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Making a Plan

April 21, 2021 | Kristen Jordan

For many 4 year olds, the moment in which they live is all there is:  the knee that just got scraped, the exciting new toy, the friend who is with you.  When experiencing something, that thing might be the only thing on your mind and in your thoughts…until the next thing comes along.  

One of the habits that we try to help children develop is the habit of planning.  It can be challenging, but bringing the concept of “making a plan” to their attention can help children think more deeply about themselves as learners.  For some children, it may never have occurred to them that they can stop and think about where they want to go or what they want to do; often those decisions are made without even being aware that they have some control over these things.  Being intentional can lead to a greater understanding of what you want the outcome to be. Planning your work can help you to be organized and use your time and materials wisely.  If you are working with someone else, planning requires conversation, collaboration, and maybe even compromise.  Planning can help you to be focused and to feel personally invested.  And, making a plan often results in creating beautiful work!

In the Trees Class, we have been working on planning this week.  Planning works for almost anything children may be doing.  We have discussed the language that may be needed in order to plan with a partner:

“Where do you want to work?”

“Would you like to go to paint?”

Children have been having conversations with their partners to make these decisions. 

Then, children have worked together to decide how to work and what to do.  Sometimes children decide to work collaboratively and then they have to communicate further to decide what to create.  

“Do you want to make a painting together?” 

“What do you want to build?” 

Other times, children have decided together where they want to go, but then made the decision to work independently on their own projects.  Even when working alone, decisions still must be made about what to make and how to execute your plan.  

“I want to draw a rainbow.”  

“I want to draw a unicorn.”  

“I will draw all three of us!”

Children have also noticed that sometimes plans change–either because they forgot to think about the plan as they were working or because it wasn’t working out the way we expected, and that is okay!  It’s all great self-reflection and learning.

All of this requires slowing down and thinking more about being intentional. The children are doing a great job at planning and seem to really be enjoying it! 

Kristen Jordan

Teacher, Rivers Class

Kristen Jordan began helping at Mustard Seed School in 2006, after her daughter had been a student in the preschool. She substituted for many years in all grades; in 2011, she returned to the classroom and has been a teacher in The Nest ever since.

Prior to the birth of her daughter Clara, in 2002, Ms. Jordan worked in Brooklyn as a first grade teacher with the New York City Public Schools. During this time, her school collaborated with the Brooklyn Museum, and this work helped Ms. Jordan develop a real interest in the parallels between the process of making art and the process of writing in the classroom. She thoroughly enjoys teaching both art and literacy to preschoolers.

Ms Jordan’s background includes work with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. While at Teachers College, she trained with esteemed educator and author Lucy Calkins. Early in her teaching career, Ms. Jordan did not think that she wanted to teach very young children but her view has changed! She now really enjoys and takes great interest in young children and their development.

Ms. Jordan enjoys reading, working out, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her daughter and family. Although she has lived on the East Coast for a very long time, as a native of Oregon, she really loves the mountains!

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