Early Years Education: The Way Forward…

by Micaela Da Rocha Afonso Ventura

Welcome readers to my first blog on LYIS!

Today, I would like to discuss the evolving field of early years education, focusing on the work of Anna Ephgrave and her distinctive approach known as “Planning in the Moment.” In this exploration, I will discuss the significance of this method, the changing role of adults as facilitators, and the real-world challenges faced by both parents and educators. Additionally, I will propose thoughtful strategies to address these challenges, promoting a collaborative and child-centred educational environment.

At the forefront of progressive early years education stands Anna Ephgrave, a well-known educator in the field. Her “Planning in the Moment” approach represents a move from traditional lesson planning to a more spontaneous approach, where practitioners are responsive to the immediate needs and interests of young students.

Anna Ephgrave (2018) encourages educators to engage in continuous observation, seizing teachable moments, and adapting lesson plans on the spot. This dynamic approach ensures that learning is not only relevant and engaging but also tailored to the unique needs and interests of each child. Ephgrave’s “Planning in the Moment” aligns with the philosophy that children learn most effectively when their curiosity is sparked, and their interests are actively incorporated into the learning process.

Aligned with Ephgrave’s approach is the transformation of the role of adults into facilitators. Rather than assuming the traditional role of instructors, adults become guides, mentors, and supporters, adapting to the evolving needs and interests of each child.

Facilitating learning involves a deep understanding of each child’s strengths, challenges, and learning styles. Adults, following Ephgrave’s methodology, become skilled in asking open-ended questions, encouraging discussions, and providing resources that ignite curiosity. This facilitative role fosters a sense of partnership between educators and young learners, creating a positive and collaborative learning atmosphere.

Furthermore, Ephgrave’s approach encourages adults to model a growth mindset by celebrating effort, perseverance, and resilience. This mindset not only contributes to academic success but also lays the foundation for a positive approach to lifelong learning.

Real-World Challenges for Parents and Educators:

While Ephgrave’s “Planning in the Moment” approach brings numerous benefits, it also presents challenges for both parents and educators.

Time Management: The spontaneity of this approach may pose challenges regarding time management for both parents and educators, requiring adjustments to accommodate unplanned but valuable learning opportunities.

Balancing Structure and Flexibility: Striking the right balance between providing structure and allowing for flexibility can be challenging. Some children thrive with routine, while others benefit from a more flexible approach, requiring thoughtful navigation by adults. Teachers may also struggle with not having control, as they are so used to pre-planning.

Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication between parents and educators is crucial, as we all know. However, challenges may arise when there is a lack of communication or a mismatch in the strategies used at home and in the educational setting, necessitating a collaborative approach.

Resource Limitations: Limited access to resources may impact the implementation of child-led initiatives and spontaneous learning opportunities. Collaborative resource-sharing initiatives are essential to address these limitations.

Strategies for Overcoming Challenges:

Addressing these challenges within the framework of Ephgrave’s approach involves collaborative efforts, communication, and resource-sharing.

Regular Communication Channels: Establish and maintain open lines of communication between parents and educators. Regular updates, feedback sessions, and collaborative planning based on Ephgrave’s approach can bridge the gap between home and school.

Professional Development: Continuous professional development for educators, focusing on Ephgrave’s “Planning in the Moment” approach, can enhance their skills and understanding. Workshops and training sessions can provide valuable insights into effective implementation.

Resource Sharing: Collaborate on resource-sharing initiatives between parents and educators, creating a network for sharing educational materials, ideas, and activities aligned with Ephgrave’s child-centric approach.

Flexibility in Scheduling: Introduce flexible schedules that accommodate spontaneous learning opportunities, emphasizing the principles of Ephgrave’s approach. Allocate specific time slots for child-led activities to promote a responsive learning environment.

Parent Education Programs: Provide parents with resources and information on Anna Ephgrave’s “Planning in the Moment” approach. This helps create a shared understanding and promotes a supportive home environment that complements the child’s educational journey.

In my experience, the emphasis on collaboration fosters a sense of unity and collective responsibility, while effective communication ensures that everyone is on the same page. Additionally, the practice of resource-sharing not only optimizes available assets but also promotes a culture of mutual support and growth within the educational community.

So, as we navigate the way forward in early years education, Anna Ephgrave’s “Planning in the Moment” approach emerges as a guiding light. From my personal perspective, by embracing spontaneity and responsiveness, parents and educators can create an environment where children thrive, guided by a curriculum that is both dynamic and tailored to individual needs. In my experience, this dynamic and tailored approach to the curriculum allows for a more personalized learning journey, acknowledging and meeting individual needs. Challenges, as I’ve seen, become opportunities for collaborative problem-solving, and the shared commitment to Ephgrave’s principles paves the way for a future where early education is not just a preparation for life but an enriching journey in itself. In this collaborative endeavour, the way forward becomes a joint exploration, ensuring that every young learner, in my belief, experiences the joy of discovery and the empowerment that comes from active, engaged, and spontaneous learning.


Ephgrave, Anna. (2018). Planning in the Moment with Young Children: A Practical Guide for Earl Years Practitioners and Parents.Routledge

Micaela Da Rocha Afonso Ventura is the Head of Primary, DSB International School – Deutsche Schule Bombay

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