Focus includes :

  • Developing a reflective culture
  • Interaction and involvement
  • Observations and assessment
  • Planning for learning
  • Characteristics of best practice
  • Tasks related to enhancing practice
  • Foundation stage practice sessions

What staff reported they would take forward…

  • Observation and recording
  • To be more involved with the children
  • Outdoor play
  • Creativity
  • Real and natural materials
  • Plan to make activities more stimulating and engaging
  • Less sitting on seats
  • To reflect on my practice more regularly
  • Plenary celebrations
  • More child-led opportunities
  • Be a better role model

Examples of feedback following the session:

“The lovely ideas I will bring to the classroom” “This was a very useful guide to linking activity based learning to other aspects of the curriculum. I will be more aware of this in my future planning” “Thanks for sharing and discussing ‘real’ classroom problems and offering solutions.”

“Thanks Joan for a fabulous session! I am coming away from today feeling positive that my practice is very good but needs tweaking!”

“A fantastic, informative afternoon. Lots of good ideas to use in the classroom. Joan explained everything very well and was really helpful.”

“Many thanks for a very encouraging and refreshing presentation,” Principal Corinne Coyle, St Mary’s PS Draperstown

“An excellent session- very much looking forward to next focus and then actioning key areas in our school?” Principal Julie Cummings, Roe Valley IPS

“A great a session which I really enjoyed. Joan was excellent at presenting the session and provided us with a lot of useful information which I look forward to implementing and enhancing within my classroom.” Julie McCrea, Phoenix IPS

“I feel this session has fired up ideas for the year ahead, and I really feel encouraged to try new exciting ideas to bring activities to life in the nursery class.” Anne-Marie Cullen, Portadown IPS Nursery unit

Follow Up Session – Foundation Stage Planning and Assessment

Focus includes:

  • Where are we?
  • Building on our strengths
  • Working collaboratively

What staff reported they would take forward…

  • Revise planning formats
  • Clear format for our observations including the role of the adult.
  • Need to spend time on observations, to collate them and put them to better use
  • Looking forward to developing my Play Planner to ensure that all key features are evident
  • Layout of planners, approach to recording observations, Use of a Learning Journey Wall
  • Reflect on our planners and if we need to adapt them further

Examples of feedback following the session:

“Very informative, the session was detailed and covered a hugh amount in a short space of time.” ( Barbara Coates Harpur’s Hill PS )

“Thank you for a concentrated and focused session which linked up play and learning. Great to clarify links between settings” (Kirsten Houmann–Green Harpur’s Hills PS)

“Very informative, very approachable and encouraging atmosphere, easy to ask questions” ( Carolyn Smyth Harpur’s Hills PS)

“Inspired!” (Paula Mulgrew St Malachy’s PS)

“Very informative session, encouraging to know that I am ‘along the right lines’!” (Roisin Duddy St Malachy’s PS)

“I enjoyed this training session and I am looking forward to using the ideas and shared learning experiences to develop my teaching” (Charlene Kyle Harpur’s Hill PS)

“Thanks for a very informative day that highlighted the need for communication from nursery right through the Foundation Stage” (Fiona Flynn St Malachy’s PS)

Case Study

Name of Principal:

Kenneth Wright

Name of School:

Orritor Primary School


Foundation and lower KS1 staff to develop their learning through play strategies and their observation recording.


“Joan’s input during a School Development Day clarified a lot of what was expected from the staff in order to develop their skills in delivering play based learning and managing the attendant recording of observations. Joan also highlighted the key areas of responsibilities for co-ordinators and how their roles should be developed to take account of the demand for more accountability.”


“My biggest change has been my play where I have tried to plan more open-ended and more child-centred activities. I feel the children have gained more from the freedom of choice and it has provided more opportunities for them to develop their learning.  It does demand more careful planning but to date the children appear happy and content in this environment and learning is taking place.”  P1 teacher

Thinking About a Workshop Session at Your School?

Joan Henderson’s education mentoring events help to develop and deepen your understanding of best practice and leave you feeling inspired and re-energised to make further developments back at school. Why not send Joan a booking request or enquiry?