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New Development Matters and the Observation Checkpoints


Helen
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New to the Development Matters document, are the 'observation checkpoints' in the prime areas of learning for the birth to 3 pathway (for around 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years, and 3 years). These are clearly summative assessments - making sure you can identify if a child needs any extra help. As the document states,

The observation checkpoints can help you to notice whether a child is at risk of falling behind in their development. You can make all the difference by taking action quickly, using your professional judgement and your understanding of child development'.

Examples of checkpoints are:

Around 6 months: does the baby respond to familiar voices, turn to their own name and 'take turns' in conversations with babbling?

Around 12 months: is the baby beginning to use single words like mummum, dada, tete (teddy)?

Around 18 months: is the toddler using a range of adult like speech patterns (jargon) and at least 20 words?

I'm wondering if this will help avoid the other statements (ie not the checkpoints) becoming a ticklist? I hope so 😃

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Me too - I really like the checkpoints - it will be much simpler to identify areas for development that will really make the most difference....should simplify planning and next steps (if you still do them!) and for students and newer staff it will be invaluable - I'd have appreciated something like that when I first started!

I hope it will focus staff on the things that matter and reassure them.

 

 

 

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I like these too - however they do require a more in-depth understanding of child development, which I'm not seeing in the current training at L2 and L3. I'll not be 'throwing baby out with the bathwater' and I will continue to refer staff to the age/stand guidance in the pre20/21 Development Matters. I think skilled and knowledgeable teachers will find these checkpoints helpful as reminders but there will be a lot of work to do with those staff who don't have that experience / skilled understanding (yet). With the workforce issues of losing the highly qualified (expensive) staff in favour of the cheaper apprentices I foresee issues in this area. Staff CPD for this will be essential.

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I think you make an important point Rebecca. There are some implications of the the revised DM:

 

1. That practitioners have the level of professional skill and knowledge to work with a less prescriptive document. I really believe in our workforce as a whole but I know that there will be some who will need further support, especially if their initial training wasn't the best

2. We're moving away from 'tracking' every child and building our plans up from the gaps (what they haven't covered in DM) or the need to show progress by moving children from one band to the next. That's going to require a different approach: settings thinking about their curriculum, and  how we're going to help all children make progress using our own curricular goals/aims.

3. Some children will need a lot more in-depth assessment, if they appear to be having difficulties. 

 

I'm really interested to keep the conversation going and hear different views on these and other aspects of the new guidance. 

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  • 1 month later...

So observations check points only apply for children aged (0till3)?

I am still confused with the new DMs with the years before the reception year. 

Dunno yet how I will evaluate students according to which statements( in report cards I mean )

Appreciate your support.

Edited by Nada Kamal
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The idea now is that we don't evaluate children according to any statements/learning objectives, but to think about the bigger picture and the unique child. More about narrative observations about the children's characteristics of effective learning, and unique learning that they are demonstrating. We have articles in our observation hub which will help you move over to the new way- and don't forget, we have until next September to think about it!

There are some checkpoints for the 3-4 ages, too.

 

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I have to say that i am only just beginning to look at all of this. There has been so many other things to consider. I am concerned however about how much emphasis the first article written on the observation hub puts on join observational practice. I have been forced in to the position of getting rid of regular staff meetings, we cannot afford time out of the setting and now run every day from early till late. We have no time to sit down and discuss things! I have to do it this way to make sure we are financially viable. We need to run after school club and paid for lunch clubs to make up the shortfall in funding. I wonder how tapestry is going to organise this? maybe we could have a preview setting so that we can start to plan how that will look in our settings? 

I am not opposed to the changes. i actually think that they fit better with my ethos. But giving us freedom and then taking it away by putting in lots of you should and shouldn't ideas isn't going to work. ....sorry a bit of a ramble. Early morning thoughts

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Finlaysmaid, I can really empathise; the current situation does not lend itself to quality discussions in the staff room, or when tidying up for the day,  and I know many many settings will be struggling in the way you describe. I'm sorry- I didn't mean for my article to sound like it was a list of instructions for already overworked staff.

It was more of an aspirational viewpoint- how could we start to share our knowledge of our children with that of our colleagues and what would the impact be for children's progress if we discussed it with colleagues and made plans for taking their learning further? I know of schools and settings who have set up whatsapp groups, held zoom meetings, and use all sorts of software to record their reflections and ideas, sharing them with their colleagues. Tapestry Reflections is proving popular but maybe not for you, just now. 🙂

Can you expand on your questions- 'I wonder how Tapestry is going to organise this? maybe we could have a preview setting so that we can start to plan how that will look in our settings? ' 

What did you have in mind?

 

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thanks Helen for the empathy....feeling a bit got at from all sides at the moment😅 Well i know the early adopters stuff is already on tapestry. I guess i was wondering if we will get an opportunity to play around with the system, give it a go, work out how it will work for us etc A bit like when we started having a 'test' period to work out how we can use it for our own setting. If we upload the early adopters framework can we use it without it affecting our normal tapestry account ? a sort of Beta test i guess?! 

Having read a bit more i am becoming aware of how much the new framework is going to change the way we record evidence/learning

Edited by finleysmaid
another thought!
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Yes, absolutely, you can. Using the new DMs won't have any affect on your assessments using the existing DM framework. But to be honest, I'd just leave it until next year- you have enough to deal with at the moment. Maybe if things settle down in the spring, you might be able to look at it then? That will still give you 6 months to get to know it before you make the decision whether or not to use it in September. 🙂

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