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The planning cycle STARTS with observation – ie. Detailed observations inform planning. 

Schedules and routines should flow with the children’s needs. All planning starts with observing children in order to understand their current interests, development and learning. (card 3.1, observation, assessment and planning. 

Long term planning 

Focuses on the environment and the role of the practitioner in supporting learning 

Supports high quality self-selected and child-initiated play and learning 

Changes over time to reflect changing interests 

Short term planning 

Should be based on observation 

Is flexible 

Challenges children’s thinking 

Extends children’s learning experiences 

Medium term planning 3+ (can be kept as a ‘bank’ of plans)

Should be based on children’s interests and predictable foci throughout the year (can incorporate unplanned activities) 


Should be shared with parents, carers and children 

Chronologically arranged profiles make it easier for families to include material and show progress. 

A cross reference section can be kept in the back to cross reference evidence of progress in the 6 areas of learning 

Should include details from home visits, on-entry and transition information 

Should include dated and annotated observations, photos and samples of work, children’s comments, parent/carer comments, formative and summative assessments and summary statements and reports 

Used to inform planning and as a tool to support learning and areas of interest 

Here at Under5s we have a wide range of EYFS compliant planning to help you to manage your children's educational development. 

We have our own Under5s Focus Plans, the Plan2Play play plans and the Ready2Go preschool planning.

All of these plans are available to purchase from the Under5s Download Centre, there are samples for each of the types of plan, so you can try before you buy !

Plus you can download our FREE guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage below.

Click here to download a copy of the Under5s Guide to the EFYS
Guide to the EYFS

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