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Planning in the moment/next steps

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I'm currently reading Anna Ephgrave's 'A nursery year in action'. I already own the Reception one but thought I'd like to read this one too to get any updates and more inspiration/reassurance. I am of course inspired but as always have a couple of queries!! I can't ask the lady herself so I'm going to ask the forum!

My query is over the next step section of her learning journey sheets. She explains in the book that she doesn't keep records of next steps so I'm wondering what she does with the next steps written on these sheets. The actual wording is Areas for future focus, so is this just things to remember to do? We have done focused children similar to her style for 2 years but I've never felt sure in what to do with these next steps. Last year, I recorded them in a jotter - each child had 2 pages and the jotter was kept on the side but not really used. I then decided to print a sheet with 1 or 2 next steps for each child but then we're back with next steps again and losing that 'in the moment' learning as we're so preoccupied with next steps? Wondering how other people have interpreted this part of the sheet?

My other query is about next steps that come out if an observation. She describes situation where a child has been observed, a next step has been identified and the child has made progress as the adult has seen the teachable moment. She goes on to explain that there is no need for a next step as the child has already done it. However, we have similar interactions but may also end up with a next step which would continue to support the child in the areas of need that we had identified and supported then and there. E.g. If I have helped a child to write their name and they are keen to keep practising, I may put a next step of ensuring that there's more opportunities for name writing for xxx or to continue to support... I don't have a next step for all obs but for some I can see a definite way of continuing to support a child/group over future interaction or changes in provision. Is this the bit that's not needed as we would know to provide that support? (as we do but feel obliged to record it!)

Sorry to blether on, just wondering what you all think?

Thanks so much,

Green Hippo xxx

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Hi Green Hippo - sorry I do not have any answers as I have just literally purchased this book before checking into the forum this evening so I am very interested to see this thread develop. There are so many questions that evolve from this type of planning that cause us to question what we have always done in the past as it really does challenge our pedagogy!

Along with my head we have booked on Anna's course in November at the Early Excellence centre in Huddersfield so I hope to get some insight on her approach via the book before going so questions like yours can hopefully be addressed.

Edited by apple
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Hi Green Hippo we are just about to start this format next week (our next step ha ha)!

How we intend to use her ideas are:


Areas for future focus - these are skills or experiences our keypersons have noted that might interest/help the childs learning -basically,next steps. These will go on the form to prompt staff.


At the end of the week of observation and assessment we will record possible areas of development (plods) for the future. The childs keyperson will 'guide' 'encourage' the said child in these 'Areas of focus' for next few weeks


All this will be recorded on the same form - form stays with keypersons files and its up to her to note if child accesses the plods and what may be needed to focus on next time she/he is observed!


Like I said - all this beginning next week - so its only working on paper (albeit only one piece) - so far!

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  • 5 weeks later...

After reading your other post Green Hippo I bought the Nursery year in action and am changing my planning as a result. Thanks for the signpost feel really enthused by the approach and am finding the planning sheets much more usefully annotated.


On Anna's learning journey sheets in the top left are some focus targets. I had assumed these were the carried over previous areas for future focus but could be wrong. However I am planning to do something slightly different... I am very interested in schematic learning at the moment and have just been on training with Stella Louis. So I am working on a sheet, to go alongside planing in the moment sheet, that identifies children's dominant schemas and what stage they are at, next steps will be about moving them onto next stage of schematic learning.


I'm pack away and have been trying to stay paperless. I don't have the space for folders, so may record focus children's development on Tapestry rather than on paper. I have a scrapbook for the children though so this might be the place for them to review their learning... Do you have folders?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just thought I'd share... just begun first round of peer observations. Using planning in the moment rather than focus activities as has usually been the case. Staff no keen, as has mentioned elsewhere. They found not having an activity to pin things on challenging. I explained the rationale, which cause they understood, but they still found it difficult. How have others got on?

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I went on 'The Nursery Year in Action' course last week with Anna and it was truly inspirational as well as being a bit sad in terms of how formal some settings are. I have been using her ideas for a couple of years now and my staff are quite comfortable with it. 1 member of staff is less confident with filling out the planning in the moment sheet but she does know what it's for and does it all the time!

1 of the things that I would reinforce to staff is that if you have a good environment then children are learning all the time not just when they're with an adult. They have to really believe this. Then maybe do some training with them. Show some clips of children playing, what would you do next? Just observe or interact? If interact, how? Then what would you write on the sheet, if anything. She doesn't recommend that you use the planning in the moment sheet with under 3 as they don't really play in groups. However, we sometimes record what's happened with just 1 or 2 children not just groups so it could work but I do work with 3+.

Green Hippo x

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