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FSF Newsletter - July 2011

In Newsletters

Welcome to the July FSF newsletter. It's a little while since the last one so I hope you'll forgive the length as we have a fair amount to cover - at the end of an uncertain year, with proposed changes to the EYFS, along with cutbacks to LA budgets and the consequent impact on early years support services. On occasion this tumultuous time has been reflected in the exhausted tone of discussions at the FSF, so if you are feeling that way and are lucky enough to have the full summer break coming up, we hope you make the most of your holiday and return re-energised!

EYFS News

Following the 2010 EYFS review consultation and Dame Clare Tickell's response and recommendations, the Department for Education has now published a new revised EYFS framework for consultation. Whatever your opinions on the new framework it is important that you, as the early years professionals, respond to this consultation and give your views. You can find the consultation here, and it is open for response until September. If you'd like to discuss discuss the proposed framework with others first you can find two conversations here and here.

The DfE has also invited responses to a document regarding the Core Purposes of Children's Centres. You can respond via a questionnaire after reading the discussion paper, which you can find here, and discuss it on the FSF here..

And the DfE has also published its response to the Professor Eileen Munro's Review of Child Protection, which you can find here.

FSF News

The observant amongst you will have noticed that the FSF has a new web address. Previously foundation-stage.info we are now eyfs.info. Less letters to type and easier to remember, we hope. However, if you're habituated to the previous address please don't worry - you'll get to the same site whichever address you use, and will do for (more or less) ever.

We'd be very grateful to those of you who use our EYFS progress monitoring program (PRAMS - standing for Progress Recording and Monitoring System) if you could give us your views on the system. Over the next couple of days we'll be sending out a questionnaire to anyone who has installed it. But feedback in the PRAMS forum or by replying to this email, and constructive criticism and suggestions for future features will be welcomed at any time. It's only by hearing your opinions that we can decide whether and how to keep developing it, so don't be shy!

Also with regard to PRAMS, we've recently begun a series of video tutorials, which will be regularly added to; you can find these here.  If there are particular areas of the program you would like to see covered by a tutorial, please let us know. Additionally, we have published a much expanded version of the userguide which you can find in the resource library. Those of you who haven't come across PRAMS can find out more about it from either the first video tutorial or from this overview page.

Finally, we'd like to give you notice that we will be upgrading the forum software over the summer. The appearance of the forum pages will change to some degree - but not, we hope, to the extent of disorientating you!

LA Scheme

We're delighted to welcome Cornwall, Lincolnshire and West Sussex to the FSF LA scheme. Teachers, practitioners, and other providers from Cornwall, Lincolnshire and West Sussex can now register and subscribe free of charge (visit the LA index page to learn more).

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, which have renewed their LA subscription - members need do nothing, their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

  • for the second year - Kingston upon Thames
  • for the third year - Norfolk, Manchester and North Tyneside
  • for the fourth year - LB of Barnet, Portsmouth City, Wandsworth, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Darlington and Cumbria
  • for the fifth year - Brighton & Hove, Southampton, Essex, Leicestershire and Northumberland
  • We're especially happy to welcome back members from NE Lincs, Suffolk, Sandwell and Hampshire who have just renewed for the sixth year!

Welcome back to all! If you would like to hear more about the benefits of a local authority subscription please do make contact with us, which you can do by replying to this email.

New Content

How do young children learn to make decisions?

Babies and young children are able to make decisions that are relevant to their lives. This article examines what kinds of decisions children can make at different stages of their development and how practitioners can support them.

Challenging Mathematics in the Early Years

A common perception among the general public is that it is easy to teach young children mathematics. In this article, Professor Anne Cockburn, from the School of Education & Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia, discusses some of the potential pitfalls one may encounter in such an undertaking thus illustrating why early years' mathematics education is a rather more complex process than it might first appear.

Looking back: How do we give young children a sense of the past?

As adults, we tend to think about time in terms of chronology. Time is linear and ordered. The past stretches into the distance in one direction, the future into the other, and the present sits in the middle. We understand that the past can be recent (yesterday) or long ago (1066). But even as adults our concept of time is subjective – our idea of what was a long time ago or what age a person could be described as 'old' is dependent partly on our own age and experience. Young children are only just beginning to fathom the way we order time.

This article looks at how early years practitioners can introduce young children to the past. It examines how children perceive time and discusses simple ways to explore 'a long time ago' with children.

Inclusion in the Early Years Foundation Stage

The principle of inclusive education has dominated educational policy for nearly two decades and under the previous Labour administration inclusion was a key policy imperative. It was embedded within the Every Child Matters agenda (HMSO, 2003) and is central to the Early Years Foundation Stage framework (DfES, 2007). This article takes the stance that inclusion is a broad concept which applies to all learners. Jonathan Glazzard, from the University of Huddersfield, argues that inclusion needs a proactive response and that settings should actively take steps to increase the participation of all children.

Partnership with Parents, Part 2.

This is the second of two articles looking at building partnerships with parents. Here we discuss how settings can open up to parents and families to achieve true partnership.

Partnerships with Parents, Part 1

Working in partnership with parents is now considered to be one of the key areas of good early years practice, illustrated by the focussing of four Standards in the EYPS on this subject. In the first of two articles we look at why partnership with parents is so important, with the following article exploring how to establish successful partnership.

From The Forum

September On-Entry Assessment

I was wondering what people generally do in September with regard to a new intake of children. I'm going to have 23 children starting my reception class in September and was thinking about doing a more formal baseline assessment but just wondered is this what most settings do - any suggestions?

Learning Journey Journals

I manage a Pre School/ Nursery and am having trouble with staff only wanting to do their key child's learning journeys/ journals/ profiles in paid work time. Can anybody help me by letting me know what you do in your setting. Do staff get paid time to do them or are they expected to do them in their own time un paid? Currently we have some great volunteers which means we are able to get time out to get these done, but this isn't always the case! Some staff seem to think it's their right to get paid for time on these.

 

Repetitive 'Under the Sea' Storymaking Text

I am thinking to after half term where my topic will be under the sea. I have this year been doing the storymaking talk for writing project with my children and each term have picked a repetitive story for us to learn together which has been really successful. So far we have learnt the gingerbread man, litte red hen, nat fantastic and handa's surprise. I am really struggling with a repetitive text under the sea related- tiddler would be the obvious choice but with it being a rhyming text I would have to rewrite it and it seems a shame to alter such a fab book. Has anyone any ideas?

Transition Report/Writing Up Observations

I really need to know how settings achieve getting all of this done at this time of year.I know that key persons should not take folders/profiles home with them (I thought that this was because of confidentiality reasons) but this is the only way that we manage to keep childrens profiles up to date. I now hear that the PLA guidelines suggest that all work has to be done in setting and there should be no need for anybody to do any work- paperwork or other outside of working hours.


As Supervisor, if I didn't do work outside working hours my setting would close. I accept that I do get paid a little more than staff so that I take overall responsibility and do extra paper work in my own time. Key Persons get an extra hours pay per week to keep on top of paperwork.


What does every one else do and how do you balance this?

Fees

We had put off our fee increase whilst we decided on new premises but after 2 years of no increase in fees or wages its time for use to look at it again.Also i think since i will be effectively opening a new setting, i think its time to look at the sessions on offer too.


So if some of you wouldn't mind sharing your general location, main sessions and costs i would be really grateful

Parent's Issue With Scissors

I have had an email today from a parent who is concerned that another child whilst using scissors had tried to cut her daughters finger. Luckly another member of staff had been involved and had checked the child's hands where there were no marks and the child was not distressed by the incident. The parent is now questioning the level of supervision in the nursery and suggesting that we should not have scissors unless children are supervised.

Child Staying At Nursery, Parent Opted Not To Send To School

I have a child (EAL) in my nursery unit who has been with us only six weeks. The family has recently moved into the area and would now like him to attend our school in September. However, the school is full with 15 children on the waiting list; the parent has decided that she is not prepared to take him to the school he has been allocated (which was local to her before she moved) as she does not drive and has a younger child - it would take her 40 mins on the bus. She has contacted the LA who have offered her a choice of two nearby schools - she is still not happy and has decided that she will keep her child at nursery until a place is available at our school (she has been told that her child is now 1st on the waiting list). The child speaks single words and has a reasonable understanding of English. Clearly I will need to start the profile in September but, although a QT, I have never done a profile as I have always taught in Foundation 1.

Problems Caused By Free-funded Places.

On the whole we have lovely parents. However the free funding just seems to cause so many problems and added stress. Am I the only person that sends out forms, asks about sessions etc, sorts out the waiting list- offer spaces, fill up sessions...


..then during the last week have existing parents saying 'actually, I've been thinking and I'd like to up my sessions after-all and take the full 15 hours now' or 'I think I'd like the full 15 hours next April - but just 6 for now'


I know they probably do not understand the system - and I do try to be understanding- but I just want to smack my head against a brick wall! I'd love to 'run empty' and save spaces for these families - but I feel the staff would like paying, and landlord would still want full rent!

Tips

If you find that the way your screen displays posts has changed - ie, instead of the whole discussion being visible from the top to the bottom of the page, replies are given as a series of links, each of which has to be clicked on - then you may have inadvertently changed a setting.  To get your preferred view back, click 'Options' at the top right of the page where such a view is occurring, then click 'Standard' which should be the second option from the bottom. You should then find that the screen reverts to the way you'd like to see it.

The second tip is: if this doesn't work, give us a shout and we'll be happy to help out!

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