15th June 2022 All Posts

In The Moment Planning in the Early Years Sector

What is in the moment planning?

‘In the moment planning’ (ITMP) has been the buzz phrase of our sector for some time, but do we truly understand what this means and how adopting this approach to our pedagogy can benefit not only the children, but practitioners and ethos of settings alike? 

For some practitioners, ITMP can be a difficult concept to get their head around and utilise to its fullest potential as past experiences and planning approaches to curriculum have always been pre-planned and/or written down for the short and long term, since the very beginning of Early Years curriculum. 

Using in the moment planning in your setting

ITMP requires practitioners to be reactive, knowledgeable, creative and flexible in order to quickly identify and meet children’s needs and provide them with engaging and enriching learning experiences as a result. 

It is a common misconception across the sector that children’s play and learning experiences must be complex in order to meet a more diverse range of learning outcomes and next steps, but knowledgeable and confident practitioners know this not to be true, instead honing in on the children’s interests, being attuned to each child as an individual and recognising that learning is a holistic process for young children is key to making ITMP a success within your setting. 

The value of in the moment planning

The value is not within high-end resources and tons of space, instead the quality of play, learning and curiosity created with the simplest of resources/loose parts, supported by practitioners that are in sync with the children’s needs and interests and create provocations and experiences with these at the heart. 

‘In the moment planning’ is so crucial to not only children taking ownership of their play and learning experiences but to fostering and developing creativity; children need to be leaders and facilitate their play and learning experiences in order to fully engage in them, thus learning from them, the adult role in ITMP is to identify, respond and react, by providing opportunities, resources and experiences as a result of the children’s expressed interests. It is not the role of practitioners to then lead/dominate this play or learning as this devalues the children’s ideas and dampens their curiosity and creativity as they extend, develop and immerse themselves in play and learning inspired by their own ideas. 

There is so much more value from reacting and responding to children’s needs and interests rather than planning topics/themes and activities weeks and months in advance, as the beauty of ITMP, is that the ideas come from the children themselves, which instantly makes the entire learning journey more valuable, beneficial and engaging for the children. 

How to get the most from in the moment planning

In order to get the most from ITMP and the benefits it offers, all practitioners must fully understand the concept, be on board with it and be capable to react flexibly to the children, play and learn from their observations. Similarly, practitioners that work with ITMP must be responsive, engaging and equipped with ideas and opportunities to bring play and learning experiences to life for the children they care for. 

When fully embraced within a setting and used and utilised by knowledgeable, confident and responsive practitioners, ITMP planning truly encompasses the beauty, spontaneity and excitement that the Early Years is all about, and more incredibly, the benefits on the children’s wellbeing, excitement, engagement and subsequently their learning and development as a result of this flexible, exciting and engaging approach to play and learning, is invaluable.

Share this article
About the Author

Imogen is our Content and Social Media creative