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The Foundation Stage Forum May Newsletter 2020

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Welcome to the May FSF Newsletter.

The country remains in lockdown, while speculating when we might move forwards into a new way of living. When this happens, it will involve the reopening of schools and Early Years settings to children, although this is likely to be a gradual process, taken in small steps. The Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams, and the Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney, have both indicated that a phased return will be necessary, while the shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has raised the issue of needing to convince parents and carers that it is safe for their children to return to school. As well as persuading families, there will also be huge practical and organisational implications for individual schools and settings to manage: how to integrate social distancing with children; how to communicate staggered start times or rotational attendance to families; how parents and carers will balance incomplete school attendance at the same time as possibly returning to their workplaces; how to facilitate social distancing at drop off and collection times. 

Many Early Years settings have remained open, and will be practicing some of the measures they could roll out to all families during a possible phased return. In her blog, June O'Sullivan discusses how LEYF nurseries have adapted so far, and what practical steps they will be taking to prepare for more children to attend again. 

Children's well-being must be at the heart of any return process. Barry Carpenter, Professor of Mental Health in Education, Oxford Brookes University, and Matthew Carpenter, Principle of Baxter College, Kidderminster, have written A Recovery Curriculum, reflecting on how we could achieve this. 

Meanwhile, the Early Years sector has been navigating its way through the stormy waters of funding and government support. The Early Years Alliance provides useful links related to this, including the latest guidance on Early Entitlement Funding. On Wednesday 22nd April, Helen took part in a remote meeting with Tulip Siddiq, Shadow Early Years Minister, along with other members of the Sector. They discussed the level of support necessary to help childcare businesses survive the current crisis, as well as what can be done to help them stay open for key workers and vulnerable children, and looking forwards to the challenges when restrictions are lifted and how to build sustainability in the sector in the future. Tulip Siddiq took the suggestions from the discussion to a subsequent meeting with Vicky Ford, Minister for Children. 

It is currently the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the pandemic means it will be a very different sort of Ramadam for Muslims around the world, with Mosques closed and gatherings not permitted. We send warm wishes for this important month.

Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Kareem. 






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:

Slough - 9th year

Central Bedfordshire - 8th year

New Content

Here at the FSF we remain working at home but staying connected to keep articles, podcasts and resources coming your way. This month we have had an inspiring article from Mine Conkbayir, looking at ways in which families can support children to learn self regulation while they are at home. Stephen has written another piece in his series about pre-verbal communication - this one explores Makaton, and Jules and Tim reflect on the financial guidance for Early Years providers. In our Primary section, Ben follows up on last month's advice about writing a covering letter for a job application with a look at how to get through your teaching interview.  

Our podcasts this month have included chatting with a parent about balancing parenting with home learning during lockdown, discussing how a primary school has adapted to this new way of teaching and learning with headteacher Andrew Simpson, and catching up with the Tapestry Product Support team. 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 FSF has been providing a place for educators to talk and discover for almost 20 years. On the forum, we have opened an area to hold conversations about the pandemic and how it is affecting educators and settings. You can visit and take part in discussions or ask a question here. And our SEND Advisor, Stephen, continues to use the hashtag #SENDAtHome on twitter to collect ideas for supporting families. 

The education team are still creating weekly EYFS infographics to send home to families and children, with simple everyday activities to support development. You will find them on the Tapestry Coronavirus Info page. Key Stage Maths and Literacy ones will be added soon, as well as some for children with additional needs. The Tapestry team have added a number of new features, including the ability to schedule observations, memos and activities to go out at a time of your choosing, and being able to add audio files of up to 30 minutes of 5GB. They have also developed Activities. This feature offers a catalogue of activities added by the education team for you to browse through and then move any you have selected to your own collection. You can plan and add activities based on these ideas. Activities in your collection and in the Planned Activities section can be shared with relatives. To learn more about how to enable and use this on your account you can watch this playlist.

Take care and stay safe. 



From The Forum

Job retention scheme looking less hopeful

Have you all seen the latest guidance? 

Early adoption of the revised EYFS

I applied for our setting to be an early adopter of the revised EYFS curriculum from September 2020. 

September new intake

It should be time to start offering places to the new starters for September. However, a couple of existing parents of children who should be moving onto school then are talking about delaying school entry because they want them to get the preschool experience they will have missed during closure. 

Edited by Jules

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