Planning is key when you work in foundation years. The EYFS needs people to plan and provide early year’s provision that works to put children first. It requires you to listen to the children and their parents and to observe what the children do and to make them the prime influence on the planning, observation assessment, routines and staffing.
The key is to really observe closely what children can do and use those observations as the basis of assessment and planning of the next stages of children’s development.
There are three tips we always advise when beginning your planning.
Use Observation – Observation is the practice of looking at and listening to children to see out how they are maturing, what they enjoy doing and what they are learning through their play and the experiences given to them. It is key that parents AND practitioners come together and talk about how they think the child is getting on and to see if that child is at the correct stage for the child’s development and to talk about if the resources they are using such as the toys are suitable for them.
Observations of children are so important. This is because each child has a distinctive set of traits and talents, and observations are able to show this. It always starts with the child, observe what the children wants to do, what they are interested in, who do the enjoy playing with and what resources do the like playing with. By looking at all these factors it gives the adults dependable information about the children as individuals. Observation also allows opportunities to measure the children’s needs which allow them to accurately plan the next steps in their learning. Observations should take place consistently as a part of a daily routine.
Use Assessment – There are two types of assessments in the EYFS. The first assessment is an on-going (or formative) assessment which is what specialists will be doing every day to make decisions on what the child has learned or can already do, so as to assist the child to move on with their learning. The other type of assessment is known as ‘summative’ assessment which takes place twice in the revised EYFS.
When a child is between 24 and 36 months- the result of this assessment are recorded and parents and practitioners use the information gathered to recognize the child’s strengths and their learning needs. Using assessment within your planning is very important. Getting to know the children individually through observation and assessment helps to highlight and understand the different ways children learn.
Once you understand the individuals in your care you are then in a much better place to begin planning sessions that will really work for those children.
In the moment planning
Whilst it is obviously key to have your lessons planned far in advance of the sessions you deliver you should never underestimate the importance of ‘in the moment’ planning.
There are three characteristics of effective teaching and learning which are:
1. Exploring and playing – children explore and experience things and ‘have a go’
2. Active learning – children remain focused and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
3. Creating and thinking critically- children have their own ideas and develop them, make links between ideas and create plans for doing things.
Children want to learn, explore and question things but you want to be able to see the moment of engagement for each individual child. This part is really important when using the in the moment planning approach. There will be times that show the moment when a child is the MOST interested and their curiosity is piqued . Normally, these are called teachable moments. When you have these moments you then have the tools to look again at your planning and plan future activities that incorporate those particular engagements and interests.
Here at The Midlands Training Company we offer a course called EYFS resourceful planning. In this course you learn how to get the most out of your planning, the observation and assessment cycle, the different styles of planning and the in the moment and working planning