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No Substance Anymore!


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We no longer use long term plans and plan weekly/daily but there is something bothering me still about our planning!!

On reflection there is no real substance to our topics! As we follow children's interests we dont seem to follow them through especially as children no longer access their hours over 5 days but perhaps come 2 half days. so for instance when I think back we have covered a good range of topics but by the time we plan crafts, friezes visits etc they have moved on. For instance when doing Pets in the 'old days' a whole week would be planned with visits from childrens pets a visit to the pet shop, a vet, role play pet shops and vets, stories etc and by the end of the week i always felt the children had all come away with something! however this time we covered fish following a childs home interest but then moved on to Pirates cos the boys were diggin for treasure so we never went back to other pets!!

Sorry Im babbling arnt I? but does anybody know what I mean?

The pace is so fast it is so hard to get activites planned and prepared let alone visitors arranged!!

I need to get a grip with tis planning once and for all :o Please tell me your secret! or si just me? xD

Would like to add mind you I do think it is best to plan for the child's interests I just feel we havent got it right yet!

Andrea

Edited by Andreamay
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Hello - Why don't you ditch the topics completely and plan from observations and interests. Your curriculum won't be planned one but an emergent one - it works for us and will save you a lot of time and effort trying to plan for things within a topic and be trying to respond to the childrens interests too - good luck

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We too went with the children and topics or ideas would change drastically over a day or two.. depending on which child was around..

 

as for visits.. we arranged them and then followed the ideas that came from them.. worked really well and children got a lot from the visits .

 

Pace is fast but so interesting and different one day to the next or even in our case between morning and afternoon.. when we often had different ideas because some or all of the children had changed..

 

Inge

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I know how you feel, we are still getting our heads around it thinking we are missing something but were not, Dizzy lizzy is right get rid of the topics and it just happends its self, you just have to be good at having alot of resourses avalible for when the interest changes!! You know what will happen, it will all come together for you then they will change it all again to planning topics ect.... :o

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Hi Andrea! No, i completly agree with you!! We find it impossible to plan for anything i.e visits or resources and parents find it very difficult to contribute as well if, like you say, they are only in two days out of the week.

 

For example, a child that only comes to the nursery monday and friday, may be telling us about their weekend on the monday, for instance, they got a new pet fish :), and by friday the group could be speaking about spaceships or anything else completly irrelevant to what they remembered they were doing previous!!

 

And if the case is that EVERY child should be doing this, for example 'child a' tells me about their goldfish on monday, am i then supposed to continue this work on friday with them which furthers their learning? Which i find impossible to do in a group which had over 20 children all doing completly different things about completly different topics!!

 

So i too feel your pain!! :o

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thanku for all your replys and thats just it we are not really doing topcs anymore just bits of topics that are not lasting to enable us to get our teeth into! I am just not getitng it!! :o

Thank you Silvermakeup xD dont feel quite so bad now!!

Also with ten parttime staff how do you relay all this info from one day to the next? thanku for your patience with me :(

Andrea x

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Could it be that rather than planning for a whole group to learn about something for a whole week the whole group get the chance to bring in their own pet at some time during the term for arguments sake, I don't think a big thing has to be made of "pets" as a theme or topic. Just look at it from the perspective that for individual children it is their time in the sun when they bring their pet in and that's what is important. It may take weeks for all the pets to visit. There may well be one pet which sparks some interest for a few days + and we need to be on top of our game to be ready for that with resources and ideas to inspire a few children.

 

An individual's key person's unique knowledge of a child's interests can mean that they will keep the interest going for a particular child way past when the group have had their fill, within their individual planning - one of my key children kept guinea pigs, we had photos of them when they were new and discussed their names, they visited when they were old enough I bought some story books about guinea pigs and found a useful reference book for him. He was into cutting things up so we collaged guinea pigs etc. counted them in the books, on the days they visited he talked to the children about them, what they ate, what his jobs were to look after them. This was some while ago now, but I still consider his interest in guinea pigs when I plan things for him and talk to him about his guinea pigs and what they are up to, how well they are etc.

 

I agree that we don't do topics in depth any longer but just maybe this was for our benefit and, egos - ('look at my great planning for every area to be themed etc.') rather than the childrens benefit when they lmight well like dipping in and out of ideas and returning to them again for a little more information when they are ready.

 

This may be a strange analogy, but if a 4 year old asked me where babies come from, I would answer him directly and very simply, but I wouldn't plan a 2 week topic for all the children and tell them the complete story and go into detail - and bring in a midwife to talk to them, take them on a visit to the hospital etc. that's not what he/she has asked for - he/she just wants to know where babies come from, the bigger picture can wait for an appropriate time later on in his/her life. Adults over complicate things all the time for children, in my humble opinion. We need to be a little more relaxed.

 

Sorry Rambling I'm afraid - been out for a good old drink tonight with a buddy just back from Canada for a holiday!!

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Well we've been using an idea for the past couple of months now that 'seems' to be working ok but were still having to tweak little bits here and there, and i didnt want to say anything in the previous post as we have not been told if this is correct yet and are still very much at the 'trying it out' stage. But we have began using 'big floor books' which is just so many large a3 pieces of paper bound together by string, ribbon etc and is used to record everything the children have learned. So it includes mind maps, children's artwork, drawings staight onto the paper in the book (as aposed to being stuck on) photos etc, anything that stick on and stays, goes in the book!!

 

We have daily discussions with the book which helps us 'plan' what we might do for the day, like for instance yesterday we did such as such with stones in the garden, so i wonder what we can do with them today? We found this worked well in the way that children coming in on monday could participate and by friday, instead of having no idea how we might have got onto another subject, can look at the different pages in the book and see what we've been doing/learning about while thyve not been there. (we also find that it can help children stay on a 'topic' for longer by gently reminding them what they did the day or week before :) ) allowing for 'deeper learning' :o

 

So every day we start a new page and parents come and see it at the end of each day, and when a new topic (cant shake the word topic!!!) or INTEREST comes into play, we simply begin a new book :)

 

Im happy to answer any more questions if you like, just wanted to give a simple idea of what it's like without confusing you too much! :)

 

Nikki

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We are all in the same boat arent we, thats whats so refreshing about this foru isnt it!

 

I was pulled up by Ofsted and they made a recomendation!! in my report that we need to focus more on individual planning- its a nightmare as discussed especially if children only attend one session per week, the biggest problem we have is how to show the planning for the indidivual child. Any suggestions examples would be great !

 

We are still holding onto themes ut again it changes so regularly its not worth the hassle. We plan to cover 6 areas of learning each week- that doesnt get done either. Moral is low and has been for sometime now. Wish there was a magic wand. The sadest thing is I know of so many GOOD practitioners leaving childcare because of all this!

 

and it doesnt matter how many discussions or how many poems we display we still cant please /educate the parents. they want structure!

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I was pulled up by Ofsted and they made a recomendation!! in my report that we need to focus more on individual planning- its a nightmare as discussed especially if children only attend one session per week, the biggest problem we have is how to show the planning for the indidivual child. Any suggestions examples would be great !

 

 

 

and it doesnt matter how many discussions or how many poems we display we still cant please /educate the parents. they want structure!

 

 

That is understandable - they can see that working, there is tangible evidence to bring home or see in the exercise books, afterall that is what they had etc. so often in the past there have been trials of new fangled ways which has left some of our children at the mercy of progressiveness, but not actually worked - could this be any different? Is the EYFS just another little educational fad?

 

What I do feel however, is that no harm can come from embedding a love for learning from a fun prospective and that when the huge middle ground of children become truly receptive to being ready to read/write it will be easier for them and their educators rather than plugging away from when they are four - turning them off through boredom and not being physically ready. So many other countries seem to manage it, and are not academically behind the U.K, quite the reverse in fact.

 

An example of an individual learning plan can be found on the EYFS disk. It has the six areas in boxes and three circles at the bottom of the page and works with children's interests - this plan can last for as long as one wishes, I believe. I just note down in each box as I go the types of experience I feel would benefit this particular child given their interests and what the parent has told me. It is kept with their learning journey and up-dated as and when or, a new one drawn up. Next steps are shown in their learning journey from observations we have made. As ever these things can be time consuming - but I do truly try to keep it as simple as possible, I am no advocate for written plans etc. for the sake of it.

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Panders well said - i think this is how it should be

 

in a weeks period some of our children wanted to make shiny fish this they did, they then played a game with it making their own rods, some of the boys saw the fish and wanted them to float in real water so we talked about making them water proof

after a while they decided laminating them was the best thingthey did they fished and had a great time

whilst this was going on some other children were interested in some pulleys we hooked these up and they spent ages filling buckets and transproting sand, other were making footprint on the ground with water from the garden tap

 

all these things were valuable to the children who were interested not for all the children but for those who wanted learnt vast amounts

 

we just facilitated this, not a a topic in sight

Edited by Suer
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