What a year in Early Years! After all the time and effort that went into the development of the ‘Early Years Baseline’ and uncertainty about the profile and accountability in Early Years, we find ourselves back where we started. What a relief!
The DfE’s announcement that the profile will remain statutory for 2016-17 is certainly quite a U-turn but not a surprise, I have to say. It is quite nice to know that the tried and tested practice of observational based formative and summative assessment is trusted – well for another year at least. Don’t be disheartened. This is life in education. In my experience, the best staff take each day as it comes and make sure they are getting it right for the children. Breathe and enjoy!
Good parent practice
We cannot lose sight of good practice. It is important to get to know families and make sure parents feel secure in their choice of school. Some teachers forget that they are the first real experience of school for some parents too. We need parents to feel confident to leave their most precious creation with strangers. Greet them with a smile, know their child’s name and share something positive about the day with parents.
A natural Early Years Baseline
When I started as a fairly new teacher in Reception, I distinctly remember feeling mild panic as I watched the youngest children in the school and considered how I was going to gather enough information to plan for their next steps while getting to know them, the way they learn, what they like and what they don’t like. I remember my mentor telling me that a good teacher could baseline a child very quickly through careful observation of the way they enter school, how they play with each other and how they communicate. I have to say, she was right.
I spent time playing with the children, really getting to know each child and taking the time to get to know their families. In a short time, I had a very good starting point for them and could quickly plan for next steps. We need to know what children like and don’t like so we can plan for exciting ‘hooks’ so they leave school buzzing and can’t wait to come back in the morning. We also need a secure starting point so we can plan next steps in learning. I am a great believer in letting children go home ‘whipped up into a frenzy.’ Ending the day with high energy and excitement makes most children want to talk about what happened at school and makes them want to come back the day after! It also re-energises staff!! So, let’s conga into the playground and make sure children think that school is the most exciting place in the universe.
Early Years Leadership Toolkit
Planning for Rapid Progress in the Early Years
Progression Towards and Beyond ELG
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