Planning, Assessment & ParentZone
Every child has an innate desire to explore and question the world around them. This curiosity about life, people and events is fundamental to all children’s learning and development and guides practice at the nursery. We know that children learn and develop at their best when they are interested, engaged and appropriately challenged. By providing a rich, well resourced learning environment, skilled educators capture the moment of engagement from child initiated play and adult led activities to maximise learning. Learning in this way forms the basis of our curriculum.
Capture the interest of a child in the present and look for ‘teachable moments’ to take their learning further. Plan activities based on observations, records of interactions and evaluations, incorporating targets for children’s learning, known as next steps. Review effectiveness of teaching at weekly room meetings, and every day adapt planning to the needs and desires of each child to take in to account their emotional well being. Spend time with the children and prioritise this over and above time spent writing up and recording of many observations.
We plan for each age group differently across the nursery through iConnect, to observe, assess and track each child in relation to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Characteristics of Effective Learning (COEL). Internal planning systems are also in place for each room/age group. Through the ParentZone app, parents can log in and view their child’s learning journal and wow moments. Parents are also able to note any updates about their child’s interests and development outside of nursery, contributing to their child’s learning journey and helping to inform nursery planning.
All key people are responsible for carrying out one focus observation every two weeks for each of their children in which their interests are captured and then extended the same day. Observations noted are then linked to each child's stages of development in the EYFS and COEL. Wow moments are recorded through pictures. Recording observations is of greater importance and more frequent for younger children as their ability to fully communicate interests and desires is less than that of an older child.
The journey of learning is celebrated and captured on display boards and discussed regularly with the children and at group times. Weekly planning is completed in line with term celebrations and ideas for extending learning. Working in this way enables educators to support, respond and adapt to the ever changing needs of the rapid growth of this young age group. Learning centres on the early development of language, mobility and social skills with merging self-will and developing independence increasing as children progress through the group.
Children are regularly invited to draw ideas in a book, known as the reflection book, to communicate desires and encourage independence in self learning while also looking at their previous choices and what they have enjoyed. Children are helped to take a photo of their learning experiences and then also print the photo which is placed on the nursery display board to share and celebrate achievement with all children. Weekly planning is completed in line with term celebrations and ideas for extending learning. Educators plan and manage adult and child led activities daily through resources made available to the children incorporating the practice of Free Flow. The activities made available are based on interests identified from observation. Free Flow enables children to freely choose from those activities where they are and what they do throughout the nursery day. Educators respond directly to children’s interests as they happen and engage with them in play spontaneously. We call these teachable moments. Recording of observations lessens in importance as older children are able to communicate their desires and express needs in the moment.
The key person aims to carry out one focus observation within a six week period for each of his or her children in which the child’s interests are captured and then extended the same day. Observations noted are then linked to stages of development in the EYFS and COEL. Each child also has at least one wow moment recorded within the same six week cycle.
During children’s last year at the nursery opportunities for further responsibility including wider privileges and independence within the setting are encouraged. For example: having priority for outings; helping younger children, and; playing in more areas of their choosing. These opportunities help children develop critical personal, social and emotional skills, such as conflict resolution and emotion regulation, essential skills for school readiness. Additionally, all final stages of development are considered across the seven areas of learning where more structured, age-specific activities take place, such as teaching of mathematics and literacy, including phonics.
Children with identified additional needs will receive the same recording of focus observations and wow moments as all children. There will also be additional longer, hand-written observations by educators working with them in order to more carefully monitor any areas of added need. Observations are filed confidentially in each room along with an action plan for any child identified as having additional needs. At the end of each term, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and Designated Safeguarding Lead will review all observations for each child and further steps taken as required. Where additional needs are identified, parents are consulted and included prior to observations taking place.