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Our Planning Method Explained

'We do not plan ahead, rather we remain 'in the moment' with the children as they explore and learn. We observe carefully, and enhance the learning whenever we spot a 'teachable moment'. Our observations, interactions and the outcomes are recorded afterwards.'(The Nursery Year in Action – Anna Ephgrave).

Child-initiated learning in the early years allows children to thrive while making accelerated progress. Young children learn and develop best when they are in a stimulating environment that is carefully organised and equipped to meet their needs, interests and stages of development. Where each child's progress is carefully observed, managed and enhanced by adults who engage and interact with them to support them in making outstanding learning.

Each week we choose a handful of children to be focused on for a week. We call this their 'focus week' and use this time to intently observe their play, identify their learning and support their development. Once a term you will receive an email which requires some up to date information on how you feel your child is developing and whether there are any significant events happening in their lives. We use this information to inform the resources and activities we provide that week.

For the children who are not currently in their focus week, they will continue to carry on with their own learning journeys (even though they are not recorded in the same way). Sometimes they journey on their own, sometimes with a friend or a group and sometimes by joining an activity with one of the focus children. Staff members are always free to support other individuals or groups. As with the individual children, staff will look out for activities or events that have captured the interest of a group. They will join the group to see if they can support, enhance or develop the activity in any way. They are observing and assessing. Sometimes the group is operating independently and with deep-level involvement and any attempt to join the activity might actually disrupt it. In this situation the adult may observe for a while, possibly taking particular note of some children and then move away. However, on many occasions the skilful staff member will spot a 'teachable moment'. They then decide what to do – this is planning. They might provide an extra resource, an idea, some vocabulary, some information or they might model a skill or demonstrate how to use a piece of equipment – this is teaching.

With all this wonderful teaching, the children soon start to do things independently and when such moments are observed we refer to them as 'Wow!' moments, these will be recorded.

After your child has had their focus week, their key person will spend some time evaluating their focus time observations. From these they can see where they have developed their learning and understanding and how we can move the children on to making more progress. The key person will make suggestions as to how parents can continue their learning at home and then summarise their week, before emailing it home via the Evidence Me program. 

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The Woodands Pre-School
Church Street 
Clifton 
Bedfordshire 
SG17 5ES

Phone number (term-time only) 01462 811486