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Maidenbower Infant School and Nursery

"What happens early, matters for a lifetime"

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Our planning


At Maidenbower Infant School Nursery, we plan ‘in the moment’. This ensures the setting is child-led. The children are given free choice during play and access to resources that they are able to independently select. Our enabling environment allows the children the opportunity to explore and investigate through their play.

This system allows us to bring our parents in to our planning structure and allow them a more in-depth sight into their child’s nursery life.




The cycle of observation, assessment, planning, observation is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis. 


The parents/carer’s role in our planning system

Every term we will give you a parent consultation sheet to fill in.  We value the knowledge and understanding you have of your child and would really appreciate it if you would share anything significant happening in your child’s life at that moment with us. This will help us to plan for their future learning and development.



Our staff’s role in the planning system

During the course of the day, each of our staff will have thousands of interactions with the children. Every one of these interactions is a learning opportunity for the children. If staff were to record even a quarter of their interactions, they would spend all day writing which does not benefit the children. The staff spend the maximum amount of time getting to know the children which enables them to help all children achieve the ‘next steps’ in their learning.


We work in this way because ...

“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 skilled 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).”



We have focus on the children

NOT on 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.



Progress and Development

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 supported by skilled staff. Planning in the moment helps to make this possible.


An Enabling Environment

The children select what they want to do in each area.

The principal 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 Role of The Adult

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 Ofsted definition of teaching (2015) fits exactly with our way of planning and teaching – in the moment.

Ofsted definition of teaching (2015)

Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.’ 



Three Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning (Revised EYFS)

Playing and Exploring – do they investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’?

Learning Actively – do they concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements?

Thinking Creatively and Critically – do they have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.


With a system of parent partnership, observing children, and an enabling environments, the children are learning effectively all the time!!


Learning through play


Learning through play is one of the key principles of Early Years education, which is supported by a wealth of research. Play and playfulness are shared across all cultural groups, but with some variations according to the beliefs and customs that influence child-rearing practices. Family members and caregivers typically play with their children, and they devote a great deal of time to helping children to learn by teaching them:

• how to play, through structured games such as peek-a-boo, and open-ended activities such as sand and water play;

• how to pretend, by being imaginative, acting different roles, making one thing stand for something else;

• how to be playful, by demonstrating playful ways of interacting with others through humour, gentle teasing, jokes, mimicry, riddles and rhymes, singing and chanting, clapping games, and using materials and resources in imaginative ways.

Play engages children’s bodies, minds and emotions. In playing children can learn to interact with others and be part of a community, to experience and manage feelings, and to be in control and confident about themselves and their abilities. Play can help children to develop these positive dispositions for learning:

• finding an interest

• being willing to explore, experiment and try things out

• knowing how and where to seek help

• being inventive – creating problems, and finding solutions

• being flexible – testing and refining solutions being engaged and involved – concentrating, sustaining interest, persevering with a task, even when it is challenging

• making choices and decisions

• making plans and knowing how to carry them out

• playing and working collaboratively with peers and adults

• managing self, managing others

• developing ‘can-do’ orientations to learning

• being resilient – finding alternative strategies if things don’t always go as planned

 • understanding the perspectives and emotions of other people.

 There are many forms of play that support the EYFS areas of learning and development.

(The National Strategies | Early Years 1 Learning, Playing and Interacting – Good practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage)

The nursery follows a child-led approach to teaching. Children are born with a natural desire to explore and learn and our staff members support them in this. We have created an enabling and stimulating environment to enable us to do this. We do not plan ahead, rather we remain ‘in the moment’ with the children as they explore and learn. We observe the children carefully and enhance their learning by teaching them in their chosen activity.


If you would like any further information about any of the activities we enjoy at nursery, please ask a member of staff.