Sand and Water trays – buckets, tubes, jugs, water wheels, heavy and light objects for floating and sinking, containers for pouring. Children learn mathematical skills whilst playing with the water whilst also interacting with friends and social skills. It’s amazing just how many children like water play more than anything else. Many also find it very relaxing. Adding bubbles and colouring to the water also adds another dimension.
Creative activities – Painting easel, collage, painting, junk modelling, all to create and promote the children’s creative instincts. Play dough, pasta, flour, clay, outdoor mud kitchen, all in still a sense of continual exploration and discovery.
Small World play – garages, dolls houses cars, train track and many more all encourage vocabulary, imagination, social skills, and role playing.
Book corner – A great variety of books where children can choose their own, to encourage a love of reading and the story sacks.
Writing materials – coloured pencils, crayons, chalks, are provided with all kinds of paper to encourage children to hold pencils, draw shapes and eventually letters and numbers.
Maths – Mathematical jigsaws, dominoes of many kinds, matching games, bricks, and many counting games, scales are all provided to encourage early mathematical awareness.
Role play – a beautiful role play area with lots of real resources, pots, pans, telephones, open ended pretend play food, multicultural dressing up clothes, all kinds of dressing up clothes to stimulate the imagination and help their knowledge of the world. The children are encouraged to dress and undress themselves as much as possible.
How we do our planning?
The cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis.
We have focus children each week (approximately 2-3 children per week per key person).
Planning in the moment means 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 on eyLog afterwards.
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).”
We have focus children NOT focus activities.
The adult goes to the child. The child is NOT called to come to the adult. Observations are only to be completed if the child was interested in the activity and met a milestone.
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 an interactive environment indoors and outside. Nothing is set out on the tables. The children select what they want to do in each area.
The principal is that resources are accessible to the children and they are varied, open-ended and high quality.
This gives children the opportunity to select resources to support their chosen activity.
The Role of The Adult
The adults are there to facilitate learning. They do this through observations and interactions.
Our adults know the children very well and have a sound understanding of child development. This ensures that the adults enhance and extend the learning at the appropriate level.
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.
Each key person will have a group of approx. 2 children of whom they will focus on each week. These are called our focus children. During the week the key person will incorporate the child’s next step into the learning taking place in that moment, rather than removing them to take part in an adult planned activity.
The skilled adult will join the child and assess what is needed and then give them the skill, knowledge, resource, vocabulary or advice that they need in order to carry on. Such moments are added to the child’s learning journey on eyLog.
An example of ‘Planning in the moment’:-
The child is playing in the construction area, making a bus. The skilled adult will approach and enhance the learning and incorporate the child’s next step (which for example is number recognition.) They would encourage the child to add numbers to the seats on the bus and make tickets so the child can match the numerals.