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Help with preschool planning!


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Hi,

I was looking for some advice about planning and how to present planning. Over the years the setting I was working in have had many types of planning, introducing new types of planning like In The Moment, but never fully committing to any - the result has been a really messy and over complicated mount of paper work. I recently took over the setting and implemented Tapestry (I wanted this resource for years) and made a few changes to the planning, mostly towards more child orientated as opposed to a revolving factory floor belt of activities and gave staff more control and freedom to plan for their children and small groups.

Our long term and medium term planning comes from planning ahead around festivals and celebrations, whilst hand selecting appropriate books. The short term plan is where I am stuck, we do have a weekly focus, the focus is a story. Each week a story provides a theme and the book is chosen for those specific reasons or the children request a book, or a natural progression if they enjoy a series of books like Supertato. This works really well in addition to using tapestry and planning around children's individual interests. 

I want to avoid repetitive recording of paper work for staff - Tapestry records the observations, tracks development and provides potential next steps - staff understand that they can use these recommendations but are also really great at thinking on their feet about how to move development forward. I know that I will need a simple weekly plan, potentially showing the story of the week - potential circle time discussions and maybe brief recording of any group experiences. Do you think this is enough? am I over thinking? I have spoken with staff but they are similarly in a position where there has been so much introduced over the years that they can not think straight about how to proceed. 

Additionally do any of you in your settings use sheets for individual children planning? 

I think I have spent so long unraveling the old planning and having to as a key worker do different types of recording over the years, that mentally I can not think forward, I have hit a wall. Any comments or support would be fantastic in just maybe getting me out of the box I seem to be stuck in.

 

Thank You! 

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Can i make a suggestion? go back to the statutory framework and re-read what it says. Then start with a clean piece of paper and work out what you actually NEED. (try to forget what you are doing at the moment) you may find that you are just doing way too much! lots of practitioners on here no longer do any planning! 

We did this when we moved and again we have had a reset this year due to covid! humm maybe some good things have come out of this !🤣

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9 minutes ago, finleysmaid said:

Can i make a suggestion? go back to the statutory framework and re-read what it says. Then start with a clean piece of paper and work out what you actually NEED. (try to forget what you are doing at the moment) you may find that you are just doing way too much! lots of practitioners on here no longer do any planning! 

We did this when we moved and again we have had a reset this year due to covid! humm maybe some good things have come out of this !🤣

Thank You!

I did think about doing this... I was inspected a month after taking over, and 3 days after changing the planning and we got good. The inspector said the approach is good - story of the week - just look at what is recorded and why? that was February and then Covid happened. 

I agree, the reset has been refreshing in the sense it has allowed time to go back to the drawing board with a-lot go things.

Can I ask how you plan or record, if you don't mind.

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1 hour ago, malepractitioner said:

Thank You!

I did think about doing this... I was inspected a month after taking over, and 3 days after changing the planning and we got good. The inspector said the approach is good - story of the week - just look at what is recorded and why? that was February and then Covid happened. 

I agree, the reset has been refreshing in the sense it has allowed time to go back to the drawing board with a-lot go things.

Can I ask how you plan or record, if you don't mind.

We are very free flow and learn through play. we don't do themes (i'm pre-school BTW) as we have children from 2 and a half to 5 lots of EAL and SEND so trying to theme something is just not appropriate for us, although if an interest comes up we may follow it. Planning is done for the individual so we assess. plan, do review (repeat!) ...where are they now where do we want them to be, how can we help them to get there, have they moved on? what next? etc etc 

everything is done through their play .... so if i know little A needs to learn how to take turns that would be on the planning for all the staff to see, they would pick up on this when playing with A and develop this throughout their time . We redo these next steps every 2 weeks (flexible!) 

the environment is set up to encourage some of the next steps or to add curiosity/experience/language skill depending on what is needed. (each member of staff has an area week to keep things fresh)

thats about it!! simples! 😂

you have time now to fiddle with your planning as you won't be inspected for a while so you can give anything you want a go but maybe have a chat with the staff and see what they like and don't like. We normally go with a lets do this until x and then review if its working keep it if not move on. Don't get too hung up on planning and ofsted know can't tell you how to teach they can just assess how well its working.

Tapestry is fab but remember to pick and choose what you want from it....you don't need to have it all we use it as our recording method and for supporting parents 

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Hi

Less is more I'd say.  I worked for many years trying to include individual planning, key person planning, next steps and yet more often than not it always ended up that we did something not on the plans at all.....and good stuff, stuff that mattered to the children but, because we had a plan, it stressed everyone out because we were trying to evidence that what we planned had happened even if we'd covered the same objectives in other ways or on different days....

so now we are fully in the moment and Ive been working without a weekly, daily, monthy, long, medium, short term plan of any kind for several years now.

All we write are the individual observation, with the teaching element highlighted.  Basically all the planning happens in the moment, on the day, with some inspiration from seasonal events.  We have to have an environment and sufficient resources to enable that sponteneity....that is our long term plan - to build up the resources.

You say your staff are already really good at responding to opportunities to extend learning so imagine there are already lots of 'activities' happening that are likely to be meeting childrens needs.  

I think what you have in place is perfectly fine....but I'd suggest not making it too much of a 'must do' / ' have to do' ....use the books as a provocation but you shouldn't need to write it up as a focus / daily plan at all - you'd have the evidence of it happening in observation records if needed ....but it's unlikely anyone is going to challenge you on whether you read X book on X day as your plan said.

The main planning is best focused on building up the environment and resources to support you and to build the skills of staff to be able to work independently of plans and to develop high quality interaction skills -  to think on their feet and to make the most of every moment! 

 

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