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Having A Planning Breakdown!


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Hello! Apologies for the amount of questions I am about to ask, I have researched as much as I can but feeling more and more overwhelmed!

 

I work in a village Pre-School. I am the assitant there. We have had the Early Years Improvement team in who have practically said we are doing everything wrong. We had monthly planning where we would have a set topic i.e Around the world, Transport etc. It was very basic. We were told to scrap that including scrapping song time,story time, snack time, tidy up time etc to make the nursery day 'flow better and be more holistic'. I understand this and we have adapted a rolling snack time and have been listening to the children about what they want to play with instead of just getting things out ready before they arrive. I have been satisfying some childrens interests i.e making jelly with astronaughts in, fake snow with faries in, using glitter water to make it more appealing to children who usually wouldnt play with water.

 

But then I also am one-to-one with an Autistic child and the Support service lady who came in said all the children need to follow the time line like my one to one child..... so therfore following a routine!?!?

 

Also, reading the new EYFS guidlines (which i didnt even know about until i came on here) It feels like we are supposed to be gettting ready for school? I dont even think Holistic was used In the text!?

 

My Line manager has been signed of with exhaustion so i have stepped in to help the supervisor change things around. She has asked me to do a weeks planning. I have superstar stories that we sent home to parents so we can get ideas of their interests and family life to link in with the planning. The Early years improvement officer said to pick a few children to base the weeks planning around, But is this unfair as other childrens interests are being ignored?!? I have tried and tried to make a new planning sheet but how can you when your supposed to go with the flow of children? There interests may have changed since before the holidays?!!!

 

Basically what do i put down on paper? Im so sorry this is so lengthly, Unfortunatly a lack of training and cascading of information from my supervisors i think is part of it and im so scared of doing things wrong.

 

Help!!

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Thanks for making your first post scallywagshoathly :1b Gosh, you've had some conflicting advice, haven't you?!

I think it it were me, I'd look at my continuous provision, and think about general curriculum coverage first. If you look in the resource library, you'll find some excellent examples of continuous provision sheets donated by members (Laura in particular, I think). Then, I'd have a week of making sure all the areas where children can access resources, self-select their play, etc. are adaptable and the children can follow their interests with adults who are happy to draw resources from elsewhere in the setting to support their needs. Take lots of observations of how the children are using the space and resources, and how the change in routines (ie if you've moved/got rid of certain group times) is affecting their play/enjoyment.

 

Then I'd choose 4 or 5 children's observations from the week, and make special provision for them for the following week. Identifying their next steps, making sure you have the resources and practitioners available to work towards those next steps for those children. I'd put those next steps, and the activities/resources to use, on a planning sheet, along with the children's initials, so that all staff know who the activities/experiences have been especially designed for, and why.

 

If you are making changes, do them one or two at a time, for your own sanity and to keep children happy and secure.

 

I've no idea what the support teacher meant when she implied all children have to follow the timeline designed for your child with 1-1. Did she just mean keep the group/story/outdoor times the same for everyone?

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Hi there scallywagshoathly, welcome to the forum and thanks for making your first post.

 

Its really hard when you get conflicting advice, especially if you are not sure about things yourself. Rest assured, its an area where many of us have found our fair share of challenges, so don't beat yourself up too much about it.

 

I think there is often a misunderstanding between a 'routine' and a 'free for all'. Children do need a routine, and children with identified needs such as your autistic child, often need a routine more than others..an entirely free flow day doesn't always suit everyone. For me, its all about balance, I wouldn't be getting rid of all singing/story/ small group times, at the same time, I wouldn't want the morning broken up every 30 minutes because there is a set activity to do. You will see that many members here have found a good balance by thinking about when they want their children to get together and when they want their free play to be. So it isn't about one or the other, you really can have both! Id consider taking a look at your routine of the session, and Im sure our lovely members would be happy to share their again if you are having difficulty finding those conversations from previously.

 

I think basing the planning each week around a few children is certainly one way to go..we used to do this and found it much more manageable than trying to think about all of the children all of the time. This doesn't mean you're ignoring the others, if your continuous provision is good, (there are some plans here in the resources library to get you started if you don't have any), then there will always be something that interests most children. It is the enhancements (the stuff you might add to cater for those children you have in your mind each week) that you might want to record on some sort of plan, (initial with child you have in mind), along with any planned adult led activities you might be doing as well. You will inevitably find as well that although you had a particular child in mind, others will also love that resource you have made available.

 

Finally if you are really overhauling things, take steps slowly, especially if you have staff who are less confident than you, change takes time to embed properly, but it's orth it in the long run.

 

let us know how you get on with it.

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Yes she was basically saying they should all be doing the same routine as him in tidy up time, snack time, wash hands time so its a pain when you are told to have and open snack bar and no tidy up time to avoid interrupting play!! My one-to-one needs the security in routine or he physically can't cope.

 

OK so-

1.Observe children and the environment- record....

 

2. Make sheet for Key workers to fill in about there children- titles possibley-Where are they now? What Next? How to support/resources?

 

3. Give to who ever is planning that week (its actually impossible for us to meet weekly) And do weekly Plan. Covering what we are going to put in each area (story corner, role play etc) based around what we have found from the sheets by the key workers??

 

4.Evaluate how it worked? I.e did they like the foam in messy play? How could we evolve construction??

 

Am I on the right lines!?x

Edited by Guest
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That's sounds like a lot for you to revise/adapt all in one hit, my planning sheet shows a space for each key worker to add 1 child a week as their focus key child showing next steps or interests, other key workers then add names of any of their key children that would benefit from same next steps need or have same/similar interests, we then have a box for any look,listen,notes for non-focus children that we use to inform planning ( not necessarily all in same wk, some things carry forward) and even though we have a lot of free choice time we still have planned into our daily routine snack time, tidy up times, group activities ......, I agree you get a lot of conflicting information depending on the person who's giving its point of view. (will put up our planning sheet if you,d like one)

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Hi Scallywagshoathly, not surprised about line manager and exhaustion!! We are a leicestershire village pre-school and over the years have devised Soooo many different planning formats we could paper the walls of the hall with them! Not helpful i know! NOW we are simplified..1..Zoned areas covering aspects of the eyfs..and 2. next steps for key children. All keypersons decide who their child/children of the week will be...what do they need to/ want to play? Place that on Zoned area planning sheet eg Mark making: making tracks with wheeled cars and paint .Everyone can enjoy and gain from it! we find lots of children share similar interests or have similar next steps so it best fits all! So it basically goes. Next Steps - onto Zoned Areas - evaluate end of week - new next steps - onto zoned area plan etc etc. and on and on we go covering over the term all childrens needs and wants! Adult led is group time - sorry we still have it - eg music, movement, story. towards the end of the session when most 2/3year olds are glad to be Led!! 3 hrs of free play can be exhausting...! We have just been ofsteded?? and she thought our planning great, a working document, can be added to as childrens interests pop up and means we are very flexible and on the shop floor playing! Any help? Or again...TOO much information....:)

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Just wanted to wish you well and don't panic, planning is hard as what's right is what works in your setting and that's why there's so much conflicting thoughts flying about. You need a sheet that works for your setting and your staff. I once worked in a nursery that had a 6 page planning document to fill in every day. . . can't think why it didn't last!

If want further ideas have a look at www.abcdoes.typepad.com he's done a lot of work on bringing change into settings and has some planning examples on there.

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Thank you all for your advice.

 

21 views of my planning document and no-one has commented on whether it is any good?! Is that a bad thing!?

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Thank you all for your advice.

 

21 views of my planning document and no-one has commented on whether it is any good?! Is that a bad thing!?

No not a bad thing at all - as Suebear says no two settings will have the same format.

Mine isn't anywhere near as detailed as that, but give it a trial and see how it goes.

We have tried a few times to reduce some of our routines and everytime have put them back in as staff were unhappy and so were parents, when Ofsted visited they were fine about them,so now whenever an advisor comes in I listen and nod politely but still stick to my guns :D

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It looks good, and like others have said it has to work for your setting, I just like cramming everything onto 1a4 sheet where poss.

 

You are right thumper rabbit parents like to see that the session has structure and routines in place and as we,re supposed to be listening to our parents I,m sticking with it..... They,re still trying to come to terms with the 'imaginative creations' their children go home with !

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21 views of my planning document and no-one has commented on whether it is any good?! Is that a bad thing!?

ok, have downloaded and had a quick look. All looks quite detailed to me. I really like the box

Continuous Provision Focus (including “What has happened before …”)

reads like it means something to your setting.

Test it for a week, and next week evaluate it and ask others at work how they've found using it.

We had a sheet with days of the week across the top and down the side each area of the room and then would write in enhancements for that area, there was also a daily box for group focus and another for evaluation and comments and Ofsted were happy with our basic plan because it worked for us and they could tell we used it as I used to scribble all over it as the week went on!

 

If I was looking at your planning as if you were a student sharing a planning method I'd probably ask you what you meant by the heading "learning outcome" and how you felt what's written underneath matched it. Eg is Dinosaurs- Stories in book corner, painting dinosaurs. Dinosaurs in the sand actually an outcome. or would "Planning for Interests" be a better title? But, that is me with a critical eye!

 

Seriously, give it a try next week and you'll soon see which bits work well for you.

 

Hope this helps and is the sort of comment you were looking for xxxx

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oh my goodness, you seem to have alot on your plate...

did your EY team offer any advice, are they coming back to support you and your setting, have they put you in touch with other local settings you could visit or witness 1st hand how they do their planning.

are there any training sessions you could attend - my LA had a really great planning course recently -we have also had advice from an 'outstanding' setting locally, who helped us to re-evaluate our planning.

Dont try and do it all at once, it will take time- and you wont find a system to suit your setting immediatly -it will change and evolve over time.

As for your routine -we also seem to follow the same one as you - why did your EY team ask you to stop, they need to give you reasons -or you cant change it. we have registration time (5 mins) circle time (10 mins max) tidy up time (5 mins) sit down snack, and it works for us, was it working for your setting -or were there difficulties.

 

were there other issues in your setting ( you mentioned one of the staff members were signed of with exhaustion ?) it sounds as if you need more support from your EY team.

 

try not to stress too much, you can only do your best.

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Hi - I can only agree with what others have said, when you are trying new things its a case of 'suck it and see', if it works stick with it, if it doesn't change it. I think your planning is good but very detailed (detaiIed works well for me personally) but it might be difficult to maintain! When you get into it and start doing it regularly it will get easier, but there will always be things that you think of later - annotate as you go along. Keep going looks like you're doing a good job.

 

Good Luck

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Hi Scally , well done on your post and as you may have realised we all have struggled with planning- it is about what works best for you and the setting and all the staff, I scrapped the sheets that were in place at my setting as they did not show any planning as such just continuous provision. It is a shame you have not been given more support and this is the case with some of my staff so i am trying to correct this.

I am always looking for ways to improve our planning and we lacked at our recent inspection showing the next steps - so that is important - as for advisors telling you how it should be done it depends on how you want your setting to be , your ethos and what works for the children you have- i just think you have to evidence as much as poss so that you have an argument when its questioned by whoever, good luck and don't wear yourself out over it x

i did like some of your planning sheet but think it could be simplified :1b

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, I just like cramming everything onto 1a4 sheet where poss.

 

Well said!

 

I'm not sure about everyone else- but the whole 'planning' issues are really beginning to rankle me big time :angry: :angry:

 

We plan for children, etc - we are a pre-school, AND until we get the respect/pay/working condition/benefits of a maintianed school then my/our planning is going to continue to fit onto an A4 sheet- and be short and sweet! xD

 

Dissclaimer - Ok so I have enlarged to fit A3 - but that is purely because we all need glasses now :D ::1a :D ::1a

 

xxx

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Oh loubylou, I think you are reading my mind!! I have spent the last (nearly) 20 years trying to come to grips with planning and have now just about had enough of the whole thing!! And yes, we have invented, used, discarded enough planning to paper our large (very large) hall 10 times over. No one pays us for planning, we have no 'non contact' time (that isn't a dig at anyone) and really I am now of the persuasion that until someone starts to pay me to do it well then I'm not doing it anymore.

I have made it so, so basic now. We know what we are doing and fill out one sheet at the end of the day/week during the session.

I no longer write loads of LI's etc as most of that is just repeated. But our children are thriving, learning and enjoying their time with us and so are the staff. I know our way wouldn't work for another and it certainly wouldn't work if my staff weren't so experienced and knew their children so well. It will obviously all change again in Sept, not just because of the EYFS but because we will have almost 3/4 of the group new. I also no longer really care what Ofsted say (well to a certain point) but am no longer willing to shed blood, sweat and tears over planning.

 

Sorry Sscally, they doesn't help you at all does it. I did look at your planning and thought it very good. However I wonder how long it would take you to do that each week?

Edited by lynned55
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  • 3 weeks later...

this is what we use, have showed a couple of examples in boxes, but would need adapting to suit your setting, evaluation goes on back and is done at beginning of followings planning meeting.

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hi busybee, each keyworker (1-6) carry out a formal ob of 1 of their key children each week then add what they'd like to go on the plan in their number box at top left before next planning meeting, they tick which days of week that child is in and whether it is going to be an Adult Led or Continuous Provision activity/resource, other keyworkers then add any names of their key children to number of each activity already planned that they think would benefit from/enjoy, any other informal obs like LLN's that could inform planning of individual childrens needs/interests go in the box on right, we then put planned activity/resource in relevant ELG area in either specific days or across week, the red/blue & yellow/green are the table colours and how children are grouped age/ability for group activities, we also have group activities with groups split into 'staying' or 'going home' (at end of am session), the reverse side we then use the following week to evaluate and record any further next steps/re-address and any changed/unplanned experiences.

 

probably seems very complicated written like that, and it will need changing to new prime and specific areas and to suit your setting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry Sscally, they doesn't help you at all does it. I did look at your planning and thought it very good. However I wonder how long it would take you to do that each week?

 

Only takes about an hour- It's easy because I have made a simple sheet for other practitioners, whom i ask to chose 1 or 2 key children to focus on in the coming week e.g

 

Childs Name (Child A)

What I want to see (Can they count to 10?)

How i want to do this (One to on counting game/count pink things as Child A loves pink)

 

Or I use Superstar story sheets which go home with children to find out about their interests at home.

 

Putting it onto the planning is easy because all the practitioners have already put the input.

Luckily I now get paid for planning so i dont mind to much!

 

Here is an example. I start of with this but so much gets added (hand written) over the week.

 

 

 

PS thankyou for all your help this Forum is a god send!!!

planning21.5.12.doc

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