Planning to promote children’s next steps
Everyone working in early years is very aware of the importance of supporting children to reach their next steps. There are many ways of doing this from specific boards, on planning sheets, or from wow moments achieve that are in learning journals. However, recently it has been suggested by Ofsted inspectors that next steps need to more meaningful than just an extension of a ‘wow’ moment. Whilst it is still very important to plan and to evidence next steps are being planned for and promoted, practitioners need to ensure that next steps are more thought out.
With all the pressure involved in ensuring children are reaching their next steps and these are being planned, it can appear that sometimes next steps are being created for the sake of having them. It is important for practitioners to realise that it is okay for a wow moment to just be a wow moment and not necessarily need extending through a next step if there are other areas of weakness that need to be focused on more.
How should next steps be planned?
The key element should be, that a child is being supported and a next step is planned in their weakest areas. It seems sometimes with next steps children are being supported to achieve more in the areas that they are strongest in and displaying more, rather than the weaker areas. It is easy to see how this can happen as a lot of learning is now centered around children’s interests and if a child is not displaying any interest in mark making, no observations for mark making or achieving any wow moments, it may never come to mind that the child needs a next step planning for mark making when they haven’t really shown a first step in mark making a such.
It is therefore important that practitioners are planning around the things that are not seeing as much, rather than extending on all the great things a child is already achieving. Whilst it is important to not completely stop planning for children’s strong areas, it is more important to ensure a child is not massively behind in an area. It may therefore be useful to ensure next steps are based on the information displayed on tracking sheets and any areas of true weakness that are highlighted.
We would love to hear how you do this in your setting, leave us a comment below.
I totally agree with all the above posts, No time out for paperwork and you can’t do it whilst you are looking after the little ones , I stay behind after work and every few months go in at a weekend to catch up .
When do you or who do you say has weakest areas,is it right from babies which I disagree or upwards which is more suitable to work on those areas that they are gaining more an understanding on.Babies are starting explore things and do things for their age but I wouldn’t put this to be a weakness.
I would like Ofsted to design system of Early Years Learning which will allow practitioners time out for doing their paperwork. Without this need meet first, nothing meaningful will happen. I cannot believe that the culture of writing on the lap sitting on the floor with children climbing on your head is meaningful at the first place.
So very true. Far too often do I get told that my paperwork (well tablet work) is part of my job role and we don’t get time out. It baffles me that anyone thinks we can keep on top of this while in ratio and providing care to the children. The pressure continues to mount and the time to complete all of the various roles that are expected of me decreases (well I think more accurately the workload continues to increase). For me the Early Years workforce is being pushed towards breaking point.
Totally agree with you. Teachers are no more spending time with the children. They are like data collectors.
I agree with u also . Paperwork is unreal . I have worked in childcare for 16 years , love my job . Making sure the children are happy exploring and learning through play . Making sure their health and wellbeing is the main point . Keeping parents /carers update is my upmost . Parents see the children being happy each day when collecting the children . I think parents main concern is there child wellbeing . Not something thats wrote on a piece of paper. Photo and video is the best proof . Of the indiciators being met . Love my job but wish they would all stop changing paperwork or everyone work across the board and we can all work the same .
Debbie Ward says
I manage a pre-school, my staff get 30 mins non contact time, per key child, each week. So 6 key children, 3 hrs non contact. The main difficulty with this, is finding the time that they can work out of P/S hours.
How often do settings do their next steps?