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Hi everybody,

 

I have just been informed today of the need to have targets for the children in Nursery. By this I mean that we choose something that the child needs to achieve, then we place it on a board, and then when they receive three stars it means that they have achieved the target and a new one needs to be set. Is it only me or does this seem like a crazy idea for 3 year olds, particularly in the first term!!

 

Any comments would help relieve my anxiety - one way or the other.

 

Thanks

:o

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Yes! I think it does sound like a crazy idea for 3 year olds! I am having a bit of a battle at the moment with tragets and my recption class. We are expecting an ofsted and my head wants targets up in classes.

 

I have finally agreed that I will have targets hung from a piece of string- 3 for maths/reading/writing. But I am going to try and put them well out of the way- so I can direct my head and ofsted to them when they ask but so they don't take up masses of space! And I have refused point blank to have them on a board!

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Hi, I have an 18 month old daughter at nursery and she has a target set for the month!! I can't believe that it is "to work in small group situations!!!!!!!!" How silly!!!! She is learning to play herself let alone taking turns and playing with others in a group situation!! Am i being unrealistic?? Or is it just a wrong target to set? I work in a reception class and feel that it would be appropriate for one of these children but not an 18 month old!!???

What is the world coming to??

Sorry moan over now!!!

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Hi, I have an 18 month old daughter at nursery and she has a target set for the month!! I can't believe that it is "to work in small group situations!!!!!!!!" How silly!!!! She is learning to play herself let alone taking turns and playing with others in a group situation!! Am i being unrealistic?? Or is it just a wrong target to set? I work in a reception class and feel that it would be appropriate for one of these children but not an 18 month old!!???

What is the world coming to??

Sorry moan over now!!!

 

Sorry but this made me laugh out loud. Have the nursery actually ever looked at any child development books?? :o

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Well, in this day and age, after all the MASSES of tax payers money funding BTTM and other EY courses, advisory teachers, advisory everyone else and then to hear of a nursery setting such goals for 18mths old children, Astonished is my word. :o

 

I also agree that setting specific goals, within a specific time frame, for a 'group' of children who's only common factor is age is rediculous (spl?) too. xD

 

If I had to display goals they would be 'have fun', :( 'just be' :( and "if I don't reach my goals I will feel......!' :(

 

 

Peggy

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This is the kind of behaviour by powers that be that just makes me despair. What on earth do they think will change in children's outcomes aged 3 if we stick a bl**%y piece of paper on the wall.

 

Subversion is called for. Look at the children's needs and decide what their next step might be in relation to say CLLD but not in that aspect of learning. Hence - need to form letters? Give them a target based in physical development. Need to develop communicative language - give them a target for joining in imaginative role play in CD. Or give them all PSED targets - It's all perfectly defendable.

 

 

Sometimes I just want to go work in a shop!!!! :o

Cx

Edited by catma
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when they receive three stars it means that they have achieved the target

 

All together now: Oh no it doesn't!!!!! :o I'm not being very helpful here, but it is just so daft!!!!!! I've spent all day working with practitioners on observational assessment and drumming it out of them that they DON'T set arbitrary "rules" and use professional judgement instead to make summative asessments - move it out of one group and it bounces up in an other one!!!

 

Cx

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Sorry but this made me laugh out loud. Have the nursery actually ever looked at any child development books?? :o

 

 

Actually I think they are failing your daughter with too low expectations!. Shouldn't the targets be @Get a Job' or Get a degree' xD (tongue in cheek)

 

Peggy

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im so glad u guys all feel the same about this crazy target setting. i work in a reception and have been told we need to set targets for the almighty ofsted--how they are suppose to read a target is beyond me. ive come up with a system using a program widgit-it gives a sign or symbol to the word so at least the children will have some idea when the lovley ofsted come sniffing-what happened to children being allowed to be children!!!! it crazy :o

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Sometimes I just want to go work in a shop!!!! :o

Cx

 

 

You couldn't cope with the sales targets Catma, xD:( so best stay with EY's eh :(xD

 

Peggy

 

 

You're probably right Peggy!! I'm not against having a clear idea of what a child's next steps are and how you are going to support them - in fact I was inspired by one of the senior RAs, I forget which one who talked about targets actually needing to be for the adults - what am I going to do to help the children pogress. It's much more sensible!! What I hate is this pretence and wallpapering nonsense that is labouring under the idea that ofsted are actually impressed by this in early years - and I don't think they are necessarily. I think they see right through flannel like that and will want to know a) how you know where your children are and :( what you are going to do about it next.

 

though maybe if it was my own little shop, selling books and coffee......................................... :wacko:

Edited by catma
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I used to run a book shop, we also sold coffee and had displays of local artists it was lovely for a while don't think cheese would have worked there though!!!

 

As a parent I also despise targets. I want my children to have fun and be inspired to learn then all will fall into place.Having gone to university myself I just want my sons to be electricians and plumbers much more useful!!!!!

 

Children should be happy, safe and inspired, this is how all pre-school's and schools should be graded. Yes they have to have their learning extended but this can be done in such subtle ways the children will have no idea.

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Thanks so much for all of your replies. I feel so incredably FRUSTRATED!!! I have worked in a nursery for 13 years, and I am doing a degree in Early Years Childhood Studies. I feel that to put up targets in this young age, puts pressure on them, and it completely takes away the fun part of learning! I think that children should be reaching a goal within their own time frame, and at a relaxed pace. OOHHHH I am SO angry.... Does anybody know whther this is a result of the new EYFS.?

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Books, coffee and cheese! Sounds like my idea of a heavenly shop - can it include stationery though? :o

 

Ooh, yes, definitely..you can NEVER have too much stationery! xD

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Thanks so much for all of your replies. I feel so incredably FRUSTRATED!!! I have worked in a nursery for 13 years, and I am doing a degree in Early Years Childhood Studies. I feel that to put up targets in this young age, puts pressure on them, and it completely takes away the fun part of learning! I think that children should be reaching a goal within their own time frame, and at a relaxed pace. OOHHHH I am SO angry.... Does anybody know whther this is a result of the new EYFS.?

 

 

I don't think it is a result of the new EYFS because that states children should go at their pace an that the ELG's are not an expectation but a goal to work towards (it's much clearer on the parent info re:EYFS leaflets issued by DFCS).

 

I agree with Catma, the goals can be useful as staff prompts, but with a health warning of remembering to value childrens intrinsic ability to set their own learning goals and to embrace and follow these is much more productive in terms of childrens developmental successes. :oxD

 

Peggy

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My experience is that target setting is one of those decrees that comes from the top down. In schools target setting was introduced to support children taking 'ownership of their own learning' supported by the theory of metacognition. Of course if they have to do it it follows that of course we need to get it in place right from the start :o This is of course regardless of very young children's ability to actually have the self-awareness to understand the process of their own learning. In discussions with SMT I have always maintained that in EY it is a waste of time expecting young children to have to go through target setting. It is the practitioners who need to understand an individual child's next steps and plan for them. As practitioners who know our children well we have a pretty good idea of what they need. At this time of year it will be PSE and language. I have had to sit with reception chidlren explaining their literacy and numeracy targets, send them home to parents, review them and make sure that if SMT came in the children knew what they were. I always thought it was a waste of good playing time.

I think the idea of ownership of learning is being misunderstood. I think if the learning environment, in the broadest sense, is right and children can develop their learning using problem solving and thinking skills, and PSE then that is when the children develop an awareness of self. If children are able to persevere they set themselves targets do they not? I watched a child try again and again to pedal a two-wheeler- he spent a long time doing this and continued the following day until he could do it. He had set himself a target hadn't he..to pedal a bike without stablisers. Isn't that persistance and acheivement what target setting is supposed to be about?

 

(Oh the shop must have carrot cake please.)

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OK could you clarify this for me does it actually state somewhere that we should set targets for children? We too have been told (powers from within) that we should set targets. We set 2 may be 3 targets form previous obs and look for what we can support a child with this comes from two angles. First what the child may need support with may be separation, maybe sharing skills and we see what the child enjoys and look to see how we can enhance this for instance enjoys water play, so we could introduce pouring or floating and sinking. Or even combine two enjoys water but finds sharing difficult.

We than share these with the parents and ask for their input.

What do you think?

(That sound a bit garbled sorry hope you see where I am going, off to do school run)

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OK could you clarify this for me does it actually state somewhere that we should set targets for children?

I've just opened up the PDF of both the Statutory Framework and the Practice Guidance (May 2008 version) and did a search for 'target' and 'targets'. I found 'targets' once which was a suggeston of setting up a "throwing at targets" activity. So I would say that nowhere in the EFYS documentation does it say that we should be setting targets for children. I would imagine that someone somewhere (or rather lots of someones somewhere given the number of people who have posted on this thread) have got a bit confused about the 'next steps in children's learning'.

 

I find it shocking that practitioners are being pressurised to set targets for children as young as 18 months - but it does echo with something I learned when doing my research project. When the Desirable Learning Outcomes were introduced, research was undertaken which showed that even practitioners who were 100% in favour of learning through play misinterpreted the documentation and assumed the DLOs were targets which children must reach by a certain age. So they began to use worksheets more and more in pre-school settings so they could show the powers that be that they were giving children opportunities to learn the skills they needed in order to meet their 'targets'. They had lost confidence in what they believed in, and knew to be true, mistakenly believing that the introduction of the DLOs meant a need for formality and drill.

 

So skippy, the most important we can ask whenever we are 'advised' to do something that seems at odds with what we believe: the first is "is this in the best interests of the child?" and the second is yours: "where does it actually state this in the EYFS?".

 

Off soapbox now but can I just request WiFi in the shop please so that we can access the Forum while we eat our cheese/cake, drink our tea and practice writing our signatures with the lovely new pens we'll have bought? :o

 

Maz

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Skippy, that makes perfect sense and is exactly what we do and have been doing for years now (along with numerous amounts of other pre-school settings, I'm sure) with one exception, instead of targets they are next steps for learning - and if along the way- they achieve something else, then that's ok. They are all very loose next steps as who knows what path a child is going to tread over the next few weeks.

I do think the problem is that so many of 'the powers that be' are just not trained or even familiar with the EY's or the children that are involved in them and Maz is right nowhere in the EYFS does it state we have to set targets for pre-school children.

 

Maz, I remember the DLO's being introduced and what you are saying is right, it was only when they were 'converted' to ELG's that it started to filter down and indeed was firmly written that these (ELG's) were not expected to be obtained until the end of reception. I love your advice, how will it affect the child an so on- so much so, I think I may adopt this as our motto :oxD

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Thank you so much Maz and lynned55 that makes perfect sense to me. This site and its members are so good at listening and advising, in all my post i don't think i have ever felt judged! Thanks guys.

But back to the targets I think i may suggest calling them next steps in learning, sounds so much better. Maz do you still do targets?

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Maz do you still do targets?

skippy: in a way I guess I do set targets. When I write an observation of a child I think about what we need to provide for them so that they can practice a new skill or develop an emerging interest. I might think about additional resources we can provide, or extra support we could offer in order to help the child demonstrate his knowledge or her particular dispositions. Was it Peggy who said that target setting should be more about challenging the adults to provide what is necessary for the child to achieve than setting an arbitrary goal for the child to aim at?

 

If I suggest offering more opportunities to count in one to one correspondence but the child doesn't take them then I'll conclude that the activities I'd offered weren't that stimulating and I'll look for something else that will spark off the child's imagination and interest. However if I'd set the child the target to count to ten by a certain date and then found s/he hadn't met that target, it would be all to easy to conclude that the child simply couldn't do it: setting the child up to fail is easily done but similarly easy to guard against. This kind of target setting can lead practitioners to focus on what the child cannot yet do rather than celebrating what the child can do now and helping the child build on their success.

 

I've also been thinking about this thread in terms of children who have IEPs which (hopefully) have clear targets for children. I wondered whether this was another example of the kind of thing we have all been complaining about, or indeed if the IEP example could somehow validate target setting for children. In the end I decided that a well written IEP starts from where the child is, and aims to move him on by the adults around him offering experiences and providing resources to enable him to develop the skills he needs.

 

Its a challenging concept, I think!

 

Maz

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This was a publication that was aimed at schools who were part of a raising attainment package - a lot of my work when I moved out of school was supporting ISP schools make sense of target setting in reception as part of a whole school focus.

 

http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary/p...ns/isp/1200475/

 

I think part of the problem for school based practitioners is that they are part of that larger community, they have to play a part in the whole school programmes and to always be saying "we don't do that" can be very difficult!

 

I think the targets thing has flourished from there and coupled with Ofsted expectations (where they expect children to be on entry to nursery/reception) it has risen to scary proportions.

 

So if you have to have targets the key point is that they MUST come from the EYFS -nowhere else! and they must be based on the child's next steps as identified from observations etc etc

 

Cx

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Hi all,

 

Gosh, i did not realise that my initial posting would create such an amazing and interesting discussion. Thank yoiiu to evryone for your thoughts/advice/support. It's great to know that there are many of us out there who feel the same. I eventually - with much annoyance and frustraiton - put up my target board - but as a whole class target and that was put my own shoes and socks on.

 

What will make you all laugh even more is that my FS Co-ordinator hasn't even put up her own target board yet!! :o

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What will make you all laugh even more is that my FS Co-ordinator hasn't even put up her own target board yet!! xD

Perhaps she's the sort of person who makes the first item of her 'to do' list "write a list"? Maybe the first target she's set herself is "put up target board"... :o

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and then when they receive three stars it means that they have achieved the target and a new one needs to be set.

 

 

Thanks

:o

 

 

where does this idea that if children have been seen doing something 3 times then they have achieved that goal. some in my setting, and sister settings, are obsessed with this idea and want to use the triangle system to track learning (1 stroke of the triangle for first time, another for second time etc)

 

????

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