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Planning in the Moment at Ivy Chimneys

Planning in the Moment at Ivy Chimneys


'Planning in the Moment’ is a simple idea that means staff will observe and interact with children as they pursue their own interests - often termed ‘the child’s spark’ . The written account of these interactions and the teachable moments the adults use during their interactions, becomes a learning journey for the child.


At Ivy Chimneys Primary School, we believe that children learn best when they are inquisitive, interested and engaged. Learning through play is one of the key principles of Early Years education, which is supported by a wealth of research. Play gives children the opportunity to explore their own interests, enquire, plan and take risks. It is in play that children can concentrate deeply, sustain concentration for long periods, and communicate most effectively with others. Play is when we see the highest levels of engagement and involvement from our learners. 


Delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (EYFS) involves a continuous cycle of three parts:

  • Observation – what can the children do and what do they know?

  • Assessment based on these observations – what is their next step?

  • Planning – how am I as a practitioner going to teach them their next step?


In the Moment Planning, a model developed by the renowned Early Years practitioner Anna Ephgrave, engages children in activities they have chosen. The adults teach them during these chosen activities, rather than deciding what the children will be learning ahead of time. This will mean more spontaneous opportunities in the classroom to better engage and excite your child. Through play, children have access to all aspects of the EYFS curriculum, all of the time, without limits or adult agenda. This means that we can meet the needs of individuals more effectively children demonstrate high levels of involvement in an enabling environment, supported by skilled staff. Planning in the moment makes this possible.


The role of the adult

The cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation will be carried out on a moment-by-moment basis. The adult will stand back and observe what the children are doing, assess what they need to do/ know/ learn next and plan their teaching, which will be delivered there and then. It’s all about capturing the moment for children to progress based on what the children are already deeply involved in. From this, we can see the teachable moment from the child’s perspective and know when to intervene and when to observe. Planning in the Moment allows those crucial moments to be captured and extended there and then rather than introducing the next steps in a week or two. It is child-led and real-time planning. Children’s current interests are identified regularly and teachers and learning support assistants can plan and evaluate daily. The EYFS team carry out regular audits of the children’s learning environment to ensure learners are getting a range of opportunities to develop in the classroom.


How you can support at home 

Each week we will choose a percentage of the class to be focus children for the following week. Once a term, every child will have the opportunity to be a focus child for the week. By adopting the focus children approach we will be giving each child the opportunity to have the spotlight shown on them to truly follow their individual interests for that period of time. You may notice more observations of your child are shared on Tapestry that week.


If your child is selected as a focus child, a parent consultation sheet will be sent home the week before. We ask that you fill in the sheet with as much detail as possible and take some photos to add to Tapestry over the weekend of your child/ family enjoying activities at home. Your feedback and photos will help to guide the planning for the following week. You will be invited to a meeting during the following week to discuss your child’s next steps and how you can support and extend their learning at home. This will be in addition to the school's termly Learning Conferences to discuss your child's progress at Ivy Chimneys.


Whilst we believe in the child-led approach with purposeful interactions to move learning forward, we are very aware of specific skills our children need to develop in order for learning to take place. Therefore we will still have pre-planned carpet learning inputs for both Letters and Sounds and Maths Mastery. This is to ensure children are exposed to all areas of the EYFS curriculum and are able to then apply these through their own enquiry and exploration. As the year progresses we add more pre-planned inputs, particularly towards the end of the year, to prepare the children gently for their transition into Year 1.