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Planning, Daily, Weekly, Aaarrrrgghh!


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Please please please help!!

 

Does anyone have a good and workable planning/ timetable system they could share or could someone please shed light on 'best practice!'

 

do people have daily group times, how do you record focused activities??? My planning isnt the same from one week to the next and I never ever plan a whole week out as ch's interest change and I go with that.

 

What I do have are learning obj that I would like to teach that week/ fornight/half termly etc and this is reached through enhanced provision and direct teaching groups.

 

I am just wondering if people find it easier to complete daily plans as opposed to weekly.

 

Please help,I do not want to spend another 3 hours on this laptop re-inventing a planning sheet that someone out there has used, us using

:o

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I see that 81 people have looked, and I couldn't look and not reply :o (add my two-pennorth!)

 

I feel that what you are doing is fairly similar to what I'm doing, in that it's not possible to plan ahead for children's interests to a great extent. We have a long term plan, which is the EYFS framework - and the big O, although a bit taken aback were happy with that! Our MTP is the overview of where the festivals lie over the year so that we can incorporate one if there's a 'lull' in proceedings. STP is the weekly sheet on the wall where we say what we are possibly doing on Monday and Tuesday in line with where we ended up on Friday, but this can easily 'go out of the window' if children charge in on Monday full of ideas of their own. Our latest idea was The Gruffalo as all the children enjoy the story and had seen it over the holidays, but I think all our ideas for things they might like to do are possibly disintegrating before our eyes as we pursue the 'favourite food' angle!

 

I hope this helps you a bit. If you do a forum search you'll find that lots of people have uploaded examples of their planning - but I find that whilst it's nice to look at other peoples, it can make me think 'golly, I'm not doing this much!!' or 'goodness, I'd not realised I should add all that' and quite rapidly it can make me feel inadequate!!! As long as you can explain your planning to someone, and justify the way you do what you do, that's all that matters. At the end of the day, YOU have to work with it, and understand it. There are probably as many different formulas for planning out there as there are settings.

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A fine answer from Cait (as ever)........I would echo all that she has said....and add

 

We were told by an EYAT at a training session that our 'enabling environment' is our Long Term Plan..........

 

I have pretty much 'given up' on Medium Term Plans.........not that I would be bold enough to suggest this is what you should do!

 

We usually start with a weekly plan - which often quickly goes 'out of the window' - so then it is often the case that my 'planning' is actually retrospective as I try to follow children's interests (hmm does that make sense)

 

Each Key person has their own Individual Planning for each of their Key Children - this consists of a 'top sheet' that shows planning stapled to paper on which they record their observations/comments throughout each session - this info. can then be transferred to Learning Journey folders and also used to inform future planning.........again, I wouldn't suggest this is the 'way to do it' - it just works for us!

 

If it's any consolation - I never feel 'on top' of planning xD:o

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We've begun our new term with a new outlook. It is impossible to plan for the interests of the 74 children who come to our setting; because we've been trying to do that we've only touched upon the usual learning experiences such as light and dark, the seasons etc.

This term I decided we'd focus a half term on different celebrations (weddings, christenings, bar mitvah etc) and incorporate lots of different food which we would make together. I've asked families to provide photos of things they deem to be special occasions and celebrations and if they can come and talk about said celebratons. I've also drawn up a list of food we'll be cooking from week to week and asked families to provide some of the ingredients and asked if anyone would like to come in and cook with us they'd be more than welcome.

 

So my medium term plan is celebrations - we don't have any Jehovahs Witnesses - so everyone is included because they all celebrate at least one event, their birthday.

I know it's going back to medium term planning which we weren't suposed to do, but it's still very much child led in that the children tell us their own memories, are acting these out in the role play and extending their learning and knowledge through the resources, each other and through the adult led activities we're providing.

 

We've reflected on the way we were planning, it wasn't working as the interests of the less vocal and enthusiastic were getting missed.

What we are doing in more detail is our key activities - reviewing and reflecting upon how each could've worked better for different children etc.

I think we get too bogged down with worrying about what Ofsted would or wouldn't like instead of looking at our settings and trusting our own judgement. We spend so much time on individual children's files where would we find the time to do daily planning sheets too.

 

I bet you're doing a great job and the children are learning and developing as they should be.

 

Sam

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Well I've just read this and Cait has made me feel guilty for reading and running so thought I'd better reply - although I haven't really got anything to add!! I have ideas that go on my planning sheet but I don't record half of the things we do, I'd be doing 'planning' all the time if I did - I would let you see my planning if I thought it would help, but it doesn''t help me so ... I do lots of annotation so surpose you could say I run with my ideas but plan retrospectively - hope that make a little bit of sense! Cait where does it tell you how many people have read topic?

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Don't feel guilty! I know what it feels like to post a thread and see that loads of people have looked and no-one has answered, that's all. There's no point posting just for posting's sake, but I just wanted to offer some support and what help I could.

 

Here's where you can see how many people have viewed a thread. If you click on 'View New Posts' on the blue bar, you'll get a menu like this

post-13453-1263725598_thumb.jpg

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I've read the thread too and don't want to read and run.

My planning is a mess so don't feel anyone would gain anything from seeing it. It veers from being over prescribed to non existent. I now have a team of totally demotivated staff so don't want to project that negativity onto the Forum!

Posy

 

PS Maybe we could have a competition for the least easily understood planning - bet i'd win

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Many many thanks for those who replied, i was starting to panic by the lack of response.

 

I am happy with my long and medium term planning and I know what learning and development objectives i want to cover that term, in that way it doesnt matter in which topic or theme i visit them in.

 

We have planning for enhanced areas of provision

 

I think I am more uncomfortable with my daily planning e.g. adult directed/led activities.

 

The children arrive at 9.00 and at 9.30 we split into our two carpet groups for register. It is also at this time that I do some teaching, this may be a maths input, circle time, music activity etc etc. I also have an additional adult who is there to either make observations or take a third group for targeting something in particular.

 

During 9.45-11.00, the nursery is then free flow; I have activities that are child initiated and the adults move around the areas of learning. Sometimes, we have an adult led activity; for example this week we are making 3D structures ( clay outdoors and junk materials indoors) so I will plan for an adult to be in these areas. But they are not restricted to stay there if no child visits the activity that session; We don't have tick lists to see who visited as I am avoiding the conveyor belt method of teaching, e.g. everyone makes a model.

 

I guess the question is, do you have a daily teaching input? do you record adult led activiites.

 

Do your key worker's plan activities for their key children?

Has anyone any examples

 

thanks

 

Also.

CanI ask do you plan for certain fixed activities e.g phonics, P.E, ICT ( I have to visit computer suite at school as we only have one computer in our setting)

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Hi lotte -just noticed how similar this thread is to the other one. Not sure if my input will be much help as I'm in Reception. What you're doing sounds like what I've seen happening (and working well) at another school though. They did what you're doing with key workers being available for certain activities if chosen. They also had set times for whole class adult led sessions. Such as P.E, phonics.

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Hi thanks for reply,

 

I think because I worked in reception for three years previous to this job, I am use to planning my sessions with a daily input.

 

I am just trying to find out how and when adults in nursery teach children (small groups) in response to assessments they have made. For example, in my setting I have assessed children in maths and we have two groups, one group largely still working at 30-50 month objectives and one group who are working at 40-60 month objectives. I then enhance my setting indoors and outdoors with activities, resources etc etc to meet these objectives, but i feel that i need to teach these target groups in addition to the enabling environment, so i am just trying to find out when, how often, means of recording, etc etc that other settings plan for small groups;

 

do key workers teach their key children as I dont encourage this as i like children to become familiar with all adults in the setting;

Do key workers identify gaps in learning and next steps and then plan activities for their children?????

 

Dont know whether i am confusing even myself now but know what i mean!!!!!!!!! ha ha

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do these key persons then teach their key children?

 

How do you timetable when they work with their children?

 

sorry to pester but just really interested

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Hi, as usual you've had some really helpful answers here. It has taken me about a year and a half to find myself in a position where I am relatively happy with how we plan. I'm not actually in charge of our setting, but I have a professional interest and lots of experience in early years and so I'm helping our leader to do the planning as she finds it hard to get ideas.

 

What I've come down to is this. I liaise with our leader to talk about what the children's current interests are. I then take those and do a big brainstorm of all the ways the staff could support that interest (I like to think of it as a 'theme'). What I'm mainly focusing on are adult initiated activities (not adult directed) and also thinking about the kind of resources we might need for these activities, and just resources generally around that theme. Although child initiated play is great, they can only initiate around the resources we have provided them with. What has tended to happen at our setting is the same boring toys get wheeled out without any real thought as to what the children get from them.

 

We then sit down together at a planning meeting each week, and the staff pick out a few of the activities I've suggested as a starting point. They use or adapt these, or simply use them as a way to consider what resources to bring in. In theory, staff are meant to bring in their next steps for this meeting but it hasn't happened yet.

 

Our actual daily planning is retrospective - we make rough notes on a large A3 continuous provision sheet to show what we actually did that week. This can then be kept together with the 'theme' to show how the two are related.

 

I'll attach a couple of my 'themes' to this post so you can see what I mean.

 

continuous_provision_sheets___birds_of_a_feather___no_names.doc

continuous_provision_sheets___snowy_week___no_names.doc

 

So, for instance, from the 'snowy week' theme, we ended up focusing on footprints in the snow as this is what the children got really interested in. We did animal tracks using toy animals and paint, then we filled our water tray with snow and did tracks in this. Then the children did tracks using wellies and in the play dough. So, they kind of got to take it in the direction they wanted.

 

The Birds of a Feather theme is for next week (RSPB bird watch week). Since doing that plan, I've been developing the theme into more of an animal rescue one to also appeal to the boys. Again, we're resourcing for those ideas, but then letting the children see where they want to take it.

 

Like others we also have MTP showing festivals.

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this planning can be such a headache, we change the way we do it all the time!! hopefuly one day we will come across a system that works well and everyone understands it! :o

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Exactly! My worry is that it is 'my' planning and 'my' ideas that tend to get cascaded down to everyone else. Most of my staff only work part time so can't even chat together at the end of the day.

I like Suzie's ideas very much as that goes some way to restoring shared ideas and decision making.

I'm confident about what we do and the chdn's progress it's just the setting out of ideas. So thanks Suzie, will be trying your way.

 

Posy

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Hi Posy, glad you found it helpful.

 

Just to update, I have been outside in my garden collecting twigs and sticks for the giant 'nest' idea. It might be that when we present the children with the sticks, they want to do something entirely different with them, we shall see.

 

I'm also going to be setting up a provocation, where various animals need 'rescuing' from places in our setting that are hard to reach. I'm hoping this will inspire the children to think about how to get to them.

 

I've also been thinking about making some giant eggs to go in the nest, so that might lead us into some papier mache around balloons. Once you get started there are so many options!

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thanks for sharing your planning, it is reassuring to know it isnt just me!!!! I think I am panicking for no reason. We do something similar related to children's interest and complete an enhancement overview sheet.

 

thanks again :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Trish,

That's a tricky one isn't it? What sort of setting are you in, and how many children/staff? Who has asked you to do four and why, and have they given any indication of the areas of learning they want you to address? How many do you usually do?

 

Sorry for all the questions but the answers might help us to come up with something :o

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Who has actually asked you to do 4 focus activities? I was originally told to change the focus activity each day by an advisor but it really didn't work.It all depends on the attendence patterns of the children. If I had the same children attending for 4 sessions throughout the week I would use the same focus activity for 2/3 days and maybe add enhancments and different resouces if necessary. Children often need to go back on an activity to consolidate their earning.

We aim to get each child to take part in focus activity and if they are really engrossed in their play on that day we wouldn't interupt them on that day anyway.

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Hi Lotte,

I also work in a school Nursery and have tried various different ways of planning since I started a couple of years ago.

Last year, I decided to try having focused activity time - where all the children do a focused activity at the same time everyday. Sometimes this is in a small group with their key person, sometimes whole group e.g. P.E., Music etc. If the children are working in the key groups we tend to do different activities on different days due to the resources. If the activity is ony appropriate for a very small group e.g. 3-6, we would carry this over 2 days, asking the other half of the group to do something teacher-initiated, that's related to the learning. This is working really well - it means that we are much more relaxed during CI time & are all available to support & extend play and do observations. It is much easier to run the outdoor area as free-flow as well. This way of working also ensures that all the children get a chance to do the focused activity without pulling them away from CI play (which I really try to avoid) and that those few children who always seem to slip through the net are also given the opportunity.

I always plan for the week ahead, often changing activities as we go along depending on what is working well etc. We also plan our enhancements to the continuous provision across the 6 areas of learning - some linked to weekly/medium-term objectives, some to individual needs & interests and some that are thematic.

I also plan for a short phonics session each day and do songs & rhymes (including number rhymes) first thing in a morning (which is linked to phonics). Sometimes I do a short whole class introduction to the activities e.g. showing children the work of an artist before they have a chance to respond to their work. We finish the morning on the carpet - story-time, news sharing, show & tell etc again only short. The carpet sessions are included as part of my Routines continuous provision sheet so they are not always planned for separately.

I hope this helps. I think you have to find what works for your setting and your cohort - what works one year doesn't always work the next.

Green Hippo

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Who has actually asked you to do 4 focus activities? I was originally told to change the focus activity each day by an advisor but it really didn't work.It all depends on the attendence patterns of the children. If I had the same children attending for 4 sessions throughout the week I would use the same focus activity for 2/3 days and maybe add enhancments and different resouces if necessary. Children often need to go back on an activity to consolidate their earning.

We aim to get each child to take part in focus activity and if they are really engrossed in their play on that day we wouldn't interupt them on that day anyway.

Morning! I work in a committee run pre-school, morning sessions 3-4 yr olds (26 in the session) and afternoons are 2.5- 3yr olds (24 children), the committee have asked us to complete 2 adult focused activities per day, the committtee being the deputy head of the primary school and a year 6 teaching assistant! we simply dont have the time to do this and we wonder 'when do we actually find time to get on the floor to play and learn with the children?!) any thoughts or comparisons etc will be really helpful, thanks

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Hi Trish,

That's a tricky one isn't it? What sort of setting are you in, and how many children/staff? Who has asked you to do four and why, and have they given any indication of the areas of learning they want you to address? How many do you usually do?

 

Sorry for all the questions but the answers might help us to come up with something xD

Hi Helen, we are a pre school, 2 sessions-am 3-4 yr olds (26 children) 4 staff and pm 2.5-3 yr olds,(24 children, 5 staff). we are run by a committee that are a primary school deputy head and a yr 6 teaching assistant! the staff wonder when in all this focused activities do we actually get to 'play' with our children...any advice will be great thanx :o

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Good advice from Bubblejack :o

I see little point in devising focus activities just so you can say you are doing 4 per week! Focus activities should be devised in response to observations of the children. If you see that children would benefit from an activity/experience x, then it makes sense to provide it, for as long as is necessary, in the way Bubblejack describes. Simply providing a focus activity and pushing the children through it so you can tick the box is simply not in keeping with the EYFS. I hope you are able to convince your deputy and Year 6 teaching assistant. xD I'm off to look at the EYFS again, to see if I can find direct quotes to support your view.......

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Good advice from Bubblejack xD

I see little point in devising focus activities just so you can say you are doing 4 per week! Focus activities should be devised in response to observations of the children. If you see that children would benefit from an activity/experience x, then it makes sense to provide it, for as long as is necessary, in the way Bubblejack describes. Simply providing a focus activity and pushing the children through it so you can tick the box is simply not in keeping with the EYFS. I hope you are able to convince your deputy and Year 6 teaching assistant. :( I'm off to look at the EYFS again, so you can use direct quotes to support your view.......

Thanx for that Helen, however my 'bosses' will say (as they have before) the eyfs is simply a guidance and not statutory :o ..I know!!!! same for continuous provision!!!! :(

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Mmmmm where have they been since Sept 08? :o

 

Have you come across the "Learning, Playing and Interacting" document from National Strategies. An excellent document, and one where the "focus activity" has been nicely turned into "adult-led" activity. This might give you some further support when you make your case (again!). If you haven't got a copy, you can download it here

 

Some good quotes I found are:

 

Alongside the child-initiated and play activities where adults can have a key role in supporting learning, there is an important place for activities initiated by adults. Adult-led activities provide opportunities for introducing new knowledge or ideas, and for developing and practising skills. The activities can provide a new stimulus, or an opportunity to revisit or further develop learning.

Sometimes the activities could be prompted by children’s interests as observed in their play. At other times practitioners will identify areas of learning which are less likely to be available to children through daily experience and play, where adults can best take a lead in introducing new ideas and concepts.

This ‘adult agenda’ could be addressed in any adult-led time (planned small or large group activities, greeting time, story or song times; in reception, this will include the discrete daily phonics session). Adult-led activities may:

• provide open-ended opportunities where practitioners observe and support children’s learning during the experience and consider next steps based on children’s responses; or

• have clearly specified learning objectives which will be matched to children’s current learning to extend or consolidate what children know and can do.

Adult-led activities should be playful, even when planned with a specific objective in mind, by maintaining characteristics of play through a sense of playing with things, ideas, imagination, and others. Playful practitioners will plan activities which motivate children by:

• presenting tasks in imaginative ways

• ensuring tasks are as open-ended as possible, allowing children to make choices and express their own ideas

• using materials or story-lines that children associate with play

• providing for children’s hands-on, active participation.

 

Hope you have more success soon xD

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Mmmmm where have they been since Sept 08? :(

 

Have you come across the "Learning, Playing and Interacting" document from National Strategies. An excellent document, and one where the "focus activity" has been nicely turned into "adult-led" activity. This might give you some further support when you make your case (again!). If you haven't got a copy, you can download it here

 

Some good quotes I found are:

 

Alongside the child-initiated and play activities where adults can have a key role in supporting learning, there is an important place for activities initiated by adults. Adult-led activities provide opportunities for introducing new knowledge or ideas, and for developing and practising skills. The activities can provide a new stimulus, or an opportunity to revisit or further develop learning.

Sometimes the activities could be prompted by children’s interests as observed in their play. At other times practitioners will identify areas of learning which are less likely to be available to children through daily experience and play, where adults can best take a lead in introducing new ideas and concepts.

This ‘adult agenda’ could be addressed in any adult-led time (planned small or large group activities, greeting time, story or song times; in reception, this will include the discrete daily phonics session). Adult-led activities may:

• provide open-ended opportunities where practitioners observe and support children’s learning during the experience and consider next steps based on children’s responses; or

• have clearly specified learning objectives which will be matched to children’s current learning to extend or consolidate what children know and can do.

Adult-led activities should be playful, even when planned with a specific objective in mind, by maintaining characteristics of play through a sense of playing with things, ideas, imagination, and others. Playful practitioners will plan activities which motivate children by:

• presenting tasks in imaginative ways

• ensuring tasks are as open-ended as possible, allowing children to make choices and express their own ideas

• using materials or story-lines that children associate with play

• providing for children’s hands-on, active participation.

 

Hope you have more success soon :(

Thanks guys xD thats just how we feel, we just want to provide best practice and teach our children through play, with some focus actitivities and yes my bosses are very 'Old school' :o

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Hi, are they asking you to do a formal 'we all do this' approach, or to set up an activity that the children might access with adult support if they wish?

 

We are a preschool and what we do is set out a whole variety of activities - some that encourage the children to engage in open ended imaginative play, others that are a bit more specific because of the resources on offer (e.g. by putting stencils with the whiteboards you encourage the children to focus on doing that).

 

Could your focus activity be something really short, for instance just have a letter of the week and at snack time asking the older children to think of something in the room that starts with that letter?

 

Hope that makes sense.

 

I agree that the DCSF play document is really useful.

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