An integral component of monitoring children’s development is planning and observation. The EYFS prescribes that all settings have a system of assessment that incorporates children’s interests and takes into consideration each child’s individual stage of development and needs. At Young Friends, we always strive to challenge and support children’s learning as keen observers of play and development.
- Observation – Each child’s keyperson carries out regular observations during the child’s day, both recorded and unrecorded. Observations will inform how activities, environment setups, and interactions are created/carried out. Observations of children are regularly added to Tapestry, our online journaling system, and/or fed back to parents during pick up times to further extend learning at home. When uploading to Tapestry, staff select the areas and characteristics of effective learning evident in the observation. Once saved, parents receive an email alerting them to a new observation to which they can leave comments. Parents also upload their own observations from home onto Tapestry which is an excellent way for the team to extend outside learning into the nursery.
- Planning – Our interest-based planning is created daily. Each group has a planning notebook and collates their observations of children’s play throughout the day, planning access to resources that will be of the greatest interest to their key children when they’re next in. We also always encourage families to let us know about what their children are into at home so that activities and the environment at nursery can reflect their interests. Planning is available for parents to see what and how activities are planned for their children.
- Tapestry and Parent/Carer comments and observations – Our online learning journals enable our parents/carers to instantly see videos, pictures and observations of their children via their own secure code. The observations are linked to the EYFS and our families also have the opportunity to observe their children at home and send them back to us. or simply comment on the observation that has been put up. They might give an idea for example of how to extend the activity they have seen in a way that they know their child would enjoy. We really encourage this aspect of our recording system as it is a way of finding out new interests and skills so that we can add it to individual or group planning. We value this close and consistent communication and it is clear to see the benefit of it to our children’s development. Please read more about Tapestry in its own section on this site.
- Differentiation – Differentiation is used to ensure each child’s experience is individualized to his or her developmental needs and interests. When adult-led or group activities are planned, staff include how to support or challenge children within the activity. For example, for an adult-led activity about floating and sinking objects, the differentiation plan will show how or what should be a part of the activity (modelling specific/relevant vocabulary, etc.) and how to challenge or support particular children (support ZZ with using simple sentences). Upon evaluating each activity, staff glean how best to plan next steps for children. Differentiation is very important and is used to ensure each child’s experience is individualized to his or her developmental needs and interests. On this document, also found on the wall for parents/carers to see, adult-led activities are chosen and linked to its relevant area(s) of development from the EYFS. The plan is then used to highlight how to further support or challenge individual children (or the group as a whole) during the activity. For example, for an adult-led activity about floating and sinking objects, the differentiation plan will show how or what should be a part of the activity (modelling specific/relevant vocabulary, etc.) and how to challenge or support particular children (support ZZ with using simple sentences for example)After each activity it is evaluated with ways forward to improve or build upon them for use in the next day’s planning.
- Next steps – Next steps, as the name implies, are planned to extend children’s learning within their interests and provide further support. When a keyperson differentiates an activity for his/her keychildren, planned next steps are always taken into consideration. For instance, a child may be highly interested in stacking objects. A next step may be encouraging the child to make more complex arrangements and/or incorporating maths vocabulary into play such as tall, short, balance, etc.
- Progress reports – At the end of each term and in preparation for parents’ afternoons, each keyperson uses Tapestry to run a summative assessment for each of their keychildren. This provides a glance of where each child’s development falls in the seven areas of learning (early, developing, secure) as collated via uploaded observations and staff’s first-hand knowledge of keychildren’s abilities and development. Using the summative assessments, keyworkers then write up a progress report summarizing where children currently are, what typical characteristics of effective learning they demonstrate in their play, and what he/she will be working on for that child’s next steps, which are shared with and contributed to by parents during their termly parents’ afternoon.