I have received more messages asking for help with planning than anything else recently, so I thought I would take this opportunity to share some information here on my blog where lots of people will see it…
Annual planning - make a calendar and add birthdays, special events eg Christmas in Dec, Easter in April etc and themes if you want to organise them for the older children - get them involved and saying what they want to do.
E-book 22 ‘Celebrations Calendar’ is updated annually and it contains hundreds of ideas for long term / annual planning through the year. It is only £2.99 from my Knutsford Childminding website - updates are free, you just need to ask me for them!
Medium term - my medium term planning is in a big file, sorted in month order - pulled out of magazines and taken from the internet and written by me over 19 years of childminding. I don't link medium term to the areas of learning and development of the EYFS - I just make sure in my head that I have lots of activity ideas across all areas of learning.
Medium term planning is not about spending hours putting together complex plans which you will not use because the children’s interests have changed. It is about knowing in your head what you are going to do and planning for the activities by eg shopping for resources, making some notes, thinking ahead etc.
My medium terms planning for December for example -
• A December themed e-book I wrote a few years ago (e-book 8 on my website - £3.99) to dip into - it is full of activity ideas
• Some ideas from a magazine I write for - Child Care - it’s very good!
• A box of crafts left over from last year including wrapping paper, stickers, glittery things etc.
• Colouring pictures ready to download from websites like Activity Village, DLTK and similar sites - we have some children who are very visual learners and love colouring - others are sensory learners and will probably turn the pictures into collages
• A December crafts and song book written last year for childcare.co.uk gold members which I will print and use
• Our winter / Christmas themed books which I put away each January so they are fresh and exciting for the children
• I've gone through the Crafty Crocodiles website with the children and they have written their order - plus I have a few creative bits they haven't seen yet to keep it fresh and exciting for them
• The online magazine Essential Childminder has lots of crafty ideas
• 'Make your own' cards for the children to create and a few gift ideas for parents
• I took a photo of last years’ December / winter themed display and treasure basket before we deconstructed it so we can make one again with help from the older children
• I have been collecting photos through the year so the children can make a calendar for their parents
• Cinnamon is on the shopping list to make some playdough - lots of maths opportunities if the children make their own
• A pile of Christmas magazines (the free ones from the supermarkets) which we will cut up to make a festive food display
• Some recipes - the children will cook one Christmas themed food item each week
• I was inspired the other day by a lovely set of activity sheets Mini Minders had made (it's on FB if you do a search) and made my own active children booklet which can also be coloured by the older children or printed and used to play matching games.
When we start Dec activities next month I will hopefully be ready... I will dip into my medium term planning as and when it is needed... I will tailor it to meet the needs of the different children. I have 9 children through the week including quite a few older ones so I've done rather a lot - you might get away with doing a lot less depending on how many children you have in your group.
Short term - this is taken from medium term planning and linked / differentiated to suit the interests of each child plus a few group activities which everyone will enjoy -
• John likes playdough so we plan to make playdough baubles and other decorations with him. We will add glitter and make it with Christmas smells for a sensory experience.
• Jane is into wrapping up her dollies so we plan to give her the opportunity to wrap some presents.
• Janet is a baby and loves treasure baskets so we will make sure the choking tube is used to check contents are safe for her
• All the children are going to be involved in cooking, crafts etc
Short term planning is written for the children shortly before, during and after the week or so you are following it. You have your medium term ideas and you are tailoring them to the children's interests... I link the short term planning in which each child has participated to the EYFS areas of learning and development and make sure they have experienced a range of activities through the weeks.
If any areas of learning are missing from their planning I will look again at how I can enhance their experiences. However, I do not get hung up on it because I know that their daily routines cover most of the areas of learning before I even start writing any extra planning.
I hope you find this overview useful. Please ask me if you have any questions.