# 7.14: Planning

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As with most endeavors, we are more effective when we plan curriculum ahead of time. This helps us to be prepared and to adjust our ideas to be flexible as the children engage with what we have planned.

Reasons to plan:

• Make sure our plans meet the needs, interests, and abilities of the children
• Make sure we understand the learning and development that will occur
• Make sure we have all the materials we will need
• Make sure we know where in the environment to set up
• Make sure we know how to set up
• Make sure we know how to encourage children to participate
• Make sure we have thought through behavioral issues that might arise and how to handle them
• Make sure we have thought through the interactions that will take place
• Make sure we know how we will encourage the children to clean up
• Make sure we know how we might gather observational notes
• Make sure we have thought through how we might document and share this experience with parents or others.
 Pause to Reflect Do these make sense to you? Are there others?

If we have planned thoroughly and thoughtfully, it allows us to implement our plans and to reflect on them afterward, using that information for future planning.

Often referred to as the Plan - Do (implement) - Review (evaluate) cycle, this type of approach allows us to continuously provide the most effective curriculum to the young children in our care.

Figure $$\PageIndex{1}$$: Plan Do Review Cycle

Chapter 7 (Learning Environments), will discuss early childhood daily routines in more detail. For now, let us consider that most programs are broken down into segments of the day, beginning with the arrival of the children and ending with their departure. Teachers will plan for all segments of the day, both inside and outside, which might include:

• Arrival and Departure
• Small group time
• Large group time
• Centers
• Child initiated play
• Nutrition (snack, lunch,…)
• Self-help (washing hands, toileting, napping,…)
• Transitions between all segments of the day
• Others as each program dictates

One of the best planning strategies is to use a written format. Sometimes we plan one activity or experience on a single form. Other times we plan for multiple experiences on the same form. New teachers are often encouraged to plan each activity separately at first until they feel comfortable with the process.

Reasons for a written plan:

• Keeps things in order
• Assures everything is thought through and not forgotten
• Can be referred to as needed throughout the process
• Can be shared with others
• Documents planning for record-keeping purposes
• Can be saved to be repeated or modified without having to start from scratch
 Pause to Reflect Do these make sense to you? Are there others?

When planning it can be helpful to know that certain terms are used in a variety of ways by various programs. Because this chapter is written for a diverse group of future early childhood educators, we will use these terms interchangeably so that you are ready for the vocabulary used wherever you may work.

Some of the terms most frequently used to represent the “goings-on” you will plan for are:

• Lesson
• Activity
• Learning Experience
• Curriculum
• Teaching Moment

While they may have slightly different “official” meanings, they overlap in our field and can all be found to begin with a plan based on children’s interests and needs, implemented according to the plan (with modifications as they occur), and reviewed/evaluated afterward through reflection to assess and build upon for the future.

Below are examples of generic planning forms (used later in other ECE courses at College of the Canyons). You will see planning for a specific activity and planning for the entire day. For each there will is a blank version and a sample version. The programs you work in will each have their own unique method and planning forms, but most will include some, if not all, of the information included here.

Blank Example Planning Form for Specific Activity

Sample Planning Form for Specific Activity

Blank Example Daily Planning Form

 Daily Lesson Plan Date: Class: Segment / Time Activity with Brief Description Materials & Considerations Purpose / Learning / Development Intentional Interactions & Conversations Notes / Other

Sample Daily Planning Form

 Pause to Reflect Do the example written planning forms make sense to you? What might you add or delete from the blank forms? Why?

## What to plan

There are many resource websites and books with ideas to spark your initial planning. The best way to consider what to plan comes from the children. Always take into account WHO you are planning for and WHY you are planning. The rest will follow. In your ECE 104 Introduction to Curriculum for Early Childhood Education course, you will be presented with many considerations regarding what to plan. For now, the following is a general list to follow:

Considerations for planning:

• Consider both the group and individual children; be inclusive of all
• Know their interests
• Know their ability levels
• Focus on what they CAN do; start with where they are
• Understand your resources (time, materials, location,…)
• Understand development of the ages and stages you are planning for
• Plan for the “whole” child
• Know your goals and objectives
• Integrate curriculum and plan for all types of play
• Consider the families, communities and cultures represented
• Include others in the planning process when possible (colleagues, families, children)
• Plan ahead of time how to transition to the next segment of the day
• Jot down quick notes to refer to later when you reflect
• Don’t worry if it doesn’t go exactly as you planned, that’s expected
• Enjoy yourself and the children, remember “this is the fun part”
 Pause to Reflect Do these implementation suggestions make sense to you? What might you add or delete from the suggestions? Why?

Another consideration will be how you will implement the activities you plan. There are several different teaching methods to think about and most teachers will balance various strategies throughout the day:

 -- High Context  | | | | | -- Low Context Child Directed – child introduces and directs activity Child Demonstrated – child demonstrates while teacher observes Assist – child explores and teacher provides minimal assistance Scaffold – child attempts and teacher provides guided support as needed Co-Construct – child and teacher or child and child work collaboratively Teacher Demonstrated – teacher demonstrates while child observes Teacher Directed – teacher introduces and directs activity

Figure $$\PageIndex{2}$$: The continuum of child-directed to teacher-directed. [78]

There is also a variety of experiences to consider:

• Structured – planned, organized lesson following steps
• Informal – planned and introduced and then takes shape as children participate
• Naturalistic – emerges organically from the children with no formal plan

Again, teachers balance these types of experiences throughout the day, based on the children they work with, the environment and the activities themselves.

 Pause to Reflect Which teaching strategies do you feel most comfortable with? Why? Can you see times when you might use each of them?

This page titled 7.14: Planning is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Cindy Stephens, Gina Peterson, Sharon Eyrich, & Jennifer Paris (College of the Canyons) .