All planning starts with observing children in order to understand and consider their
current interests, development and learning.
It is important that all children, whether they attend full time or part time, are
given the opportunity to experience a whole range of activities across all the areas
of Learning and Development. This will provide them with the best outcomes to progress
towards or exceed the early learning goals. It is therefore important that Childminders
develop long-term plans.
Planning is the key to making children’s learning effective, exciting, varied and
Long-term planning can be kept very simple and done up to a year ahead. It gives
an overview of the themes and topics that are going to be covered over the coming
months and notes of any special events and occasions that are planned.
Themes and Topics can be chosen around the seasons and events that fall in the month
or can pick up on children’s interests and hobbies. Long-term plans should be altered
each year so that different themes are covered an the children experience as broad
a range of activities as possible.
Using long and medium-term plans Childminders should be
able to produce short-term plans based on these and the observations and assessments
they have made on the children in their care. Short term plans need to be flexible
and pick up on the changing interests of the children.
However, it is important to remember that no plan written weeks in advance can include
a group’s interest in a spider’s web on a frosty morning or a particular child’s
interest in transporting small objects in a favourite blue bucket, yet it is these
interests, which may lead to some powerful learning. Plans should therefore be flexible
enough to adapt to circumstances.
There are lots of different ways of recording your planning. Here are just a few
that you might find useful to adapt to suit your individual practice. Some are for
a week, others for just one activity.
When you are planning remember that children learn from everything, even things you
haven’t planned for-such as a fall of snow.
If you care for a child that attends another setting, for example a pre-school or
daycare then you should be asking to see their planning and linking it into your
planning for that child where possible. For example if the child is learning about
plants at pre-school you could plan a visit to the local garden centre to extend
the child’s interest and learning. As a Childminder, these sorts of outings are far
easier to organise than for group settings.
Settings communicate and work together for the benefit of children, so there can
be continuity in their learning.
Why not discuss your plans with your Co-ordinator if you are a Network minder or
with other local Childminders at Drop-in sessions. They may be able to give you ideas
of local resources that are available or you may be able to plan joint activities,
for example trips to the Fire Station.
Practitioners who work alone will benefit from opportunities to discuss their plans
with others working in similar circumstances.
Remember to make your planning fun and interesting to the children, challenging but
Additional support and information can be found on the EYFS CD-ROM 3.1 Enabling
Environments Observation, Assessment and Planning
‘Get ready! Preparing for the Early Years Foundation Stage’
Includes a ‘Diary of a childminder: what the EYFS means in practice’