I want to state that this is just how I do my planning and although I received an Outstanding grade at my last inspection (nearly 3 years ago) I am not saying that this is how it "Should" be done. It is just an option and something that has grown over time and works for me.
Every September I sit down and do my Long term plans. This took me quite a while to get my head around. I didn't think it was possible to plan long term as I did not know what the children's interests would be or what aged children I would have each month. After a chat with my Development worker, she explained that I could just think about celebrations, children's Birthdays and other important dates that I knew were coming up, like a house move, new baby being born or school starting.
This really helped and I put together a monthly plan of Celebrations we enjoy, children's special dates and I also included seasons. I try to focus a lot of our learning around the seasons and the changes they bring throughout the year.
This is how I set out my long term plan. It is about 3 pages long. I laminate it and display it on the wall for parents to see a guide of how our year might look.
In some ways this is also a medium term plan as it has more detail than most Long term plans. Every now and then though I like to have a brain storm over a particular theme and make a medium term plan. This is usually something I do when I want to cover a topic that can go on for a few weeks. For example Christmas or the Seaside. I usually make a spider chart of this and pop activities and experiences in to the areas of learning. I am not necessarily going to do all of these things but it is just a collection of ideas that I might like to try. If you have children who are old enough then you could involve them in this process. They can come up with some fabby ideas that we would never thinks of!
The last process in my planning is my weekly planning. This is mainly focused on the season and activities and experiences that link to that. Like Foraging for fruit in the Autumn to make a crumble, collecting Autumn treasures. The nice thing about using seasons is that the changes are so clear to see. The same tree will look different at different times of the year. we will see it bare in the winter but then spring comes and new leaves and Blossom appear. The tree becomes full and green in the summer. We sit under it for shade when having our picnics! By Autumn we collect its beautiful coloured leaves as they fall and gather any fruit it might give us. It is a wonderful way for children to see the yearly cycle that our world goes through.
I also use this plan to work on individual children's next steps and personal interests. So for example I have for the last month or so had "Potty training" on the plans and initialled the children who this relates to. I always have "singing and signing" on the plans as I often have at least one small child that is not yet verbal and the singing and signing is a huge benefit to all young children. These things will be on the plans for a long time and I will add in crafts, small world, role play and sensory play that will cover a child's interest or linked to something that might be happening that week.
I use the children's routines to show I am thinking about their needs. Self feeding, toileting, getting dressed, naps. All these can be added to your plans under the relevant Prime and specific areas of the EYFS.
If you look at this plan you can see at the top of the page I have included the season and an area of focus. This week it is "Road safety". All of the usual daily routines are on there in black. The areas we are working on or have been working on for a few weeks and that are ongoing are also in black. The Topic related activities and experiences are in a different colour. Here it is brown. I also add "New Language" that children will be hearing, that relates to this topic and where ever possible I use the signing for these key words as well. I also like to think about stories we could read or books that I could pop out on a shelf to support this. I print this out and then as the week goes on I add interests that the children have or self selected toy choices and write these on to the plan in red pen. These are the child initiated parts of my planning that I will think about including or extending in the next weeks plans.
At the end of the week I write a small paragraph on the back of the plan to note each child's interests, reactions to adult planned activities, self selected choices, mood, personal issues that need noting, behaviour and the like. This is never displayed so confidentiality is kept. It is for my own use and reference.
I then use the things written in red pen and the individual evaluations plus other observations I have made over the week to plan the following weeks play. This means that I am incorporating adult initiated/ led and child initiated/ led activities throughout each week and thinking abut each child s individual needs.
For example you will notice that I marked in red pen an emerging Trajectory schema in the plans above, I also thought about extending and building on that in the notes made on the back of this weeks planning and then next week I have added "Rolling items that can be chased" in Physical Development with his initial next to it.
I would like to note that the days of the week are there for me to note set things we might have planned for that day. Like the Playbus and Toddlers marked on the above plan. But the plans run across the whole week as I feel children enjoy revisiting activities and it helps to cement their learning.
Any questions please do ask and I will do my best to help.