Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community


Our practitioners continually plan “in the moment”. Each time they interact with a child, they are observing, assessing, planning for, and responding to, that individual child.

The traditional cycle of observation, assessment and planning is recommended in numerous documents including Development Matters and The National Strategies document “Learning, Playing and Interacting”.

In this document we wish to highlight the section that states:

“Babies and young children .... are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment by moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment).”

Our sessions are organised to maximise the amount of “free flow” time available. Just making this one change can bring about a complete shift in emphasis and focus. The children become the focus instead of a particular activity that the adult has planned. However, our timetable also allows for whole class/ group teaching such as maths, literacy and phonics.

The weekly organisation is as follows: Each week 3 children are selected who will be the “focus children” for the following week. These children are given a form to take home for their parents to complete – asking about current interests of the child, any special events in the family and any questions the parents may have. Therefore, we have a holistic picture of where the child is and the next steps the child needs to achieve.

During the week any adult who has a productive interaction with a focus child types up the event on the learning which is recorded using the online assessment system called Eexat. This integrated system for assessing also tracks and documents children's learning with parent involvement built in. Therefore, all observations and evidence is documented in this way and we do not record a child’s learning journey in books (other than story scribing books).

It is important that the whole cycle is recorded – i.e. the initial observation, the assessment, the planning, teaching and the outcome. 

“In the moment” planning is a very simple idea – observing and interacting with children as they pursue their own interests and also assessing and moving the learning on in that moment. The written account of these interactions becomes a learning journey. This approach leads to deep level learning and wonderful surprises occur daily.

We work in this way because ... high level involvement occurs in child initiated activity. When children show high levels of involvement, that is when there is progress and development occurring – when the brain is at its most active. High level involvement occurs most often when children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment, supported by skilful staff. Planning in the moment helps to make this possible.