 

Day one: Using paints and then the children ran toy cars over the paint to make a pattern and placed paper on top to print.

 

Day two: I placed wallpaper on the floor and the children were able to use pencils etc to make the marks on the paper.

 

Day Three: Toothpaste and using toothbrushes to make a varitey of marks

 

But how do I plan for this? Do I have to write it out? Like the old days? Full sheet - tick CLL and Creative then write what resources and what will happen step by step and what questions will be asked....

 

or do I just make a grid and place toothpaste mark marking under the activity I do on tuesday - if that makes sense. The nursery is lost on planning and no one seems to know what is happening...I want to get clear my self before I plan ideas.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Welcome amylou. I think that however you plan for your children, as long as it is rooted in the principles of EYFS you will be fine. Many people are still 'doing' topics and as long as you are tying these in with the children's interests or you can demonstrate how you are planning for their interests in other areas then Ofsted should be ok with it. However, as we so often discuss here, what is 'right' with one Ofsted inspector unfortunately isn't always with another.

 

Whatever you do, if you can justify your methodology and reasoning properly you should be fine. If you have only been teaching for a year does that mean you still have links to your supporter/advisor - they would be the people who can look at your planning and tell you what they think Ofsted will say.

 

Congratulations on your first post

many thanks cait, after looking back at my topics and using the childrens learning journals my topics seem to be helping the children and opening thier eyes to other things rather than just 'cars'.

i dont have an advisor, but have a manger who is very old school and doesnt like new ideas, so ive been teaching myself how to manage planning etc. hopefully will be fine with ofstead who are coming in september so at least a have time to prepare, i lovely summer hoilday for me.

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  • 1 month later...

Coming back to this thread.....

 

My LTP is now like the example on this thread- which makes so much sense!

 

If others use this method and also do MTP- how does your MTP come from the LTP?

I've done it as: eg for Autumn 1, within each development matters area - taken 2 statements (as I have 2 age stages) for each week. then done this for every area of learning. But it seems to be such a lengthy process and I'm making so much work for myself.

 

Does this make any sense?

 

ppp

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Thinking about it - I could have one DM statement for younger age one week and a DM statement for the older age the next week and alternate it? So only think of one statment each week per area which is a mix of ages.

 

:o

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This will be my first job as Manager so I have yet to put into practice all that I have learned. However, we will be planning similar to SimCity. I plan to have a balance of AI and CI (I think the balance will vary from day to day, week to week). I do understand and very much agree with child initiated learning, at the same time how do children know if they are interested in something if they don't know about it. Some children may not have had broad experiences. If children in our setting last year had not had the opportunity to whittle elder with a potato peeler or saw wood how would they know that they loved it.

 

We have a very broad theme of Autumn for this next half-term and staff have brainstormed possible activities/experiences for children whilst observing children's interests and needs and following their lead. We hope to stimulate their interest by having an interest table, going on walks to experience their natural environment, reading the story of the Little Red Hen and then offering baking bread as an activity etc.

 

I think that our continuous provision and our themes should cover all of the ELG over a year. My LTP is continuous provision, a calander of events, festivals, celebrations etc, the EYFS highlighted to show which goals have been covered each term, thereby highlighting any gaps which can be specifically planned for.

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