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Still Struggling With Planning - Sorry!


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Hello everyone.

 

I still seem to be struggling to get my head around planning, and would appreciate any words of wisdom please.

 

I've recently taken over a pre-school, which had no record keeping on the children, and, to be honest, not much planning, certainly not to children's needs/interests. I have been given a long term plan which has 2 areas from the Development matters to concentrate on each week. This week it is Creative Development: Developing Imagination and Imaginative Play, and Physical Development: Movement and Space. I feel I have to stick with this long term plan as it's been given to me. Does anyone else plan to a prescribed long term plan? I understand the idea is to ensure all areas are covered in the year, but not really sure it's working...

 

So, I'm trying to plan next week's activities, and I'm keeping the long term plan in mind, but also trying to keep the children's interests in mind at the same time. For example, they got into cutting last week (child initiated) and writing party invites and birthday cards (resources put out by me, but they took it in their own direction), and lots of other things I would like to develop. This week it isn't too difficult to link the children's interests with the long term plan, but some weeks it is. Last week was 'Sense of Community' for example!) On top of this there is a group of children who are starting school in Jan, for whom I need to write transition docs. I really need to spend time with these children to get a better idea of where they are, as I've only known them 5 weeks. I'm sure this should be written in to planning somewhere too!

 

Quite often a lot of what I plan goes out of the window, as the children take their learning in a different direction, which is wonderful, and I document this, but I wonder I suppose, if I plan too much detail. I have started putting less into the plan for the end of the week, as I have learned that this will develop naturally anyway.

 

I would be really interested in hearing how others approach the whole planning "thing", as it is starting to get me down, as I worry constantly that I'm doing it wrong, and am not up to the job.

 

Sorry for the long post.

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morning Devondaisy!

 

First thought - who gave you the planning document? If it's historical to the group, I think I'd keep it for now as too much change is going to upset your staff... If it's from outside the group & it doesn't sem to be working, I think I'd drop/amend it.

 

It sounds like what we used to do - I'd gone through the foundation stage & birth - 3 guidelines & distributed the stuff we wanted the children to do over 6 half-terms of the year, so we could see what we wanted the children to achieve that half-term, then we'd plan to say what we'd put out to help them do that.

 

Must admit, since EYFS, we've dropped that - our Liaison teachers have said to look at the individual child and make sure they're getting holistic development. Easier said than done as it sounds you're the only one doing obs!

 

What we've got now is - long term: for each area an exhaustive list of the resources we've got to support that area (there is some overlap) in a 3 coloumed document resource, what children can get out of this resource (taken from EYFS guidelines) & vocabulary to use/develop. I based these on some examples we were given from our Liaison teacher & took out what we don't have & added what we do. I've tried to attach the first page of construction... I typed these up to begin with but now each member of staff has a couple of areas she's responsible for & should keep this updated.

 

Medium term - the children's learning journeys... this will come with time!

 

Short term, a weekly plan showing each session in columns at the top (we're open 10 sessions a week) and the areas in rows down the side. We don't show the stuff that's out all the time so there's nothing on there about the home corner unless there's an extra resource etc in there. We do put the stuff that we're planning for the week & vistors etc (last week we had the dental visitor & PCSO in), then add in the stuff the children ask for/get out/start to do. Its a working document across the week.

 

We keep up 2 plans at a time - this week & next week. So we could see that Monday afternoon, the PCSO is back, we're making pasta necklaces as so many of the children last week were threading the beads & wanted to take necklaces home to mummy, this will cover fine motor skills & PSRN for how long the necklace is & how many pieces of pasta are on it.

 

I think I would timetable in time for you to be with the leavers to get to know them and time that you'll be unavailable while working on their obs to have something to pass onto the next setting - do you ask people in from the new setting to see the child with your setting? Could be handy to have them come & in tell you what they want to know - some of our ongoing settings want summarised one page info from us & don't look at our beautiful learning journeys, others love the learning journeys & tell us how helpful they are in completing the documents when the children go up from Reception! What I'm thinking is, if your ongoing settings are the summary types, it's going to take you less time, and it's better to know that before you've spent time doing great informative learning journeys that the shcool don't look at...

 

Can your Liaison teacher offer any help?

example_of_long_term_continuos_planning.doc.docx

Edited by Lyanne
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from reading your post, I think it is time to 'lose' the long term plan you have inherited...

 

planning used to be in the form of covering an area and making the children fit into it... which seems to be what the plan is doing.. since EYFS it has been more of what the children need and fitting the development area to it.. sort of reversed. this is why it is so hard to use childrens interests and try to follow a prescribed plan which may not fit into the children's development at all..

 

any continuous provision plans will cover all the areas of development showing how they are covered all the time, and not needed to be 'planned' for each week.. it is all there in a document which we used as our long term plan alongside EYFS and a list of 'special' days like festivals and celebrations we could use.

 

the rest of your planning sounds good, look at the children add to their experiences, scaffold learning, and no need to go into too much detail at the start.. we used to start a week and then as it developed add in retrospectively, but does need well trained staff to be able to follow the children and know how to add / what to add as they see it developing.

 

transition docs... you need to speak to and work with any keyworker the children have had since being at the setting.. if a short time I would reflect that in the document as you cannot expect to cover all in a short space of time. in our setting the keyworkers did the documents for their key children and I just checked/read through them once done.

 

Inge

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Lyanne, do you have a template of your weekly plan you wouldn't mind sharing? I have been in my setting over a year now, and changed the planning layout immediatly, but having worked with it for a year now, and staff massively on board I have been trying to tweak it to something that sounds just like yours, but am terrible with layouts/tables. If you wouldn't mind sharing it would be a big help.

 

DD, a year in to my role and I really would advise small steps! Concentrate your time on your leavers for the next few weeks, sow the seeds with new planning ideas, let staff have a go with them while you model with your older children, pulling together some information for transition. If they feed into 1 school, have a chat with them to find out what key information they really would like to know, as many do their own baseline assessments on entry anyway

 

Good luck

Clare

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Lyanne, do you have a template of your weekly plan you wouldn't mind sharing? I have been in my setting over a year now, and changed the planning layout immediatly, but having worked with it for a year now, and staff massively on board I have been trying to tweak it to something that sounds just like yours, but am terrible with layouts/tables. If you wouldn't mind sharing it would be a big help.

 

DD, a year in to my role and I really would advise small steps! Concentrate your time on your leavers for the next few weeks, sow the seeds with new planning ideas, let staff have a go with them while you model with your older children, pulling together some information for transition. If they feed into 1 school, have a chat with them to find out what key information they really would like to know, as many do their own baseline assessments on entry anyway

 

Good luck

Clare

 

This is what we had from our Liaison teacher and this version hasn't got a sperate space for PSRN - the first version she gave us, that we actually use, does have a row for PSRN.

 

I think one of the most important things is - where does it go? In our old building, everything was in one room and it was easy to write on it as the children did something/you thought of something/a child asked at home time 'can we play with...?' - not today but let's put it on the plans for tomorrow. In our new builing, it's in the hallway so parents can see it as they come in - but it means it's not so instantly there for us to write on!

Short_Term_Environment_Plan.doc

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Thanks everyone, feeling a bit better now. I think I'm trying too hard to make everything "right" too quickly, but it's difficult not to when I can see where things need to improve! It would probably be easier if i wasn't moving house this week too!

 

Lyanne, my weekly planning looks very much like yours, with the days of the week along the top and the areas of continuous provision down the side. I am also working (slowly) on some continuous provision plans, not really sure what to call them, to show the areas of continuous provision and how they support the different areas of learning, which sounds like what you're suggesting Inge. Once these are done perhaps I will feel able to ditch the long term plan. At least at the moment it serves to focus the minds of the staff on certain areas of learning so they become familiar with the development matters statements for those areas. The staff are absolutely brilliant, and no-one has complained so far about anything I've changed, so hopefully things will continue to improve as we all get the hang of it!

 

I have got my school intake going up to school twice, and the current reception coming to me once, this half term. I have been communicating with the reception teacher by e-mail, and she is lovely. The transition docs are set in stone by the county so have to be done, but I feel I need hard evidence of my judgements so want to complete the learning journeys for those children first. They require parental input and there are some tricky parents there! There is now something in each of them, just not a lot. I think I'll concentrate on that this week and next, as suggested.

 

Thanks for the advice (again). It does sound as though I'm doing things as they should be done, or at least working towards that. In previous jobs I've looked forward to the weekend, but in this job I'm panic struck every Friday when another week has gone by and I still haven't achieved everything! (I am loving it though!!)

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We do it the opposite way round.

 

We have the continuous provision plans which say how we use each area all the time, why and what's available.

 

We have our weekly 'enhanced provision' sheet which details what extra stuff we are going to put in each area e.g role play is a cafe, tubes in the sand etc,

 

We have a few focused activities running across the week which are our adult directed bit. For these we write a detailed activity plan and assign certain objectives against it from these development matters. These are usually from a couple of areas of the EYFS.

We decide on what these activitIes are going to be based on what we think the children need to do next. For instance we might offer a junk modelling activity (sorry , recycled materials!) and cover objectives from KUW (Design), CD etc. Of course the children may show some attainment in other areas too but these are our focus.

We then highlight all those statements we have offered off on our 'coverage plan' for the year, which is just a copy of the Dev. Matters statements relevant to our age group. As the year continues we can see if we are not offering enough of something or give a creative acvtivity more of a maths focus if it is needed etc.

This way it is led by the children rather than you trying to force the children into your 'areas of the week'

 

It's a minefield isn't it?......

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Hi Edlee

We are doing nearly the same as you by the sounds of things, although we do also have a group time sheet where the keyworker will spend time for approx 10 mns with her key children (only3+ children) and maybe do a mini activity, weather bee bot letters and sounds, number games etc

 

We have a provison sheet which has columns mon to friday along the top and the workshop areas down the side, but we are really struggling to complete this each day - you saidyou put what you are adding is that daily or just for the week? Do you put anything else on this form?

 

we also have an adult led activity plan we have about 10 of these a week one for each am and pm session and we group hildrens learning together this activity will be done at the start of the session and left out for the remainder of the session- do you think this is too much?

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