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New Development Matters- introductory section


Helen
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The new DM document was released yesterday - a non-statutory guidance document for early adopters of the revised EYFS.

This forum area is to discuss its content and how teachers and practitioners can use the guidance to provide the very best possible care and education for their children. I've split the forum topics up into the first 8 pages- introductory sections (this forum) and set up separate forum topics to discuss:

I'll start the ball rolling, then 😃 Each quote from the document I've highlighted in purple.

Well, you can't go wrong with the first sentence of the entire document:

No job is more important than working with children in the early years

I think everyone working with babies and our youngest children believes this, or we wouldn't be working in the sector. It's good to see this acknowledged at the very beginning of the document.

Dev Matters offers a top-level view of how children develop and learn. It guides, but does not replace, professional judgement.

Seeing some of the worries and concerns about the new DM on social media over the last 24 hours, there are disparate views on the purpose of the document itself. Some have said it's patronising and insulting, too descriptive and prescriptive to be useful for experienced practitioners, whilst also presenting a narrow description of children's learning and development which is not helpful to those new to the profession.

I struggle to understand that it can be both! It's either too detailed or not detailed enough- and I don't think it's either. Under the 'seven key features of effective practice- number 5 (assessment), the document states,

Effective assessment requires practitioners to understand child development.

We cannot get away from the fact we need teachers and practitioners who are well-trained, highly educated, motivated to learn and increase their own knowledge about early years education and have regular and frequent access to CPD. A guidance document can't do this.

I really like the emphasis on depth of learning now- rather than ticking statements to 'get to the next age-band' which I know many practitioners have felt under pressure to do. We've now been given 'permission', if you like, to stop doing that and it's up to all of us not to fall into that trap again:

Depth in learning matters much more than moving from one band to the next or trying to cover everything. A child's learning is secure if they show it consistently and in a range of different contexts.

The 'Seven key features of effective practice', I think, offer a summary of ideas that we can all follow up in more detail- by reading widely, studying relevant research, attending training and discussing with fellow professionals:

  1. The best for every child
  2. High-quality care
  3. The curriculum
  4. Pedagogy (I especially like the different approaches- 'Children learn through play, by adults modelling, by observing each other, and through guided learning and teaching')
  5. Assessment (especially 'Assessment is about noticing what children can do and what they know. It is not about lots of data and evidence...before assessing children, it's a good idea to think about whether the assessments will be useful)
  6. Self-regulation and executive- a hugely important area and one we all need to know more about.
  7. Partnerships with parents (reinforcing how important this is, including 'listening regularly to parents and giving parents clear information about their children's progress.

Has anyone else had a chance to read it, yet? What do you think about the first 8 pages? 😃

 

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Haven't read it all - just skimmed through really but there are definitely parts I feel are better for the change - e.g.  the greater emphasis on practitioner judgement and less need for written evidence.  😊

Edited by trekker
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I have to say I can't find the enthusiasm to even look at it yet- which is very unlike me :( . I printed it off, noted that the reading didn't 'flow' (when mid sentence moves to next page in tables etc), and haven't looked at it since.

 

I honestly think covid has finished me.

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I would really like to buy a hard copy of this so I can sit at my leisure and mull it all over...my printer has blown up (and may or may not be getting a new one tomorrow) and  I HATE reading things online as my brain just doesnt take things in when they are on a screen...weird I know but that's my learning style.  

I can see things I like and things I'm not so keen on but as I say I havent read it all because it just scrambles my brain on the screen.   

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I'm concentrating on getting my team feeling super confident about what they already know and can do in preparation for this less prescriptive document. As Helen has said, "It's either too detailed or not detailed enough- and I don't think it's either", which in my team reflects the different levels of confidence and professional development of the staff. I've got some for whom a prescriptive document is like 'teaching granny to suck eggs' and will get their backs right up. I've also got some super newbies who want line by line instructions of what to do next with the children. It's a document that can work for both I think.

With the requirement to really know and understand the children in our care we can safely say that the most important thing for all staff is the relationships they have with the children and the partnerships they have with their families. With the secure relationships in place learning comes naturally and emerging issues for children 'jump out'. I decided that we would, whilst working with the original DM, begin to think of our planning 'thematically'. This is very much not topic based. I've described it to my team thus: "Thematic planning is like going to the supermarket to buy 'some dinner', topic planning is like going to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients for spaghetti bolognaise" - with topic planning you have a route A to B, with thmeatic planning you have an A and then you might end up anywhere ... but you will have had fun going round all the aisles!

So, to introduce this document we have had a huge staff focus on reflective practice - we are all thinking ahead (deciding that we need 'some dinner', if you like) and then we are all chipping in and sharing our thoughts and ideas. We're doing this on Tapestry Reflections  - it keeps a really nice record of what everyone's thinking, staff can 'pinch' each other's ideas and chip in suggestions and we can link onservations as we go along to build a picture. Becasue everyone is involved, my highly qualified staff can use thier skills to support less knowledgable colleagues and my newbies aren't as exposed as they would be if they were asked to contribute verbally. It also means that with the social distancing requirements that Bubbles don't mix, staff can still talk to each other. 

So far, a week in, we have had some fabulous activities (provocations) which the children have already taken off in unexpected directions - which is perfect.

In short, the document requires us to know our children and know what they need to do next to support their development or fuel their imagination and motivation - that isn't new. I think if you were to 'teach' to the goals then you would be too prescriptive and so many wonderful opportunties could be missed. If you take a more holistic view I think their is scope to make of the document what you want - I'll be doing that until someone tells me that's wrong! The powers that be can change the paperwork as much as they like, the children don't change - I'm working with that in the forefront of my mind.

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I think what you say about staff supporting one another is going to be really important Rebecca. As it is with any new document. I've written a Coffee Break on the new DMs today talking about the need to bring your own knowledge of child development to the DMs and that they are the map rather than the actual driving skill. But also that we need good quality child development training and policy makers who value the workforce doing this extremely important job. 

The inclusion of depth of learning rather than coverage is important.  This helps to elaborate on why DMs is not a tick list. Julian Grenier wrote an article for us in June which includes some discussion of depth rather than coverage. 

Looking forward to seeing what others think and how they will use the new DMs in their settings. 

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On 05/09/2020 at 09:39, louby loo said:

I have to say I can't find the enthusiasm to even look at it yet- which is very unlike me :( . I printed it off, noted that the reading didn't 'flow' (when mid sentence moves to next page in tables etc), and haven't looked at it since.

 

I honestly think covid has finished me.

louby loo - it is so hard to have another change during this time of extreme uncertainty. That gets a mention in the Coffee Break too. Anyway, just wanted to send you supportive thoughts. 

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Hello everyone, thanks for sharing your thoughts about the new guidance which I am leading on for DFE. 

I think it's really positive to see the recognition that there are positive changes e.g. the addition of self-regulation and executive function, having a less prescriptive document. However less prescription, as colleagues have noted, means more emphasis on the professional skills and understanding of our teams. Not everyone benefitted from the sort of initial training/qualification that perhaps we'd like to see and that leaves managers and leaders with an important (but necessary) challenge. 

How are colleagues feeling about the need to think ahead about professional development for teams/members, whilst also balancing a lot of immediate challenges around funding, day-to-day operation. Here at Sheringham Nursery School - where I'm grabbing lunch and logging on at the same time - it's definitely difficult to find time to think ahead. On the other hand, it's important to keep positive and optimistic about the future and keep everyone learning. We've had a lot of success with bite-size online professional development. What do others think?

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Hi 

CPD is a bit of an issue here.  Firstly I have little financial resource to pay for it and then to pay the cover of staff whilst away.  I have in the past, it is just the current situation.  As the year goes on I know that I will financially recover and be able to offer training opportunities again.

When I first came to post, part of my mission was to get as many of my team qualified as possible and I so proud to say mission achieved, including getting 3 of my team to EYTS.  I am finding CPD can sometimes be aimed at the not so experienced or to much talk.  Finding the right course is a challenge.  What are the bite size training you have used and how would you recommend whether to someone with experience to someone who is new to it all?

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I'm with louby here 😉  no energy or enthusiasm for anything new at the moment. I have skimmed through it- but to my shame 'cant be bothered' to read it properly.

I did see that an EY consortium has made quite a damning statement about it and say they are bringing out an 'alternative' Birth to Five document in the next six months

 

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