Miranda’s Blog – September 2012

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Hi and welcome – not only to this month’s blog, but to the new term and a whole new curriculum framework! From 1st September, the revised Early Years Foundation Stage became mandatory in early years settings.

An advantage of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage is that it continues to be non-prescriptive in terms of how planning is carried out. Settings are free to develop their own methods and to let them evolve over time – however, planning must of course be effective and completed planning documents will be scrutinised during Ofsted inspections.

All practitioners will now be adjusting their planning processes to reflect the new prime and specific areas of learning and the early learning goals within them. For many of you, this will mean trialling new planning proformas (printed forms that you fill in) and seeing how well they work for your setting in practice. If your setting offers provision for a wide age range of children, you may well be trialling more than one set of planning forms.

So what makes a good set of planning documents? On the most basic level, you need to have somewhere to record all of the information you need to capture (including what activities will take place when, what resources are needed, how staff will be deployed, what the learning objectives are, how individual children will be supported…etc!). But just as crucially, forms need to provide sufficient space for the detail – it’s frustrating to find yourself writing smaller and smaller in order to fit everything in, and worse still, finding that no one can read it later! It’s also important for the layout of forms to be logical so they are easy to read in practice. This is particularly true of the daily timetable types, which are often read quickly at numerous points in the day as staff check what they need to do next. It’s well worth making a note of any teething problems that do crop up for discussion with the appropriate person at your setting, as these niggley things are generally easily resolved.

In my latest book, A Practical Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage, (released by Nelson Thornes this month), there are examples of completed long-term and short-term planning proformas. We’ve reproduced those for you here on Planet Vocational, as it’s always interesting to see how others plan – there are so many ways! We’ve also provided additional, blank versions of the forms which can be edited, printed and used – this a great exercise for students, who should ideally become familiar with a range of different types of planning document during their training. If you haven’t yet registered for free access to Planet Vocational, do sign up – you’ll be able to access factsheets and other handy resources over the coming months, which will compliment the content of the new book.

Last month we looked at coping with change – you may like to check this out if you missed it.

Happy planning!

Miranda

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