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We all, I think, plan for the term, writing detailed plans of activities and resources, learning opportunities and intentions. How do you incorporate the childrens needs and interests if the plans are already written? Obviously if the plans say we're using cars and someone asks for the train, we get the train, but the focused activites with a learning intention are written in stone and I'm not sure this is the best way. This term we are going to wait for the end of the week to write the plans for the following week, basing the activities on observations of play and abilities. Does anyone else do this or have any thoughts on it? I'd be interested to hear all comments. :D

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I've just re-read that. Honest, I'm not as thick as it makes me sound. i just need to be able to balance the Piaget/Vygotsky way with how most of us (and certainly my staff) were told how to do planning. :D

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Hi Rea

 

I'm all for children's interests informing planning, but as you say often adult-led activities are tightly planned in terms of learning outcomes and intentions. We also have a child-led activity which broadly supports our topic and this gives us much more flexibility to make changes as necessary.

 

We have a cabinet full of resources so that children can choose their own activities so their play doesn't have to conform to the adults' agenda. They aren't shy in asking us to get something else for the floor play or role play area if they don't want to play with what's planned, and there's always an adult on hand to join in the fun when invited!

 

I'll be interested to see how you get on with the weekly planning, Rea: keep us posted!

 

Maz

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Just re read the last few posts - think i must have had my head switched off when I first did!

 

Our Medium is done like yours, Hali, but we've always done the weekly as you are proposing to, Rea. Always works fine, but, in common with most, we are flexible and if something different crops up we'll generally go with it.

 

Let me know how it goes!

 

Sue

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Hi Rea,

 

This is a question that we asked in our setting (3 reception classes). We have a weekly meeting with both teachers and nursery nurses after school for 1 hour. We have our meeting on a Thurs evening which we find works well as we can evaluate how the week went rather than having it at the beginning of the week. We leave it quite flexible so that individual teachers can still include time to plan according to children's interests - we have an interest table which the children can bring things in to show the class / we put things on there that children have asked about with magnifiers etc

 

I know the feeling of the stuggle between Piaget/Vygotsky and I personally think that both have valid places within foundation stage - but it sounds to me like you already do some of this!!!

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We used to plan a half term in advance, with the idea that we could show progression, ie: explore an idea, experiment with the idea, adapt ideas, then develop the idea in different contexts ( ideas or skills). However, as children develop their progression at different rates this doesn't work for all.

As from this term we are also going to try planning on a weekly basis. I was inspired by a planning article in Nursery World (quite a while ago) which showed how less "rigid / forward" planning could enable staff to consider childrens individual interests and development levels.

 

My only concern is getting staff all together so regularly ( but that's another topic)

 

It will be interesting to see how we get on Rea.

 

Peggy

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That is an interesting point Peggy - I think planning depends on all staff being involved too - we have a supportive head who pays nursery nurses 2 hrs over the 'school day' - 1 hr helping/preparation with teacher and 1hr at a year planning meeting.

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Thanks for all the replys. I really think this is the way we should be doing it, but in the past our EY advisor has asked if I've done next terms planning when we're only just into the previous term and it kind of makes me think others want to see the plans up front. We do have the med term written out for the term but then some staff feel they have failed if the plans arent stuck to (which is often). In the past observations have had no impact on theplans because of this, they've been filed away ready to use as evidence of where each child is but not used for how we can help them move on. I take full responsibilty for this, and now want to do something about it. I have even wondered in the past how Ofsted gave us a 3-4!! But thats a whole different quandry :o

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For our Foundation stage classes (1 nursery and 2 reception classes) we have devised a curriculum map which identifies 2 aspects from each area of development per term.

The reception classes base their activities around a theme or topic. They meet on Wednesday lunchtimes and plan for the rest of the week based on the children's learning so far that week. They also identify the learning objectives for the next week based on the curriculum map, then split into class 'teams' to plan activities relevant for their particular children, they're also flexible and go with interests of the children.

In the nursery we sometimes use the same theme but tend to go more with the children's interests or base activities around trips etc., also taking into account the "next steps" for individual children identified via observations. In the nursery we meet at lunchtime on Wednesday to evaluate how the week has gone so far and to have a handover session for the nursery nurse job-share, we then meet on Thursday lunchtimes to plan for the following week.

This took a lot longer to explain than I thought it would and I'm not even sure it makes sense (except to me)!

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It makes sense Angela :D

I like that the children are in 'teams' for ability. When we group them it's by keyworker groups which has a mixed bag of needs. This has been mentioned on another thread about keyworkers. Others have the children split into groups such as SEN, older and younger. I will try that, although the keyworker groups will have to stay the same for now so we dont confuse the parents. :o

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This is one I always struggle with too Rea. I am going to change the way that I plan after the summer as I now feel that I have a good 'bank' of ideas that I can use. I will identify the topics I may cover during the year including festivals etc in my long term planning. However, I won't be setting these in stone as I have previously. Then my medium term planning will involve gathering the possible activities and resources so that I am ready to introduce these at the appropriate time. (For instance, we always have snow in January/February so I can prepare for this but if it doesn't snow until March then all well and good!) I am intending leaving the topics fairly loose so that I can move with the children's interests, levels of involvement and stages of development. In fact, I'd like to think of them as 'starting points' rather than topics so that we all go on a voyage of discovery. :D Sounds a bit airy fairy when I put it like that. :oxD

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Thats exactly what I mean Beau, we write the plans around a topic but sometimes there are so many festivals to cover in a term that the topic gets overlooked, or as in last term when we didnt make an easter card for the first time ever. Dont ask me why, I was busy eating chocolate before I realised! I'm no longer having anything to do with planning directly, the other staff are doing it, but I have tried to explain this to them so we'll see next week how clear I was :o

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I'm with you on that one Hali. I think the festivals are nice but so much of it goes over the heads of the 2 yr olds. This year I decided to just cover one or two a term and have found it much easier to fit it - particularly as we only have 3 sessions a week anyway. :)

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Our medium/topic planning is very similar to many of you. We tackle the short term in two ways:

1) Planning something specific (often based on our topic, but not always)for the week in CLL, Maths, and K&U (differentiated according to staff discussions at our weekly planning meeting, but not written down in minute detail!). Our creative art activities change daily, with some repetition during the week for those children who may have missed the activity the first time it was introduced. Music, movement, and circle time plans change weekly, too.

2) From observations of the five children we targeted the previous week, we plan activities for those children's next steps (and often, these activities are suitable for many other children, too)

 

It took a long time for us, as a staff, to get the balance right between planning everything (and then feeling guilty when we didn't cover it all) and (in my militant term) planning very little and just following the children's interests. This latter one didn't work with less experienced staff as they felt they needed more guidance and wanted specific learning intentions to hang their activities on.

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It really is interesting how the same comments come up over and over again with regards planning in the FS. I sometimes feel that although we all know what good practice is, because our collegues in other Key stages have plans written in tablets of stone that we still sometimes drift back at odd times to this format. After having time to reflect,usually during a well deserved rest, we realise that actually having a balance and responding to the children's needs and interests as well as some well planned teacher initiated activities is what it is all about. We have a little boy who blocks his own learning. At one point it was todo with a story of the Meanies then it was to do with volcanoes and then it was connected with the care of a large soft bodied doll. If i looked at the ELGs through this year he has covered most of the strands. Staff have supported and extended his play and he has participated in adult initiated activities. I know that this does not always happen with all children but I think we do need to follow our instincts as good practioners and give children control of their own learning with our support and guidance :):):) : :oxD : :(

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