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Topic planning?


Guest allforthekids
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Guest allforthekids

Hi all,

I have recently changed our planning format to include child initiated play - one adult caries out an adult directed activity, one supports and engages in 'rolling snack' and the other observes and engages in child initiated play (possibly looking at ways to extend play if appropriate). We plan through half termly topics (we are currently doing 'toys') and I am finding this limiting - well in fact I am thinking less and less about the topic... I still often base our end of session carpet time on the topic and have set up a toy shop etc but increasingly I want to think less about the topic and more about what the children are doing on a daily basis. Now I know ultimately this is good practice but I wondered what inspiration (other than a half termly topic) people are using and also how they document this - most especially in term of medium and short term planning...I have really enjoyed topic based learning in the past (and so have the children) but I am pretty certain that this was because it was part of a more rigid and constrictive approach and therefore provided clear guidelines for activities etc.- now that i am motivated by a more holistic approach to children's learning and also developing the natural outdoor learning environment 'topic learning' seems to have less of a place!

Does anyone else feel like this? Does anyone have any planning they would be happy to share? Am I slowly going round the bend?!?

Thoughts/ideas/criticisms all very very welcome!

Thank you

x

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We always used to plan around topics and in the end I was finding this quite restrictive so we stopped. We then moved over to planning around children's interests and next steps. This has been working really well and I suppose they are like mini topics. For example this week I have planned for a couple of my boys who are mad on dinosaurs and we are following this interest in some of our foccused activities. This then covers their next steps which include really engaging/concentrating for a longer time, counting and initial sounds recognition, all through their current interests. And of course the other focussed activities around dinosaurs will incorporate the other childrens next steps.

Hope that makes sense!!?? I have spent the last ten years trying to find the "ideal" observation, assesment and planning formats and am constantly questioning what I do and comparing it to what others do. I have to say I really do feel happy with what we have got at the moment as I feel it does go full circle...but tomorrow is another day!! And we are well overdue the visit from ofsted so it could all change!! My early years improvement officer loves it though and I really trust her judgement.

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Guest allforthekids

Thank you so much zigzag - I think this is exactly what we are heading towards! I now need to find a format that allows me plan without formally planning (does that make sense?) as I can't write on my medium term plans 'depends on children's needs/interests/development'!!!

x

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Topics help staff plan - but do hinder planning around children's interests! Spontaneous planning where you plan around children's interests is the way to go. You will find as zig zag says there is usually more than one child with the same kind of interest.

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Thank you so much zigzag - I think this is exactly what we are heading towards! I now need to find a format that allows me plan without formally planning (does that make sense?) as I can't write on my medium term plans 'depends on children's needs/interests/development'!!!

x

So, can you plan for Learning Objectives which are the addressed through children's interests. Gives you the hanger with which to work and the MT plan. On the other hand, do you need the MT plan, can you not plan ST from LT?

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This is what I use at the moment. I have about ten different planning formats stored on my computer that I have played around with in the past!! I used to complete this sheet and then a two further sheets to show planned and spontaneous activities both inside and out, but it was getting stupid. I now, rightly or wrongly (you decide) just complete this sheet with lots of the other continous provison activites around the outside (I print it on A3) I am still unsure if I should be writing down all the other stuff that goes on and part of me thinks that I should be doing this BUT the common sense side says no. I have loads of evidence of the wide range of play and learning activities that are on offer and if questioned can show these do happen they just may not be written down. Gosh will we ever be happy with the way we do things??

Would welcome any kind of feedback regarding any of the above!!Adult led activities inside.docx

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Guest youngrisers

I spent some time formatting our planning sheet and we now use a continuous provision plan which staff can add the initials of any child they see changing from one interest to another or a repeating pattern i.e. a schema so we can observe them record their play and then plan how to extend the learning. The Key person notes this for their observation sheets which are included in the child's portfolio.

These also include well being and involvement levels too and possible lines of development (PLODS).

We find that by linking these from one plan to another we can plan ahead using key interests and the diversity that children need.

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