Claire Willan discussing Child Led Planning
Once you get your head around the idea and the way your going to implement this within the setting you will never look back. When I first started my carer in childcare I can remember having weekly / termly themes running. Which changed when the children got bored or staff, which ever came first. Themes were influenced from what is currently being celebrated at that time of year, or even what practitioners wanted to do with the children.
I have worked with child led planning now for the past 3 years and was converted to it by the wonderful Anna Ephgrave when reading The Nursery Year in Action. If you work in a nursery this is the bible for practitioners. It shows how child led planning can work throughout the whole year.
When I first started the child led approach we had minimal resources in all areas. From this staff would observe, get involved, extended children’s learning through questions to find out what that child thinks they need or want to do. My, will you be shocked at what they can come up with that you can add to support their learning. Let them feed you and then add the resources. To show child led planning, what you have enhanced can be imputed onto an enhancement sheet which I understood from Alastair Brice Clegg book Best Practice in the Early Years. For instance, a group of children were talking saying the sea is blue but the water in the tray isn’t. So from this I added food dye to the water. This got inputted onto the weekly enhancement sheet and the observations of Communication and Language, also Understand of the World was unbelievable from just one change.
Even today there is points where I have to stop myself ‘taking over’ especially in EAD as this is an area that I enjoy. Give the example of Valentines day cards how many of us can raise our hands and admit that the whole class did the same style, used the same colours ect. It is more child led way and will mean far much more to a child if they get to choose what colour card they have, if they use paint, crayon, felt tips it is up to them. The child will recognise their card rather than not know which is theirs when they all look the same.
Step back for 15 minutes and watch your children play with what they have got. They will soon be coming up with their own idea on how they would like to do something.