Back in April 2018 we introduced what is called ‘In the Moment Planning’. It’s a relatively easy to understand concept that involves allowing child initiated, real time, learning through play based on capturing the interest of a child at the current time. There is no (or very little), forward planning or focus activities.

Young children have a natural desire to learn, explore and question. Settings and Practitioners offer core provisions and an environment that enables this activity in order to capture the moment of engagement for each child. Careful observation by Practitioners is key to utilising the in the moment planning approach – opportunities to seize the moment when a child shows a level of interest and curiosity that can be drawn out and then enhanced and built upon need to be recognised – these are normally called ‘teachable moments’. Written ‘planning’ is then done retrospectively in the form of observations, records of the interactions and notes on outcomes.

Although fairly new concepts, in the moment planning and child-initiated play can be a fun and relaxed way for children to learn and progress in an Early Years setting. Most settings that use this approach find that both the children and the practitioners are more enthusiastic, more engaged, more relaxed, and forge better relationships.

As a practitioner, the observation necessary to recognise teachable moments within child led play and use them to their full potential will get easier and better with practise – it’s a skill that will need to be honed through doing.
This fits in very nicely with the Early Years Framework:

“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.”