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Planning, Again!


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HI

 

I thought i had an effective system in place, in actual fact it was effective but also very time consuming.

i spoke with the early years advisor who said that for all children in nursery we do not need to do focused planned activities (as in planned out before hand with BT3 aims or FS aims (which is how we have been doing it) all we need to do is follow children's interest of notes from our observations. so the early years advisor identified that they would be 'planned' if you were following from observations, but they wouldn't be planned in the sense of linking back to BT3 and FS areas.

now im okay with that, and so are my staff as it is less written work for them daily.

 

Initially we need to make information leaflets showing how areas of our environment meet BT3 or FS but once those are in place we don't need to link any activities (as in written links) to BT3 or FS.

 

so basically per day staff will fill in a coloum (on weekly sheet) which states what activities are carried out from observations made, staff choice of resources/activities and children's choice of resources/activities. then staff evaluate very briefly the day at the end of the day. and that is all.

 

so we will be going from pre-school room where they did a focused (and written out, and linked to FS areas) planned activity a day to now doing no written out plans seems mad and im worried won't be enough for ofsted as we will have no written evidence of what we intend our activities to achieve.

 

.... but then thinking back does that matter, since we are meant to be going of children's interests/and needs.

 

i think im getting anxious because im reading other posts that talk about doing a focused activity a day, if we change our planning we won't effectively be doing a written (planned out focused activity) a day.

 

confused..... LOL, doesn't take much :o

 

how are others doing there planning.....

 

Dawn

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we have a plan of activities that are available on a daily basis which are linked in to our curriculum guidance we then hav a daily sheet which is completed showing the child led activities and is evaluated each day we do not do any formal planning as such we record what the children have decided to play with and how we can support and reinforce the childrens choices and interests.

 

We found this quite difficult to get to grips with at first I panicked that we did not have the traditional 'planning' but now it is in place and working I realise how much better the system is for staff & Children.

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Dawn I think I'm at the same stage as you - I like having the security of plans for focus activities, feeling that they give the evidence that Ofsted wants to see, but reading all the posts about motivational planning makes me realise that maybe what we're doing doesn't meet the children's individual needs and interests as it should? And everyone who has made the switch from topic based planning to retrospective planning based on the children's interests seems so happy!

 

I think I really need to see this type of planning in action - it's all described in people's posts and articles so well but I need to SEE it!

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when ofsted came in january they were impressed by the fact that our planning stems directly from the childrens interests and so is meaningful to the children i think if you have the proof in terms of documenting why activities were chosen and ensure that the next steps for individual children are clear then this is enough to satisfy ofsted

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One thought that keeps occurring to me in connection with all this is that if your planning is always based on providing activities and experiences that tie in with the children's interests, how do you introduce them to anything "new"? When you plan around topics, you are obviously giving them new knowledge, vocabulary, concepts, etc. related to that particular topic, but when you are led by the children's interests....and don't get me wrong, I really like the philosophy of that approach.....how do you share all that kind of knowledge if it isn't something that they are interested in? How do you prevent the planning and provision of activities from getting "stale"- repeating the same kinds of activity and experience because that's what interests the children the most? I'm sure it must be down to the skills and good quality practice of practitioners but I need to see it in action!!

 

As part of my job, I support staff in a 2-5s room in a nursery. Up until now, the staff working with the 2-3s are being advised to stat from the child's interests and the staff working with the 3-5s are doing topic based planning. I desperately want the two sets of staff to work together on planning, to encourage better teamwork, but they seem poles apart at the moment and I don't know where to start! I'm hoping that the introdcution of the EYFS will make this planning process much more co-ordinated and smooth but don't wnat to wait until Sept 2008 to start making changes!

 

I'm sorry if I've hijacked your post Dawn! :o

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i tend to plant materials within the environment and if the children begin to show an interest in then we run with it if they dont the materials are withdrawn

also there are so many areas within the childrens life outside nursery that bring opportunities/interests you really do have lots of scope with this type of planning

the childrens interests change all the time some interests may only last for a week while others will last for much longer i have found that one interest can lead to another or that many of the childrens interests can tie in together quite well it is very individualised

i hope this all makes sense its hard to explain

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One thought that keeps occurring to me in connection with all this is that if your planning is always based on providing activities and experiences that tie in with the children's interests, how do you introduce them to anything "new"? When you plan around topics, you are obviously giving them new knowledge, vocabulary, concepts, etc. related to that particular topic, but when you are led by the children's interests....and don't get me wrong, I really like the philosophy of that approach.....how do you share all that kind of knowledge if it isn't something that they are interested in? How do you prevent the planning and provision of activities from getting "stale"- repeating the same kinds of activity and experience because that's what interests the children the most? I'm sure it must be down to the skills and good quality practice of practitioners but I need to see it in action!!

 

As part of my job, I support staff in a 2-5s room in a nursery. Up until now, the staff working with the 2-3s are being advised to stat from the child's interests and the staff working with the 3-5s are doing topic based planning. I desperately want the two sets of staff to work together on planning, to encourage better teamwork, but they seem poles apart at the moment and I don't know where to start! I'm hoping that the introdcution of the EYFS will make this planning process much more co-ordinated and smooth but don't wnat to wait until Sept 2008 to start making changes!

 

I'm sorry if I've hijacked your post Dawn! :o

 

hey no worries wolfie :) I think it seems you and i have similar 'concerns' with regards planning anyway.

Our early years advisor said that there may naturally be times when we as practitioners want to do something / share our knowledge with children (ie introduce something new) and she said that is fine... i guess children's choice is great and i am all for it (and for working with their interests) but i think sometimes we as practitioners need to introduce fresh ideas and concepts to children, ie by using loose topic based planning, or by introducing something of interest to us (obviously as long as we think the children will benefit from it too.) (if that made sense?)

its just so hard to get to grips with it all and how it can apply to our settings.

 

Dawn

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thats how we do it Dawn we are still going with the childrens interests but we introduce materials to act as springboards for their future learning and to broaden their interests they dont always pick up on them but then its ok to discard it and try something new

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Mmm this is really interesting seeing everyones thoughts. I do think that planning is the bain of our lives and I have started retrospective planning on some days where I have no predetermined goals except for the children to be engaged motivated and keen to learn. They can have out what they like within reason but it still requires some planning to observe what they are doing and then take them on a stage so they don't just get stuck in one area.

 

I do do topics as this just focuses us on getting out different resources and materials over the year. We are very, very fortunate that we have lots and lots of resources built up over the years and we certainly could not get them all out every single day or week or month as there are just too many. Children also like to see variety as well as revisiting things that they enjoy and varying the change always makes for a better session. But I do think I personally need to think how the ressources could be used and what could be achieved from them to take into account the children's different learning styles so that I can anticipate where they might want to take an activity if that makes sense. That doesn't mean to say it has to be focussed, it just means being able to understand how they might use the materials and always without fail someone will come up with something new - so planning needs to be flexible in order for that to happen.

 

I give very vague outlines of what could be achieved so say putting black spiders in black spaghetti might go down the mathematical route of counting them, lanugage development on describing the texture, KUW, where they live and what they do, physical development of using the tweezers to get them out and count them - so its all very loose and I then update these retrospectively for the next time as children kick in with something completely new that I had not even thought about. By outlining very broad learning outcomes it also helps some staff to think "outside the box" and gives them a bit of guidance to understand all the ways in which children learn so they can move the activity on with the children.

 

So we do have focussed activities as well, e.g. most parents want to receive a Mother's Day card and we actively encourage all children to do one and there are very few children who won't participate because it's normally made enjoyable for them, something different and are keen to please. However, the card itself will have a number of elements to it, CLL, Mathematical, PSE or KUW so we can extend their learning and their own personal outcomes in the completion of the card.

 

I do think we can get too hung up on planning in too much detail but I do think there needs to be a basic outline of what we are trying to achieve as otherwise it can make it quite difficult to see what stages the children are at.

 

Anyway that's how I view planning - it's good to see that others see and do it in a similar way and that's whats really good about this forum as I know I sometimes think that I am doing it all wrong adn having other peoples thoughts and practice is really helpful to support my own personal views.

Nikki

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