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We Have Decided To Take The Plunge!


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was half way through posting then it dissappeared, if their is a half post, I apologise.

 

Hey Everyone

 

I thought I'd let you all know about our new planning system, after months of stress, staff worrying over not having time to plan, seeing the effects of this on the playroom and after gaining some inspiration via here, we have made the move away from forward planning.

 

We are now trying to work as child centred as possible, letting the children lead their learning and merely providing for this and recording their progress.

 

We have also re-started keyworker time to ensure that there is still some adult input where necessary and to help the staff deliver more focused learning and to support the children in a more productive manner.

 

our weekly 'planning' now works like this........

 

1. We have a weekly grid, which has collums for each day with a smaller 'next' collum at the bottom, staff record on here little obs or notes throughout the day whilst observing or interactiong with the children for eg: Children were rapping construction in t-towels in the homecorner. Then at the end of the day they briefly evaluate what would further the childrens learning the next day ie: blankets and babies out in the home corner and perhaps encouragement of making 'people' with various types of construction. They would then provide equipment or encouragement where necessary the following day. This is repeated each day.

 

2. Staff 'plan' for their keyworker time by using the weekly grid or childrens individual observations for inspiration. Keyworker times are more focused and staff have another weekly sheet where they make the briefest of notes regarding the next days plan.

 

3. The week is evaluated as a whole, in regards to children's learning, interests and target children for the following week, this is recorded.

 

4. Children have one Key observation done a week where necessary and possible, this is completed from the staff notebooks which are used daily for making notes etc. This key ob is linked with either Birth to three matters or the foundation stage, to show areas of development met etc. Its a very simple document and these are all stored and kept with photographs and art work along with quarterly summative report which all goes together to make a nice learning profile.

 

5. Staff also have a tick sheet for the 3+ children which they can use to match up with all their little observations and notes to keep a guage on how the child is progressing through the foundation stage and to help complete the transitional records when the time comes. But since this is just transfering info it can be done whenever the staff get a chance.

 

Thats it!

 

I know it sounds like a lot but its actually not, the girls are really enthusiastic, can see how it will work, think it will make a huge difference and I'm feeling confident about it too, but I'm a little concerned about wether it is meeting Ofsted requirements.

 

So what do you guys think, any advice is welcome.

 

Nicola x

 

Ps, sorry for the essay :o

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Hi Nichola

It sounds like you have put in a huge amount of effort and time to prepare for the plunge. Sorry not much help as not my kind of setting but like you have felt a need to change and been inspired to put a step forward and consider it. I do hope it all goes well for you.

Lynnj123

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I wouldnt worry about ofsted, you have shown you have discussed this as a staff,as long as you can show you have planned this and say this is what you are trying out and you will review it after say half a term then they will be more then happy with it and this is how they want you to plan so they will be doubly happy!!

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well done, it is a bit scary making changes but it's also great that all staff are on board, so to speak.

Your system sounds similar to mine, very reflective, with the exception of keyworker times. We don't have these as set times but the keyworker considers and plans adult input ( making resources available and/or direct participation with child) to their specific key children to ensure either

1/ an area of development that a child needs additional support with is met, or

2/ our long term plan focus ( area and aspect) is introduced to a key child

 

the method the keyworker uses is dependent on previous recently observed interests of the child.

ie:

1/ Tom needs support in moving from paired play to small group play, his interests are in dinosaurs so keyworker ( at a time suitable to the child, ie: when observed wandering or has finished a particular self chosen activity) encourages him to play a game with her, using dinosaurs and then encourages more children to participate.

 

2/ our LTP focus ( for the week) is Maths, calculating. Keyworker would encourage Tom to play a game with Dinosaurs which promote this L.O. ie: sorting in sets and seeing which set has the most/least etc.

 

Each staff plans to work with one child per session at any given time ( we have 2 sessions per day) This is recorded on the bottom of our weekly planning sheet and is filled in when the keyworker observes particular childrens needs/interests.

 

Good luck, let us know how it all goes, just a last comment, keep at it for a while and don't make any more changes too soon, let the new system become embedded with staff and children alike. ( learnt from experience!! and a comment from my ofsted inspection)

 

Peggy

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Very interesting and I'm sure is the way to go. The planning seems logical and workable.

 

I would be very interested to know how you plan to do your keyworker time. Is it indvidually or in small groups? Do you have a whole group circle time?

 

We are constantly trying to come up with something workable and that everyone is willing to follow so will watch your post with interest.

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Thanks for all your replies.

 

Our planning has been a little rocky for sometime now, it just didn't flow and I felt that my staff were at times not grasping the childrens needs but focusing more on what activities would meet such and such criteria. Of course this wasn't desirable and so we have been having a good think about how to progress.

 

I will not be changing this planning again for a while, I want to give this a good run so we can see if it makes a difference to the feel and running of the playroom. I'm sure It will, and also the staff need time to learn to think that way dont they?

 

One of my girls is going to keep a diary on how the changes go from her point of view and so I may share this later too.

 

Thanks again

 

Nicola x

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well done,

 

we recently changed to doing our planning in a similar way to you, we have found it far better, and the staff clearly know the children and their interests.It really was a positive step forward for us.

 

Hope it goes well for you

 

Dawn

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Hi

 

I have been reading all the posts with interest and am still in the stages of trying to work out how to move from pre-planning through themes to going with the child's interests.

 

Does everyone really not use any themes at all once you have changed to using the child's interest as a guide?? I still feel that loosely introducing themes also introduces lots of new ideas and learning experiences for the children. Some of the themes are really enjoyable and the children are learning about things they didn't necessarily know about before. I work in a city with lots of city based children who rarely see wildlife or know about farms and where food and animals come from. So if they never express an interest do we now just not bother with it?? I know I sound like an amateur at all this and I keep asking the same things, but I still really feel that introducing a theme (as well as using their own interests as a guide for planning ) is still very relevant. HELP!! Or do we just use group times and circle times to talk about those things rather than make a whole weeks work on them?? I still feel that children that come to nursery also are there to be given opportunities to learn about their world in a wider way and that by going with their interests all the time they will sometimes miss out on learning about things they didn't know about before!!

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Emaloo,

 

I know what you mean. I to am in the process of devising a way (with the help of resources from this Forum) to create suitble ways of planning, observing, evaluating and recording child led and spontaneous activities and interests.

 

However, like you I do feel that certain (I hate to say the word 'topics') are worthy - especially, as you say, minibeasts and areas that encourage contact with nature, or that encourage exploration of their emotions and that help develop areas that will help keep the children in our care healthy and safe.

 

I intend to introduce certain subjects that children usually respond well to - but make sure I am incoporating their observe learning styles and schemas.

 

If we begin a subject matter that the children do not respond to, or through their play and observations it becomes obvious that they are focussing on something else, then we will adapt that which we have planned and incoporate their current interests.

 

As i say, i haven't got as far as putting this into any brilliant forms yet, but I feel that as long as we are responding to and recording what the children do and how this relates to the stepping stones, then plan possible line of development, then this should be suitable.

 

Any comments, contradictions, brilliant ideas welcome :o

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Hi Emaloo and welcome to the forum.

 

I'm so glad you raised this question because I had been thinking exactly the same. You are certainly not an amateur but I know what you mean! I feel I should know the answer - quite why I'm not sure!!

 

I am very interested in following children's interests, something we need to do more of and I am trying to promote along with simple, relevant and logical methods of observations, planning evaluation etc etc. Me thinks if I cracked this though I'd make a foturne - judging by all of our posts on here!

 

So I am reading posts like this with interest trying to understand how this works in practice so that I can confidently suggest different ways of working within our group.

 

How though do children know if they are interested in something if they haven't been introduced to it?

 

What about Christmas, Easter, Spring etc or do children show a natural interest in these?

 

Children love to see the caterpillars turn into butterflies in our buttefly pavillion but we have to put it there.

 

Also Diwali, Chinese New Year, trying different foods around the world etc - how do we introduce things like this if they do not naturally come up?

 

Feel like I'm sticking my neck out here, hope I haven't missed the point!!

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The way that we are working at the moment is that we have learning goals which we plan against and incorporate the children's interests within these. However, we might have one thing in the sand tray and something entirely different in the roleplay area, in terms of the interests we are following. If we follow topics too closely then what becomes important is trying to fit the areas to the topic - how many times do people come onto the forum appealing for help with planning saying "My topic is such and such but I don't know what to put on the water tray...." Sometimes the ideas are good but extremely contrived in terms of links!! What is wrong with watching how the children are playing and what they are interested in and putting out resources to complement that and extend their learning? If there is something in particular you want to 'teach' the children then you can plan for those things in a focus activity.

 

Also, children may show an interest in something following on from a book, something they have seen on the television or a holiday or outing they have had outside of the setting. You can then follow their lead and see if other children are interested in finding out more about that same subject. One of our children is mad about dinosaurs but I doubt very much that this interest has come about because they are walking about the fields round here and he sees them a lot. :o Our children also have very diverse interests and for some these change like the wind, others stay pretty constant. Our dinosaur enthusiast also loves crocodiles and for about 6 months managed to introduce them into every single conversation or activity that we planned. He was most insistent that crocodiles were native to Scotland when we were doing a mini topic on Scotland to celebrate St Andrews Day.

 

Which links to your final point about festivals. We have a few that we pick out every year and go for them as a mini topic over one week or whatever is appropriate. Since this happens once in a while the children are quite enthusiastic to put aside any other interests and go with the flow, but I wouldn't want this type of planning throughout the year. We also introduce items/activities to try to spark interest in a subject we feel they would benefit from - a visitor to the setting, an outing, a baking activity or something else out of the ordinary.

 

This is probably a bit garbled but hope this helps a little! :)

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well done to all of you who are brave enough to take the plunge. I have been reading the new foundation stage which is very pro planning from the child's own interests and would like to implement it in my setting. I feel that the planning i do now can be boring for the children and want to bring back the fun into nursery education. Last time the early years team visited us (I can just about remember!) they were very into topics and everything had to link to it which is just not possible all the time.

 

If I went by the children's interests, next week I would ask a fire appliance to visit to link in with the role play of two children or we would look at mini beasts and frogs to link in with the children looking for these in the nursery gardan. How much more relevant that would be and much more fun than trying to think of new activities to do with Nursery Rhymes which is fine as a topic but is incorporated into the daily routine anyway.

 

Maybe we could have a mixture of both. Have a general theme but change it to suit the children from week to wee.

 

How do you plan for the children, do you take a set number each week or do you try to plan for all of them every week? I would be very interested to see a copy of your planning if that is at all possible.

 

Think this is a great forum and love reading about all your ideas.

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hi

i'm very new to this, just registered today!

i supervise a small preschool and we do a very similar thing in an A4 book its working well, we've just had our ofsted inspection and she thought it was great as it showed what we are actually doing with child observations,changes,evaluations and childrens envolvement with planning plus more so keep going its worth it and alot easier :o

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Hi All

We haven't used topics for a few years now. We plan using the stepping stones. We put out six activities that will cover the stepping stones for the week and they can be changed depending on what the children are interested in. Obviously we have more than six activities out but six are chosen to cover the areas needed.

If the child show an interest in anything (like the film cars) we will provide activities that are based around that subject.

All children have a small observation written against the stepping stones for that week. We sometimes work in keyperson groups but only when the planning dictates. The option is always there.

I give my staff one session a week to update children's profiles and complete any paperwork they have. They have to sit in the hall and do their paperwork and are called on if needed but it works well for us.

 

Hi Shazzam

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Just rereading this - has anyone looked at my blog or article? A lot of your points are addressed there, I think.

 

When the balance in our pre-school changes, as it does when the older ones go off to school, we have a 'dry' time when it's difficult to really identify definite trends in interests, so we have a 'safety net' of ideas, we don't call them topics as they are just stop gaps, that we can use to give structure to the planning if necessary. However, we rarely use them as we can usually adapt and develop spontaneously - most learning outcomes are adaptable, with a little initiative and spark!

 

Sue

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Bearing in mind, this is a DN, with shifts etc, we have formal meetings (in voluntarily given time!!) once a month, but informal exchanges with notes in a message book on a more or less daily basis.

 

Prepared to discuss further, but am extraordinarily busy, so may be delays - watch this space! (or PM, if you like)

 

Sue

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Guest Wolfie

Thanks Sue...lots of questions flying about in my head...I'll PM you when I've managed to put them in some kind of order!! :o

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I think you can use quite broad topics so as to give you a guide for planning and then let it go with the children, key workers are essential I believe in ensuring individual children's development is still being planned for,

 

I was wondering when you observe the child playing in an area or a certain toy that you have noted as an interest, is it the adult who has put the toy out and made the choice in the first place,??

We should give the children the choice of resources also!? :o

 

What do others do, do you set a room up in the morning?

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Have just been reading through all the previous posts, and after a meeting this afternoon with my 2 Supervisor colleagues, we feel there is something amiss with our planning - but we can't identify what! Our main area which we would like to develop is how to get it on to paper format - WITH EASE. We spent most of this afternoon, coming up with child led plans, but couldn't get our heads round simple recording methods. Any formats, pro formas, page set up ideas/attachments would be really helpful as we have a full staff planning meeting next Tuesday evening and would like to have some idea as where we are coming from.

Pretty Please?

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I too would really like some help getting started without themes. We are a very large group 90+ children and even though we do have themes, we do foget them and go with what the needs of the children are on that day. We have very detailed playplans and every keyworker works with their child on a continous provision basis activity.

 

One prob we did have was our OFSTED last week the OFSTED inspector wanted it clearer up for the parents what we were doing for the day "making shakers" for example. I argued that we dont do that..... and that I just have a portfolio of photos of different activities throught the ELGs. So then it makes me feel slightly worried that changing to no themes would give us a bad mark... Please any help

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I'd say the key to getting started without themes is to take it slowly. Once you've decided you are no longer going to be adrudge to topics you need to sit back and allow the children freedom to choose while you observe their interests, friends, needs. Do they always play with the animals, do they opnly play with one child, are they leaders of games? Loads of things to look for. Once you've got a broad base to start with start implementing it. Dont panic about not having something to work from for a while, it can take some staff a lot of getting used to. No topics depends more on staffs ability to observe and interpret than from following atheme, so not everyone will find it easy to pull back and allow things to happen.

I'm glad so many more people ar elooking to do this, and yes, take a look at Sue R's blog, I've seen her nursery, very briefly in action and it works. xD

 

And now she'll be blushing :o

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Have just been reading through all the previous posts, and after a meeting this afternoon with my 2 Supervisor colleagues, we feel there is something amiss with our planning - but we can't identify what! Our main area which we would like to develop is how to get it on to paper format - WITH EASE. We spent most of this afternoon, coming up with child led plans, but couldn't get our heads round simple recording methods. Any formats, pro formas, page set up ideas/attachments would be really helpful as we have a full staff planning meeting next Tuesday evening and would like to have some idea as where we are coming from.

Pretty Please?

 

 

I use 4 pages,

1/ identifies what we put out in most areas, childrens interests, outdoors

2/ individual play plans

3 & 4/ two pages with childrens names to note learning - these are then cut and pasted into their achievement files

5/ weeks general comments and areas to develop notes.

 

hope they are useful

 

Peggy

PLANNING_SHEET_WEEKS_FOCUS_AUT_2006.doc

individual_child_planning.doc

NAME.doc

message_evaluation_page.doc

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