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Planning in the moment

At North Islington Nursery School, we follow an in the moment planning approach to teaching and learning. Children are encouraged to develop their naturally inquisitive minds in well planned and appropriately resourced classrooms. Adults form close relationships with children and spend time observing them playing and exploring. During this play, staff will know when to sit back and when to intervene to create a ‘teachable moment’

We know that children are learning when they are focussed and engaged. This level of involvement is most often seen when children are doing things that they enjoy and have chosen for themselves. By facilitating and promoting child led play, it allows for long periods of time where children can be engaged in activities of their own choosing. Adults respond to children’s interests by joining in their play and enriching it with language, suggestions, challenges and shared knowledge.

Staff are committed to ensuring that interactions with children are purposeful. Even young babies are capable of sustaining attention during an interaction with an adult. It is during these interactions that adults will ‘teach’.

Planning ahead means that children may have to wait to perhaps accomplish a new skill in an activity that they enjoy. By planning in the moment, staff are on hand to add resources, allow for a new direction in learning and enable the child to achieve the next step in learning there and then. This means that the cycle of Observation - Assessment - Planning is all done at once.

Rather than planning what we intend to do, staff record ‘teachable moments’ these recordings depict what a child has achieved, learned, understood during an interaction with an adult. This information is used to continue to build on what children know and helps staff to continue to enhance the learning environment appropriately.

Although our intent is to very much allow children to lead their own learning, we acknowledge that there is a place for carefully planned activities.

These planned activities are delivered in the form of learning opportunities at group times, our language groups, activities led by our artist in residence, music and movement sessions, cooking and games. Adults will also ‘plan’ by enhancing provision as previously mentioned. These enhancements to provision or provocations as we call them, are deliberate and are intended to provide new ideas and concepts for children to explore.

Teaching as described by Ofsted (July 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.’