Hi and welcome to the January Childcare blog!
Last month we looked at the Progress Check at age two and the EYFS Profile. This month, we’re continuing in the same vein by focussing on general on-going assessment and observation.
The old EYFS was not prescriptive about the way in which on-going assessment should be carried out, so settings were free to adopt their own assessment methods and procedures. While this was generally desirable, a lack of clarity on what was required led to concerns being raised about how frequently and how long practitioners were engaged in conducting formal observations, which often prevent normal interaction between the adult and the children in the room. There were also concerns over the amount of time spent completing lengthy assessment paperwork in some settings. This has been addressed in the revised EYFS.
There is still no prescribed way in which to carry out on-going assessment, but we are now clearly told that assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, or require excessive paperwork. This means that many settings are revising the way in which they carry out assessment. It makes sense for practitioners involved in this task to consider how the new EYFS resources can be of help.
For example, observation and assessment is, of course, essentially about considering how children are developing in light of the expected patterns of development for a child of their age. The non-statutory Development Matters guidance (a key new document introduced to support the revised EYFS) can be of huge benefit here. Not only can it be used to look up development patterns, it also provides planning suggestions for children at each stage of their development. The age bands helpfully overlap, in recognition of the fact that children develop at different rates, and that this should be anticipated. (Although naturally, a significant delay in one area of development or a number of delays in more than one area should raise concerns, and should be followed up by the practitioner). You can download a copy of the Development Matters guidance here.
Over the following months, we will be providing some practical examples of practitioners undertaking the observation and assessment required within the EYFS with children throughout the age range. The first is now available here on Planet Vocational. A reminder in case you missed last month’s blog due to the Christmas break – an accessible Overview of assessment within the EYFS Factsheet, which includes information about the Progress Check at age two and the EYFS Profile, is also available on Planet Vocational. It’s ideal to read as an introduction before embarking on the full EYFS Profile Handbook and exemplification materials, either in the classroom or the workplace.
If you haven’t yet registered for free access to Planet Vocational, do sign up – you’ll be able to access factsheets and other handy resources over the coming months, which compliment the content of my new book A Practical Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage. Happy assessing!