What is ‘In the Moment Planning’?

In the moment planning is an approach where early years settings plan a topic spontaneously based on what a child is interested in. This child-led model is now gaining popularity among many early years educators. The system is all about completing the planning cycle in the actual moment instead of planning in advance.

This provides us with the discretion to create a balance between adult and child-led play and adapt the system effectively to suit our setting.

The important areas to focus on when implementing ITMP


As an ITMP setting we have created an environment that stimulates curiosity and enables each child to engage in activities without being directed by an adult. Depending on the age range and requirements of the children in each room, we have made sure each activity area is equipped with all necessary provision that allows them to learn or practice a new skill. We display toys, books and resources on low shelves that are easily visible and accessible to the children.


We allow children to choose what they would like to play with. Rather than stepping in to direct them towards an activity, we observe the child closely and follow their lead.  When we do step in, we make sure you display curiosity and enthusiasm in what they are doing and engage them with open-ended questions, steering them away from the yes or no answers. (‘Why do you like the yellow digger?’ instead of ‘Do you like the digger?’)

Planning ‘Next Steps’

Although the EYFS framework requires practitioners to demonstrate the planning cycle, it does not stipulate the time frame in which to complete the cycle. In the Moment Panning often allows you to complete the planning cycle in the moment, taking away the need for long term plans to complete the ‘next steps.’

In many cases, the step of spotting a ‘teachable moment’ would be immediately followed by engaging with the child and gently taking their learning to the next step – thereby completing the planning cycle in that very session.

Recording Observations

At Little Steps we have our own format for planning and recording observations for ‘In the Moment’ which are then transferred into our observations that are shared with parents digitally using Tapestry. We use the template for each child and record the outcomes of each session ‘retrospectively’.

When used effectively, in the moment planning can act as a great tool to focus on each child’s individual interests each week and creates a fun and relaxed way which allows each child to make progress in areas that are relevant and of interest to them. This enables us to make sure our resources are planned to encourage the children to become independent learners and problem solvers.

Through the provision of a structured environment using good quality equipment as well as creative and caring staff, we endeavour to ensure that your child’s needs are met.

Key Worker

A key worker will monitor your child’s progress in the nursery by observations during play, providing activities to help your child develop across all curriculum areas while having fun. These observations will be used to help us provide an individual learning journey for your child, which as parents you share with us.