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80% Child Initiated Required!


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Did not get on that well (again) at our recent moderation meeting. The same old problem - we are required to have our Profile points ticked off mainly from evidence gathered from child initiated observations.

 

We were told that next year they will be looking for 80% evidence from child initiated observations and 20% from focussed activities, assessments, etc. (and be quite strict about it!)

 

In an ideal world, with 12 children in your class, I can see this would be great BUT with 30 I am just not so sure this can actually happen - talk about a very long-winded hit/miss system to gather evidence.

 

Are others working for the 80% / 20% split.

 

PS I teach in Kent but sometimes wish I was still in Greenwich where they seemed more realistic.

 

PPS A fellow colleague with me at moderation made a really good point - surely it is more a question of whether a child can do something indepedently rather than just in child inititated.

 

Would love to know what others think.

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I agree with you Bungalow. Ideally you would be able to observe chidlren doing things but what about the things you might not generally see in free play or you just don't happen to catch? Some things are just easier to actually sit with a child/group of children and work through practically.

Surely part of that is observation based anyway - but with the advantage that you can gear it to what you need to find out / don't already know about the child when necessary.

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We try to make opportunities for observations in our planning and plan for activities which will hopefully inform assessment.

I agree sometimes it is easier to sit down and check children know certain things for example we tested children on CLL linking sounds to letters 4.

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I personally am pleased that the weight is in favour of child initiated assessments. I think that enabling child initiated play encourages independent learning, whereas adult led activities can tend to enable dependence rather than independence.

 

I see the main role of a teacher is that of facilitater, to facilitate the childs thinking, thus learning processes. Through child initiated play observations we can learn what methods, tools, styles of learning each child has a preference to, we can also see their developmental level. This information enables us to facilitate learning by giving us the clues as to what type of equipment to provide to 1/ sustain interest and 2/ to extend learning. For example we all know when a child is ready to play chess instead of draughts, because we know when they have reached their intellectual stage of understanding of more complex strategies. If you only put out a draught set then that is all they will use, if you put the draughts away and set out the chess, because you know the child is interested and enjoys playing board games the child will most probably go to it and explore the various chess peices. Other children may also show an interest to the new 'different' game . Let the children explore the chess pieces in their own time, in their own individual ways, it is now their game. As the facilitatoe you then decide when you think they have explored it enough, just before they are going to move away from it, go to sit with them, at their game and facilitate their learning of the game can be played. Observe how they grasp the new concepts.

Compare this to interupting a childs play to 'come and learn to play chess', it then becomes your game and not theirs, we plan activities in steps that we think a child should or may follow, we have an end result that we want, we have a particular way we want them to do it, because this is human nature when the game is initiated by you. It closes doors to a variety of things that the children may learn that we haven't even thought about.

 

As facilitators we have the knowledge of what equipment can best encourage particular thinking ie: a threading bead game to make sequences. All you have to do is sit alongside a child who has chosen to play with the beads, model sequence threading yourself and hey presto, they start to sequence too, but they will choose what sequence they want to make, they are more likely to remember this experience than having to perform a sequence activity directed in a small group of children who all think differently but are expected to all do the same thing at the same time.

 

use the 20% of the session for adult directed learning. Maybe working with preschool children this is easier because they are excited and motivated to explore and learn, unfortunatly, I think that as children get older and they are expected to conform more to adult direction they lose this motivation. Just like a staff team would do if they never have their ideas llistened to or followed, and have to follow the managers directives all the time.

 

I remember reading something once which considered adult led teaching style as a likeness to a mass production factory, high productivity of lots of things 'all the same' , meeting the required criteria, but nothing came out that was unique. All our children are unique and don't fit into the production machinery that can only take one mould.

 

Peggy

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We to are pleased that they are wanting more observations but have also been worrying about how to fit it in. I have a reception classof 30. Next year we are trialing doing a week of focussed activities then a week of observation at child initiated. Not sure how it will work but it's trial and error i guess!

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I agree with everything - especially about the facilitating bit. But, and it is a big but, just like Lola it is a question of fitting it in and 'catching' those observations - we tried really hard this year and were very consistent with our observations and have many wonderful observations from child initiated play - but they often did not give us much for the Profile.

 

The real problem is the numbers in the class with the staff ratio.

 

My moderator at the meeting gave me examples of how to get evidence from child initiated but I believe she was then turning the 'play' into a teacher directed activity! Sometimes I think it is just bonkers.

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The 80% childrens own application of the skills etc is coming from the very top - we have had as consultants in the LAs a letter from the NAA reiterating this and also pointing out that "one off" e.g. computerised testing programmes are NOT what is expected and shouldn't be used for FSP judgements.

 

Cx

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I personally am pleased that the weight is in favour of child initiated assessments. I think that enabling child initiated play encourages independent learning, whereas adult led activities can tend to enable dependence rather than independence.

 

I see the main role of a teacher is that of facilitater, to facilitate the childs thinking, thus learning processes. Through child initiated play observations we can learn what methods, tools, styles of learning each child has a preference to, we can also see their developmental level. This information enables us to facilitate learning by giving us the clues as to what type of equipment to provide to 1/ sustain interest and 2/ to extend learning. For example we all know when a child is ready to play chess instead of draughts, because we know when they have reached their intellectual stage of understanding of more complex strategies. If you only put out a draught set then that is all they will use, if you put the draughts away and set out the chess, because you know the child is interested and enjoys playing board games the child will most probably go to it and explore the various chess peices. Other children may also show an interest to the new 'different' game . Let the children explore the chess pieces in their own time, in their own individual ways, it is now their game. As the facilitatoe you then decide when you think they have explored it enough, just before they are going to move away from it, go to sit with them, at their game and facilitate their learning of the game can be played. Observe how they grasp the new concepts.

Compare this to interupting a childs play to 'come and learn to play chess', it then becomes your game and not theirs, we plan activities in steps that we think a child should or may follow, we have an end result that we want, we have a particular way we want them to do it, because this is human nature when the game is initiated by you. It closes doors to a variety of things that the children may learn that we haven't even thought about.

 

As facilitators we have the knowledge of what equipment can best encourage particular thinking ie: a threading bead game to make sequences. All you have to do is sit alongside a child who has chosen to play with the beads, model sequence threading yourself and hey presto, they start to sequence too, but they will choose what sequence they want to make, they are more likely to remember this experience than having to perform a sequence activity directed in a small group of children who all think differently but are expected to all do the same thing at the same time.

 

use the 20% of the session for adult directed learning. Maybe working with preschool children this is easier because they are excited and motivated to explore and learn, unfortunatly, I think that as children get older and they are expected to conform more to adult direction they lose this motivation. Just like a staff team would do if they never have their ideas llistened to or followed, and have to follow the managers directives all the time.

 

I remember reading something once which considered adult led teaching style as a likeness to a mass production factory, high productivity of lots of things 'all the same' , meeting the required criteria, but nothing came out that was unique. All our children are unique and don't fit into the production machinery that can only take one mould.

 

Peggy

 

 

Peggy please please copy and paste (or allow me to) post your quote here

http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thr...mp;threadPage=1

 

it needs to be said :D

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Hi Carladimeloe,

 

Your welcome to use my words if you feel they are relevant to the discussion, all I ask is that you acknowledge that the quote came from this forum, adding a link, then anyone interested can join and see the quote in the context it was written. :o

 

Peggy

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Hi Peggy,

 

Such wise words to which I totally agree. I use at least 80% plus child initiated observations. I use the principles as laid out in the "EEL Project". Each session has extended periods of child initiated learning with 2 adult focussed activities within the routine of the day. This routine allows me to undertake the observations but saying that I only have 15 children (Myself and 1 T.A, T.A is used to operate free flow outdoor play)

 

 

Child_involvement_scale_obs_pro_forma.doc

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I don't think anyone's disagreeing with the main priciples of child initiated play - certainly not me anyway :) but it is just the practicality of being able to observe everything you need to in order to complete the profiles for 57 children (our cohort last year) through observation.

 

As I said before there are some things you just won't catch, or that some children will never show evidence of because they are just not interested in doing it when they can choose from so much more.

 

I think anyone that might be suggesting the ratio is difficult is only saying that they have found that for some things you might actually need to plan a specific activity for the chlidren. For me, observation still takes on the main form of assessment in this situation, but it might be with a specific focus in mind. This is, of course, in addition to all the other CI obbos that go alongside this. The main thing is how you put this activity in context, e.g. gearing it towards the chlidren's interests.

 

As Reception practitioners we are under pressure to get our judgments right. That means being sure a child can do something in a range of contexts. I'm not saying it's easier with Nursery children (I work in a FSU so have experience of both) but it's just not so final. Generally speaking the moderators aren't going to be in checking on every little detail.

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Hi, still been thinking alot about this. I am just worried by the sheer practicality of it all. Most of our day is child initiated with short teacher directed bursts. My TA is brilliant at obs and I have re-read many of them trying to see if we missed things.

 

All I can conclude is that many children are in schemas or do the same things (with a variety of different media/objects) and we obviously do get info for the Profile but often the same over and over from one child with many gaps in other areas.

 

YES, I know you can set things up but if you do believe in the child initiated way these set up things are quickly and at times amazingly and ingeniously used to the child's own end - here comes my problem - by stepping in (trying to find 'evidence' to complete the profile aren't you then changing the child-initiated into a teacher initiated activity???

 

I would also like to add that I have always been very lucky with my reception classes, and have found the children extremely motivated and keen to try almost anything!

 

 

I had found my class obs very useful this year, setting up an activity or asking a question/problem and then me or my TA noting down any useful snippets. I had also found my one to one chats with individuals very enlightening and useful too.

 

Well, I will try my best for the 80%.

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I agree with you again Bungalow. At the end of the day all our classes are different for whatever reason. We need to use our professional judgments to decide what's best and to get the right balance. I love what's happening in EY education at the moment, but I think we need to be constantly evaluating how we take the next steps forward so that we don't lose the indivdual creativity of many teachers. Just like we celebrate differences in our children, we should also celebrate differences in teaching approaches and accept that as long as the basic principles are the same, there isn't just one way.

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Hi, still been thinking alot about this. I am just worried by the sheer practicality of it all. Most of our day is child initiated with short teacher directed bursts. My TA is brilliant at obs and I have re-read many of them trying to see if we missed things.

 

All I can conclude is that many children are in schemas or do the same things (with a variety of different media/objects) and we obviously do get info for the Profile but often the same over and over from one child with many gaps in other areas.

 

YES, I know you can set things up but if you do believe in the child initiated way these set up things are quickly and at times amazingly and ingeniously used to the child's own end - here comes my problem - by stepping in (trying to find 'evidence' to complete the profile aren't you then changing the child-initiated into a teacher initiated activity???

 

I would also like to add that I have always been very lucky with my reception classes, and have found the children extremely motivated and keen to try almost anything!

I had found my class obs very useful this year, setting up an activity or asking a question/problem and then me or my TA noting down any useful snippets. I had also found my one to one chats with individuals very enlightening and useful too.

 

Well, I will try my best for the 80%.

 

I think we could be pedantic and say that the childrens learning is all adult initiated because of the mere fact that the classroom / learning environment is designed and laid out by adults. I personally define teacher directed as a planned activity, including learning outcomes, resources, methods etc. If children access equipment and use them to their own ends, then an adult steps in and being aware of the childs 'gaps' enables the child to think about their play within a particular context then i see this as extending their learning, or enabling current knowledge shown in other areas of play to be explored within a different context. The fact that the play was initiated by the child, and now an adult shows interst and interacts appropriately, gently suggesting different ways to think about what they are doing or what other things they could do with their chosen resources would motivate the child. Swings and roundabouts, your professional judgment may be that you decide your interaction is going no-where, so you leave, or the child participates but within a different context that has been introduced by you. There is a difference between introducing new concepts and directing planned activities. Hopefully this definition will help you feel that adult interaction / stepping in doesn't necessarily equate to adult directed time.

 

What 'gaps' do you find difficult to evidence? I don't work with the profiles but maybe other teachers would be able to give examples of ways they have evidenced certain profile criteria.

 

I also think that EYP's should be able to use their professional judgement in identifying transferable skills that children may show, for example, if a child copes well with a fire drill, I would judge that the same child could cope with changes to the routine, even though I may never have the opportunity to observe this ( if I was in a situation where the routine always stays the same to fit in with other classroom timetables etc).

 

I'm sure you will find a way, mainly because the most important thing is that you are committed to providing 80% child initiated time, try not to be too hard on yourself and maybe ask if the moderaters can provide training on evidencing the 'difficult to prove' criteria, or give advice on how best to ensure individual children's 'gaps' are addressed and evidenced witnin such a large cohort.

 

Peggy

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'If children access equipment and use them to their own ends, then an adult steps in and being aware of the childs 'gaps' enables the child to think about their play within a particular context then i see this as extending their learning, or enabling current knowledge shown in other areas of play to be explored within a different context. The fact that the play was initiated by the child, and now an adult shows interst and interacts appropriately, gently suggesting different ways to think about what they are doing or what other things they could do with their chosen resources would motivate the child. Swings and roundabouts, your professional judgment may be that you decide your interaction is going no-where, so you leave, or the child participates but within a different context that has been introduced by you. There is a difference between introducing new concepts and directing planned activities. Hopefully this definition will help you feel that adult interaction / stepping in doesn't necessarily equate to adult directed time.'

 

 

I quite agree Peggy I think the fact that an adult shows interest sometimes valadates the activity in the child's eyes and shows that the adult values what they are doing and that it is important.

As teachers we find it very difficult to take that step back and allow the children to 'get on with learning' but the whole point is not to take over but be aware of what the child is doing/learning and enhance that learning if necessary (with the child's permission) sometimes a suggestion such as would you like a menu for your cafe? or would some string help with your model? the child is free to accept or decline

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Thanks Peggy once again for your very wise and helpful words.

 

One of your last comments - 80% time for child initiated - this is not my problem, (I really, really love child initiated - wish it was extended all the way up throughout education) the problem is having most of your evidence to inform the Profile (80%) from observations of child inititated play. (I agree with the 80% too by the way - it just feels like an impossible task for 30 children with nearly 130+ points to consider - many Profile points contain several sub points)

 

My gaps this year included naming 3D shapes (we do label our junk modellling stuff accordingly - cuboids, prisms etc) and, surprisingly, using numbers as labels for counting - my children just didn't seem to verbalise as they played in a 'mathematical' way - yes, lots of other lovely and illuminating language.

 

Playing a game (set up by me with a queque of children wanting a turn) - yes - then lots of correct mathematical terms and number names (obviously this one time would not convince me a child was secure in their knowledge)

 

The 'game' type evidence will not be good enough for the Profile - rightly so? - but if after several games, class obs and 'catch it if you can' post it note obs you feel the child can do it but have no observations from child initiated what do you do??

 

 

Then let's consider the other 29 children....

 

As I said before I will try !

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Thanks Peggy once again for your very wise and helpful words.

 

One of your last comments - 80% time for child initiated - this is not my problem, (I really, really love child initiated - wish it was extended all the way up throughout education) the problem is having most of your evidence to inform the Profile (80%) from observations of child inititated play. (I agree with the 80% too by the way - it just feels like an impossible task for 30 children with nearly 130+ points to consider - many Profile points contain several sub points)

 

My gaps this year included naming 3D shapes (we do label our junk modellling stuff accordingly - cuboids, prisms etc) and, surprisingly, using numbers as labels for counting - my children just didn't seem to verbalise as they played in a 'mathematical' way - yes, lots of other lovely and illuminating language.

 

Playing a game (set up by me with a queque of children wanting a turn) - yes - then lots of correct mathematical terms and number names (obviously this one time would not convince me a child was secure in their knowledge)

 

The 'game' type evidence will not be good enough for the Profile - rightly so? - but if after several games, class obs and 'catch it if you can' post it note obs you feel the child can do it but have no observations from child initiated what do you do??

Then let's consider the other 29 children....

 

As I said before I will try !

 

 

This might help with your concerns

''When making a judgement for the FSP, practitioners should draw on at least 80% of evidence from knowledge of the child, observations and anecdotal assessments, and no more than 20% of evidence from adult directed or focused assessments.''

 

I have taken the quote from a members post and included the link to the full document

 

http://www.foundation-stage.info/forums/in...?showtopic=6423

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Marion - thank you SO much that definition of the 80%. To me, it makes all the difference in the world - I instantly feel it is achievable and realistic and, most importantly, would give a more accurate and insightful picture of the child.

 

I am going to make a note of it straight away!

 

Thank you once again.

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