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Do We Need The Age Ranges?


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I have just been reading SmileyPR's topic on trackers and I began to wonder about the format of development matters. I thought it better not to hijack that topic but to start a new one:

 

Am I alone in thinking that the whole Development Matters document would be better without age ranges. I would feel more comfortable with using it if I could just show the child progressing through numbered stages (or perhaps a,b,c,...).

 

Children will progress at different rates in different areas and it is very hard not to compare their progress against their age. It feels very much like we/they have been set targets. I also feel that parents sometimes focus on whether the child is working at the top of the age bands rather than whether he or she is making progress and feeling confident and enthusiastic about learning.

 

Perhaps it is just me? Am I missing something?

 

Don't we, as experienced practitioners, know if something is holding a child back without this?

 

What benefit do the age ranges bring to your planning and assessment?

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I label them Stages 1-6 - a common thing in my county. I didn't like the idea of ages for the reasons like you mentioned.

 

ppp

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I don't use the age ranges at all. I was worried parents would say, "My child is 31 months old so they should be doing this." So when I made our development matters sheet I just left them off.

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I don't use the age ranges at all. I was worried parents would say, "My child is 31 months old so they should be doing this." So when I made our development matters sheet I just left them off.

I left them on for our observation trackers because I do think they are useful for less experienced members of staff to get some sense of where a child is in the general scheme of things.

 

Everyone has made very valid points so far and there is a real risk that they could be used as a ticksheet when they are only designed to be very broad examples of what most children are doing during each age phase. In that respect they're much like the development charts that we've been using for ages: they have always needed to be used with caution, and bearing in mind the caveat that children don't develop in straight lines or according to the child development books!

 

Maz

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Unfortunately, when we had coloured bandings they were also misinterpreted and misused.

 

The old stepping stones were taken to be a formal path that children should progress along rather than a possible pathway towards goal achievement.

 

I would think that the age bandings can at least be more realistically used to indicate the sort of behaviours that might be observed of a child of a certain age and therefore be more useful as a guide as to whether the child is developmentally where they should be and the sort of intervention that might be indicated if they are not?

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  • 3 weeks later...

In regards to the colours (CG for the FS) and the ages (EYFS), if you put both documents side by side, you will see that the age groups correspond to the coloured scheme. So, it has stayed the same as from 2000, only that now it is "clear" to what age groups the coloured schemes used to correspond.

 

So, I totally agree with you Allison :o

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