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So confused and fed up.


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I feel very confused at the moment, I spent the summer, like most of us making up new planning formats, introducing a CP plan and changing all paperwork to reflect the revised EYFS. I think my planning is now ok and reflects childrens interests and next steps. I also have some continuous provision where we add enhancements. And until I am told any different this is what I am going with.

 

We have always filled our learning journeys with lots of snap shot observations, childrens work and photo's, we fill out a tracker sheet every term which is put in the learning journey and then the next steps. Each observation and photo is linked to any areas of learning that it covers. All information from individual trackers is then put onto a cohort tracker so we can see progress, problems etc. We have always been praised on the quality of our learning journeys by Parents, EYA and even our last two Ofsted inspectors. Today at a training everyone was told not to put all this detail into them and really reduce it down to the bare bones. (I can understand where they are coming form with this and that it would reduce the work) but I do not know if I would be happy with this. I know as a parent myself which sort of learning journey I would like to have as a keepsake. What does any one else think?

Also from information I have read on here and talking to other people at the training a lot of people are now recording the COEL in their learning journeys!! So now have to implement these as well. Also have never done planned observations :ph34r: so now need to break the news to my staff that we need to do these every six weeks.

 

I feel like I am going nuts and with little support from anyone except my playleader and this FABULOUS FORUM. I thank my lucky stars for all the advice and sensible straight talking you get on here.

 

Off for a sleep and hopefully will wake feeling more positive!!! :wacko: :wacko:

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sounds like you are doing a fantastic job and if you and your colleagues are happy then don't change it just make sure that you can validate why you do everything you do. We did much as you are but when we reflected as a team we found there were places where we were writing too much or writing somethings more than once. As for the COELs, we have just added them to the bottom of our long obs format and highlight them if we see them and we also have boards on the wall, one for each COEL area, and we put post its on them if we see them in action

Edited by max321
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Hi zigzag...I know where you're coming from, we have quite detailed Lj's .....parents love but ey consultant HATES and says they don't need so much info, we tried the blank sheet per area with all evidence pics, notes etc all on one page in chronological order rather than recorded against correct statements but the staff hated doing them that way and felt they couldn't easily see where they were....so we went back to more structured LJ's :/

 

We have moved away from saying each child has to have x amount of obs in a certain time frame though, have given them all a sheet to record when each of their key children have been ob'd and type of ob, but still not sure how this will pan out. They do have a CoEL which I think others are using ....unfortunately we aren't and am now thinking about removing them from LJ's !

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Regarding 5/10 minute observations - on a course recently and was advised that guidance says that observations must not take practitioners away from interacting with children, and therefore long obs are not necessary.

 

I feel for you with the lack of consistent direction in all this - it's a bit like walking through a marsh with a blindfold on - we can only do our best to know each child as well as we can. As long as children can be shown to be making good progress what is written down and in what format would seem to be up to individuals to decide what suits them.

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We had our inspection at the begining of september and I insisted the inspector looked all the way through one of my learning stories (she did look at others as well) I don't do ANY observations that are longer than a paragraph (maybe 2) and they are all snapshot ones, quotes of what the children have said or work/photos with an annotation alongside them. I asked what the advice was re long obs and she asked why I didn't do them, I explained that we are constantly observing and doing the snapshot obs and have found that we are not learning anything extra by doing a long obs, she said that is absolutely fine and she could see through the learning story that we had a clear picture of the childs progress etc etc so there was no need for long obs - so none of us do them unless we havea specific reason which could include something to do with an additional need, if there are behaviour problems etc etc.

 

So long as you can justify why you do what you do then stick with what works best for you :D

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After a night with only three hours sleep as I can not stop fretting about this I have emailed my early years improvement assistant and requested a vist to go over paperwork. Hopefully this will reassure me that everythingis in place or pinpoint what is not.

Thank you all for your support. :1b Just got to stay awake and enthusiastic through the day now!!!

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Hi zigzag, sorry to hear that you are feeling right fed up at the moment. In our LA, we do regular 'drop ins' where people can bring their paperwork and just run through it with someone. In my experience of these (I'm an EYAT by the way), people just feel happier after articulating what they do to someone outside of the setting. So if you get that sort of opportunity or, as you say you can arrange a visit from your EY team, then you will probably feel better.

 

I am one of those EYATs that often tells people they are doing far more paperwork than they need to. So its down to personal choice then really, if you want to do over and above what you really need to, and feel that is beneficial to the children and parents, then that's a choice you have made that matters to you, and so carry on doing that. But don't feel you 'have to' because you don't.

 

In terms of the longer obs, I know we have had this discussion many times here, and I think I'm in the minority of folk who prefer the longer style obs, as they tell a story and I feel personally they capture the characteristics of effective learning far better than a snapshot ever can. If you want to comment on persistence, trying different ways of doing things, concentration etc, you cant really capture that in a snapshot, because they take longer to see. Watching a child count to 5 is over in seconds, whereas watching a child really persevere with something they are trying to do takes much longer. But again, its your choice, so when you say you 'have to' who is telling you you 'have to', or has it just been suggested and you now feel you 'have to'.

 

I find that doing these 'drop ins' I mentioned earlier, that there is a huge variation in what people do. If at the end of the day it does what you need it do, which ultimately is knowing your children well, being able to talk about their learning, their progress and where they need to go next, (and then being able to plan for that), then the paperwork should support you to do that. If it doesn't, then something isn't quite right. If it does, then step back, take a deep breath, congratulate yourself on a job well done, and get on with what you do best..

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HI ZigZag I think it sounds like you know what you want to do and you are the ones that have to put in the work so do them as you like them. We have found we were doing a too much and it was getting on top of every one so cut back, but we probably still do more than some and now less than others, but they work for us. We don't do long observations what we do is find out the interest that term and do snapshots of this interests over a few weeks adding extra resources or being there to extend the experience so we have lots of little one about the same thing which then becomes like a little learning story. There is normally three or four pictures around this one theme and then three or four pictures with a little snap shot about other things they have been doing. (we add in any work they do as well on top of this) so that might be another way around a long obs IF you need one!!!

 

I think you and your team have to be happy with what you do and if you are why change!

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