In the Moment Planning

In September 2017, we changed our setting and planning to adopt ‘In the Moment Planning’.  All current staff have attended a day’s training, carried out by Anna Ephgrave, the lady who is encouraging settings all over England to think and research more about ‘in the moment’.

‘In the Moment Planning’ is play-based learning allowing the child to follow their natural curiosity and to initiate their play, in the moment. Practitioners follow their lead which means all activities are child-led.

We have donated most of our bright and shiny plastic resources and started to purchase more open-ended, wooden, natural and homely resources.  We have completely re-structured our way of storing equipment in order to ensure the children are given more free choice during play. We have rearranged the layout of the environments, both inside and outside, and are providing more open-ended resources to allow the children to explore and investigate through their play.

We work in this way because…
“Babies and young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment-by-moment basis, the adult will be always alert to individual children (observation), always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment), and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment).”

Progress and Development
When children show high levels of involvement, that is when there is progress and development occurring – when the brain is at its most active.  High-level involvement occurs most often when children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment supported by skilled staff. Planning in the moment helps to make this possible.

An Enabling Environment
We have a workshop style environment indoors and outside.  The children select what they want to do in each area, although as we have two-year-old children at the Pre-School we do put some resources out.


The principal is that resources are accessible to the children and they are varied, open-ended and high quality.

This gives children the opportunity to select resources to support their chosen activity.

The Role of the Adult
The adults are there to facilitate learning.  They do this through observations and interactions. Our staff know the children very well and have a sound understanding of child development.  This ensures that they enhance and extend the learning at the appropriate level.

Ofsted definition of teaching (2015)
This fits exactly with our way of planning and teaching – in the moment…


‘Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top-down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.’

Planning in the moment
The cycle of observation, assessment and planning, is carried out on a moment-by-moment basis. We have focus children not focus activities. The adult goes to the child, the child is not called to the adult. We work in this way because high-level involvement occurs in child-initiated activity. We use the observation cycle on a moment by moment basis.  The focus children are given extra attention, but all the children are busy and learning all the time.