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I've just read this month's copy of EYE and read the article about the EYFS and teachers underestimating the children in reception and year 1 and not becoming more formal early enough. I was really surprised to read the article in EYE but really intrigued to know what everyone else thinks, as its such a topic for debate, and I often find myself defending early years against the KS2 leading of primary schools. Obviously we must have high standards and an environment that caters for individual larning needs - if children are ready for the kind of 'extending' discussed in the article we offer it...

Has anyone else read it? What did you think?

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I haven't read it - but I find in my experience that when our local primary underestimates children's ability they 'make them start at the beginning again' if you know what I mean. Our local school isn't interested in prior learning or abilities and starts all children at the bottom, so that they can make their own appraisals of where they 'are'.

We offer extended learning and are guided by 'where children are' and what they are ready for. We have children leave us who can read the early Oxford reading tree books. They are reading my handwriting - often upside down. (What does that say about Matthew - did he do that sticking well?) so are obviously ready for Mum, Dad, Biff, Kipper, Chip, Floppy, etc. Easy Peasy.

We would NEVER push children to read, or do anything as I firmly believe that pushing children like that can switch them off totally. But if they want to, and are excited by it, then we go for it.

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Hmm that is an interesting point. One of our local schools seems to have a split personality on this. At our preschool we encourage the children to recognize and have a go at writng their own name from the first days. But when they go up to the reception class their name cards for coat pegs and self registration have all got pictures on rather than their names. On the other hand if the children go to the school nursery they are working on formal phonics while we are told by EYAs not to do formal teaching at that age and to concentrate on phase one of L&S.

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when they go up to the reception class their name cards for coat pegs and self registration have all got pictures on rather than their names

 

I alternate years between reception and nursery (I spend 2 years and go from nursery to reception with each intake) so have a view point from each each. The nursery children self register and at this point in the year have names with no pictures and have just started the introduction of Jolly Phonics.When they enter reception more children arrive with at least one third of the class made up of children straight from home, private settings, childminders or from overseas with no english.They have varying experiences. So for the needs of these children we do go back to a picture with a name on cloakroom pegs and spend a few weeks assessing what the children have arrived with.It's not putting the nursery children back its addressing the needs of the other children in a fair way. It's one of the reasons we are backing EYFS in that we should get consistant information from the wider variety of settings the children arrive from.The key is the pace of the assessment and progression.We do keep an eye on this progression even for things like shelf labling for basic provision, number lines going higher and displays.

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When they enter reception more children arrive with at least one third of the class made up of children straight from home, private settings, childminders or from overseas with no english.They have varying experiences. So for the needs of these children we do go back to a picture with a name on cloakroom pegs and spend a few weeks assessing what the children have arrived with.It's not putting the nursery children back its addressing the needs of the other children in a fair way.

 

 

I agree with this, and if this were the case with the village school it wouldn't be such a kick in the teeth. The children that go there have been to us first, with the very odd exception. All can write their own name and recognise it in print - and most, if not all of the other children's names too. If they bothered to visit us, or look at the learning journeys - or even just ask, they would know this.

 

Sorry - ranting a bit

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Sorry Cait can I just ask do children leave your setting and start in reception the next week or is there a long holiday in between? I ask because children who arrive in my reception class have mainly attended our FSU but after a six week break in the summer many have regressed greatly and don't always recognise their names when they were before the break.

The other alternative is that schools/teachers can be stuck in a "well I've always done it this way" attitude.

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Sorry Cait can I just ask do children leave your setting and start in reception the next week or is there a long holiday in between? I ask because children who arrive in my reception class have mainly attended our FSU but after a six week break in the summer many have regressed greatly and don't always recognise their names when they were before the break.

The other alternative is that schools/teachers can be stuck in a "well I've always done it this way" attitude.

 

 

Yes they do drop back after the six week break. But can still remember their names - many have recognised them for a long time - some have been with us for two and half years so we see this regression too.

 

I guess all I'm saying is that it would be nice to have the children's knowledge appreciated. Parent's say it too and often come back to me in September to have a moan.

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I read the article too and although I didn't agree with all of what was said it has raised some interesting points. I think it all relates to how successfully we support children's transitions. We need to look at how effective our transfer documents are in sharing children's prior learning with new staff, there needs to be more discussion and visits between childminders/nurseries/reception/yr 1 to support these transitions so that children can begin learning in the new environment from their starting points and not for eg 'reception children should be able to do this'. The EYFS places a duty on practitioners to do this so hopefully it should start to become the norm rather than in a few cases.

I wholeheartedly believe that play based learning in reception is not 'dumbing down' as I felt was the articles slant - you may disagree. Yes, children do need good preparation for the transition to yr 1 but we should be ensuring that for children the each transition is as seamless as possible. Play based learning provides continuity for children and this should continue through into yr 1.

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