Planning in the EYFS Without a ‘Topic’?

How about changing from EYFS ‘Themes’ to ‘Exploring our ideas about…’ instead? ‘Themes’ and ‘Topics’ have long dominated practice in the Early Years: ‘Ourselves’, ‘People Who Help Us’, ‘Mini-beasts’, ’Dinosaurs’; the list goes on. As my understanding and interest in how young children learn and make sense of the world grows, fuelled enormously from my visits to settings inspired by those in Reggio Emilia, I would like to explore an alternative approach. Sometimes these ‘topics’ or ‘themes’ aren’t selected; they’re just on someone’s planning and have been there so long that they are no longer questioned. In other settings adults have considered the kinds of things young children are interested in ‘Dinosaurs’ or familiar with ‘People Who Help Us’. But do these ‘topics’ really reflect the way children’s thinking and sources of fascination change on a daily basis? Do they support and extend the many connections they are capable of making and the challenges children set for themselves that we...Read More >

Planning using a ‘Maths Sandwich’?

Start the new term with a sandwich; a ‘Maths Sandwich’! The brain learns by forming connections. Successful learning in maths relies upon these connections.   How are you planning to connect what you’re about to teach with what children have learned before and will learn next?   In training I use an approach called ‘The Maths Sandwich’. Instead of going straight into the focused teaching, I aim to create a vital ‘Oh, I get what you mean….but I can’t do that yet’ moment. Adapting these ideas: I’ve worked with all of the ideas below at an age-appropriate level with EYFS to Year 6. The principals of good planning remain the same throughout, particularly in terms of engaging pupils and activating existing knowledge.   I begin my planning journey with the first slice of bread in the ‘Maths Sandwich’. This is the ‘hook‘ or context for the learning. A meaningful problem worthy of my children’s thought and ‘learning stamina’. For example, following all of the recent festivities,...Read More >