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Hi

I have just been on my EYFS training and i'm a little confused, i did ask the advisors who were taking the training but they seemed unclear as well. I have a couple of questions

At the moment we record childrens progress against the stepping stones and early learning goals, will we continue to do this or will be using a different format. How do we record childrens progress

Also when planning the childrens learning - at the moment we have planning meetings every 2 weeks when we look at which stepping stones/ELGs we need to cover and place these in our planning - we also outline what items/activities we are going to put out so staff know what to get out - these do change during the session depending on childs interest - am i right in thinking we dont plan like this - it seems to suggest that we plan for the child - we did think about picking 4 children at a time but it would take so long to get back round to those 4 children as we have 70 on roll - I'm a little confused at what the planning will look like and the best way to tackle this.... we are a sessional pre-school that everything has to be put away at the end of the day.

Maybe i'm just not thinking clearly but i dont know how to put all this on paper!!

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Have you looked at the planning formats on the CD-ROM? They might give you a starting point from which to develop your own? I too would like more information aboutnthe assessment bit - I'm very reluctant to draw up grids from the "development matters" to use for assessment from birth in the same way that we have used the steeping stones for 3-5 year olds. Much too time consuming and unwieldy in my opinion!

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This is just my take on things, but...

You already observe children when they are playing. You might be walking past a group playing in the home corner or standing near the sand tray, and you hear or see something that makes you think 'Ahh, must write that down, thats interesting, I must put that out again for him'. You might be playing on the slide with a small group and notice someone avoiding the steps, and you'll wonder why. That kind of anecdotal obs goes on all the time, we see and hear so much. Its up to the adults to move around, sit, listen, watch and all the things we need to now will be there for us.

Now what we need to do is act on what we see and hear.

If Sally is always talking about dinosaurs, you can plan an mini topic around dinosaurs. You can use them to discover her math skills, her language skills her creative thinking and all the other areas by how you plan for the dinosaurs to be used. Just because you're planning for Sally doesnt mean the other children are forgotten. Its just that you have observed Sally has a definite interest and how better to find out more about her than by following her interests?

Joe might love painting and get really cross or even sad if he's moved, so you'll allow the painting to continue but provide the paint, paper, area to paint in, in a variety of ways, so that you can discover his KUW, PD, and all the rest. The other children will benefit from the varied use of the paint and you can still find out about them.

Every now and then, look at the oservations as a team. You'll be able to see any children who havent come to your attention for one reason or another and they can be the focus next session, listen to them, watch where they go, who they play with, how they use the equipment and space.

If each child has a file which relates to the stepping stones or BTTM they can still be used to give you a quick overview of any area you might not have observed. You might see that Sally has never been observed in the physical areas, could her love of dinosaurs prompt a dinosaur hunt by crawling, hopping, climbing? When Joe paints he only uses the blue paint, you might add white to giv ehim lots of different shades of his favourite colour. I'd find this much easier than planning a stepping stone and seeing who it fits.

Presumably most people will have a keyworker system inplace. The keyworker will be responsible for assessing their childrens needs and following their interests, something that can be done at team planning meetings, but everyone can contribute to the observations. Otherwise you'd be hard pushed to get round to all of them.

I'd say to anyone, give it a go now. Forget everything you know about planning formats and observation rituals. Relax, watch, listen and really get to know your childrens interests, needs and prefered way of learning.

 

Phew, I've gone on and on havent I? :o

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Hi

I have just been on my EYFS training and i'm a little confused, i did ask the advisors who were taking the training but they seemed unclear as well. I have a couple of questions

At the moment we record childrens progress against the stepping stones and early learning goals, will we continue to do this or will be using a different format. How do we record childrens progress

Also when planning the childrens learning - at the moment we have planning meetings every 2 weeks when we look at which stepping stones/ELGs we need to cover and place these in our planning - we also outline what items/activities we are going to put out so staff know what to get out - these do change during the session depending on childs interest - am i right in thinking we dont plan like this - it seems to suggest that we plan for the child - we did think about picking 4 children at a time but it would take so long to get back round to those 4 children as we have 70 on roll - I'm a little confused at what the planning will look like and the best way to tackle this.... we are a sessional pre-school that everything has to be put away at the end of the day.

Maybe i'm just not thinking clearly but i dont know how to put all this on paper!!

 

 

We too are in exactly the same position (but a few less on roll - 50). I know where you're coming from. Have already got the same questions to ask at my next training. Will be interested to know what the answer is. My concern is what happens with all these observations, where do they go eventually? and how will the Ofsted Inspectors interpret the 'Progress' - at the moment they Inspect planning and progress by looking at the stepping stones as the 'next steps' - hope they don't use the dev. matters in the same way - this seems to lose the 'Unique Child' approach doesn't it?

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Please forgive me if I'm just adding to the confusion but, if you plan to the stepping stones now, wont you still plan to them with the EYFS?

If a child has a particular, noticable interest you'll plan for it because good practice says its the best way to engage the child. But within that interest you can still plan for a specific s/s.

All the observations are for your use, for the parent and for the child. They will show you where the child is in their development and you'll use your knowledge to plan the next step for them. Its my understanding thats where we get the Unique child from.

I think this is a case for grouping children by ability rather than age, which I know a lot of nurseries do. Planning would be easier if a group were at similar stages. Harder to do in a playgroup where all the children freely mix from 2-4 year olds though.

Sorry if I'm confusing anyone. I'm more than happy to be corrected if I've got the wrong end of the stick.

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Rea - I think you're FAB! You've just dispelled many of my jitters about observations in one post!!!!

As a childminder I'm always observing the children and recording those "aah!" moments in writing or photos for parents to share. I just have to find a method I'm comfortable with for sharing when they move on - I'm leaning towards a personalised folder for each child so I can include the information I get verbally from nursery or playgroup about them.

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The stepping stones and early learning goals haven't changed that much (a few have been swapped/discarded etc) but basically its the same framework with extra stepping stones to cover earlier stages of development. So I think you would continue to assess children's learning under these stepping stones as before.

 

We do have a booklet for each child so that we can make a note of the dates of relevant observations, and we do the "planning for a few children a week" thing. However, for 70 children on roll I agree that it would take you a long time to get round all the children (with 26 on roll we can pretty much get round them all in a term!).

 

With the need for a keycarer becoming a statutory requirement (isn't it??) I think lots of groups will use these times to have focussed activities/experiences for their children based on their observations. This will enable key carers to ensure that activities are relevant and appropriate and because they will happen in small group times, the observations should be high quality - reaping the rewards of all that hands-on knowledge of children that Rea was describing. If you take on board what Sally Thomas has to say about paired and shared key-caring (which provides a 'back up' if the child's main key carer is absent) this makes it even easier to plan, make observations and take photos for documentation etc.

 

If the systems you use at the moment to plan for and assess learning are fit for purpose, then all you really have to do is change your documentation to reflect the changes to the stepping stones/early learning goals. However if (like us) your systems are not quite up to scratch, this is a good time to reflect and rejig and see how it goes. I know there's the added dimension of the welfare requirements, Unique child etc as Rea mentioned, and that will need to be taken into account. But basically, (until I find out otherwise!) nothing radical has changed (and I know I'm ignoring the wider political issues here - but I've already gone on long enough!).

 

And the thing about planning systems is that they evolve and change over time. You might make a small change now and then need another tweak later and that's fine because you're adapting to meet the needs of the children, and of the adults in the group. Mind you, its best to road test any documentation you generate - especially if you need to print out new trackers for 70 children :o

 

Maz

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There's been lots of great stuff in this thread - go with it!! (Rea, I can tell you've done the tutoring course!! :o )

 

Don't get all tangled up with changing your planning, just work with the EYFS for a bit (and it's really not very different to what we currently work with, at all ages and stages) and see where that takes you. As Happymaz says, planning is constantly evolving and you'll be surprised how easily these developments will probably happen.

 

Sue

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Rea - I think you're FAB!

 

Very nice of you to say nona, but, I'll let you into a secret...I dont like education for educations sake, and so may have a tendancy to disregard the stuffy paperwork side of things in favour of playing. :(

Other people will have a different take on things I'm certain, this is just how I have interpretted everything I've read so far, and to be honest, do any of us 'plan' for our own children? No, we just follow their interests, go with the current theme, be it picking daisy's or playing power rangers, and help them when needed. :o The difference with other peoples children is that we have to show why we've decided to put the trains in the sand, or bought in some old bus tickets. xD

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Other people will have a different take on things I'm certain, this is just how I have interpretted everything I've read so far, and to be honest, do any of us 'plan' for our own children? No, we just follow their interests, go with the current theme, be it picking daisy's or playing power rangers, and help them when needed. xD

But that is planning, isn't it Rea? Its just that we don't call it anything so formal with our own children - but the same techniques are involved. God forbid Mrs Ofsted should come poking her well regulated nose into our families though - I for one would probably not get a satisfactory :o

 

Maz

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Thanks Rea for the replies, I understand and agree totally with where you are coming from and that is what we are already doing - My main concern is how we provide evidence of this to Ofsted when we are following the child's lead.

I just wanted to ask someone to clarify the planning and observation process as evidence of progress . I know through our last Ofsted, the Inspector looked at the planning (every date, child, and activity - can you believe it!?!?), then looked at the child's dev. records we keep at Pre School, checked that the dates matched up, looked at the 'next step' we had put in each child's dev records - Inspectors interpretation, not mine was that the 'next step' is the following sentences within each stepping stone!) and then she looked forward at the planning to see where this next stepping stone had been recorded as the next step for each child - far too much cross referencing in my opinion!

 

So how could we follow the child's lead if the 'next steps' stepping stones had to be 'written' evidence in our planning? I did raise this with her, no answer...

 

We record what we see and hear regularly, planned and unplanned, each key worker tracking the progress of their key children. Very time consuming to ensure every stepping stone is addressed and cross referenced though - hoping that future inspectors will not be so nit picky (although we did get Outstanding! ) and that Inspectors will not use the 'dev. matters' of the EYFS to the same literal degree.

Edited by Guest
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Good grief, no wonder you want to be sure you get everything spot on!! What a process to have to go through. My last inspector looked at my planning folder, flicked a couple of pages and put it down. End of folder inspection! What about the children who dont go from stone to stone? Lots dont, they miss them out go back to them or sometimes never touch on them.

Would you be able to write on each weeks plans, a reference to why you're making something available? I was at a nursery last week in the baby room, a little girl was 'writing' with some dry pasta, so the plans for this week say "B was making marks with a piece of pasta so this week we are providing crayons and paper on the floor for her". They seem to think this is adequate alongside the ob about her using the pasta in the first place.

 

And well done on your outstanding :o

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Good grief, no wonder you want to be sure you get everything spot on!! What a process to have to go through. My last inspector looked at my planning folder, flicked a couple of pages and put it down. End of folder inspection! What about the children who dont go from stone to stone? Lots dont, they miss them out go back to them or sometimes never touch on them.

Would you be able to write on each weeks plans, a reference to why you're making something available? I was at a nursery last week in the baby room, a little girl was 'writing' with some dry pasta, so the plans for this week say "B was making marks with a piece of pasta so this week we are providing crayons and paper on the floor for her". They seem to think this is adequate alongside the ob about her using the pasta in the first place.

 

And well done on your outstanding :o

Thanks.

I'm a firm believer in 'go with the flow' - I hope you can you see why paranoia about 'getting the EYFS in place' is about to set in at my setting xD

We know what we're doing is right - it's the providing of the 'recorded' evidence which is our main concern.

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I was at a nursery last week in the baby room, a little girl was 'writing' with some dry pasta, so the plans for this week say "B was making marks with a piece of pasta so this week we are providing crayons and paper on the floor for her". They seem to think this is adequate alongside the ob about her using the pasta in the first place.

 

And well done on your outstanding :o

 

I tend to agree with them!

 

And I also second Rea's congratulations!

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  • 2 weeks later...
This is just my take on things, but...

You already observe children when they are playing. You might be walking past a group playing in the home corner or standing near the sand tray, and you hear or see something that makes you think 'Ahh, must write that down, thats interesting, I must put that out again for him'. You might be playing on the slide with a small group and notice someone avoiding the steps, and you'll wonder why. That kind of anecdotal obs goes on all the time, we see and hear so much. Its up to the adults to move around, sit, listen, watch and all the things we need to now will be there for us.

Now what we need to do is act on what we see and hear.

If Sally is always talking about dinosaurs, you can plan an mini topic around dinosaurs. You can use them to discover her math skills, her language skills her creative thinking and all the other areas by how you plan for the dinosaurs to be used. Just because you're planning for Sally doesnt mean the other children are forgotten. Its just that you have observed Sally has a definite interest and how better to find out more about her than by following her interests?

Joe might love painting and get really cross or even sad if he's moved, so you'll allow the painting to continue but provide the paint, paper, area to paint in, in a variety of ways, so that you can discover his KUW, PD, and all the rest. The other children will benefit from the varied use of the paint and you can still find out about them.

Every now and then, look at the oservations as a team. You'll be able to see any children who havent come to your attention for one reason or another and they can be the focus next session, listen to them, watch where they go, who they play with, how they use the equipment and space.

If each child has a file which relates to the stepping stones or BTTM they can still be used to give you a quick overview of any area you might not have observed. You might see that Sally has never been observed in the physical areas, could her love of dinosaurs prompt a dinosaur hunt by crawling, hopping, climbing? When Joe paints he only uses the blue paint, you might add white to giv ehim lots of different shades of his favourite colour. I'd find this much easier than planning a stepping stone and seeing who it fits.

Presumably most people will have a keyworker system inplace. The keyworker will be responsible for assessing their childrens needs and following their interests, something that can be done at team planning meetings, but everyone can contribute to the observations. Otherwise you'd be hard pushed to get round to all of them.

I'd say to anyone, give it a go now. Forget everything you know about planning formats and observation rituals. Relax, watch, listen and really get to know your childrens interests, needs and prefered way of learning.

 

Phew, I've gone on and on havent I? :o

 

 

 

Hi Rea

I think that your take on this is exactly what should happen.

I was wondering how you show individual planning for each child? Do you have a weekly plan showing activities planned to follow the childrens interests as it would be difficult to show planning for 26 different childrens possible next steps. If you plan for a specific number of children per week how do you ensure that all the other childrens learning needs are met?

As you can see i am very confused by all of this and how it works when you could have large numbers of children each week.

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Hi Millie, I dont actually plan anymore, no need to on supply, but I used to be in a 26 session playgroup so I know where you're coming from xD

 

I dont think you have to show individual planning for each child, but each plan should take into account each childs needs, if you see what I mean?

On Tuesday, all 26 children are in, an adult notices that Charlie is making the children join in with his bus ride. You might then plan for tomorrow or next week that you provide big boxes and tickets and dressing up and anything that could be used on a bus. The plan might say you're doing this because of Charlies interest, but the plan will also refer to the childrens learning needs, Tom needs encouragement to write for a purpose (make tickets) Jane needs help to follow simple instructions (go on the bus to shops to get bread, butter, jam) . All your children can be catered for through Charlies interest. Not all children will show a specific interest in something, so follow the ones who do and plan for everyone elses needs through it.

Its how I would start things but my plans always tended to change with the weather. I'd probably flit around for the first 10 years of the EYFS :(:o

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  • 1 month later...

I would just like to say a big thank you to all of you for making the EYFS far less scary.....I feel I can even say I have got it! I am a Reception teacher and am going for a Foundation Stage Co-ordinator job on Thurs! You have all helped in my prep! I signed up today and have spent 2 hours reading as much as I can....so much to take in! Thanks again!

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I just want to come back to one of the points raised in the original post.

 

I too have 70 children. 40 am and 30 pm and would like to know, from people who have already established planning from the childrens own interests, how many children you observe, provide planning for each week. I know the planning does involve other childrens interests but it is mainly how many observations do you do each week.

 

I am doing a training session with all my staff on 1st of May and I want to be able to give examples of what others are already doing so we can discuss what will fit our nursery best.

 

Sue

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  • 1 month later...
Hi

I have just been on my EYFS training and i'm a little confused, i did ask the advisors who were taking the training but they seemed unclear as well. I have a couple of questions

At the moment we record childrens progress against the stepping stones and early learning goals, will we continue to do this or will be using a different format. How do we record childrens progress

Also when planning the childrens learning - at the moment we have planning meetings every 2 weeks when we look at which stepping stones/ELGs we need to cover and place these in our planning - we also outline what items/activities we are going to put out so staff know what to get out - these do change during the session depending on childs interest - am i right in thinking we dont plan like this - it seems to suggest that we plan for the child - we did think about picking 4 children at a time but it would take so long to get back round to those 4 children as we have 70 on roll - I'm a little confused at what the planning will look like and the best way to tackle this.... we are a sessional pre-school that everything has to be put away at the end of the day.

Maybe i'm just not thinking clearly but i dont know how to put all this on paper!!

I know what you mean I have been on training but still not clear and what format to use. Planning we were told is on obsrvations and assessment and how child is devloping and if they are meeting their needs. i was under the impression it was individaul child and longer observations by keyworkers. I am no clearer.Lyndy

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