Planning in the Moment
Child Led Learning
At Linton Mead we recognise that children learn through play and first-hand experiences. We use children’s interests as a starting point when planning the next steps in their learning. We aim to ensure that as much learning takes place outdoors as inside and offer a curriculum where children discover learning is fun. Each learning area is set up so that the children feel at ease with choosing their own resources, and developing their own activities with peers, and this enables them to become motivated in their own learning.
We use a system of child-led learning called ‘Planning in the Moment,’ which is all about seizing the moment for children to progress. Based on what the children are already deeply involved in, this way of planning relies on our experienced practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then (in the moment). The staff are all skilled enough to be able to see the ‘teachable moment’ from the child’s perspective and to know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe. Child-led learning is all about capturing the moment of engagement and running with it to make sure the children are challenged and make excellent progress.
This way of working means that written planning is retrospective (there is no forward planning). All of the staff record what they have done to help the children progress each day on a planning sheet. When planning this way time is also used during each session (morning and afternoon) to give the children an opportunity to talk about what they have learnt and, in many cases, the adults can use this as a whole class teaching opportunity or to consolidate knowledge.
The learning environment (both the indoors and outside) are regularly reviewed and adapted to ensure that the children’s level of involvement in their activities is consistently high and that their well-being is supported. The resources in each area are plentiful and engaging.
Our curriculum is supported by focus books, which change in response to the children’s interests. These books are chosen to provide a broad and balanced knowledge base on which the children can continue to explore and find out new things. The books are not set, but are selected considering the needs, experiences and interests of the children.
Our Nursery classrooms are organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active and some where they can be quiet and rest. The classrooms are set up in learning areas, where children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently. The Nursery has its own enclosed outdoor area. This has a positive effect on the children’s development. Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors. It offers the children a chance to explore, use their senses and be physically active and exuberant.
Children are given the opportunity to be creative through all areas of learning, not just through the arts. The staff support children’s thinking and help them to make connections by showing genuine interest, offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open questions. Children can access resources freely and are allowed to move them around the classroom to extend their learning.
We recognise that active learning occurs when children are motivated and interested. Children need to have some independence and control over their learning. As children develop their confidence they learn to make decisions. It provides children with a sense of satisfactions as they take ownership of their learning.
Recently the Nursery children have enjoyed reading and exploring a variety of exciting texts. These include ‘Shhhhhhh!’, ‘Pumpkin Soup’, ‘The Bus is for Us’, ‘The Crayon Box that Talked’ and ‘Mr Wolf’s Pancakes’. They have been involved in activities relating to these books that encompass many areas of the curriculum, and have been learning the terms ‘title’, ‘author’, ‘illustrator’ and ‘cover’. They have also looked at the difference between fiction and non-fiction (information books).
The children have been showing a lot of interest in mark-making at all areas around the setting and have been proud to show off their work to their friends and to visitors. In the Nursery we have been engaging in lots of Phase One Phonics activities relating to tuning in to sounds, and encouraging children to identify initial sounds. Some of the children have been using these skills to record their ideas, particularly relating to their own and family names.