Planning. It all seems to have changed since September 2022 when it was made clear that childminders no longer have to produce as much written work. But have the fundamentals of planning actually changed? In a word, no.
The EYFS states:
‘Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and development of
each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and
enjoyable experience for each child in all areas of learning and development.’
How can you make sure that you are fulfilling the requirements set out above?
Planning is part of the Observation – Planning – Assessment cycle.Even if you do not do any written planning, in order to plan appropriate activities you will first need at least a rough idea of the following:
Children’s Individual Needs
Before they start with you can assess a child’d individual needs by talking to their parents and asking them to complete ‘All about me’ forms. As a child continues with you, you will be able to assess their changing needs through your observations and through continual partnership work with their parents.
When considering children’s individual needs it is also helpful to think about the sort of community that surrounds them. For example, if you live in an area with a high proportion of tooth decay you may like to offer more teeth cleaning related activities.
Children’s Individual Interests
These can be considered in two ways:
1. What sorts of topics a child may be interested in, for example, dinosaurs, cars, animals, etc. Planning activities around a theme can be a practical way to make sure that you are providing your children with a varied range of opportunities and experiences.
2. What sorts of skills or patterns of play are children showing an interest in? Are they showing an interest in scissor skills, in investigating filling and emptying containers, or in throwing things? (If you have not done so yet have a look into schemas.)
Children’s Individual Development
Again you should assess these with input from parents and, where appropriate, other settings and professionals. You may find the Birth – 5 Matters and/or Development Matters documents helpful when doing this. You may also have, through your own experience, a rough idea of which activities will be suitable based on the age of the child.
You can now use this information to plan what sorts of activities and experiences you are going to provide the children. Make sure when doing this that you:
- Offer each child a mixture of free play and structured activities.
- Your planned activities are in response to each child’s needs and interests.
- Make sure the activities you have planned for each child are relevant to what you have established as the child’s ‘next steps’ in their development.
- Make sure that what you have planned is challenging enough to keep the children’s interest and help them progress but not too hard so that it puts them off learning.
Make sure that you observe the children when they take part in your planned activities so that you can use this information to plan your next set of adventures!
You may find the following information and resources helpful when planning:
Free Basic Individual Planning sheet
Even if you do not want to do any written planning or observations this sheet may help you think about what you are offering each child so that you offer a broad and balanced range of experiences.
Free Downloadable Diversity Planning Calendar
Use our free downloadable calendar to plan to work some diversity awareness celebrations and activities into your childminding year. The calendar includes the dates of some multicultural holidays, religious festivals for Britain’s three biggest religions (Christianity, Islam and Hinduism) and other big events with a diversity focus. There are lots more events than these to choose from if you look for them on the web and it’s best where you can to adapt activities to the children you look after. Suppose you look after a Jewish or Sikh child? Talk to their parents for ideas then search on Google for ways to celebrate festivals that are important to them. Write them on this calendar so you remember to celebrate them.
How to write a year plan (long term plan) for your childminding setting
Step by step instructions on writing a year plan so you don’t forget anything.
Products that can help you
Childminding Best Practice Club:
The Childminding Best Practice Club is basically what it says it is. It is designed to encourage you to be the best childminder you can be, no matter what your starting point. Lots of the hard work is done for you as members receive a monthly toolkit bursting with resources and bite-sized ideas to help improve and reinforce your skills.
You also receive a certificate to advertise your commitment to excellence to parents and visitors, a CPR log-book to use if you wish and a 25% discount off lots of other Kids To Go products helping you achieve best practice in every element of your work.
For £30 a year you will get:
- Monthly Childminding Best Practice Club Toolkit packs.
- 25% discount on many of our products.
- A Childminding Best Practice Club certificate to display at your setting.
- A continual Professional Development (CPD) logbook.
See our helpful page for links to useful documents such as the EYFS.