The Way We Work
Our Teaching and Planning
We always like to be ahead of the game, that is why we have been using, and refining, In the Moment Planning (ITMP) for several years now, or as we sometimes like to think of it, In the Moment Teaching.
There is no point (we believe) in spending hours working up planning that, when you get to it, the children aren’t interested in. We all know children can change their thoughts, interests or direction in the click of the fingers. So in our book, when the children want to play with (and so learn about) trains, it’s trains…. And when its dinosaurs, its dinosaurs. That is why you will always find us following the interests of the children.
We believe that every child is pre-programmed and primed to learn. What we need to do is to set up the nursery environment and be on hand to either skilfully observe the children or be invited into the play with the child, always following the child’s lead and interests. This all takes skill and practice, and that’s the bit that we think is both fun and rewarding.
There are huge benefits of working this way.
- For the child; the child will be already interested, or engaged, involved and so ready to learn.
- Our role is made so much easier. When we work this way, we know that we have to give it 100%, we think this is the best way to do it, and, it makes our job so much more rewarding and enjoyable too.
- Our parent feedback on this method is also incredible and we find the level of engagement is consistently high. This is the heart-beat of our nursery and really what makes us tick.
For more of a flavour, please check out the following resources (some of them are from primary school settings but the principles are still the same.)
- Carterhatch Infant School HD – YouTube
- Quality Interactions Early Years – YouTube
- nursery make cakes – YouTube
- Planning in the Moment with Two and Three Year Olds: Child-initiated Play in Action
Over the years we have also blended this way of working with other aspects of excellent practice, such as the mosaic approach for our preschool children.
We are a post-graduate lead team and so we have embedded regular peer observations into our weekly and monthly calendars. We have found this to be really beneficial and reflective. We use a number of different tools but for informal peer observations we tend to use Ofsted’s Definition of Teaching and for formal audit we are trained in the use of ITERS/ECERS and ECERS-E. Emma (our Director) also did her MA dissertation on the SSTEW scale.
Again, for more of a flavour, please see the following resources and tools:
Ofsted Definition of Teaching (p.33): ‘Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that 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 adults provide and the attention given 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 taking account of their interests and dispositions to learn (characteristics of effective learning), and how practitioners use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.’
- Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-3)
- Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales
- ECERS-E: The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Curricular Extension to ECERS-R
- Assessing Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care: Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being SSTEW Scale for 2–5-year-olds provision
Electronics and Nursery Management
Each practitioner has their own tablet, and we undertake most of our ‘paperwork’ on these devices. This means everything from signing the children in and out, sleep checks, through to observations and assessments is online and paper-based daysheets are a thing of the past for us.
Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t hidden behind a tablet all day. It’s about making record-keeping faster and more efficiently, so that we can free ourselves up to spend more time playing with the children. We use Famly.
Since the COVID pandemic we have really gone ‘all out’ to understand how technology can help us, especially as parents are no longer coming into our setting. We are now doing all of our parent meetings online so that we can keep our relationship as good, yet virtual, as possible.
To get more of a flavour of our system, click here.