At Highters Heath Nursery School we extend children's learning by using a 'planning in the moment' approach. Planning in the moment is all about seizing the moment for children to progress. It is based on what the children are already deeply involved in. This way of planning relies on skilful practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then (in the moment). This means that the practitioners have used skills to observe what the child is doing and needs to do next, assessed the teachable moment from the child’s perspective and are skilled enough to know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe. Planning in the moment is all about capturing the moment of engagement and running with it to make sure the children progress.
This way of working means that all written planning is retrospective -there is little to no forward planning as the adults follow the interests of the children. Each practitioner records what they have done to help the children progress on Tapestry, focus child sheets and planning in the moment record sheets, displayed in the rooms. This ensures that teaching is monitored and any reflected upon regularly.
A pioneer of 'planning in the moment' is Anna Ephgrave, who explains why this approach is so effective: “Babies and young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment-by-moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment)."
At Highters Heath Nursery School we have a workshop style environment, both indoors and outside. Very few, if any, 'set activities' are laid out on the tables. The children select what they want to do in each area and collect the resources they need. The principle is that resources are accessible to the children and they are varied, open ended and high quality. This gives children the opportunity to select the resources to support their chosen activity, rather than being limited to what an adult may think they need.