Thinking of changing how I do my planning - opinions please!
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  1. #1
    jumpinjen Guest

    Default Thinking of changing how I do my planning - opinions please!

    Hi everyone!

    At the moment I plan individually for each child based on observing them and then noting down possible next steps and starting off the next day and week's planning with some of those next steps as a starting point for my planning - this is fine but I see so many possible next steps that there are myriad things to plan for and choose from and it is never ending and I'm finding it hard to pinpoint actual progress as the steps are so tiny (yes I know small incremental steps are good for children!)

    So I was sitting here today doing my three-monthly round-up for this child for which I use the development matters statements for the appropriate stages in a table form into which I add comments, highlight bits, note down evidence I have etc, then I give to parents and they add in bits and together we jot down a plan for some areas to focus on over the next few months. This is usually jotted on the back of one of the sheets and is made up of obvious areas where the child could develop further and areas where lacking and parents ideas of where they would like their child to head.

    And I started wondering if this was a better way to plan all round - make these jottings a bit more 'formal' in that I record them as a plan for the next few months of areas of focus and plan to provide general resources, activities and experiences to meet those areas rather than every little day to day thing taking me off in all directions.

    I hope you can understand my ramblings - any thoughts? I'm not trying to shirk out of planning, it just seems to me that it might be a more valuable way to plan - my setting is very child-led anyway with a focus on developing independent access of resources rather than lots of adult led activities, with me there as a resource to provide back-up and support when needed!

    Opinions please?

    Jen x

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    this is me (and I still wonder if I do enough)

    do all my obs over the month - most obs have a next steps so next months planning will cover activities to support that (flexibly or activities on rotation).

    If I plan activiites immediately I'd just write up a quick planning sheet for that.

    end of term I do next steps all areas for each child and then write planning sheets for that but these might cover next month or so.
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

  3. #3
    jumpinjen Guest

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    Thanks juggler, and do you find it easier to show progression that way? And easier to manage what you are doing for which child?

    Jen x

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    i find it easier because it's not fixed, so I'll have a range of resources and activities I'll aim to do over a month's period (or less) to help meet their next steps/interests. obviously if they move on during that period, then I'll replan but generally those activities will support them to achieve their next steps over the period - it might even be those planning sheets apply for longer. I don't plan (in writing) exactly what I have out by week or by day.

    doesn't always work out i.e. they'll want to do something different to what I have out that day so the rotation doesn't always work. However, I feel I'm better meeting their needs this way and if they are fixated on a resource and I can't do what I'd planned then I'll try to think of something else and just write it up as a retrospective planning sheet (explaining why or that it was spontaneous)
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

  5. #5
    jumpinjen Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Juggler View Post

    doesn't always work out i.e. they'll want to do something different to what I have out that day so the rotation doesn't always work.
    It is for this reason that I feel my current planning system isn't meeting their needs as although I know it's fine to dump plans and make new ones and my planning sheets are always covered in notes and crossing out and new plans, and that is OK, I feel that there must be a better way to meet needs than planning things that the children have moved on from before I even get to action them!

    I was thinking along the lines of say, I have identified from my review of dev matters that this child is fairly restricted on her creative endeavours, she plays it very safe and doesn't venture beyond paint and crayons - instead of planning specific activities to broaden her horizons I would like to look at my set-up and re-plan what is available and how it can be used to meet her needs and then see how she goes and get involved with her - previously at her nursery there wasn't scope to help themselves to creative materials and she needs to be shown how to do it but I feel planning these two things might meet her need better than umpteen different artistic explorations - do you see what I mean? i also think it could meet some requirements for reflective practise and enabling environments at the same time!!

    jen x

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpinjen View Post
    It is for this reason that I feel my current planning system isn't meeting their needs as although I know it's fine to dump plans and make new ones and my planning sheets are always covered in notes and crossing out and new plans, and that is OK, I feel that there must be a better way to meet needs than planning things that the children have moved on from before I even get to action them!

    I was thinking along the lines of say, I have identified from my review of dev matters that this child is fairly restricted on her creative endeavours, she plays it very safe and doesn't venture beyond paint and crayons - instead of planning specific activities to broaden her horizons I would like to look at my set-up and re-plan what is available and how it can be used to meet her needs and then see how she goes and get involved with her - previously at her nursery there wasn't scope to help themselves to creative materials and she needs to be shown how to do it but I feel planning these two things might meet her need better than umpteen different artistic explorations - do you see what I mean? i also think it could meet some requirements for reflective practise and enabling environments at the same time!!

    jen x
    hon, I wouldn't only because it looks quite negative in writing.

    You do your planning to show what you have thought about doing to extend or consolidate skills/development. If those resources aren't accessed and you return to what she likes that's fine - you are folloiwng her lead.

    For example, my two girls love the castle smallworld - tried other things but they really love it and often planned resources are put away to get castle out again. However, if you really look the difference in their storylines are developing all the time and their social skills (how they negotiate and play together). Now they are combining their love of Bob the builder with their castle/princess play so will often be found playing with bob the builder smalllworld dressed as princesses, or being princess with castles smallworld and the toolbox, fixing the castles

    Your mindee might be only liking paint and crayons but the development will be in her mark making/creative mark making probabably. The type of marks, colours, drawing faces, telling you what her drawing is - a spider etc. or you could look at using those resources outdoors or on different media to extend her use of crayons and paints.

    If she likes paint you could look at water painting outdoors.

    You ARE meeting their needs if you are allowing them to access the resources they enjoy and you see that they are progressing in what they are doing WITH those resources.
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

  7. #7
    jumpinjen Guest

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    Thanks for that, and I see what you mean - I wouldn't actually put that in writing, sounding that negative, I just meant that that is what I have observed and was wondering about planning for her to expand that without it being all bitty- I suppose from what you're saying I could plan to support her accessing more materials and show her how and where and then see if she engages and if she still prefers to stick to her paint and crayons then document and continue along with that and look for further development along those lines?

    You have helped to clear my thinking on this one- you know when something is tapping on the inside of your skull but you just can't quite grasp it?? LOL

    Thanks a lot!

    Jen x

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpinjen View Post
    Thanks for that, and I see what you mean - I wouldn't actually put that in writing, sounding that negative, I just meant that that is what I have observed and was wondering about planning for her to expand that without it being all bitty- I suppose from what you're saying I could plan to support her accessing more materials and show her how and where and then see if she engages and if she still prefers to stick to her paint and crayons then document and continue along with that and look for further development along those lines?

    You have helped to clear my thinking on this one- you know when something is tapping on the inside of your skull but you just can't quite grasp it?? LOL

    Thanks a lot!

    Jen x
    exactly - look for the development in what she likes to do - that might be just asking her what she is drawing with her crayons - so this week a person, next week a face and yes, then a chin, nose etc. glad to help
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

  9. #9
    jumpinjen Guest

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    Thanks Juggler - I see I caved and went to bed before you did LOL!

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    Wow what a brilliant discussion!

    I sit on the fence and do some child led obs ... assessments ... next steps planning AND some group planning.

    So I planned today to go outside and do dancing - we all joined in with that and had a lot of fun.

    I also had a plan for xx to follow his rotational schema by putting cars in the sand to make tracks...

    I had a plan for xx to explore shiny things in the treasure basket because she loved looking at herself last week.

    Most of the rest of the day was taken up with routines and free play.

    It's about finding what works for you I think

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    I too try to keep my planning simple.

    I have a sheet on which I record child's interest if something new. The other day mindee showed fascination with caterpillars so i jotted this down with a few rough ideas of things to do. I might not put a new interest on this sheet for a week or so.

    I then have another sheet which details my next steps from observations, which I do every 2 weeks.

    finally I have a wow moment sheet for each child to detail a quick thing that has happened, I then jot down a quick next step.

    On a Sunday night I have a pre printed sheet which is broken down into Active play, creative play, book of the week, songs and music, theme, other. I then jot down onto this anything that I would like to follow up on from the above sheets and that is my weekly plan.

    I definatly believe that when you find a system that works for you the whole planning side of our job becomes quite simple and flows nicely.

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    I have really enjoyed reading through this thread as I find planning quite difficult/not sure if there is a right or wrong way.

    I have learnt quite alot now so will make changes tomorrow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarah707 View Post
    Wow what a brilliant discussion!

    I sit on the fence and do some child led obs ... assessments ... next steps planning AND some group planning.

    So I planned today to go outside and do dancing - we all joined in with that and had a lot of fun.

    I also had a plan for xx to follow his rotational schema by putting cars in the sand to make tracks...

    I had a plan for xx to explore shiny things in the treasure basket because she loved looking at herself last week.

    Most of the rest of the day was taken up with routines and free play.

    It's about finding what works for you I think
    Sarah I have a lovely vision of you actually sitting on the fence doing the planning it is interesting. i've been all over the place considering offering NEG as I'm NOT doing it if it means writing detailed planning sheets for exactly what is out every day and every session like nursery. That's the beauty of minding - we CAN be flexible because we don't have 30 children .
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

  14. #14
    jumpinjen Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Juggler View Post
    Sarah I have a lovely vision of you actually sitting on the fence doing the planning it is interesting. i've been all over the place considering offering NEG as I'm NOT doing it if it means writing detailed planning sheets for exactly what is out every day and every session like nursery. That's the beauty of minding - we CAN be flexible because we don't have 30 children .
    Quite, Juggler - my DO recently told me that we will have to do at least one differentiated planning sheet per day to get the funding - a sheet that shows your main planned activity, then steps it up for children at a higher level and steps it down for children working to a lower level - when I asked her if we still had to do them when we had only one child funded to plan for and therefore didnt need to differentiate, she just looked at me blankly and said I had to it cos that's what they'd decided!! Hmmmm!

 

 

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