In The Moment Planning

Planning in the moment is all about seizing the moment for children to progress. Based on what the children are already deeply involved in, this way of planning relies on skilled practitioners using quality interactions to draw out the children’s knowledge and build on it there and then (in the moment). This means that the practitioner uses skills to observe what the child is doing and needs to do next, assesses the teachable moment from the child’s perspective and be skilled enough to know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe.

Planning in the moment is all about capturing the moment of engagement and running with it to make sure the children progress.

The teachable moment

National Strategies document states:

“It is in the moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skillful adult makes a difference.”

Ofsted states:

“Teaching… is all those different things that you do as an adult that help young children learn… communicating, modelling language, working with children as they initiate their own play and activities, being ready to intervene on the moment, demonstrating how to do something, explaining why something is as it is, showing children something, exploring ideas with them, encouraging them, questioning them, checking what it is they are understanding, helping them to record something that they did so that they get the structure and sequence of events, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating what they are doing, setting challenges, all those sorts of things are the sorts of things we mean when we are teaching.”

Jane Wotherspoon HMI (quoted in an Early Years Course by Anna Ephgrave 24.01.14)

Planning in the moment means that Early Years Practitioners should be doing all of these things, all day, every day.

What does the child gain from the teachable moment?

The child should feel valued, important, interesting, capable, and able to learn as well as gaining knowledge, skills, attitude and understanding therefore making progress in one or several areas of the Early Years Curriculum.

What does the practitioner gain from the teachable moment?

They should gain a sound understanding of the child’s knowledge, skills, attitude, understanding and progress.

Planning On Paper

This way of working means that all written planning is retrospective  (there is no forward planning). Each practitioner records what they have done to help the children progress each day on the iPad application Tapestry which the parents have access to.

The Early Years Framework 2014 states:

1.6. Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development.     Planning in the moment fully allows this to happen and encourages the children to pursue their own interests.

The Learning Environment

This way of planning means that the learning environment (both the indoor and outdoor environment) constantly need to be reviewed and adapted to ensure that the children have a constant deep level of involvement in their activity. The resources in each area also need to be plentiful and engaging. There is access to planning and design sheets for the children to be able to discuss and design their work supporting opportunities for adult and child collaboration.


All observations made of the children must be based on quality interactions between children or children and practitioners. They must include any teaching that has taken place or progress that a child or group of children have made. All practitioners are responsible for highlighting progress in observations. Emphasis is highly placed on using ‘I wonder…’ statements i.e. ‘I wonder if…’, ‘I wonder what…’, ‘I wonder how…’. We feel that this approach to questioning is a lot less pressurising and allows the children to open up more readily.

Focus Children and Parental Involvement

Instead of having focus activities, each week there will be focus children. On the last session before children are focus children parents will be given a questionnaire to take home to be returned on their first session as a focus child. The parents will be expected to fill in the questionnaire with any comments and the following week will be invited in to meet with their child’s key person to talk about progress and their completed questionnaire. We encourage parents to take photos of their child and add them to Tapestry for good links with home/school learning. Once a week all observations using the Ipad are uploaded for parents to see. Any next steps which have been identified during the child’s focus week but which have not yet been fully addressed will be worked on with the child during continuous provision in the future and reviewed when it is that child’s turn again as a focus child.