At First Steps, teaching is in every activity we provide; there are no activities that occur in the setting which we do not consider to be opportunities for teaching. While we do not always know where these opportunities will present themselves, it is the skill of our team of ‘teachers’ that enable them to readily recognise the “teachable moments” when they arise and respond to them appropriately.

These “teachable moments” are at the heart of planning in the moment, a system which instead of adults forward planning activities with pre-determined objectives, encourages children to pursue their own interests while adults observe closely and then join them to support and extend their learning. The teaching which takes place in these ‘moments’ is recorded after the activity, with a note of the initial observation, the teaching which occurred and an assessment of the child’s learning as a result.

The Early Years Framework 2014 states:

“1.6. Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development.”


For planning in the moment to be a success, staff must know their key children well, as detailed above. They must use this information to enhance the learning environment (both the indoor and outdoor environment) and resources, to ensure that children will be motivated to explore and engage with what is on offer and that it presents appropriate levels of challenge and rich experiences. With a well-stocked and carefully planned environment, children are more likely to become deeply involved in sustained play and learning, providing adults with many opportunities to scaffold and extend children’s learning and development.