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Is There Anyone Brave Enough?


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I wonder if anyone is brave enough to plan for the here and now?

 

I would really love to be able to start the week with conversations with parents/carers and children about the things each child has been doing/is interested in over the weekend. Then I would like to plan activities based on this information and enhacing our continuous provision. The observations and evauation of the day would then inform next steps for the next day linked with another conversation with parents/carers and children the next day.

 

Basically I would like to use three columns;

 

1 Child's interests from conversations.

2 How can I build on/develop these interests.

3 How did it go and what needs taking forward.

 

The only thing that holds me back is the differing abilities of my staff, some I know would be able to embrace this idea as they really know their key children where others have the attitude that they do obervations and hold conversations because they have to. The big worry is the variation in the "quality" experiences that each child will be given.

 

Does anyone do something like this? If so did you have the same/similar reservations as I do when you started? and how did you overcome these?

 

I would really welcome your views and experiences. Just to let you know its a full day nursery that I run with children ranging from just under 1 year old to 4 years. I have six staff working various hours and days each have 5-6 key children and they all have half a day non contact time.

 

Thanks in anticipation of some thought provoking replies.

 

BMG :o

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Basically I would like to use three columns;

 

1 Child's interests from conversations.

2 How can I build on/develop these interests.

3 How did it go and what needs taking forward.

I like this very much, BMG! You have pared down the whole process into a few key questions - wonder how it would work in practice?

 

Our observation and planning systems are very similar: what did the observation tell me about this chid, what can I do to support the child take this interest further and who else needs to be involved? These plans are then left open until the child has moved on to something else, when the cycle starts all over again.

 

Maz

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This might be a starting point....WEEKLY_PLANNING_blank_09.doc

 

quick talk through what we do

 

first Column

following general observations of the sessions we would pick out some key points or interests from the children (you could stick post-it notes from observations here) we use about 3 per week

 

second column

note how we might enhance the exsisting provision (there is no intention to fill in every box in this column just those relevant that week) there is already a wide variety of resourses in these area and continuous provision planning sheets for each area so no need to plan something specific to enhance every area every week

 

third column

any additional special activities, special requestsfrom the children or focus activities

 

then at the bottom - notes and next steps

 

you can use different coloured highlighter pens to distinguish what activites link to which observation

 

Hope that helps or gives you some ideas

Edited by Alison
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It sounds wonderful but I just wonder how it would work in practice on a Monday morning? Would your staff have time to talk to the parents in enough depth and would the parents be happy to spend this time, or would they rather just 'dump and run'?

 

Essentially though you have summed up what planning is all about in its simplest form. And why complicate it if there is no need to!! :o

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It sounds wonderful but I just wonder how it would work in practice on a Monday morning? Would your staff have time to talk to the parents in enough depth and would the parents be happy to spend this time, or would they rather just 'dump and run'?

 

Perhaps I should have given a little more background info before I started this thread. We have worked hard to get our parents to take home and use their childs "little book" over the weekend; we have also encouraged them to make the effort to get here with time to spare and to spend about 10 minutes with us/their child before leaving; so we do get the opportunity on the whole. In fact they also include photos as they know we will include these in the Learning Journey folders, that their contribution is really valued.

 

My big problem with this idea is that I know some staff will do "just enough" and no more. How can I ensure consistency without the big weekly planning meeting and all staff contributing to a lengthy document that maps out the whole week ahead?

 

Thanks for the replies so far, you are really getting my little brain cells going!

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Hi there BMG. I think working wth the staff on this would be no different to working with the staff on anything else really, whether it be organizational issues, continuous provision or developing areas, even the planning you do currently, wold probably be done to different degrees by different staff according to their levels of knowledge experience motivation etc.

 

Is there any way you could have a staff meeting on this to share your thoughts and get reactions, thinking about any barriers they may come up with and how to address them? It may be that some staff dont have confidence in which case you would need to think about how your support them to develop that confidence eg through modeling or buddying up with a colleague. This may also then become part of your supervisions or appraisal systems.

 

Some people just dont like change, they find it uncomfortable, and will always prefer the 'we've always done it this way' approach. But if what you want to do is better for the children, then you cant let that stand in your way. If the majority are on boards then it becomes easier to make changes as they will support it. Its all part of developing our leadership skills isnt it?

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I think your worry is justified. I have a member of staff who used to be brilliant - in fact she's been with me from the start, but just this last term or so she's done 'just enough' and it's evident from looking at her observations and records - which I'd not kept on top of as I thought she'd be doing loads as usual. What IS evident is that I'll need to be doing some in-house training in the first few meetings to 'bring her up to speed' as it were. Luckily we have an NVQ student so it can be a general discussion and it won't look like I'm trying to teach established staff how to 'suck eggs'!

 

Obviously I'm going to need to check her things more frequently. Possibly putting sheets like the one above on the wall so that it's more obvious, that way it's immediately visible to us all and we can start to get her working better.

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I think Mundia and Cait have hit the nail on the head here. It seems to be that I am questioning staff abilities and their confidence in their role as well as my questioning my confidence in what I think they are capable of. I might "trial" this for a couple of weeks before the term starts again with each staff member trying it out on just one child, this would keep it manageable so that I could support each individual. What do you all think? It is ethical isn't it to experiment?

 

Thanks for your comments so far I appreciate the debate. :o

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A trial would be a good idea for everybody. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine how something works without actually 'doing' and it will also help to illuminate the pros and cons. This way, any future meetings to discuss it will be based more on fact rather than supposition and guesswork! You may find that those you were most worried about take to it really well, and it is others who struggle more.

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The system we use now was trialled on one child per keyperson using the new and old side by side. We did this for roughly a week short of the first half term and then held a good discussion in the week before the break so I could get all the documents together over the holiday. It's changed a little bit since then of course - I think it should too, as we see better ways to do things.

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...mmmm....interesting format....trouble is everytime I come on this forum I keep seeing better/different ways and it's really difficult to ascertain which will work ....guess like some have said it's suck it and see...thanks for sharing.. :oxD:(

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Really interesting!!

I think its a great idea and a great opportunity for staff to follow and support children individually.With some support and guidance it should work. I have found that staff actually lack confidence when there is no specific plans, however what it has done for me is to build an even stronger staff team that support one another and me!.

My problem is that we have children coming and going at different times. So it would make it hard to start the week of it the same way as BMG.

Role play can oftern be my worry?!? What to have and what to do!

Will follow this with interest xx

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In a reception class you would have the benefit of having all the children in, all the time. They'd be 'split' according to ability I would have thought, so there'd be discrete groups within the class, rather than by age. Preschool is made more difficult by children being in at different times, so the flow can get 'interrupted', if you know what I mean

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In a reception class you would have the benefit of having all the children in, all the time. They'd be 'split' according to ability I would have thought, so there'd be discrete groups within the class, rather than by age. Preschool is made more difficult by children being in at different times, so the flow can get 'interrupted', if you know what I mean

I see what you mean, Cait. One of the tricky things, I suppose - obvious, really, about EYFS is the huge difference between all the different setiings that implement it.

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Really interesting!!

I think its a great idea and a great opportunity for staff to follow and support children individually.With some support and guidance it should work. I have found that staff actually lack confidence when there is no specific plans, however what it has done for me is to build an even stronger staff team that support one another and me!.

 

I think your point about lacking confidence without having specific written plans is spot on. This is the bit I am worried about because for some if its not written down in black and white then they won't do it if they can get away with it. I look forward to giving it a fair trial and hope that it will as you say strengthen the team.

 

Thank you all for aiding my thought processes :o

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Before opening I discuss with staff their intentions and we set up accordingly. Allot of my plans are retrospective and i do have a sheet with children's interest for all to fill in, which works well. Although we all have key children we still write obs on any child if we see hear anything to support key worker.

Good luck its all trial and error. x

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do you have a circle time during the session? we use that to aske the children about what they have been doing and what they would like to do that can be scribbled on the planning retrospective

 

we have been enjoying out first summer scheme and the whole of the planning has been done at the end of the session with the children at carpet time I have sat with a notepad and ask the children if there was anything they have enjoyed today and if there is something they want to do tomorrow its worked really well, I think its important for the older childen in the group to know that their ideas are being valued it was easy to add to the planning as it is more a working document than and timetable of planning

could you do something on these lines? plan a day in advance,

 

I know what you mean about some staff find it hard without planning in place we spent most of last year with hardly any formal planning and much that it was nice to "wing it" during sessions and go with the flow of childrens interests, in many aspects it didnt flow because everyone was doing their own thing rather than working as a team.

 

Its so difficult to find a happy balance between child initiated retrospective planning and resisting the urge to make the planning more prescriptive to keep the staff on track as a team

Edited by Alison
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Really interesting!!

 

Role play can oftern be my worry?!? What to have and what to do!

Will follow this with interest xx

 

We have a selection of role play prop boxes that we can just lift out to follow a child's interest. I think quite often we get so hung up about making the role play look correct to an adults eyes we forget that a child's imagination can fill in any gaps and imperfections. The same cardboard box can be a house a car a train a rocket ......the list is endless.

 

We don't work in the same way as BMG is suggesting but we do have days where we arrive with no planning and just go where the children take us (planning on our feet). Then plan the next steps more formally. Should add this happens across year groups not just FS.

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We have a selection of role play prop boxes that we can just lift out to follow a child's interest. I think quite often we get so hung up about making the role play look correct to an adults eyes we forget that a child's imagination can fill in any gaps and imperfections. The same cardboard box can be a house a car a train a rocket ......the list is endless.

 

We don't work in the same way as BMG is suggesting but we do have days where we arrive with no planning and just go where the children take us (planning on our feet). Then plan the next steps more formally. Should add this happens across year groups not just FS.

 

I totally agree with you about role=play, Marion. We had Ofsted in just before Christmas and in our role play area we had a 'nicely set up' stable with props, books, costumes etc alongside our shelves of role play boxes that children freely access as and when they choose to and a set up bed that children used so much for all different kinds of role play that we left it set up. This was separate to the stable - it didn't look overly impressive but was used very imaginatively and constantly by the children. Anyway, Early Years was graded good (rest of school satisfactory overall, so I was pleased) but I want to be outstanding!!! so I asked the inspector to explain what needed to be improved upon to bring the provision up to outstanding. One of the things she commented on was the role play area - she said the stable was lovely but that the bed and clear area wasn't very inspiring. So if we'd just had the stable she would have thought it was a better role play area as the whole thing looked 'nice', whereas we had that and something less attractive to adults' eyes. I explained to her about how it was used - and how the children got such a lot from it being so open-ended, but this wasn't her immediate reaction.

 

Our best roleplay has definitely been that set up by the children with a supportive props provided by us, rather than immaculate role play areas with sparklebox labels etc that take forever to set up and which children then use for whatever role play they choose anyway!

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[quote name='emmajess' date='Aug 17 2009, 10:49' post='2128 One of the things she commented on was the role play area - she said the stable was lovely but that the bed and clear area wasn't very inspiring. So if we'd just had the stable she would have thought it was a better role play area as the whole thing looked 'nice', whereas we had that and something less attractive to adults' eyes. I explained to her about how it was used - and how the children got such a lot from it being so open-ended, but this wasn't her immediate reaction.

 

 

 

It shows lack of understanding from the inspector which I think schools probably get more than other EY settings because unfortunately our inspections are often carried out by people with little knowledge of young children and unless you are confident enough to argue your position you can be marked down for adopting a child centred approach.

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