The planning cycle for documenting children's learning - Aussie Childcare Network (2023)

In Australia, early childhood education and care programs and practices are governed by National Quality Standards (NQS). Element 1.3.1 states that “each child's learning and development is assessed or evaluated as part of a continuous cycle of observation, analysis of learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection”. Also known as the planning cycle, this “continuous cycle” is the responsibility of educators and tutors.

Role of documentation in the planning cycle

Educators or caregivers sometimes lose sight of the planning cycle when they get caught up in the content and documentation processes. It's important to understand that the two are not interchangeable: documentation is what educators are used to.Show evidence of the planning cycle. Furthermore, documentation is not just a description of what children are doing in the classroom or on the playground. It captures the achievements and strengths of each child, what they know, what they explore, what they can understand beyond their identity and culture. According to the National Regulation of Education and Care Services, the scope of the documentation depends on the frequency and duration of the children's attendance at a service. Documentation must ensure that the program is clearly displayed on the Service, and information about its content, operation, and child participation must be available to parents upon request.

(Video) Planning for and documenting children’s learning

The purpose of the planning cycle.

Educators must be involved early in the planning cycle to meet regulatory requirements. NQS Quality Area 1 and Standard 1.2 clearly state that educators must be active and reflective in designing and delivering the program for each child, and the way to do this is by participating in the planning cycle. The planning cycle helps educators:

  • Evaluate your learning and progress
  • commit to the principles, practices and outcomes of recognized learning frameworks
  • Set goals for individual and group learning.
  • Involve the family in decisions.
  • Using peer collaboration to validate and challenge practices
  • supplemental learning plan that supports children as capable and competent individuals with agency and the ability to make decisions

What should inform the planning cycle?

The principles of the planning cycle are described in quality area 1 of the NQS. The planning cycle designed by educators and/or caregivers should

  • Build on a proven learning framework
  • consider the learning needs and interests of each child
  • Design diagnoses or assessments to support the delivery of programs to children in accordance with national regulations for education and care services.
  • Assess developmental needs, interests, experiences, participation, and progress toward preschool program outcomes
  • Child Wellness, Development, and Learning Assessment For school-age children

To gain even more clarity about your own motives and preferences during planning and documentation, it may help to ask yourself:

  • How do I document these days and why do I do it the way I do?
  • What theories (developmental, sociocultural, behavioral, etc.) inform how I organize my documentation?
  • How did I critically reflect on or document the program?

Five Phases of the Planning Cycle

The planning cycle can be divided into 5 phases:

(Video) Documentation and the cycle of planning in outside school hours care

  1. supervision

The planning phase of the cycle involves observing each child and gathering information about their current knowledge, strengths, skills, abilities, interests, culture, and background. To collect this information, educators and caregivers use various documentation formats, such as:

  • Views of billboards depicting a process as a network of ideas
  • Wall displays with children's artwork
  • Photos or sequences of photos of children participating in learning, with their own or teacher's signatures
  • Observation notes were written by teachers.
  • scrapbooks and floor books
  • Individual portfolios showing progress in specific areas over a period of time

For example, if an educator observes that a child develops a special interest in playing with sand, they might document the observation as an entry in a learning journal. Such observation will observe what the child has been playing with, how she is using the tools and materials, and will extend play to other items and contexts. The observation is then shared with the families and their opinion is solicited. The educator may learn that a relative recently returned from a vacation in Egypt, or that a parent gave the child a book about ancient pyramids.

Therefore, the documentation must be rich and meaningful; it must reflect the individual needs of the child, but also reflect them holistically; It should incorporate the views of all key stakeholders, including children, educators, peers, families, and other professionals. Most importantly, the educator or caregiver must have a very clear understanding of why she is documenting and how that specific documentation will add value to the outcomes for children.

  1. Analyze

In the next stage, the educator must analyze the previously collected information and extract insights, conclusions and opportunities related to the child's learning. The educator needs to think not only about what the child is learning, but also how and why, how that learning links to accepted learning frameworks, and also how her own documentation supports that learning. Referring to the example above, the educator can ask analytical questions such as:

(Video) Planning and Observation in Childcare Intro

  • What does this information tell us about the child's sense of belonging, connection, and well-being?
  • How can we develop the knowledge and understanding that the child has developed?
  • How can this be better documented?
  1. planning

After the educator has analyzed the observations collected through documentation, the next step is to design experiences, interactions, and environments that build on the children's interests, abilities, and identities based on the required learning outcomes described. in approved learning frameworks. In planning, the educator may need to reflect on her own intentions to promote the child's learning and development. Planning also includes selecting appropriate learning strategies, resources, and schedules, and creating the necessary learning environment. In addition, the planning process must be made visible through proper documentation. Planning is usually done by setting goals and deciding on instructional strategies to achieve those goals. Can you see the plan? So, following the example above, the educator can plan to facilitate continued learning in the child's home environment and build on the foundation of prior learning by addressing strengths, skills, and knowledge.

  1. implement

In this stage of the planning cycle, educators put their plans into action to achieve children's learning outcomes within approved learning frameworks. The implementation would address children's learning routines, transitions, interactions, indoor and outdoor environments, group projects, and investigations. Some questions that educators can ask to reflect on implementation strategies are:

  • How can I use all aspects of the day to create learning opportunities?
  • How my implementation demonstrates game-based learning
  • How does this allow children to exercise their choices and agency?
  • How is the implementation of my learning plans visible?

In the example above, the educator can use strategies such as teaching intentional scaffolding, open-ended questions, collaborative thinking, and problem solving to enhance the child's thinking and learning.

  1. judge

The last step in the planning cycle is to reflect on the effectiveness and relevance of all previous observations, analysis, planning, and implementation. So, in this example, assessment involves the educator recognizing that sensory tasks, such as playing with sand, provide children with time and space to engage in individual activities and develop their creative abilities. The educator can pose the question - What is the role of the senses in development - for further action research or extend the child's interest in books to literacy.

(Video) Educational leaders supporting the cycle of planning

Closing the planning loop also allows educators to reflect on the fact that evaluation needs to be about more than just sharing how children liked and disliked the experience; In other words, how all the steps of the planning cycle can be used to learn how to modify, change, or change the exercise program.

The planning cycle is an incredibly valuable tool for children to become capable and confident learners. Understanding the purpose behind this cycle provides educators with a solid foundation from which to grow as professionals and support the overall development of each individual child.

Unpacking the planning cycle, ACECQA
Unpacking the Planning Cycle Part 1, ACECQA
Unpacking the Planning Cycle Part 2,ACECQA
Planning Cycle Infographic, ACECQA
Educator's Guide to the EYLF, ACECQA

(Video) EYLF PLP TAPS -Planning and Documentation - Part 1 of 3


What is the planning cycle in childcare? ›

The five steps of the planning cycle are: Observe – the process of gathering information. Analyse – questioning what learning and development is taking place to make meaning of what has been observed. Plan – planning the next steps to continue supporting learning and development. Act/Do – putting the plan into action.

What is the planning cycle Acecqa? ›

The planning cycle is a process of planning and documenting children's learning to ensure that you achieve the best quality outcomes for the children. Element 1.3. 1 of the National Quality Standard requires the use of the planning cycle to assess and evaluate each child's learning.

What is the planning cycle? ›

The planning cycle involves the following key actions: 1) Identify the problem/issue you seek to address. 2) Set SMART goals and objectives. 3) Identify and collaborate with key stakeholders. 4) Design activities to achieve goals and objectives.

What are the 5 components of the cycle of curriculum planning? ›

The curriculum development process can be categorized into five basic steps: 1) needs assessment, 2) the planning session, 3) content development, 4) pilot delivery and revision, and 5) the completed curriculum package.

What are the 4 elements of planning cycle? ›

The project management life cycle is usually broken down into four phases: initiation, planning, execution, and closure. These phases make up the path that takes your project from the beginning to the end.

What are the 6 stages of the planning cycle? ›

The six steps are:
  • Step 1 - Identifying problems and opportunities.
  • Step 2 - Inventorying and forecasting conditions.
  • Step 3 - Formulating alternative plans.
  • Step 4 - Evaluating alternative plans.
  • Step 5 - Comparing alternative plans.
  • Step 6 - Selecting a plan.

What are the 3 stages of the planning cycle? ›

As illustrated in the video the planning process has 3 key stages: goal definition, option evaluation and implementation and review.

What is the first stage of planning cycle? ›

The first step in the process of planning is to set the objective for the plan. The managers set up very clearly the objectives of the company keeping in mind the goals of the company and also the physical and financial resources of the company.

What are the 5 stages of planning and explain each stages? ›

According to the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a project management life cycle consists of 5 distinct phases including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure that combine to turn a project idea into a working product.

What are the four C's of curriculum planning? ›

They include communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving, as well as, creativity.

What is the importance of the planning cycle within curriculum design? ›

The Purpose Of The Planning Cycle

The planning cycle thus helps educators to: assess their learning and progress. engage with the principles, practices and outcomes of approved learning frameworks. set goals for individual and group learning.

Why is the planning cycle important in early years? ›

The importance of planning in early years is that plans are the key to making learning effective, exciting, and progressive. Its purpose is to ensure that all children enjoy a balanced curriculum.

What are the 5 steps in the planning process step 4? ›

Once you've established your management committee, you can get to work on the strategic planning process.
  • Step 1: Determine where you are. ...
  • Step 2: Identify your goals and objectives. ...
  • Step 3: Develop your plan. ...
  • Step 4: Execute your plan. ...
  • Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed.
Oct 6, 2022

What are the seven 7 steps of the planning process? ›

How to Strategic Plan in 7 Steps
  • Step 1: Environmental Scan. ...
  • Step 2: Internal Analysis. ...
  • Step 3: Strategic Direction. ...
  • Step 4: Develop Goals and Objectives. ...
  • Step 5: Define Metrics, Set Timelines, and Track Progress. ...
  • Step 6: Write and Publish a Strategic Plan. ...
  • Step 7: Plan for Implementation and the Future.
Apr 26, 2022

What are the 8 elements of planning? ›

Here is a list of standard strategic planning elements to help you structure your own plan:
  • Vision statement. ...
  • Mission statement. ...
  • Goals and objectives. ...
  • SWOT analysis. ...
  • Action plan. ...
  • KPIs.
Nov 12, 2020

What is the 3 key elements of planning? ›

Six Key Elements of a Successful Plan
  • Gather Information.
  • Set objectives of the plan.
  • Devise strategies to meet goals.
  • Implement your plan.
  • Monitor plan performance.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness/success of your plan.
Dec 14, 2022

What is the planning learning and assessment cycle? ›

Explaining the Observation, Assessment and Planning cycle

In effect, observing children is our window (looking, listening and noting) into their lives, which we need to reflect on (assessment) and respond to in respectful ways in order to provide relevant opportunities, support and teaching (planning – what next?).

What does the 5 P's of planning mean? ›

Mintzberg developed his 5 Ps of Strategy as five different definitions of (or approaches to) developing strategy. He first wrote about the 5 Ps of Strategy in 1987. Each of the 5 Ps is a different approach to strategy. They are Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position, and Perspective.

What are the five 5 phases cycle of a project? ›

Developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the five phases of project management include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring, and project close.

What are the four 4 phases of the curriculum development process? ›

It also shows the interaction and relationships of the four essential phases of the curriculum development process: ( I) Planning, (II) Content and Methods, (III) Implementation, and (IV) Evaluation and Reporting.

What is curriculum planing model? ›

What are the three models of curriculum design? There are three models of curriculum design: subject-centered, learner-centered, and problem-centered design.

What are the 4 curriculum models? ›

There are at least 4 curriculum development models that have been recognized and often used; the Tyler model, Taba model, Oliva model, and Beaucham model. The model names are based on the names of curriculum developers.

What is the planning phase and why is it important? ›

In the Planning Phase, the Project Manager works with the project team to create the technical design, task list, resource plan, communications plan, budget, and initial schedule for the project, and establishes the roles and responsibilities of the project team and its stakeholders.

What are the three components of the curriculum cycle? ›

Regardless of definition or approach, curriculum can be organized into three major components: objectives, content or subject matter, and learning experiences.

What are the important things you need to consider when planning the curriculum? ›

7 steps to make the curriculum planning process easier
  • Determine your goals and expectations. ...
  • Choose one content area to focus on each year. ...
  • Research the content and use premade lesson plans. ...
  • Make a list of 3-5 resources for each concept. ...
  • Get to know your students. ...
  • Start with a few reusable activities.
Dec 19, 2019

What is the learning cycle in early childhood? ›

The Learning Cycle has four stages: Awareness, Exploration, Elaboration, and Utilization.

Why is the planning cycle important in childcare? ›

Planning is our way to ensure that children's learning is effective, that they are making the required progress towards the early learning goals and is key to making learning exciting, and progressive, ensuring all children have access to the same development opportunities and enjoy a balanced curriculum.

What are the 5 steps in the planning process? ›

5 steps of the strategic planning process
  • Determine your strategic position.
  • Prioritize your objectives.
  • Develop a strategic plan.
  • Execute and manage your plan.
  • Review and revise the plan.

What are the steps in the cycle of curriculum planning? ›

Six-Steps in Curriculum Planning
  • Establish a value base for the program.
  • Develop a conceptual framework.
  • Determine program goals.
  • Design the program.
  • Establish program assessment procedures.
  • Implement the program.

What is the purpose of assessment and planning cycle? ›

The Observation, Assessment and Planning cycle (below) explains the way in which observation enables us to be aware of and 'see' the unique child in the broader context of their lives including their family, culture and community (the bigger picture) as well as the context of their everyday development and learning ( ...

What are the key aspects in the assessment and planning cycle? ›

Each child's learning and development is assessed or evaluated as part of an ongoing cycle of observation, analysing learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection.

How many steps does the planning cycle have? ›

The Planning Cycle is an eight-step process that you can use to plan any small-to-medium sized project: moving to a new office, developing a new product, or planning a corporate event, for example. The tool enables you to plan and implement fully considered, well-focused, robust, practical, and cost-effective projects.

What are the 7 steps in the planning process? ›

How to Strategic Plan in 7 Steps
  • Step 1: Environmental Scan. ...
  • Step 2: Internal Analysis. ...
  • Step 3: Strategic Direction. ...
  • Step 4: Develop Goals and Objectives. ...
  • Step 5: Define Metrics, Set Timelines, and Track Progress. ...
  • Step 6: Write and Publish a Strategic Plan. ...
  • Step 7: Plan for Implementation and the Future.
Apr 26, 2022

What is the planning process briefly explain each step in the process? ›

The steps involved in the planning process are as follows:
  1. Developing of objectives.
  2. Developing tasks that are required to meet those objectives.
  3. Determining resources needed to implement those tasks.
  4. Creating a timeline.
  5. Determining tracking and assessment method.
  6. Finalising the plan.


1. Creating a Plan for Child Care Services
2. In conversation about #childfree life style, #Antinatalism #narcissism & more.
(Dark Light Energetics)
3. Australia PR after studying Early Childhood education. Watch Sonya’s inspiring journey
(Aussizz Group)
4. Building Staffed FCC Networks
5. The role of professional ECEs in "How Does Learning Happen?"
(College of Early Childhood Educators / Ordre des éducatrices et des éducateurs de la petite enfance)
6. ECE 101 Lesson Planning Cycle
(Olivia Coyne)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Prof. Nancy Dach

Last Updated: 14/10/2023

Views: 5948

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. Nancy Dach

Birthday: 1993-08-23

Address: 569 Waelchi Ports, South Blainebury, LA 11589

Phone: +9958996486049

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Web surfing, Scuba diving, Mountaineering, Writing, Sailing, Dance, Blacksmithing

Introduction: My name is Prof. Nancy Dach, I am a lively, joyous, courageous, lovely, tender, charming, open person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.