“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).”
From National Strategies document Learning, Playing and Interacting
The cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis. We have focus children each week (approximately 10% of the group). Activities that occur are recorded when the cycle is complete. These records are on the learning journeys for the focus children and on spontaneous planning sheets for activities in which a group have become involved.
We have focus children NOT focus activities. The adult goes to the child. The child is NOT called to come to the adult. We work this way because high-level involvement occurs in child-initiated activity.
When children show high levels of involvement, that is when there is progress and development occurring – when the brain is at its most active. High level involvement occurs most often when children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment. “In the moment” planning helps to make this possible.
We have a workshop style environment indoors and outside. Nothing is set out on the tables. The children select what they want to do in each area. 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 resources to support their chosen activity.
The adults are there to facilitate learning. They do this through observations and interactions. Our adults know the children very well and have a sound understanding of child development. This ensures that the adults enhance and extend the learning at the appropriate level.
The children and the adults have time and space to engage in meaningful conversations. The children set the agenda and the adults are there to show interest and engage with the children. The modelling of conversation skills is then adopted by the children, who have long conversations in pairs and groups.
With a system of focus children, a workshop style environment and records kept on ‘in the moment’ planning sheets and learning journeys, the children are learning effectively, all the time!
Strive for Excellence
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