Friday 4th January – One benefit of being a childminder and of not doing pre planning   Leave a comment

……. is that I am able to ‘go with the flow’, to work in partnership with parents and to to follow the interests of the children.

This morning being a prime example …..

I have recorded in my blog for 2nd January that I had changed the continuous provision over the holidays – and that the duplo train was provided as an additional resource.

Well Alex has played with the train set on and off all day Wednesday and Thursday – and Archie who returned yesterday (Thursday) also played with it – so of course I had planned in my head that the trainset would be out again today.

However the Popoid type construction set which was played with a lot on Wednesday -but not much on Thursday – I had decided to put away and get something else out – but had not decided ‘what’

Yesterday the children had enjoyed colour sorting the camel counters – and so I had put them out on the table for the children to ply with again.

So an environment planned – (and around children’s interests and stages of development) – and a in the head idea that needed to put something else out.

But as we all know – children can flit from one thing to another, the most popular play one day, can be ignored the next – a spontaneous event or just a memory of something can result in whole new directions (which is one of the main reasons that I do not pre plan)

And this is how is was this morning (Time of starting to write is 9:30am – so the day is still very young – but here at Penny’s Place the children have already done so much)

As usual Penny collected Erin from home – and is often the case Erin was not ready and protesting loudly at having to get dressed. So Penny sat down and waiting while mummy skillfully distracted Erin with conversation about what she likes to do at Penny’s Place, what Penny’s dogs are called and so on.

During this conversation, Erin suddenly started to talk about a visit to the zoo (with her mummy) recalling the ‘scary bears’ the ‘monkeys swinging’, and so on. Erin’s mummy helped Erin with her recall by affirming the information.

Ahhh thought Penny that is what I shall add to the provision today – the Fisher Price zoo animals. Decision made and once Penny and Erin returned to Penny’s Place the zoo animals were put out.

Then Shona and Alex arrived with their mummy – Penny needed mummy to witness her signature on some official documents – which she kindly did. Then while mummy and Penny were discussing Alex’s fantastic memory (re something he recalled yesterday) – Shona kindly also ‘signed’ Penny’s official documents (luckily just the covering letter!) So Penny reminded Shona that if she wanted to draw she could ask Penny for pencils and paper – straight away Shona asked to do some writing – Penny explained that as soon as breakfast was finished she would put out some paper and pencils.

So an adaption to the provision was planned.

Chinzia arrived next – with a guitar! Mummy explained that Chinzia had insisted on bringing it to show Penny and the other children. Penny knew straight away why Chinzia had wanted to bring her guitar – and so explained to mummy – yesterday Chinzia had asked to do sticker pictures using the new stickers that Penny had been cutting out from large sheets. Among these stickers were some of guitars – and Chinzia had been keen to use the guitar stickers (at that point Penny did not know that Chinzia had had a guitar for Christmas). So through Chinzia’s insistence on bringing the guitar to Penny’s Place and the resulting discussion between mummy and Penny – both mummy and Penny had a much better understanding of this interest.

‘We need breakfast’ said the children ‘Pardon’ said Penny ‘Please can we have breakfast’ said the children – and so breakfast was got ready.

Look at this mess on the table said Shona, lets put it away said Erin (the mess was the camel counters and sorting containers – so much for that interest continuing) and so camels were put away and breakfast served.

Archie arrived mid breakfast and joined his friend at the table.

As usual Shona had enough first and ‘pestered’ her friends to finish so she could do ‘writing’ – most finished quickly – apart from Archie who of course had started eating later.

Therefore Penny suggested the children played for a while – so they did – Chinzia let everyone have a turn with her guitar ,learning what the buttons did and dancing to the music while one of them played the ‘music’;  they all played with zoo animals – lots of sorting into pairs and sets, lots of discussion about colours and patterns of animals, the same, different, the animal noises and more!

As soon as Archie had finished Shona made sure Penny knew and that Penny got out the paper and pencils. Pencils and crayons put out first while Penny cut up the paper into smaller pieces (recycled paper). Penny listened into the conversation between the children – they were talking out the pencil colours and what they were going to draw.

Once the paper was ready, a frenzy of drawing and writing took place large scribble marks, circles, squares, colouring within those shapes, discussing about what it was they were drawing – and constant bringing finishing masterpieces to Penny, so Penny could put their names on each one. Penny had to provide more paper – twice as between them the 5 children used 37 pieces of paper.


Erin finished drawing first and announced she needed to do her ‘injection’ – she found a toy screwdriver and then lifted her jumper and pushed the screwdriver  against her tummy – she started to count – her friends all stopped drawing and counted as well – all together in time 1 – 10 . Erin nodded her head to help keep the timing.

Why? You might ask – well they are role playing – Erin is being Penny giving a insulin injection, the others are counting just as they do every morning when Penny injects herself. Erin was nodding her head – just as Penny does (Penny only recently realised she was doing this – to help ensure the counting did not take too long)

Erin put the screwdriver away and got some of the small heuristic items – we don’t count for tablets said Erin’s friends and returned to their drawing. Erin pretended to take the tablets.

Shona finished drawing and put all the fence pieces together from the zoo set – I am measuring she said – she asked to measure Penny and held the fence tape measure against Penny’s arm. You are 4 she said. Then she measured her friends.

Alex and Archie set about making a train track – they discussed the pieces they were using – a long one, a round one (corner piece), not fit, fit now – between them – as a team – they made a layout that they were happy with.

Chinzia found a wooden handle in the heuristic items and started to use it as a microphone – singing loudly (just as she had seen the entertainers do on her recent holiday with mummy) her friends joined in singing ‘Old MacDonald’

Erin and Chinzia then filled small suitcases with various heuristic items – we are going on holiday said Chinzia. We are going on a plane (Chinzia and Erin both having been on planes in the last couple of months.

Shona wanted the box of materials, hats and bags (in playroom but had lid on) Penny opened the box – the girls all found hats and bags – to get reay for their holiday.

Alex had stopped playing trains and was building a tall tower – Archie brought Shona’s measuring fence and helped Alex to measure his tower -‘ it is 6’ said Alex, ‘it is big’ said Archie


Time of finishing writing 10:30 am. Time covered for this blog 2 1/2 hours.

No planning – but I think most will agree that all 7 areas of learning covered in some way (of course some more than others) and children’s interests and stages of development supported.

As a childminder I can provide this sort of flexible environment day in, day out  – I wonder if Ofsted will recognise the quality of the environment, the learning opportunities and the progress of the children?

And yes – I can write this blog at the same time because the laptop is not only accessible and I can type as and when opportunity arises, but I can also verbally support the children, supervise their play – and stop what I am doing at less than a seconds notice – today stopping at least 50 times – 37 of which were to write names on pictures!

Posted January 4, 2013 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

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