Observation, Assessment and Planning - Early Years Matters
Working together to really understand and meet a child's individual needs begins with valuing and respecting the different roles that each partner plays. It is a. Planning effectively to meet children's individual needs and interests. The EYFS states that 'practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests and stage. It is an integral part of the assessment and planning cycle and a firm observations to find out more about individuals or groups of children. process of understanding and addressing children's learning needs and interests.
When completing a personalised learning plan consider: There is a downloadable template in Resources. Planning for an individual child should also include how any transitions will be managed for them, for example a baby moving into the toddler room, or a child moving onto Reception year in a school. Planning for the Session When planning for the session practitioners will need to consider: Planning for Individual Activities Completing a planning sheet for an individual activity helps practitioners focus in on the learning and development for the child.
Each of the seven areas are considered within the activity providing a holistic approach. It encourages the practitioner to think about the resources needed for the activity and how they can be adapted to suit the needs of the individual child.
Planning in the moment Planning in the moment is about skilled practitioners using interactions with the children to develop their knowledge and build on it there and then.
This is completely child initiated and allows practitioners to join them in their learning.
Identifying and supporting all children’s individual needs
With planning in the moment, there will be no forward planning as all planning is retrospective. Sharing Planning with other Carers If a provision cares for a child who attends another form of childcare, eg a childminder collects them from pre-school, then it is important that the provision shares its planning for that child with the other carer.
Characteristics of Effective Learning When planning, practitioners need to have an understanding of the characteristics of effective learning and how these thread through all the seven areas of learning.
Creative and thinking critically. Practitioners need to be aware of how each child is unique and will have different methods of learning.
The knowledge of each child will further help practitioners to develop suitable activities to support their learning.
Planning for Children Extending Their Time Within the Provision With the launch of the extended entitlement of funded early education to 30 hours for working parents, some children will be spending longer periods of time within the provision. Staff need to consider this when planning for individual children. Longer days away from home may require planning in quiet periods or even short naps for some children.
Handbook provides information on how the assessment of a child at the end of EYFS can support the planning for them when they start in Year 1 and Key Stage 1. Training All staff need to be trained in: Staff need to be trained in how the provision records their planning and become involved in the process. Adults working with young children should always be alert to significant information that children communicate to us through their words or actions.
It is crucial that practitioners are able to respond spontaneously to children's play and learning and to take opportunities for observation as they arise. Many observation opportunities occur incidentally and these can offer useful 'snapshots' of children's learning. Such observations may be very brief and concise, perhaps focusing on one aspect of learning, but can offer important assessment information, especially when viewed in the context of others.
Other spontaneous opportunities may require the practitioner to observe over a longer period of time in order to document a process or continuous activity.Specific education needs
Effective implementation of this observational approach will impact on a setting's short-term planning and teams will need to ensure that adult-led activities do not dominate the curriculum or the adults' time. There should be flexibility within the working week for adults to support a focus and to observe and support child-initiated learning. Sometimes the team may plan time for an adult to assume the role of 'observer' within the context of child-initiated play.
Whatever the organisational issues within a particular setting, it is imperative that the principles of good observational practice should inform decisions and that staff are afforded ample time to observe children and so ensure high-quality assessments. Practitioners may plan a series of focused observations in areas of provision looking at individuals' self-initiated play in each area.
Such an approach can be a very effective way of gathering information about a child in several curriculum areas. Narrative observations offer a more holistic picture of the child's learning at the time of observation and can give the practitioner useful information about what is interesting and motivating the child.
Sometimes practitioners will decide to 'track' a child over the course of a session, a day or longer to find out more about that child as an individual learner. It may be that they want to identify, or confirm, interests or repeated patterns of behaviour. Or, they may want to look more closely at the child's relationships with other children or at the response of the children to the rhythm of the nursery day.
Observing children | Nursery World
They may also want to find out more about that child's style of learning or the choices they make at nursery. There are different ways of organising staff to facilitate this approach. It could be that one practitioner is deployed specifically to observe the child for a period of time or that all practitioners record their observations of the child as the child enters the area in which the adult is working.
Either way, observations will be recorded at regular intervals throughout the allotted time. An adult-led or supported focus will provide valuable opportunities to observe children on their learning journey towards identified key goals. Of course, learning during such activities will not be restricted to that planned by the adult. There will be unexpected opportunities for assessment and all significant observations should be registered, if not recorded.
Recording observations Not all observations will be written down and much useful information will be exchanged verbally through informal discussions between practitioners and with parents.
However, it is important to build up over time a record of observational information that can be shared more formally and used as a tool for reflecting on, and planning for, children's learning. Written observations It may not always be appropriate to expect all contributing adults to write down their observations of children's play and learning.
Some parents can find this expectation intimidating and scribing their comments can be an effective way of gathering information. Practitioners can scribe the information during the conversation or record comments later.
What is of paramount importance in these circumstances is the sharing of information. Some parents welcome a simple format to help them organise their comments on paper and copies of this should be readily available. Observations should document what the child has achieved - not what they have failed to do.
Depending on the type of observation, practitioners may decide to use a format or a blank sheet. Formats offer a framework that can prompt adults into including important elements in their observation.
They can be a particularly useful support as practitioners develop their skills in recording observations. Some practitioners prefer to make observational notes in a notebook and to organise these into written observations later.
This system can offer a valuable opportunity for reflection. However, practitioners should guard against spending long periods rewriting large amounts of material. Short observations recorded straight onto white sticky labels are easily transferred into individual profiles and can save a lot of time.
An observation format may include sections such as: Day, month and year. Which area of provision? Other types of observation may require slightly different formats. For example, a narrative observation would probably identify more than one key area of learning, but a margin may be useful for referencing particular aspects of learning at appropriate points in the observation, either at the time or during assessment later.
Date and context are always important and even where a format is not used, these elements should be included in the observation. Samples of work are sometimes included, with the child's permission, for assessment purposes.
Photographic observations Still photographs and video observations are an effective way of documenting the child's learning process.