For those who use the High Scope Curriculum:
A planning idea I used which the children love is to get a large Hula hoop. Mark off a spot with colored tape. Gather your small group around the hoop. Sing this song (make up your own tune)
“Round and round and round we go, and where it stops no one knows. One, Two, Three.
Where ever it stops, that child gives you a plan. Continue until all children have planned.
My Pre-K kids have been interested in animals lately and we had the best time pretending to be animals as we planned. For example, one child was a lion and got on all fours and told us his plans in a growly voice. It was great fun!
After ‘playing around’ with riddles for some time, we asked the children to make a riddle about where they plan to work. We all try to guess what area that child plans to work in. Fun!
Questions and Answers about Planning
Resource: Unknown….This was a handout I received at a Head Start conference in 1990.
1. What if a child does not tell you his plan?
Sometimes it’s because he does not know what materials are available, the name of the area, or both. Let him go and stand in the area or bring an object from the area with which he wants to work. Talk to him about the area, object, and its attributes.
2. What about the child who knows the area name but not what he wants to do?
Let him bring an object from the area or go with him to the area and help him make his plan.
3. What if a child says, “I don’t know what to do,” or “I don’t want to do anything?”
This is where the teacher acts as a model. There are reasons for planning–it is not simply busy work. A teacher can tour areas with the child, suggest activities from her knowledge of the child’s interests, model a plan by saying “Today I plan to go to the Art Area. Would you like to come with me?”
4. What about the child who challenges you with “I am not going to make a plan?”
The routine is set up to give the child direction and should be used in that way. A child should not begin Work Time without first considering at least where he wants to go. If he isn’t ready to begin the process, he could be given more time for deciding and could be given a quiet activity until he is ready.
5. What can I do with children who always plan to go to the same area?
Some children go repeatedly to one area because they are more visually aware of that area or are more comfortable there. Help them discover other areas. The teacher can put out materials in another area which are similar to the ones he always works with—cars and trucks in the Quiet Area. The teacher can plan Small Group Time activities using materials with which the child usually doesn’t work. She can help him plan to use what he always uses in a different way–“Instead of making a house with the blocks, what else could you do with them?”
6. What about the child who has an unrealistic plan?
The teacher has a special obligation to the child who is unrealistic in his planning. The plan is discussed in such a way that the child sees that some parts of it are realistic and others are not. The activity can be altered so that the basic idea remains the same but the means change. For example, making a real fire truck can become a trip to the fire station, constructing a toy-sized fire truck from blocks or tinkertoys, or making a fire truck from cardboard boxes or wood pieces.
7. What about the child who refuses to change his plan when he is unable to do as he wants?
It is difficult for a child to be asked to plan and then be told, “You can’t do that because the area is full,” or “You can’t do that because somebody glued all the blocks together!” It is important to try to preserve some part of the child’s plan. For example, if a child has planned to build a house with blocks but finds that the blocks are unavailable, help him make a plan to build a house with “blocks” using milk cartons, cardboard boxes, etc.
8. Can a child make more than one plan at a time?
Some children are able to plan a sequence of related activities and carry them out; other children need to make one plan at a time. Both types of plans require support and extension by the teacher by praising and broadening the child’s involvement
9. What do you do for a child who plans to work in one area but goes to another instead ?
The child might not understand the idea of planning. He may think that all he has to say are “the right words” to the teacher and that once he has said them he is able to go on his way. In addition, his plan may have had nothing to do with what he actually wanted to do. Help the child rethink his plans as he works in an area. Talk with him about what he is doing so that he will begin to associate planning and doing.
10. What if a child gets to the area he planned for but doesn’t do anything there?
Usually the child can’t locate the materials he needs; the materials or space he needs are already being used by other children; or he finds what he needs but can’t figure out what to do next. The teacher can help him find the materials he needs, she can help him find alternative materials or space, or she can encourage him to figure out the next step in carrying out his plan.