In the Moment Planning

What is In the Moment Planning?

There has been many a discussion concerning workload over the last eight years since the revised Early Years Framework.

Studies and reports have shown increased paperwork is detracting childcare practitioners from interacting closely with children. The impact that this has is that practitioners are spending less time engaging, nurturing, and supporting children’s learning and development.

Following the latest round of changes to the Ofsted Inspection Guidance (2019) and the Early Years Framework, there seems a no better time to change the way we do things here at Tommies Childcare.

We want to explain to parents who access our nurseries, as well as other childcare workers, how we will reduce paperwork for our staff and provide them with more time to engage and inspire learning with the children in our care.

Introducing: In the Moment Planning

Usually, parents are rarely involved in the planning or delivery of activities and learning that take place at their child’s nursery. But, imagine how enriched children’s experiences could be if their first educator were actively involved at a nursery level?

‘In the Moment’ planning is a relatively new concept in the Early Years sector; however, the theory and ideas behind it aren’t new at all.

Responsive parents and skilled practitioners use In the Moment planning every day without even realising it. Tuning into children’s learning by observing, listening, assessing, and planning how to respond has always been a fundamental part of our role as practitioners.

From November 2020, Tommies Childcare will officially adopt elements of In the Moment planning into our day-to-day practice. By doing this, we believe we will be providing genuinely outstanding experiences to young children, as well as reduce heavy workloads for our staff.

Children are born curious. They have an insatiable interest in learning and absorbing the world around them.

Our aim by utilising In the Moment planning is to truly embrace children’s natural curiosity, follow their lead, and place them at the heart of everything we do.

So, What’s Changing?

At the moment, all of our nurseries plan activities for children every week. These activities are based around children’s interests. As these activities are carried out, children will be observed, and the staff will decide what ‘next steps’ to take to support the following week’s planning.

As you know, children’s interests and focuses change almost daily, which means that waiting until the following day or week to create an activity based on a new interest is too late.

Additionally, practitioners currently complete several written observations of children every week. Written observations add heavily to workload, and aren’t always relevant to what is happening in practice.

With this in mind, In the Moment planning will mean that children will be observed and supported with their next steps and new interests in that very moment.

There will be no documented planning, as practitioners will be responding to children’s learning ‘in the moment’. Observations will still be completed; however, they will be completed differently as detailed next.

Combining ParentZone with In the Moment Planning


There are two types of observations which will form part of the In the Moment approach:

1) Focus Week

Each week, on a Wednesday, each room/age group will choose a group of children who will be part of a ‘focus group’ for the coming week. 

Once the children have been selected, their parents will see an information request on ParentZone.

The request is designed to find out from parents what areas of interest, important celebrations, or milestone moments that may be happening in their child’s life outside of the nursery. Parents will need to ensure that all information is submitted back to the nursery through ParentZone by the following Friday. 

The request isn’t mandatory, though, and the child would continue to be part of the focus group for the coming week. The request on ParentZone will look like this:

“Next week, there will be a special focus on Harry! We will be observing them whilst they play, find out more about their interests, and watch how they are progressing. To support this, we ask that you take some photos (maximum of 15) of things that they have enjoyed doing outside of the nursery.

“We value the knowledge and understand that you have of your child, and would appreciate it if you would share this with us so that together we can plan activities to meet your child’s needs.

“Is there anything special happening in your child’s life at the moment? For example, trips, new pets, holidays, family celebrations, etc.? Is there anything that you would like to tell us about your child? Do you have anything that you would like to ask us about your child’s development at the nursery?”

(Please note: Whilst staff will be observing the children in the ‘Focus Group’ more closely, all other children will be interacted with as they usually would.)

2) ‘WOW’ Moments

‘WOW,’ moments are an essential part of children’s learning and development and should be recorded as a celebration of their achievement. WOW, moments can be defined as moments when children do something independently for the first time, or where they have had a new experience. These moments will be photographed and accompanied by a short observation to be published on Parentzone.

Other Changes to Note

Annual Assessments

When In the Moment planning launches, assessments will take place ‘in the moment’ in the majority of instances. We will; however, continue to complete an annual assessment for each child and publish this to ParentZone for parents to view.

Daily Feedback

All children will continue to receive daily feedback via ParentZone on any day that they attend their nursery. Daily feedback will include a photograph of the child or of something that they have done during that day and may feature a brief description of their day. Sleep, nappy checks, and meals will also continue to be published to ParentZone. 

We hope that parents and our staff will soon start to see the benefits of this new In the Moment approach offers and how much more involved children will become in their activities when at nursery. 

If you would like to know more about In the Moment planning or have any queries, then get in touch.

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