Observation, Planning and Assessment at Charlton

At Charlton Nursery & Preschool, we believe children learn best through play which is why we use the ‘In the Moment Planning’ (ITMP) method, created and acclaimed by Anna Ephgrave (2018)*. We believe that ITMP supports our ethos which encourages a child-centred and holistic approach to care and education. The objective is to extend children’s learning, play and interests in the here and now, with a focus on high quality interactions. Our philosophy has always been underpinned by ensuring children are happy and secure in our setting; ITMP has been instrumental in supporting this.

“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 always be 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)”  Department for Education, p.23, 2009 cited by Ephgrave, 2018.

* Ephgrave, A (2018). Planning in the moment with young children: A practical guide for early years practitioners and parents. Abingdon: Routledge.

Over the recent years, we have been working on enabling our environment to facilitate as much child initiated play as possible. We have placed emphasis on creating an environment where resources are readily available and easily accessible to our children. Children make their choices which are guided by their current interests and our teachers use their professional knowledge of the child to help develop their learning.

We have developed our observations and assessments to ensure they are meaningful and do not include large periods of time spent away from the children. Each week, a small number of ‘focus’ children are selected in each room and, our team observe and interact; creating ‘teachable moments’ to build and extend on children’s learning. Some of these interactions with the focus children are then recorded in their learning journey (Ephgrave, 2018)*. We use individual learning journey sheets which capture children’s experiences using photographs and written observations. This is shared with you in real-time through our parent portal, ‘Famly’.


Before your child’s focus week, we will seek your views about your child and their current interests. This is an opportunity to share your child’s home experiences and photographs. This enables us gain a holistic perspective of your child’s current development and it informs our planning, assessments and evaluations.We then assess children at the end of each term (3 times a year) using the EYFS. We understand children’s learning is not linear and therefore, cannot be confined to one specific ‘age band’.  For this reason, we consider our assessments to be a ‘best fit’; a judgement of your child’s development based on our knowledge of the child. This data is collected together and used to help support our quality improvement. It also enables us to identify gaps in provision or identify staff training needs.


If you have any questions regarding planning, observations or assessments for your child then please speak to your child’s Key Person.

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The recent virtual parents evening was also a great success, Sammy & Jack did a great job on updating us with their observations on the boys. It was a great opportunity to have some quality time with them, and for them to demonstrate their expert knowledge of our children. The level of conversation was really high, a nice reminder to us that you have some super staff who really know their stuff! We heard about some of the educational techniques that they / we can use to support the boys development. I think we really learned from each other, and we were really impressed with their professional approach!


As always, thanks for your support - the Charlton nursery team are smashing it!

Bristol Parent