I’m starting with a huge thank you to Nelson Thornes, who pulled out all the stops this month to ensure that my new book, A Practical Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage, hit the shelves in super quick time so that practitioners and learners have the all important, up-to-date support that they need. It’s available now in bookshops and online.
So, the revised EYFS has been with us for a month now, and settings will be starting to evaluate how well their September curriculum plans promoted the new framework. (You can check out last month’s blog for information on planning). But the recent framework revision also presents another important evaluation opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked – now is the ideal time for practitioners to evaluate their own individual knowledge, performance and understanding, and to think about future personal development.
The time is right because the EYFS revisions haven’t just affected the way certain things are done at your setting – they will have impacted on your job description. This is down to the fact that the EYFS sets out the minimum acceptable standards that early years settings must legally maintain to meet the terms of their registration.
Settings expect staff members to promote – and ideally exceed – these standards everyday as they carry out their job roles. So when the minimum standards change, your practice must also keep pace if you are to continue fulfilling your contractual obligations. With this in mind, you can see how important it is for practitioners to take the time to evaluate their current practice in light of the new requirements. But how can early years workers go about doing this?
The key is to be a “reflective practitioner” – or in other words, someone who regularly reflects and makes notes on what they do, how they do it and what they achieve. You can use these notes to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and to pinpoint your own development needs. For example, you may discover that you need to gain further knowledge in promoting the new Prime areas of learning and development, or in completing the newly required EYFS progress check at age 2. You can then talk to your employer about the best way for you to gain the knowledge or skills that you need – perhaps via in-house mentoring from an experienced colleague, or attending a seminar or a short course.
To help with the process, we’ve provided a reflective practice factsheet here on Planet Vocational. (If you haven’t yet registered on Planet Vocational, do sign up – you’ll be able to access many handy resources over the coming months, which will complement the content of the new book).
And learners – it’s important for you to reflect on your practice too! Some work placements may ask you to fill in self-evaluation forms. We’ve provided a practical example of this for you here.
Until next month, have fun with your autumn activities – there’s nothing quite like little feet kicking up all those leaves!