At the United Reformed Pre-School we plan experiences to meet learning intentions that cover all the six learning areas of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication, language and literacy
- Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
- Physical development
- Creative development
In addition we aim to make sure the EYFS principles are put into practice on a daily basis.
These principle themes are:
- Being healthy
- Staying safe
- Enjoying and achieving
- Making a positive contribution
- Achieving economic well being
Planning is crucial to ensure that the full range of children’s development and learning is supported and extended. Staff use observations and assessment of the children to build on the children’s existing knowledge skills and understanding
All parents and carers are asked to fill out an ‘Initial Profile’ of their child. This is a short questionnaire, which provides information about favourite activities, toys, songs, games, and people and about likes and dislikes. Every parent and child is invited to an induction day where the keyworker can spend time with the family. This allows us to respond to the children’s interests by providing activities and experiences to match and extend learning.
Each member of staff is allocated ‘key children’ who are their specific responsibility. The staff all make written observations of the children. These observations record the children’s interaction, their level of “involvement” in activities and describe the learning that is taking place. The staff also take photos and observe the children in general, recording ‘significant’ achievements on sticker sheets that are later transferred to the children’s learning journeys. Each child has an assessment sheet based on ‘age appropriate’ steps and the Early Learning Goals as set out in the Practice Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Separate records (IEPs) are maintained along with CAF documentation for those children with any form of specific needs.
The information gathered is used to inform planning. Thus we operate the triangular system of planning – observation – evaluation – planning etc. Our plans follow the children’s interests and needs as much as possible and ensure that all areas of learning are covered. While planning should be flexible, our plans provide a useful framework around which any number of activities may occur. Our planning covers three time-scales.
Long term planning
This provides an overview of the learning taking place at United Reformed Pre-School. It outlines our themes and describes the experiences that the children will have access to. Our core themes build on the children’s own interests and experiences and cover the guidance given for the EYFS curriculum.
Medium term planning
This puts the long term plan into practice and involves thinking about the learning needs of particular groups of children. Our medium term plans cover each area of learning and details the learning intentions or steps and shows what we aim for the children to learn over a given period of time; usually a half-term. All staff are involved in planning our curriculum. Their knowledge of their key children is used to produce our medium plans. Each key worker will note what the next steps are for each child in their group by looking at their up to date learning journeys. These steps are recorded on a group record (PLODs) which in turn will be used to help inform the planning for the coming half term.
Short term planning
We aim to provide a balance of child-initiated experiences, which the children can access themselves and adult-directed focused activities. Our weekly plan outlines our adult focused activities and indicates where we can provide relevant resources and support for more child led learning. It shows the main areas of learning and the key learning intentions. An evaluation of the activity is recorded to ensure that the activity is appropriate, allows differentiation to include all children’s needs and abilities and how we may extend the children’s learning. Our daily plan for child-initiated learning details our use of equipment and ensures a full range of choice and variety covering all the areas of learning. Individual needs and interests of the children are taken into account when planning all our ‘play’ environments.
We are aware at the URC Pre-School that firstly new ideas, guidelines and thinking is continually being introduced into Early Years and secondly, we as practioners sometimes need refreshing in our views on working with young children. In order to account for these needs, we aim for all staff to attend training each year. Some of this will be covered by county led courses, or by receiving workplace training from visiting specialists, or our own staff members reporting back on their own recent learning experiences. In this way we aim to keep our planning for the children in our care at the URC Pre-School up to date and stimulating.