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Early years providers should be constantly looking ahead to ensure that they can nurture the development of their wards over time. Short term planning ensures that you know what you are doing with your children day in, day out. Medium term planning gives an overall strategy and direction to your learning. Essentially, following a strategy to push development turns you from a babysitter to an educationalist.
Medium term planning should be done up to 4 or 6 months in advance. Best practice advocates not simply creating a 4 month plan, seeing it through and creating the next one, but revisiting the plan regularly, at least once a fortnight, to ensure that you are on track and to extend into the future. At any given moment, aim to have the next few months in development terms mapped out. In revisiting the plan, adjust it to any needs that may be emerging.
Constantly reviewing and revising your plan keeps it fresh in your mind so that you know what you are delivering at any given point. Buy some books on child development and use this to help work out what milestones you should be reaching, and undertake activities that help achieve those milestones.
Your medium term plan will inform your short term plan so that you can map out activities on a weekly basis. Activities on ToucanLearn are designed so that they are always at the edge of what children should be achieving. By keeping up with activities in ToucanLearn you will automatically be following a strategy for success.
When planning, make sure that you cover all the bases of EYFS. Projects offer a great opportunity to extend activities out over time. The spring and summer months are great for projects because you can study how plants and animals develop, base craft around the notions of insects and animals, and there are plenty of games and songs to take in along the way.
Allow for flexibility in your planning. Short term planning allows you to cater for the emerging interests of your children and to some extent you should always follow their interests above any rigid planning. Children learn through constant interaction with the world and if they show an interest in a particular topic then run with that, ignite that spark and your children will soak up knowledge and learn based on what they find stimulating at any given point in time.
If you have children of varying age groups within your setting then younger children will develop faster as they try to mimic the older children surrounding them. This create a positive impact but at the same time, do not neglect the needs of the younger children, especially babies. Even though they may appear to be less demanding than older children, they still need devoted time for stimulation and interaction.
Your Daily Diary in ToucanLearn will help you achieve your planning aims, you can then share your plans with parents and they can comment and get involved too. There's absolutely nothing wrong, however, in keeping your plans on paper. Planning in any medium is much more important than having no plans at all.