NEW! Miranda’s Blog – August 2012

Miranda-Walker_blog_v2bHi and welcome!

Each month I’ll be blogging about all things early years. Alongside, you’ll be able to access factsheets and other handy resources from Planet Vocational, so do register for free access. I’m so pleased that Nelson Thornes is offering this support for practitioners and students just when it’s needed most – as we all get our heads around the revised Early Years Foundation Stage! Nelson Thornes have also ensured that my new book, A Practical Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage, will hit the shelves in time for the autumn term, thanks to some super speedy publishing! Go Nelson Thornes!

This month I’d like to focus on change. There’s certainly a lot of it about…
The revised EYFS becomes mandatory for providers in England on 1st September. Practitioners are currently researching, planning and training to ensure they’re ready to meet – or exceed – the new requirements. Tutors are also busy getting themselves up-to-speed, ready to teach the next cohort of students all they will need to know.

In practice of course, a lot of what practitioners do day-to-day within settings will not change at all. On 1st September, children themselves will be no different than they were on 31st August! But with the significant revision to the EYFS, everyone will be making some changes.

The success of these will depend on many factors, and a period of monitoring is the key to ensuring that any changes introduced achieve the desired results – this applies from changes made to the educational programme to ensure due focus is given to the new Prime areas of learning, to changes made to the assessment process to accommodate the new Progress check at age two. Time is also needed to allow changes to “bed in.” But one factor that may impact on the early success of changes made in any area is often overlooked – how individual practitioners feel about and cope with change.

It’s entirely natural for us to feel a bit apprehensive about anything new – in life, not just in early years! Especially if we felt comfortable and secure with what went before. But change can also be an exciting prospect, challenging us, broadening our horizons and helping us to grow and develop. High quality settings will help their staff to embrace the changes ahead by providing the training and discussion needed to foster confidence. But it’s likely that some of us will be naturally predisposed to embrace change more easily than others.

One thing we can be sure of, best practice and mandatory requirements will keep developing and changing throughout our careers, so where professional practice is concerned, the ability to respond positively to change is an important skill. You can read about techniques that can be used to develop this at http://www.thefabricator.com/article/trainingretention/coping-with-change-in-the-workplace

If you’d like to influence future early years changes, you can respond to the Government’s call for suggestions on how to make childcare more affordable and accessible. To take part in the consultation, visit http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2012/childcare-commission.shtml by 31st August.

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