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Having moved from a setting that used secure curriculum software (sparkPRO), developed by experienced EYFS practitioners, to a setting that uses the old-fashioned, pencil and paper-type system,


Not only do I have to get used to new policies and procedures and routines, but also having to get to know a group of children and individual key children.  A new nursery with no secure planning is a challenge, to say the least.

With newly qualified staff I need a way to facilitate a planning system – quick!!!

I am back to snatching time, to thought-storm ideas for medium-term planning on a piece of paper and where to store?

Now to transfer manually onto daily/short-term planning, and where to store all this paperwork…. yet another folder to rummage through.  I am hoping I’ve found the right medium-term plan in the first place!

Children are playing and when staff need to remind themselves of next steps, they get up to check from lists. Meanwhile, children’s behaviour becomes challenging as the adult’s attention is taken away from them…  So yet more time is taken to refocus them again; to suit individual interests and learning styles.

There are capable and competent staff, who are totally engaged with the children, but who have no time or are indeed reluctant to break away to make that observation and record achievements (or to get another member of staff to make the observation for you).

The next challenge then is to find time to write up those observations professionally and neatly, ready to stick in to the learning journal book; first discovering that a parent hasn’t returned the journal taken home last week to share with family, then having to find the appropriate form, paper, scissors a pen that works, and glue that sticks well and then of course the dreaded mistake resulting in rewriting.  An hour later and still only one child’s achievements are up to date, only six more to do (per Keyworker!).

There’s disgruntled staff complaining about the fairness of it all.  Monthly evaluation looms – time to check learning journals are presented professionally, next steps are appropriate and observations valid – what and when to sort those blips.

End of term arrives – are parents informed sufficiently of progress, any wow achievements, or even seen the learning journal?

More time required to prepare a meeting with the parents and so the cycle starts again.