Planning overview
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    Default Planning overview

    I am being asked a lot of questions about PLANNING at the moment so here is a quick overview.

    There are 2 main types of planning - individual and group.

    The MOST IMPORTANT planning - individual - is about each child - following their interests and learning needs with more activities to teach them new things. We all do it every day when we, for example, get out the farm animals because the child has been to the farm with parents at the weekend or put out a sensory tray for a child who loves sensory play or take a child who loves running around to the park or take a child on a nature walk to support their learning about animals, plants and the area in which they live.

    I use my play plan to record individual planning – it’s free in files here –
    Play and Observation

    My play plan is used every week - it guides me through what I am doing with each child - it's an overview of what their 'next steps' and what they are doing independently. It works for me – we all work differently – if what you use works for you then you don’t need to change it!

    Your group planning is normally...

    1. A long term view of the type of things you are probably going to do through the year ... you will find my 2015 planning calendar here -https://www.childcare.co.uk/information/childminder-plus
    It’s free - just log in free to get it...

    2. Medium term planning - this puts some flesh on the bones of the long term planning. It gives you ideas for, for example, Chinese New Year or Easter or Diwali for the group of children. If you are a gold member of Childcare.co.uk you will find lots of medium term planning here -https://www.childcare.co.uk/information/provision-planning.

    Medium term planning is a list of general ideas you MIGHT use with the children IF they are interested and it's relevant to them. If it doesn't suit you put it away and plan your own ideas... never put yourself under pressure to do more than will be of benefit to your current cohort of children.

    Other planning will come from outings, spontaneous comments from the children, parents and what they are doing at home, other settings and what children are doing there... etc.

    Ofsted are looking for evidence of planned activities to show that you are teaching children from the age of 2 about… the multicultural world in which they live, British values, the weather, the seasons, things that interest children etc. However, this does not have to be long and complicated planning as long as you can clearly explain what you are covering (teaching) and how it benefits the children (what they are learning).

    I hope that helps

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    Thanks Sarah

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah707 View Post
    I am being asked a lot of questions about PLANNING at the moment so here is a quick overview. There are 2 main types of planning - individual and group. The MOST IMPORTANT planning - individual - is about each child - following their interests and learning needs with more activities to teach them new things. We all do it every day when we, for example, get out the farm animals because the child has been to the farm with parents at the weekend or put out a sensory tray for a child who loves sensory play or take a child who loves running around to the park or take a child on a nature walk to support their learning about animals, plants and the area in which they live. I use my play plan to record individual planning – it’s free in files here – Play and Observation My play plan is used every week - it guides me through what I am doing with each child - it's an overview of what their 'next steps' and what they are doing independently. It works for me – we all work differently – if what you use works for you then you don’t need to change it! Your group planning is normally... 1. A long term view of the type of things you are probably going to do through the year ... you will find my 2015 planning calendar here -https://www.childcare.co.uk/information/childminder-plus It’s free - just log in free to get it... 2. Medium term planning - this puts some flesh on the bones of the long term planning. It gives you ideas for, for example, Chinese New Year or Easter or Diwali for the group of children. If you are a gold member of Childcare.co.uk you will find lots of medium term planning here -https://www.childcare.co.uk/information/provision-planning. Medium term planning is a list of general ideas you MIGHT use with the children IF they are interested and it's relevant to them. If it doesn't suit you put it away and plan your own ideas... never put yourself under pressure to do more than will be of benefit to your current cohort of children. Other planning will come from outings, spontaneous comments from the children, parents and what they are doing at home, other settings and what children are doing there... etc. Ofsted are looking for evidence of planned activities to show that you are teaching children from the age of 2 about… the multicultural world in which they live, British values, the weather, the seasons, things that interest children etc. However, this does not have to be long and complicated planning as long as you can clearly explain what you are covering (teaching) and how it benefits the children (what they are learning). I hope that helps
    Hi sarah, if a child specifically asks/requests to do an activity can you then state this in your individual planning for that child and state "x expressed an interest in x and so I will provide equipment to do this" - or would this not count as planning?

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    Thanks Sarah
    Interestingly my OfSTED inspector didn't look at any planning, but asked me questions about next steps and activities children were accessing. I spoke to her about planning but when she left the folder with samples of planning I noticed had slipped off the table and was almost hidden under the sofa so she hadn't seen it! Parents did say in their reviews that I shared planning though.

  5. #5
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by FloraDora View Post
    Thanks Sarah
    Interestingly my OfSTED inspector didn't look at any planning, but asked me questions about next steps and activities children were accessing. I spoke to her about planning but when she left the folder with samples of planning I noticed had slipped off the table and was almost hidden under the sofa so she hadn't seen it! Parents did say in their reviews that I shared planning though.
    There are many schools of thought on planning....some say there is far too much, Sir Ken Robinson is one......some worry about not planning enough ...some do little or none and follow the children's interest and adapt the planning on that for each child.
    What is important is how we use the children's choice and interests to scaffold their learning then take it away and move on...and how we plan some adult led activities....do you agree?

    Mumofone...yes that is following a child's interest but all children can enjoy that activity...say for instance playing with the Brio set...based on that all children's learning can be adapted....it depends on how you adapt it.

    The beauty of EYFS is that it has its own 'long term planning'...that is achieving the Early Learning Goals by the end of the EYFS stage.
    Planning for Topics was very hot in the past and also themes...EYFS is overarching so I personally don't feel we need to have 'letter of the week' or 'number of the week'.

    Festivals and cultural topics will be part of daily events and embedded in PSED.
    I wonder what others think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    There are many schools of thought on planning....some say there is far too much, Sir Ken Robinson is one......some worry about not planning enough ...some do little or none and follow the children's interest and adapt the planning on that for each child.
    What is important is how we use the children's choice and interests to scaffold their learning then take it away and move on...and how we plan some adult led activities....do you agree?

    Mumofone...yes that is following a child's interest but all children can enjoy that activity...say for instance playing with the Brio set...based on that all children's learning can be adapted....it depends on how you adapt it.

    The beauty of EYFS is that it has its own 'long term planning'...that is achieving the Early Learning Goals by the end of the EYFS stage.
    Planning for Topics was very hot in the past and also themes...EYFS is overarching so I personally don't feel we need to have 'letter of the week' or 'number of the week'.

    Festivals and cultural topics will be part of daily events and embedded in PSED.
    I wonder what others think?
    After a review and next steps established I plan how I am going to provide an environment to allow the individual child's next steps, often this is just a reminder to myself that I need to be constantly highlighting something or it could be a couple of book based activities specific for this child, but others will get something out of it too, sometimes it's a reorganisation of resources and furniture, furthur activities in the outdoor environment, visits etc.. I give this to parents as it has ideas of how they can help at home, usually what we have discussed so they contribute to this planning really. At the next termly review I may annotate this planning or do another one, depending on how the child has progressed.
    I think if you have an assistant it becomes more important to plan so that everybody knows the vision.

    Daily I plan in my head...setting out activities that I know will enable an appropriate learning environment for the individuals, baring in mind their individual medium term planning. I don't record it as it's hardly difficult to remember with Max of 3 children. But my diaries are detailed so evidence is there of activities and learning.
    I constantly plan in my head!!! In fact I need to switch off as I am always looking for ideas and better ways of supporting the LO's. Sometimes if you put your thoughts in to a plan on paper it helps you to think that task is done and put it out of your mind.

    I do a yearly plan of special multicultural days and books appropriate to the season but I don't always follow it.

    I follow letters and sounds loosely for phonics which is largely stage 1 and 2 ..rhyming, understanding ️sounds and .SATPIN and the letters in their names are my focus.... I think that the alphabet is largely a dinosaur now, gone are the days of learning each letter in order. I have a bbc satpin strip in my writing area and we refer to it lots ...one very forward in reading child can put some letters together we have on duplo bricks ( an ex resource from long ago in my other life) to make 3 letter words, but that is really not my vision, unless it comes naturally...My job is to put all the foundations in place for school to build on. Rhyming is my biggest focus and playing with sounds, but I do it through their play, indoors and out and I don't plan it, it is an area I am extremely experienced in so it comes naturally to me to find opportunities in their chosen play at their individual level.
    My thread earlier about my inspection shows that OFSTED are not interested in seeing planning they just want to see it in action and hold a professional conversation with you. Adult led activities give the jumping off block for learning...allowing then, the children to take it further in their own way or gain skills to help them in their next steps.

    In schools the least experienced / confident teachers do the most planning. As a HT you need to see that appropriate activities are planned to ensure all children move forward but I believe that the more experienced, high level teachers do it innately they do not need to write down the finer details, their past track record in progress children make supports this...I would say the same for childminding, early on you may need to produce copious notes in the form of planning whilst you are learning it all, but these get less as you become more confident. Only when you have an assistant does it become necessary to write plans down to ensure you all follow it, you are on the same wave length and for ease of organising.

    In schools teachers are continually observed by management and peers so they soon know where they are in their teaching under performing teachers have their plans scrutinised more often and are graded by some management too so that the school knows where they lie in the ofsted grading of teaching and learning.
    This is what is lacking in CM's - you might think you are on the right track but unless you are regularly monitored who's to say if your self assessment is correct? The old DO had that role and a termly visit would be an informal way of checking that CM and nursery staff are performing in the good to outstanding area..plans show that you have an idea about how to teach but seeing it in action is more important...but apart from a 4 yearly, if you are lucky, ofsted inspection CM's have no way of knowing that they are still up to scratch in some authorities. I have seen wonderful, detailed planning that has taken hours to produce but poor excecution of these plans because a teacher lacks the charisma and ability to inspire , support or encourage children in their learning.
    School nursery staff have half termly graded observations, half termly pupil progress meetings, termly performance management reviews....and more... to ensure that the school is constantly moving forward...the same as all teachers now in Key stage 1,2,3 and 4. Head teachers get the same scrutiny, constantly being monitored or moderated to make sure their decisions are in line to move a school forward, maintain a good achieving and progressing environment. Perhaps this is where the government feel agencies will help?

    *****hot Off the press*******

    New inspection handbook for EY - page 11 paragraph 37&39 - inspectors not expecting to see plans, but obviously will look at if given and will use all info given to build a picture of teaching and learning quality. So...I interpret this as you don't need to show them planning and if what they see is great they won't expect it...but if they think planning would enhance your teaching and learning practice then they may discuss it also if they think your detailed planning ensures your great practise then that will be acknowledged....so it's all about your execution, your teaching ...if it's great then you are proving that the way you do it is fine, if it isn't then that might be because you need to reflect and plan more appropriately.
    Last edited by FloraDora; 25-05-2015 at 10:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FloraDora View Post
    After a review and next steps established I plan how I am going to provide an environment to allow the individual child's next steps, often this is just a reminder to myself that I need to be constantly highlighting something or it could be a couple of book based activities specific for this child, but others will get something out of it too, sometimes it's a reorganisation of resources and furniture, furthur activities in the outdoor environment, visits etc.. I give this to parents as it has ideas of how they can help at home, usually what we have discussed so they contribute to this planning really. At the next termly review I may annotate this planning or do another one, depending on how the child has progressed. I think if you have an assistant it becomes more important to plan so that everybody knows the vision. Daily I plan in my head...setting out activities that I know will enable an appropriate learning environment for the individuals, baring in mind their individual medium term planning. I don't record it as it's hardly difficult to remember with Max of 3 children. But my diaries are detailed so evidence is there of activities and learning. I constantly plan in my head!!! In fact I need to switch off as I am always looking for ideas and better ways of supporting the LO's. Sometimes if you put your thoughts in to a plan on paper it helps you to think that task is done and put it out of your mind. I do a yearly plan of special multicultural days and books appropriate to the season but I don't always follow it. I follow letters and sounds loosely for phonics which is largely stage 1 and 2 ..rhyming, understanding ️sounds and .SATPIN and the letters in their names are my focus.... I think that the alphabet is largely a dinosaur now, gone are the days of learning each letter in order. I have a bbc satpin strip in my writing area and we refer to it lots ...one very forward in reading child can put some letters together we have on duplo bricks ( an ex resource from long ago in my other life) to make 3 letter words, but that is really not my vision, unless it comes naturally...My job is to put all the foundations in place for school to build on. Rhyming is my biggest focus and playing with sounds, but I do it through their play, indoors and out and I don't plan it, it is an area I am extremely experienced in so it comes naturally to me to find opportunities in their chosen play at their individual level. My thread earlier about my inspection shows that OFSTED are not interested in seeing planning they just want to see it in action and hold a professional conversation with you. Adult led activities give the jumping off block for learning...allowing then, the children to take it further in their own way or gain skills to help them in their next steps. In schools the least experienced / confident teachers do the most planning. As a HT you need to see that appropriate activities are planned to ensure all children move forward but I believe that the more experienced, high level teachers do it innately they do not need to write down the finer details, their past track record in progress children make supports this...I would say the same for childminding, early on you may need to produce copious notes in the form of planning whilst you are learning it all, but these get less as you become more confident. Only when you have an assistant does it become necessary to write plans down to ensure you all follow it, you are on the same wave length and for ease of organising. In schools teachers are continually observed by management and peers so they soon know where they are in their teaching under performing teachers have their plans scrutinised more often and are graded by some management too so that the school knows where they lie in the ofsted grading of teaching and learning. This is what is lacking in CM's - you might think you are on the right track but unless you are regularly monitored who's to say if your self assessment is correct? The old DO had that role and a termly visit would be an informal way of checking that CM and nursery staff are performing in the good to outstanding area..plans show that you have an idea about how to teach but seeing it in action is more important...but apart from a 4 yearly, if you are lucky, ofsted inspection CM's have no way of knowing that they are still up to scratch in some authorities. I have seen wonderful, detailed planning that has taken hours to produce but poor excecution of these plans because a teacher lacks the charisma and ability to inspire , support or encourage children in their learning. School nursery staff have half termly graded observations, half termly pupil progress meetings, termly performance management reviews....and more... to ensure that the school is constantly moving forward...the same as all teachers now in Key stage 1,2,3 and 4. Head teachers get the same scrutiny, constantly being monitored or moderated to make sure their decisions are in line to move a school forward, maintain a good achieving and progressing environment. Perhaps this is where the government feel agencies will help? *****hot Off the press******* New inspection handbook for EY - page 11 paragraph 37&39 - inspectors not expecting to see plans, but obviously will look at if given and will use all info given to build a picture of teaching and learning quality. So...I interpret this as you don't need to show them planning and if what they see is great they won't expect it...but if they think planning would enhance your teaching and learning practice then they may discuss it also if they think your detailed planning ensures your great practise then that will be acknowledged....so it's all about your execution, your teaching ...if it's great then you are proving that the way you do it is fine, if it isn't then that might be because you need to reflect and plan more appropriately.

    Oh wow thanks flora, so does this get me off the hook from agonising over all my written planning?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mumofone View Post
    Oh wow thanks flora, so does this get me off the hook from agonising over all my written planning?!
    Sometimes when you are just starting out its easier to write down planning as you research etc... To make things clear in your mind. Like writing a shopping list and then not taking it with you, you invariably remember everything on your list!

    I do some planning, my individual next steps , but my 34+ years of being a good quality teacher in the early years does help me to 'wing it' when I am being observed and just play with the children and support them at the appropriate time which I do naturally now.

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