Assessment in Focus

trackingStaff meetings are the perfect time to encourage reflective practice and support continuous professional development.  We have an outstanding planning and assessment process which supports our individual children and where any children that may need a little extra support, are quickly identified and actions implemented.

However, part of being an early year’s practitioner, professional or nursery manager is to be reflective of areas in which we can re-train, refresh or improve upon.  After discussions with Janet (the nursery manager) and with the revision of the EYFS in September 2014 imminent, Julie (the nursery owner) and I decided to deliver training to the staff which will support their knowledge in meeting the needs of their key children through effective assessment.

We use on-going observations of the children and information from their parents to plan ‘next steps’ that are responsive and provide learning opportunities for the children. This is called formative assessment and this is where information is used to inform our planning. ‘Next steps’ and also where we can enhance our environment to support the children’s development.

progIn addition to these we complete termly tracking of our children’s progress, learning and development summaries and two year old progress checks. These are summative assessments, where practitioners record and write summaries about the development of their key children at a specific point in time. Any children that may need additional support in an area are quickly identified and an action plan is created. This is also when Janet, Julie and I look at the summative data and analyse this information to support the development of the setting and staff as a whole.

Julie and I developed a CPD session which would focus the staff back to the importance of accurate and informative assessments. In particular how staff can use their extensive knowledge of their key children’s interests to plan exciting and challenging learning opportunities for the children. The staff completed different activities which refreshed their knowledge of the Early Years Outcomes and Characteristics of Effective Learning. Julie discussed the role of a key person and also the elements of effective teaching.

cpd

 

Ofsted refer to teaching in early years as:”Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.”(Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2012, DfE, 2012.)

The staff also watched video clips of children engaged in play and identified the way in which the child was learning and where their observations linked to the Early Years Outcomes. The staff enjoyed part one of their CPD session and we were impressed with their knowledge and understanding of assessment. We decided as a whole nursery that they would like a focus on the tracking process for our next staff meeting. One staff member said “It was a very interactive session! Thank you Julie and Emma!”

 

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