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The Foundation Stage Forum October Newsletter 2020

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Welcome to the October FSF newsletter. 

In preparation for spending lots of time outside over the Autumn and Winter months (to stay healthy, to be able to meet friends and colleagues, and if you’re working with children – to play and learn) lots of people are dusting off their warmest coats, hats and scarves. Wrapping up will be the trend – there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes as the saying goes.

The start to the learning year has been challenging for so many. Concerns about testing availability for children and staff and the uncertainty around home learning and equality of provision across the early years and primary sectors will be impacting educators, children and families. As well as adapting to changes in routine and environment, some Reception teachers are working with the new ELGs as Early Adopters, while the content of the new Development Matters, published last month, has been hotly debated. The new DMs is a non-statutory guidance, and this is the year to read, digest and reflect on how you might incorporate it into your practice, while holding on to what you know is good in your setting. 

We have created some content to support you with understanding the new guidance: a vodcast with Dr Julian Grenier who led on the new guidance; a podcast with Dr Grenier, and Ofsted’s Gill Jones and Wendy Ratcliffe, which looks at the principles behind the new DMs and sheds light on myths about assessment data; and over on Tapestry.info, Helen has written an article about assessment and how the sector has an opportunity to make a change. We hope these will be useful as you think about how to record children's learning and development at your setting. 

October is Black History Month here in the UK. Lavinya Stennett, founder of The Black Curriculum, campaigns for black British History to be taught all year round, not just referred to in one month of the year. In this video for BBC Newsround she talks to children, young people and their educators about the campaign.

The 5th October was World Teachers' Day, an annual celebration of educators around the world and the issues that face them as they teach and learn with children and young people. The theme this year is Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future.  A joint statement from UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF and Education International included the following, referencing the huge challenges educators have faced in 2020: 

Around the world, they have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for their students to allow education to continue. 

Wishing all practitioners everywhere a happy October.



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:

Brighton & Hove 14th year

Lincolnshire 10th year

West Sussex 10th year

New Content

As well as the content already mentioned about the new Development Matters, we have lots of other things for you too. Our articles this month come from Alistair Bryce-Clegg who writes about balancing new adaptation requirements with the good practice we do all the time, and Rebecca updates us on her nursery inspection experience earlier this year - well worth a read if you are thinking about planning ahead for future inspections. We also have a Key Stage piece from The Secret Teacher who reflects on how having to use technology to support home learning will improve his teaching in the future.

For listeners, we have some new podcasts. This month, Liz Pemberton and David Cahn joined us for a profound conversation about racism; Nina Peters from ShieldUs spoke about children going to school with an invisible illness; and Greg Bottrill, author of Can I go and play now? chatted with us about the magic of learning with children.

Tapestry celebrates its 8th birthday this month. Together with the education team, the developers are focussing on adding the new Development Matters to Tapestry in a way that will best support your good practice. During lockdown, the education team created a weekly activities infographic for settings to send out to families. These will continue now on a monthly basis, with a new one being added the first Wednesday of each month. You can find them all on the infographics page on Tapestry.info.  

We are so happy to see new members on the Forum. Thank you for joining us, and to all our members for the support they offer one another every day. Do visit our discussion space for the new DMs






From The Forum

New Development Matters and Observation Checkpoints

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). 

Hand Gel/Sanitiser

Do any of you use this on the children?

Household symptoms - child attendance?

Just looking for advice in a scenario we faced yesterday...

Edited by Jules

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