This year we are moving towards “planning in the moment”, where we can respond to an observation then and there in order to help a child achieve his or her next step, while the self chosen task is engaging and interesting to them.
When do the children do their learning?
The brain is at its most active when children show high levels of involvement and we can see progress and development occurring.
High level involvement occurs most often when children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment.
The statutory framework for early years states that:
“Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.”
Whether they are exploring capacity with buckets in the sand, counting the legs on a beetle, sharing a book with a friend or any of the endless other play opportunities on offer, the children are always learning!
What do the staff do?
We have a fantastic team of highly qualified and skilled practitioners in The Pod who are passionate about supporting children’s learning and development.
Our aim is to enhance learning opportunities, rather than interrupt them. The children set the agenda and the adults are there to support them in meeting their own learning objectives, as opposed to high-jacking their play and steering it in a different direction to meet objectives that we pick for them. Children are not called to any activity other than those carpet time sessions at the beginning or end of the day – although adult led or supported activities may evolve through the session which children will all be welcome to join.
The adults in the setting are continuously observing children as they play alongside them and use their knowledge of the individual child to decide when to step in to support learning, and when to let the child continue independently. In order to find out about the child’s own thinking, we make “I wonder” statements, encouraging children to respond without putting pressure on them to do so. By identifying and interacting with children’s unique interests in the moment, we are immediately planning for and supporting next steps all the time.
Adults will be constantly modelling conversational language and will record at least one individual interaction for each child per week (while many more interactions will take place, to stop and record each one would mean there was less time being spent actually having those conversations!). In addition to this, each child will become a focus child for one week of each long term. This means that all adults will be making a particular effort to get to know them even better and there will be a focus on making recorded observations of that child to demonstrate their progress term by term.
Through these observations we are also assessing the effectiveness of our provision and identifying any additions or changes that might need to be made.
Looking forward to the year ahead!
This is a new way of planning for us, but we are excited that it gives us more chance to engage with the children doing the things they really want to do. We can’t wait to see what direction they take us in!