Plan Do Review in the Early Years

Our Plan-Do-Review mantra is an inspiration drawn from the High-Scope Foundation’s preschool curriculum. The High Scope Educational Research Foundation studies methods of early childhood education based on the methods of the 1962 Perry Preschool study. It was founded in 1970 by psychologist David Weikart.

In the plan-do-review process or cycle, which is built on active learning principles, children make plans, carry them out, and reflect on what they have done. In doing so, children learn to take initiative, solve problems, work with others, and accomplish their goals. In this way, their play becomes more purposeful and focused. The learning builds on children’s interests and on intrinsic motivation. It gives children the opportunity and space to be in control and take responsibility for what they learn.

When children “plan” it gives them the opportunity to take initiative and decide what they want to learn from a range of learning activities. When they “do” they implement or carry out their plan and begin engaging in learning that they have initiated. Children explore, interact, and exercise their creative imagination through purposeful play. Teachers facilitate and guide them through this process of playful learning.

When they “review” they reflect on their plan and its implementation. How far they got, what challenges, if any, they faced and how they can improve and make more realistic plans in future. This plan-do-review process helps children develop critical thinking skills, self-confidence and problem-solving skills.

Time keeping and making realistic plans is a very important piece of the Plan-Do-Review sequence. The teacher draws the children’s attention to the wall clock, reminds them about how much time they have by referring to the numbers on the face of the clock and where the big hand and small hand will be when they need to finish work time or Clean-up time.

She gives them a couple of reminders to look at the clock when ten minutes of work time remain so that they can begin to wind up their work.

What exactly is the Plan Do Review Sequence?

 We refer to this Plan Do Review sequence of activities as PDR.

– It is an important segment of our Active Learning practice
– It involves components of active learning such as materials, manipulation, choice, language from children and adult support.
– It is divided into three parts; Plan, Do (Work time) and Review. There is another important step between Do and Review and that is Clean-up.

 What does the teacher need to do to set up the PDR activities?

 The teacher needs to plan the PDR sequence thoughtfully, realistically and clearly. She needs to expertly estimate the time required for the four steps of the PDR process, building in the largest chunk of time for the Do/Implementation step; keeping in mind that all the steps are equally important.

She needs to ensure there is adequate quantity and variety of material in each of the Learning Centres in the classroom. The Learning Centres are:  Art Centre, Language & Literacy Centre, Maths Centre and Science & Humanities Centre.

She labels the Centres and changes the materials from time to time. She comes up with interesting ways to keep the children’s interest and initiative alive.  She ensures that the Centres are clean, neat, well maintained and appealing every day.

What happens during PDR time?

  1. Planning Time

Planning Time is a child-initiated process when children think about their internal desires and goals and communicate these to the adult, through actions, gestures or words, spoken or written.

  • When children plan, they:

– Establish a goal, objective or a problem
– Articulate a personal intention, choice or interest
– Learn communication and language skills
– Feel empowered and responsible for their own learning

  • How does a teacher support a child during planning time?

– She listens carefully
– She respects the plan
– She helps the child structure the plan by questioning
– She encourages rather than praises

  1. Doing Time

Doing Time is the second step of the PDR process. During this time children implement their plans independently or sometimes in small groups if that is what their plans entail.

  • When children do or implement their plan, they:

–  Either sit in the interest area they have planned for or bring the relevant materials to their own tables.
– Work on implementing their plans
– Figure out consequences to their actions
– Learn problem solving skills

  • How does a teacher support a child during Doing Time?

– Informs them about how much time they have to implement their plan
– She goes around the room to make sure everyone is settled and engaged in their work
– She supports individual needs if and when required
– She asks questions to help children extend their plans
– Asks questions respectfully to find out details and interacts or participates with permission from the child
– She offers encouragement where required
– She encourages problem solving
– She observes children and writes down significant anecdotes
– Reminds them of how much time is left

  • What does a teacher observe during PDR?

– If children are making a connection between their plan and action
– Individual and social interactions
– Strengths and interests
– Specific types of play (explorative, manipulative, constructive, role play, games with rules)
– Tries to understand each child’s perspective

  1. Clean-up Time

Clean-up Time is the third step in the PDR process. During this time children tidy up and put the materials they have used back in their proper places. The teacher tells them how much time they have and when time is running out.

  1. Review Time

Review Time is the fourth step in the PDR process. During this time children settle down quietly and write their reviews in their notebooks. If it is an oral review, they listen respectfully to their peers and then review their own plans when it is their turn.

  • When children review their plan, they:

– Can do it either verbally or in writing depending on what the teacher has planned
– Recall and reflect on their actions and experiences
– Make connections between their plan, action and outcome
– Construct their own understanding of what they did during work time
– Share personally meaningful experiences with the teacher and their peers
– Deliberate on their actions and think about how they can modify or extend their plans next time

  • How does a teacher support a child during Review Time?

– Listens attentively
– Use questions thoughtfully and sparingly
– Acknowledges rather than using praise
– Support children’s co-narratives and conflicting view points
– Notes connections between plan and recall narratives
– Examines own beliefs about how children learn