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Short Term (Weekly) Planning


In line with the Revised EYFS the areas of learning have now been organised into the prime areas of learning and development (PSED, C&L and PD) and the specific areas of learning and development (Lit, MD, UVW and EAD) "Practitioners working with the youngest children are expected to focus strongly on the three prime areas, which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. The three prime areas reflect the key skills and capacities all children need to develop and learn effectively, and become ready for school. It is expected that the balance will shift towards a more equal focus on all areas of learning as children grow in confidence and ability within the three prime areas." Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage - Department for Education 2012.

1. Short Term Planning

Short term planning brings together planning for individual children based on assessments of their development and learning with your medium-term plan.
You must have a regular, weekly planning meeting, involving all the practitioners working on a day-to-day basis with the children for each group or class of children, whatever their age or group/class size.

Always bring the observation records of the “observed” children to the planning meeting and use these as a starting point for your weekly planning to identify and plan for individual children’s interests, learning and developmental needs. 

2. Planning Should Show the Deployment of the Adults in the Setting

As a guide, over the course of the week their time needs to be spent as follows:

  • 2/5 supporting child-initiated play and learning
  • 2/5 leading adult-guided activities (including opportunities for guided work in literacy, group and circle times for children aged 3-5)
  • 1/5 observing children

Ensure that your planning demonstrates that if one adult is leading an adult-guided activity, the other is supporting children’s play or observing.

3. Child-Initiated Play

You cannot plan a learning intention for a child-initiated activity but through observations and adult support of children’s play, you will be able to assess the learning that takes place. Brief notes, which remind you to follow up children’s self-initiated play can be noted on your planning sheet.

You will then be able to consider appropriate resources that can be added to your continuous provision in order that children can revisit ideas that have been introduced in adult-initiated activities and/or extend their learning.

Always leave some areas of the provision for children to choose what materials or resources they want: with accessible provision, children will choose what is appropriate to their agenda. 

4. Adult-Guided / Focus Activities

Practitioners need to consider how to differentiate an adult-guided activity, adapting resources, expectations and language in order to take into account the varying ages and stages of development of children in a group.

Planned learning intentions should be broad and flexible in order that practitioners can pick up on the child’s own learning agenda.
Planned activities need to provide children with lots of opportunities for speaking and listening.

Plan a range of activities across different curriculum areas that have the same broad learning intention, in order that children can encounter this learning or revisit it in different contexts.

Ensure that what is planned is motivating, enjoyable and meaningful: planning must promote a positive disposition to learn in each child.

5. Whole Class Sessions for Children Aged 3-5

Children aged 3-4 should have a maximum of 1-2 whole-class sessions in one day and they should not last for longer than 10 minutes.

Children in reception classes should have a maximum of 2-3 whole class sessions in one day (including assemblies) and they should not last for longer that 10—15 minutes.

There is no expectation that EYFS children attend assembly on a daily basis. It is recommended that reception children may attend a special assembly once a week.

Children need extended periods of time to play and pursue their interests so you need to plan whole-class sessions for times of day, which do not interrupt activities, experiences and learning that are already taking place.

Children can concentrate for longer in small group activities, where they are more involved.

6. Provision Planners

Provision Planners are there to support you in ensuring you have an enabling environment. They allow you to think about the resources you need in your areas of continuous provision. There are 2 downloadable documents to choose from below. They are not meant to be filled out a week in advance, but ideally on a daily basis where you can filter in children's interests or extend a child's interest through resourcing.  

7. Plans are working documents

They are created at the beginning of the week but are amended and annotated as the week progresses.

Documents to download are available below