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Sorry to ask the age old question....planning!


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Morning all,

 

Now I know that this has been done to death but our planning systems are just not working! We have recently moved over to tapestry and getting to grips with it but we held our first planning meeting last week and I got very little feedback from staff. Now I can appreciate that we have a new cohort and that staff are learning about their new key children but was disappointed to see they could even fill a planning sheet. This led me to thinking that I believe our planning sheet isn't working and needs a revamp. We currently have an a4 sheet on the wall with days of the week along the top and areas of provision down the side. Then a separate sheet for outdoors. I just think it's planning overkill!

 

I'd love for some inspiration in how to jazz things up a bit and make this system work. We have continuous provision displayed around the areas in our room so my argument is we then don't need to add this to our weekly plan. I was thinking maybe a section called "enhancements to continuous provision" for any changes made. I'm just fed up if seeing the same headings on the planning sheet and the same ideas all the time!

 

Sorry for the rant but just feel that it's an area we have always struggled with and would love to get it right this year and finally have an approach to planning that actually works for us! Any ideas or inspiration gratefully received x

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Well I see that 70 folk have viewed your post but nobody has replied! Planning is one of those things that gets reinvented so often, it's like a revolving door!

 

If I were starting where you find yourself, at this point in the term, I wouldn't worry about your planning sheet. Get a nice big blank bit of paper and write in your CP enhancements - with reasons why, and who these are specifically aimed at. Look at what else is going on in the room and outside generally that you feel could be used as a next step for somebody. Is there an opportunity for an adult to model some learning - building a tower or beginning a discussion on floating and sinking in the water tray? Just have a free discussion and note things down. Talk about what you know about the children, and perhaps what you would like to observe in the weeks ahead - note down how you feel you can achieve that. Make it big, and fairly medium term and then from there, you can break it down into smaller nibbles. Remember that the planning is for YOU, nobody else, it's just to show how you intend to get from A to Z and record that progression en route. Keep it loose and flexible, and don't be afraid to record retrospective 'planning' when things change - as they inevitably will. Often having tight planning means that staff can get frustrated when children want to go off at a tangent, and not do the things you meticulously planned for them. The best learning comes from spontaneity, so don't tie yourself up too much with planning, keep it loose and be prepared to abandon it!

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Thats about all we do tinkerbell 403!

We just scribble a mind map for enhancements to cp- any other interest that may have cropped up and the objective for the week! Done! :)

All ours is pretty much talked about and these are just prompts. Have been in the business long enough to know that no-one reads the planning - we don't have the time!

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Hi Tinkerbell1403,

 

I think we have all been in your position a hundred times, however, I feel I have come out the other side! This isn't to say that I don't review what we are doing but I have found a 'comfortable' place.

I moved away from the CP sheets that you describe a good few years ago. These sheets just made me feel anxious as although it is fine not to have all the boxes filled in, who likes an empty box? So, things would get recorded to fill them up.

Now, any changes to CP are recorded on my other planning document which outlines the objectives and key groups times for the week. Any changes related to the objectives, I record in the activity/resources section of my planning sheet in italics and anything else is record on a separate section at the bottom - a simple table: Area of provision, area of learning&reason, provision addition/changes, children. Anything that is added through the week as a result of an observation is recorded on my Anna Ephgrave style 'planning in the moment' sheet.

In the past, I have spent many an hour, sat looking at the computer, trying to think up activities/resources for children's 'next steps' to find that they are not interested or not still relevant the following week. Maybe your staff are finding this hard too? If you like using 'next steps' could that be their focus? Take them to the children, find the moment to cover the next step through what the children are playing with? It is much easier then to think of things that you could do next to further support the learning. This may be something that has to happen in the next couple of days due to acquiring resources etc but that could be recorded on a spontaneous planning sheet. I find doing it this way is much more 'natural'.

You could also ask your staff to observe Involvement and use of resources on a regular basis to find out what resources are being used, what is not which again will give obvious answers as to what needs to be changes instead of trying to think of things when you are away from the children and the working room.

I am gradually moving away from individual next steps using some ABC ideas and some Anna Ephgrave ideas. It has taken me a couple of years to work through this process but feel like I'm much more 'with' the children.

 

Good Luck,

Green Hippo x

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Well I see that 70 folk have viewed your post but nobody has replied! Planning is one of those things that gets reinvented so often, it's like a revolving door!

 

If I were starting where you find yourself, at this point in the term, I wouldn't worry about your planning sheet. Get a nice big blank bit of paper and write in your CP enhancements - with reasons why, and who these are specifically aimed at. Look at what else is going on in the room and outside generally that you feel could be used as a next step for somebody. Is there an opportunity for an adult to model some learning - building a tower or beginning a discussion on floating and sinking in the water tray? Just have a free discussion and note things down. Talk about what you know about the children, and perhaps what you would like to observe in the weeks ahead - note down how you feel you can achieve that. Make it big, and fairly medium term and then from there, you can break it down into smaller nibbles. Remember that the planning is for YOU, nobody else, it's just to show how you intend to get from A to Z and record that progression en route. Keep it loose and flexible, and don't be afraid to record retrospective 'planning' when things change - as they inevitably will. Often having tight planning means that staff can get frustrated when children want to go off at a tangent, and not do the things you meticulously planned for them. The best learning comes from spontaneity, so don't tie yourself up too much with planning, keep it loose and be prepared to abandon it!

 

Cait thanks so much for your reply. Sometimes I just need to vent to clear my head and get some focus back!

 

You are 100% right in everything you say and totally sounds like the position we are in at the moment. I love the idea of loose, flexible planning but getting my team onboard and to make such a change from traditional planning sheets is going to be tricky. They all seem interested when I discuss it but I think they like to see something concrete in front of them with examples. I may get my head down this week and create a mind map as Rafa suggests. I would like to head a large sheet of paper with enhancements to CP with who and why columns as you suggest and then go from there with them.

 

Hi Tinkerbell1403,

 

I think we have all been in your position a hundred times, however, I feel I have come out the other side! This isn't to say that I don't review what we are doing but I have found a 'comfortable' place.

I moved away from the CP sheets that you describe a good few years ago. These sheets just made me feel anxious as although it is fine not to have all the boxes filled in, who likes an empty box? So, things would get recorded to fill them up.

Now, any changes to CP are recorded on my other planning document which outlines the objectives and key groups times for the week. Any changes related to the objectives, I record in the activity/resources section of my planning sheet in italics and anything else is record on a separate section at the bottom - a simple table: Area of provision, area of learning&reason, provision addition/changes, children. Anything that is added through the week as a result of an observation is recorded on my Anna Ephgrave style 'planning in the moment' sheet.

In the past, I have spent many an hour, sat looking at the computer, trying to think up activities/resources for children's 'next steps' to find that they are not interested or not still relevant the following week. Maybe your staff are finding this hard too? If you like using 'next steps' could that be their focus? Take them to the children, find the moment to cover the next step through what the children are playing with? It is much easier then to think of things that you could do next to further support the learning. This may be something that has to happen in the next couple of days due to acquiring resources etc but that could be recorded on a spontaneous planning sheet. I find doing it this way is much more 'natural'.

You could also ask your staff to observe Involvement and use of resources on a regular basis to find out what resources are being used, what is not which again will give obvious answers as to what needs to be changes instead of trying to think of things when you are away from the children and the working room.

I am gradually moving away from individual next steps using some ABC ideas and some Anna Ephgrave ideas. It has taken me a couple of years to work through this process but feel like I'm much more 'with' the children.

 

Good Luck,

Green Hippo x

 

Green Hippo I love the concept of planning in the moment and have started looking at the ABC ideas too. I haven't go the Anna Ephgrave book yet so not too sure how her planning sheets work but something I am very keen on adopting. I just wish we had the bottomless budget to purchase or make new resources to support some of the richer learning experiences.

 

Thats about all we do tinkerbell 403!

We just scribble a mind map for enhancements to cp- any other interest that may have cropped up and the objective for the week! Done! :)

All ours is pretty much talked about and these are just prompts. Have been in the business long enough to know that no-one reads the planning - we don't have the time!

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Hi Tinkerbell1403,

I would recommend her books - they will both inspired you and reassure you! I know that we do need to buy some things but if you look at her setting many things are not expensive and in fact home made or found!

I always have a list of things that I want done yesterday but I've decided to try to do 1 thing at a time and do it well!

 

Green Hippo x

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