Julian Grenier talks about effective planning

Julian Grenier, head of Sheringham Nursery, London, talks about the planning processes they use at the setting.

Good for looking at

  • Effective planning
  • Supporting every child
  • Supporting children at risk of not making progress
00:05
Probably like everywhere, the amount of time you have
00:07
in a planning meeting is quite limited.
00:10
And maybe you have an A3 sheet
00:13
and it's divided kind of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
00:15
morning, afternoon, all the different areas of the nursery.
00:19
And the next thing you know,
00:20
you've got about 100 boxes to fill in,
00:23
and you've got the team and you've got about an hour,
00:25
or 45 minutes in our case,
00:27
and it feels really pressured that you've got to have
00:30
something happening everywhere every day.
00:32
And that's when you get that kind of random sort of
00:36
"Okay, let's have Lego on Monday, Mobilo on Tuesday,
00:39
"blocks on Wednesday..."
00:41
And that's the worst sort of planning process, I think.
00:47
So what we decided was that the real power
00:51
of the team coming together is that that's when
00:56
we can learn from each other about the children.
00:60
So something that I might find really difficult
01:02
with the outcome, Yasmin outdoors
01:05
might be having a tremendous success with it.
01:08
But I'm indoors and Yasmin's outdoors
01:10
and I may never know this.
01:13
So we try and use the team meetings
01:16
for key people to bring important observations
01:19
about their key children and to think about that as a team.
01:22
And especially that kind of
01:24
"Oh yeah, I've seen that as well,
01:25
"maybe we could do this."
01:26
So really thinking about what is gonna help develop
01:29
this child's learning, broaden their horizons,
01:32
help them through this difficulty,
01:35
give them even more of what they need
01:37
so that they can become an expert.
01:41
And the skill of that, if you like, is making sure,
01:43
and this is what the team leader's role is,
01:47
the same children who always come to our attention
01:50
aren't endlessly the focus of the planning meetings,
01:53
and other children who are
01:54
maybe less prominent get forgotten about.
01:57
So as team leaders, they have to be really systematic
01:59
about making sure that key people over the meeting term
02:05
are talking about all of their key children
02:07
and not just one or two.
02:09
And the other thing we say in planning is that
02:12
we must spend more time thinking about children
02:15
who are at risk of making poor progress than the rest,
02:20
and we need to plan more for those children
02:22
and we need to link more with their parents.
02:25
So again, if you've got like we do 30 children in each base,
02:30
it's not like cutting the cake up into 30 core bits.
02:33
It's like saying these are the six children
02:35
that need a lot of our time.
02:38
These are the children who, through the range of provision,
02:42
routines, teaching, adult interactions,
02:47
are doing really well, and it's important
02:49
that we keep on top of their learning
02:51
and keep on the front foot with them.
02:53
And then there's also this group of children here
02:56
who are in danger of being a bit unchallenged
02:59
by the provision, so we've got to think hard
03:01
about how we give them richer experiences
03:03
or extend things.
03:05
But the key focus is on the children
03:07
who are at risk of not making progress.
03:09
We have to spend more time thinking about them.
03:12
Sometimes I think people object, if you like,
03:15
to the focus on the challenge for the children
03:19
who are making the most rapid progress.
03:21
But our experience is that that climate
03:25
actually benefits every single child in the group.
03:28
That sense that there's exciting learning going on,
03:31
and that if you give somebody even more unit blocks,
03:35
they just build something even bigger.
03:37
That doesn't just benefit that child.
03:39
That creates a really exciting learning climate.
03:42
So we don't kind of have any difficulty
03:46
with the fact that the challenge
03:48
to the children making the fastest development
03:51
is really important.
03:54
So in a way, our team planning meeting now is much more like
03:59
what you might call pedagogical dialogue about children,
04:03
and then the team leaders take away all of that information
04:08
and turn that into the weekly plan.
04:10
So the staff aren't stressed about what's happening
04:13
on Wednesday afternoon, they can focus on what's happening
04:17
for Jamal or Tony or Leo.
04:20
That's what they can focus their attention on.
04:26
It does put more pressure on our team leaders.
04:28
It makes it a really responsible job,
04:30
but they take away that information
04:32
and turn it into a weekly plan.
04:35
And the best weekly plan then is completely demolished
04:38
during the week because all those things
04:42
that you planned turn out to need a bit of changing
04:46
or modifying or scrapping or whatever
04:48
because of what happens day by day.
04:50
So that's the other thing I'd say about planning,
04:52
is that every plan is provisional,
04:54
and what you thought you were gonna do on Tuesday
04:57
has to be led by what happened on Monday.