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Interest Sheets And Planning Yet Again!

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I feel we havent moved forward at all over the past few months with this planning, and we have been to another planning drop in session today to be told something different by an early years mentor yet again!.

We have changed our rooms around to accomodate all these workshop areas sooo many times!


Today we have been given an interest sheet headings as follows


Workshop area what are they playing with next steps


We have been told to record specific things that happen in these areas. ??????


We asked is this a daily sheet - they said no weekly. No more of an explanation its then dismissed and we go onto another issue!


Does anyone use something like this or similar? If so how does it work? or does anyone have something they can share with me.


We wanted her to help us with focus activities- only to be told you dont need to do these as the children can learn all they need to from the areas being well resourced?


What about covering specific areas of learning?

What are we observing and how do we know what to observe (is this a silly question?)

We have lost all our confidence!


I understand the children self select etc, but surely we have to plan for something ?


Can anyone attach a copy of their weekly plan or anything which will help explain to me where to start and how we take this play forward, also how you plan for the following day or week or whatever!

A bog basic explanation of your planning, step by step would be fantastic!!


Do you have a sheet so the staff know what they are doing each day? our staff come in and stand there and feel really lost- I cant even help them as I dont have a clue!


We have also been given an A4 piece of paper with our worshops down the side, mon- Fri columns along the top and this is to be filled in each day during the session saying what toys/resources the children got out why or again have I lost the plot ?


All I have been left with today is yet more pieces of paper no answers and we are all so confused



I know this post is so jumbled Im sorry !


Thank you



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we do have a daily sheet and we decide what to put out on the basis of what has been the childrens interest the day before or days/week before.Also because we have 10 staff and all work diff sessions it acts as an information sheet for the next session or next day,so the lego may have not worked on the table lets try it on the mat or with animals or pictures of houses etc or our newie who finds it hard to settle loves trains so lets make sure it is available when he comes in to help distract etc

For instance a group of our children went through a phase of picnicing in any corner of the room they could,so today we went the whole hog and provided a picnic rug,basket and food.Or a phase of being a dog!so lets find out about dogs and make masks get a parent in with their dog so we can learn how to look after them!

We have been brave and moved on to letting the children choose in an area of our large playrrom but we do put out certain resources activities that we feel help the children move through the stepping stones depending where they are at.

So in answer we plan from day to day mainly from our informed planning sheet but we do still provide certain opportunities to visit the stepping stones in different ways.

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Sharon, make your planning simple. Your advisor is there to advise, not dictate. :o


If, how you plan is easy for staff and others to read and implement then thats how you do it.


I dont think you do necessarily need focused activities at all times as the resources probably do cover all the areas, but a focus can help staff to recognise where the children are and what they themselves should be doing. Have a week of observing the children. Get to know their interests and then plan for them.


Have one or two focused activities a week linked to what you know about each child.

If Tommy always plays with the dinosaurs, put the dinosaurs in the sand, you'll be able to find things in his play that tell you about him: can he share, does he negotiate with others, does he make up a story while playing?

If Billy only uses the paint add things for him to print from: Does he explore the colour mix, does he talk to others about his work, does he select his own resources? All the children accessing the activities will show you things about them. Use what you observe and hear to plan for the next day or week.

If Tommy cant share select some games next time where sharing is a must either with 1 other child or a small group, kicking a goal, rolling a ball at the skittles, rolling a dice on a board game, sliding the dinosaurs down the slide.


A well placed adult to aid vocabulary, add things as needed, ask questions 'I wonder how.., What if..?' will allow the staff to be able to see where the children need to go next and will provide loads of information. But dont test them!!


Theres nothing wrong with you selecting the toys and resources so long as you are ready to add to them if the children look like they need more or to provide toys if they are specifically asked for.

If the children gather all the chairs to make a train, make paper and pens available for writing tickets, give them play money, provide travel brochures. Talk about where they might be going, add a train story at mat time, take a trip on a real train.


Dont get stressed about it. I see loads of different ways of planning. No-one really has it 100% right but thats ok, because it makes us look at what we do with a view to making it better. Sit with your staff, get their ideas, use the FS folder examples. If you plan one way for a term and staff dont think it's working have another get together and change those aspects that are causing problems. Nothing has to be set in stone. Good luck :D


PS Do you use topics/themes? Have a look at Sue R's blog. Her nursery recently started planning without topics. If you can move away from them it can open the way to planning holistically. I think you might find it easier than always trying to think of something to match an ELG.

Again, good luck and keep smiling :D

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Guest Wolfie

Just to let you know, I went on a course yesterday run by Marion Dowling and she said that there is a definite move away from mountainous amounts of planning in early years, endorsed by all the experts in the field, but Ofsted are always behind current thinking and we just have to wait for them to take this on board and brief their inspectors accordingly!!! :o

Edited by Wolfie
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As to Ofsted Wolfie, I used to have a folder especially for them, and ideas, plans, thoughts and musings in my head which I translated to staff each morning or week. I know they hated me for it but the folder was always there if they needed it.

The children were happy, the local school loved how our children could play together, interact and listen and how interested they were. I actually wish we could go back to the old days of Social service inspections and no Ofsted. We were allowed to play for real then and a quick note in the log book about the day was sufficient. Must be getting older, all I sem to do these days is say 'well years ago...' :o

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I have changed our planning so many times, I've lost count :D I think we all strive to get that balance between doing enough to make the provision good, but not filling in so many bits of paper that you drown in it.

You've had some great advice from other members, with lots more to think about. I have a friend who is a nursery teacher in a large state nursery, and her planning is similar to the workshop sheet you describe. In fact, she only showed me her planning last week, so it's relatively fresh in my mind. She said this kind of "fill in as the week goes on" is great because other members of staff can see at a glance what the children have been interested in in each workshop area, and therefore staff can start to think about how to extend the provision for the next week. For example, she said in the art area, the children were printing; lots of paint on the table, drawing in it, and making prints. They then added extra stuff, eg glitter or sand. At the end of the week, the staff saw what had been scribbled (literally) on the sheet for that area, and decided to use different objects for printing with the following week. I can see that this would work in a number of different areas, eg the construction area or Maths area.


Focus activities are still an important part of your provision, however often you do them. We still have to have a balance of adult-directed and child-initiated play, so I think abandoning all focus activities is a bit extreme. I agree with Rea; one or two per week should be sufficient.


When we were in a right old muddle with our planning, we stopped doing it altogether for a while! We just concentrated on observing the children, one child each session, to really get to know their interests and levels of development. From this, came loads of ideas on what we could provide for them. I'm sure it will help you to think of things that way round, rather than starting from the planning.


In terms of what staff are doing and where, we have a rota which I have typed up and it's displayed in all the rooms, showing who is where on what day, and who is leading music, movement, circle time, storytime, and who is making the all important snack! This was to ensure that everyone had a varied working week, and that everyone was able to develop their skills across the board.


Your last piece of A4 sounds like a summary of the individual workshop sheets? If so, I don't think you need to duplicate the information.

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