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The Foundation Stage Forum EYFS April Newsletter 2020

In Newsletters

Welcome to the April FSF newsletter. What a difference a month makes. We are now in the midst of a global pandemic and the enormity of what this means for so many, including those in education, is beginning to sink in. 

Key Stage and Early Years educators have been recognised as Key Workers. Schools are only open to support vulnerable children and children of key workers, with many staff working in rotation teams over the days and weeks at the same time as trying to support home learning for those children staying with their families. Now the Easter holidays have arrived, and many schools will be remaining open, offering childcare for key worker and vulnerable children. 

Early Years settings are balancing a lack of income, as children are kept at home, with the need to furlough team members, staff illness and lack of childcare for the staff’s own children. They are also trying to stay open for vulnerable and key worker children, and attempting to remain connected with young children now at home. 

This has never happened before. There is no template, nothing for us to follow. Everyone is making it up as they go along. The anxieties are very real. And so are the acts of kindness, community and creativity. Thank you for the work you are currently doing for children and families around the country. 

Navigating your way through all this will be very challenging. The Government is updating it's website gov.uk as necessary, and the Early Years Alliance has advice for early years settings, including their latest update on furloughing staff

There are so many resources being suggested for educators and parents to use - it can be overwhelming. If you have been working with young children, we would like to remind you that the BBC’s Tiny Happy People is well worth directing your families to for activities to support their child's communication and language development. They are adding new content every Tuesday. 

Easter and Spring are traditionally times of hope and renewal. We wish you a hopeful and safe Easter this April.


LA Scheme

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, who have renewed their LA subscription. Members from these authorities need do nothing; their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

Cornwall - 10th year

Hampshire - 15th year



New Content

The FSF and Tapestry team are all at home, working remotely to continue to create content for our members, visitors and users. On the FSF this month we have a focus on SEND. Stephen Kilgour, our SEND Advisor, has begun a series about pre-verbal communication, starting with an article on Intensive Interaction. Next up will be a discussion about Makaton. Stephen has also written two pieces about the current crisis: one in response to Gavin Williamson's closure of schools and settings, and the other reflecting on the impact of this on families with children with additional needs.

Watch out for the hashtag #SENDAtHome which Stephen is using on twitter to collect ideas for supporting families. 

As we approach the summer term, we enter the time of job application and interviews. Even in these unprecedented times the comings and goings of staffing will still be happening. In the Primary section on the FSF, Ben has written the first of two articles about applying for a teaching job. Here he focusses on the 'covering letter'. Meanwhile, Jack explores STEM (and STEAM) subjects in his article Full STEAM Ahead

We also have some new podcasts for you - we share some of our favourite poems, discuss some of the positives we've seen in education during the crisis, and Ben interviews Portia, a teacher from the UK working in Italy during the lockdown there. Our most recent podcast is a discussion between Helen and nursery owner Rebecca Swindells, about how she prepared her team for the COVID -19 crisis and how they are coping now. You can listen to our podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify as well as other platforms. Don't forget to subscribe so you know when a new one has been added.  

The education team have also been creating infographics for settings to share with families who are at home. These will continue to cover activity ideas for the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and some Key Stage related ones will be added soon. You can find them on the Tapestry Coronavirus.Info page. This page also contains answers to FAQs about Tapestry, and new features that the developers have been adding to try and make things a little easier for users right now. These include memos, new Reports, extended video limits and clickable links in posts. 


Take care and stay safe.

From the FSF team.


From The Forum

Planning for Key Worker children

Hi just wondering if anyone has a suggested timetable for Keyworker children during the period when they are in school over the next few weeks?


Just wondering whether there are any copyright issues around videos of staff reading stories via closed class Facebook pages? 


I hope you are coping ok in these fast changing uncertain times. I am a small setting and we have had to close . We will be in receipt of the Government funding but many of our parents who would have paid for further hours cannot use them because of the Governments advice about self isolating. 

Edited by Jules

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