Hollyfield Pre-school Nursery
In January 2016, we changed our planning techniques and recording to ‘In the moment planning’.
We feel this way of planning ensures our setting is child-led. We have completely re-structured our way of storing our equipment in order to ensure the children are given more free choice during play. This gives a more enabling environment and allows the children to explore and investigate through their play.
This system also brings our parents in to our planning structure and allows them a more in-depth sight into their child’s nursery life.
The cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis.
We aim to have approximately six to eight ‘named focus children’ each week in the Inventors and Discoverers room and six ‘named focus children’ in the Explorers room.
The parents/carer’s role in our system
If your child is due to be a ‘focus child’ we will give you a parent consultation sheet to fill in the week before. We value the knowledge and understanding you have of your child and would really
appreciate it if you would share anything significant happening in your child’s life at that moment with us. Together we can plan activities to meet your child’s needs. This will help us to plan for their future learning and development.
Activities that occur are recorded when the cycle is complete. These records are what make your child’s learning journey. You will then receive information on what your child has learnt during their focus time and also what their next steps to learning are. This is so that you can begin these at home and help practitioners to ‘fill the gap’ in your child’s learning.
We work in this way because ...
“Babies and young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment-by-moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment).”
From National Standards document Learning, Playing and Interacting P.22 - 23
The revised EYFS advises us to continue using this document
We have focus children NOT focus activities.
The adult goes to the child. The child is NOT called to come to the adult.
We work this way because high-level involvement occurs in child-initiated activity.
Progress and Development
When children show high levels of involvement, that is when there is progress and development occurring – when the brain is at its most active. High level involvement occurs most often when children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment supported by skilled staff. Planning in the moment helps to make this possible.
An Enabling Environment
We have a workshop style environment indoors and outside. Minimum items are set out on the tables. The children select what they want to do in each area. Due to us having some children under two years of age and rising three’s, we do put some toys out.
The principal is that resources are accessible to the children and they are varied, open-ended and high quality. We strongly believe in using lots of loose parts and natural resources wherever possible.
This gives children the opportunity to select resources to support their chosen activity at their own level of learning and under their own pace.
The Role of The Adult
The adults are there to facilitate learning. We do this through observations and interactions.
Our adults know the children very well and have a sound understanding of child development. This ensures that we enhance and extend the learning at the appropriate level.
The Ofsted definition of teaching (2015) fits exactly with our way of planning and teaching – ‘In the moment’.........
Ofsted definition of teaching (2015)
‘Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.’
Planning in the moment
We use the observation cycle on a moment by moment basis. The focus children are given extra attention, but all the children are busy and learning all the time.
The planning sheets are a record of activities that have occurred and make up the child’s learning journey.
It is particularly important that the adults’ input (teaching) is recorded.
The ‘planning boards’ are blank at the start of the week. They are then filled up gradually during the week. All key persons contribute to these boards. When possible, photos are printed and added to the records.
In addition, “Wow” moments are recorded for all children as and when they occur and are put on our ‘WOW’ board and celebrated twice a year with all of the children during discussion times. Parents can help us with this by recording any ‘WOW’ moments they see at home in a special book.
We also require parents input to support us in ‘narrowing the gap’ in the children’s learning. You can support us by helping your child to complete challenges that we suggest to you in the special book and recording in just a few short sentences, how your child has got on with it.
Three Characteristics of Effective Learning (Revised EYFS)
Playing and Exploring – do they investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’?
Learning Actively – do they concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements?
Creating and Thinking Critically – do they have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
With a system of focus children, a workshop style environment and records kept on spontaneous planning boards and learning journeys, the children are learning effectively all the time!!
Learning through play is one of the key principles of Early Years education, which is supported by a wealth of research.
Play and playfulness are shared across all cultural groups, but with some variations according to the beliefs and customs that influence child-rearing practices.
Family members and caregivers typically play with their children, and they devote a great deal of time to helping children to learn by teaching them:
• How to play, through structured games such as peek-a-boo, and open-ended activities such as sand and water play;
• How to pretend, by being imaginative, acting different roles, making one thing stand for something else;
• How to be playful, by demonstrating playful ways of interacting with others through humour, gentle teasing, jokes, mimicry, riddles and rhymes, singing and chanting, clapping games, and using materials and resources in imaginative ways.
Play engages children’s bodies, minds and emotions. In playing, children can learn to interact with others and be part of a community, to experience and manage feelings, and to be in control and confident about themselves and their abilities.
Play can help children to develop these positive dispositions for learning:
• Finding an interest
• Being willing to explore, experiment and try things out
• Knowing how and where to seek help
• Being inventive – creating problems, and finding solutions
• Being flexible – testing and refining solutions being engaged and involved – concentrating, sustaining interest, persevering with a task, even when it is challenging
• Making choices and decisions
• Making plans and knowing how to carry them out
• Playing and working collaboratively with peers and adults
• Managing self, managing others
• Developing ‘can-do’ orientations to learning
• Being resilient – finding alternative strategies if things don’t always go as planned
• Understanding the perspectives and emotions of other people.
There are many forms of play that support the EYFS areas of learning and development.
(The National Strategies | Early Years 1 Learning, Playing and Interacting – Good practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage)
We strive to ensure our children learn and progress in their development in readiness for their next steps in life. This could be a move between our rooms or moving on to Primary School. We are very proud to hand over our wonderful, independent learners in their next stage of their lives.