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FSF Newsletter - March 2010

In Newsletters

Apologies to those of you who have missed the newsletters recently (and we have been contacted...), but here we are back again!

We have a couple of FSF items we'd like to let you know about. A couple of new/updated areas are now available for you to make use of. There's an updated Courses and Events page which you can find here, and following increasing use of the Vacancies forum area, we've created a dedicated page for any vacancies you may have in your settings - just email vacancy details to us.

We've also been working hard on a tool developed for recording children's progress within the EYFS. It's been available for the last few weeks as a Beta version and many have tried it out. We'll be continuing development over the next weeks and months, but if you'd like to read more about it, play a couple of video tutorials or download the Beta, visit the forum area set up for PRAMS and Progress matters.  For the moment, don't commit yourselves to entering too much data until the first full version appears, which should be in the first week of the summer term. We intend the finished product to be free for subscribing members of the FSF.

In other EYFS news, you may be aware that the CWDC  are developing a new Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's workforce, to launch in September 2010.

The Diploma has been developed to work towards the ambition of creating a respected, children and young people's workforce who make a positive difference to children, young people and their families. It will be the only level 3 Diploma for the workforce in England, and will form part of  the "new world" of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). All existing full Level 3 qualifications are still valid and will be considered equal to the Level 3 diploma. It is not the case that all current Level 3 practitioners have to do a brand new qualification.

To find out more about the new Diploma click here.

The new Code of practice for local authorities on delivery of free Early Years provision for 3- and 4-year-olds is statutory guidance and general principles for local authorities to help them manage and administer the new extended offer. This document replaces all previous guidance about the free entitlement for 3- and 4-year-olds and will come into force in September 2010. The document is available here, and a discussion is taking place on the implications here.

LA Scheme

Welcome to the London Borough of Redbridge, who have just joined the LA scheme. We look forward to seeing many Redbridge providers joining us soon! Any current members who are from Redbridge and would like to renew their FSF subscriptions need only to contact their LA early years team to do so - details here.

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 - Windsor & Maidenhead, Staffordshire, Guernsey, Norfolk, Gloucestershire, North Tyneside, Bristol City Childminders
  • for the third year - LB of Barnet, Derbyshire, Portsmouth City, Cumbria, Herefordshire
  • for the fourth year - LB of Brent, East Sussex, Southampton, Islington, Leicestershire, Stockton-on-Tees
  • We're especially happy to welcome back members from Essex, Hampshire and Bracknell Forest who are renewing for the fifth year!

Welcome back to you all!

New Content

After our popular articles covering recent Ofsted reports last year we've brought out a new series, updated after studying over 100 new Ofsted reports from the last three months.  We can see certain recurrent themes and in the reports we outline those issues that have appeared frequently. Click to be taken to the four articles: Part 1: A Unique ChildPart 2: Positive RelationshipsPart 3: Enabling EnvironmentsPart 4: Learning and Development

Music, Personal, Social and Emotional Development......and You!
In a series of articles Alison Harmer will be exploring music in relation to the six areas of learning. Here, she begins with music and PSED.

Using "You Choose" by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt, as a Focus for Activities
A new collection of ideas for activities inspired by a children's book. Suggested activities are linked to the Areas of Learning and Development, followed by possible role play areas and displays. There is also a book list with links to other books by the same author and illustrator, and with links to the same themes."You Choose" isn't a story book, but it's not a conventional non-fiction book either. It opens up the world, both near and far, to the children and asks them to think about the everyday and the unusual.
Jan 7, 2010

Positive Behaviour Management in Early Years Settings
Sue Cowley discusses the reasons why some children might have behavioural difficulties and how you, as a practitioner, can help those children overcome them through positive strategies and encouraging empathy.

Using "Dear Zoo" as a Focus for Activities
Here is another collection of planning ideas using a big book as the inspiration for learning. There are suggested activity starting points related to the Areas of Learning and Development, as well as ideas for displays and role play areas. A book list related to the focus book by author or theme is also included.

From The Forum

Adult-led, Adult-initiated, Child-initiated: how do you organise it all?

I am a reception teacher who has just had a good Ofsted and no problems in moderations over the last few years but we have just had County in and the advisor said that we don't 'do' child initiated and should do more.

Moderation in reception class

My school has just been selected to be moderated for both KS1 and EYFS. I have never been through moderation before, and will be doing both. Please can someone help me with what to expect and what the moderators will be doing/looking at.

Keeping track of observations

Hi all, I was just wondering if anyone else has had similar advise about observations from an EY advisor. I teach the Nursery class in a school and for both us and Reception it is suggested we have a tracker for the focused observations. We have a grid with week 1, 2, 3 etc at the top and down the side it has each learning area. The grid shows that on week 1, for example, we target our observations on PSE, week 2 CLL-LCT, week 3 is CLL- R etc. This covers a term and then we repeat this for the next term. I hope this makes sense! Trouble is, I find this far too restricting in Nursery as the focused observation usually links to the focused task. I find it doesn't always fit in with what we are doing. I am already fighting with THEMES!!!!! I just wondered if anyone had any better ways of ensuring all areas of learning are observed?

Children making cards for Easter and Mothers' Day

How do you feel this kind of activity fits in with the EYFS?

One of my staff is fixated on doing these kind of makes and whenever we begin planning for the next term always suggests a list of such things.

I find it so hard saying no to ALL of her ideas....

These would certainly never be child-initiated activities, although sometimes children do choose to make a card for someone.

I have really cut down on our focused activities and only plan one a week which we offer each day (only open in mornings)

If it was up to this member of staff then this term's 6 focus activities would be make a mother's day card, make an Easter card, make chocolate nests and decorate an Easter bonnet etc.

I am trying to find a balance between some of the above (which the parents seem to expect) and asking myself 'why are we doing this, what is in it for the child?'

I would like to incorporate an Easter activity as it is a festival so may just do one of the above but don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

What do other folk do when faced with these kind of expectations from staff and parents?

How many adult-led activities per week?

Is there a correct answer to this? I am in a school nursery. we are expected to do one each day but I find this very difficult with 23 children and 2 staff and only 2.5 hours!

Signs of physical developmental delay

I have a 14 month old child at my nursery who the staff are concerned about - staff have observed that he does not roll over or lift his head when placed on his stomach and struggles to sit unaided and feel that his development is not progressing 'normally'. Does any one know of a good reference for developmental milestones that I could purchase to refer to in assisting to assess this child in order to decide how to progress with involving the area SENCO and other support workers???

Manager as supernumerary

Can I ask how many settings (particularly committee run pre-schools) have their manager as supernumerary, not included in the ratios, for some or all of the time? If only some of the time, how many hours roughly in a week does s/he have managerial time? Is this in the office or still in the room? Do you also have an administrator (paid or voluntary) to deal with other stuff like admissions, invoices and filing? And does your deputy manager also have any out of ratios paid time for management?

The Scissors Debate!

We are in the process of changing our provision to provide more continuous provision and are beginning to develop our creative area and have come across the 'scissors' debate!! I can see the value of having the scissors out all of the time but other colleagues are against it. Their feelings are that as the children will be unsupervised they are worried about injuries and hair etc being cut. The main concerns seem to be what the parents' response will be to this. A parent will be livid if hair is snipped off and you cant just tell them 'Hair grows back!.


What do you feel about it all? How did you get round it?

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