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Planning activities keyperson and focus


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I know there are hundreds of posts which cover planning but can I ask a question,

In my setting there is currently a focus activity each day which covers learning for key children but the whole group are able to join in .


We are struggling with keyperson activities and fitting them into the session, they are few children that are full time and many different children each day .

So we aim to do a different key person activity to meet indidivudal childrens next steps each session but generally stop the children to do this, so we do it at the start or end of the session. We prefer the start as the children can then continue thie activity should they so wish.


But we are finding it hard to split the children ie we have 24 children each day between 2 rooms and the garden. For example I have only 3 of my children in this morning .


I suppose my question is

  1. how do you organise children to do keyperson activities?- do you think we should maybe just start an activity in each area and let the children come to it as they wish rather than keyperson time.
  2. Do you do a different activity ecah day for your own group of children?
  3. In addition to key group activities do you have a main focus activity in each room each day for all the children?

I wondering whether we are finding this hard due to levels of staffs knowledge and understanding- as I dont personally need a lot written down to know what Im doing but others seem to need to follow a routine and plan to get throught the session! My theory is we can meet so much during play and providing some exciting activities/expereinces in the workshop areas - do we need all these other times and reams of paper?




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I totally agree with your last sentence!

We have an adult-led focused activity each day, but it isn't necessarily different each day. We have either two or three each week, so some for two days, some for three, and occasionally for one day (usually a trip to the library or similar). We plan together to meet children's next steps but don't have a key person group. We have children that we focus on for each activity but they won't be from one key person. We take it in turns to lead the activity based on people's strengths, interests etc. Sometimes we will choose the adult because they have a lot of their key children as 'focus' children, but this is unusual because like you, we have lots of part-timers so lots of different children through the week. Sometimes the focus activity doesn't happen because everyone is busy doing other things. For example, last week we had an activity that was only suitable for indoors. The weather was lovely and everyone wanted to play outside, so only a few children took part in the focus activity. We find it better to be spontaneous in these situations. As you quite rightly said (IMO) if our continuous provision is good and meets the children's needs, we don't worry too much about key groups / focus/ adult-led activities. Our written plans for focus activities are minimal, just the learning intention, focus children and whether if promotes a Characteristic of Effective Learning. Having said that, we have been round in circles with written plans. The reason ours are so minimal is because the time it was taking to write adult-led activity plans compared to what we were getting from them wasn't right.

Sometimes I feel we never get it right, but we just keep adjusting, reflecting and tweaking!

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Our planning is based on the next steps or something we may have missed, that we particularly want to see. So the planing might just be 'Suzie mark making for a purpose' so that can be done anywhere, indoors or out. 'Caden writing his name' again can be outdoors with water and a brush on the path. We try and keep it fluid and if there's something that simply can only be done indoors, then it just might have to wait till it rains! We do take as much of the CP outside as we can, so it generally isn't a problem - in fact, off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that could only be done indoors - unless it involves toileting!

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In the maintained nursery sessions I work in, there are 2 staff.

In the afternoon private sessions there are 2 staff.


I work mornings and afternoons so essentially 3 staff work in nursery daily.


We have split the children into "key person" groups but mainly to cope with learning journeys and profiles.


The children have all types of attendance patterns and the children are split kind of according to this.


We too take it in turns to do the focus activity and it would be for all our children not just our own group! We aim for one a day but may not get there!

We try to be led by the children's interests and this sometimes means we don't do what was intended!


Alongside the focus activity we have continuous provision, and may have some small group work occasionally to support the children who have IEPs or just need a little help with their next steps.


We are continually reflecting on our practice and I expect the planning, focus activity and everything never to be exactly right!!


Good luck! Try not to be too hard on yourselves!

Edited by Scarlettangel
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