The portfolio is a planning file which contains three detailed assessments of children’s learning. The assessments will be conducted on three different children; each assessment will cover all seven areas of learning.
Firstly, the writer will describe the setting, and then the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2012, that requires schools to work in partnership with parents. This will be a part of the on-going observation and assessment process. By observation, assessment and planning the system will be effective particularly when these elements come together as a cycle. According to Macleod and Kay (2008) all planning starts with observing children in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning. By observing children, teachers understand their needs, what they are interested in and what they can do. Secondly, there will be an analysis of the role of observation and assessment in planning that will highlight the three children’s achievements or their need for further support. This will start with Child A, followed by Child B and lastly Child C who are aged 4-5 years. Observation, assessment and planning will flow into one another. Finally, the writer of this profile will discuss developmental assessment, what it is and how it is used in the setting for each of the children. This all will result in summarising how the planning/observation cycle has enabled progress in the learning of Children A, B and C.
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The primary school itself is a four storey Victorian building. The rooms are spacious and very well resourced. They have a dedicated early year’s centre, music and performing arts suite and a computer suite as well as computers in every classroom.
There are three outdoor play areas for the children including a wildlife garden, two quiet gardens and games areas.
The school is in Central London, surrounded by world class learning institutions and opportunities, which act daily as extended classrooms. It works in close partnership with parents and carers to encourage them to be involved in their children’s education. As well as valuing their parents and carers, they are always welcome in school. The primary school is a multi-cultural environment but the majority of children are Bengali. The school runs from Nursery to Year Six with the capacity for over 400 children aged between three to twelve years. There are 39 children in reception aged between 4-5 years and this is where the three children are observed. It is formed by having two groups: one called ‘Lady Birds’ and the other ‘Grasshoppers’, the teachers both work in tandem with one another to plan the children’s curriculum. Both of the groups have one main teacher with a teaching assistant. The ‘Lady Birds’ has 19 children, 10 boys and 9 girls. The ‘Grasshoppers’ has 11 girls and 9 boys. As this is a primary school all children are expected to attend as children’s attainment and achievement is directly linked to high school attendance (Ref?). School starts at 9 o’clock. Children are expected to attain a minimum of 95% attendance. All classes compete for an attendance award each week and a cup each term.
The Equality Act 2010 was introduced to ensure protection from discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of specific characteristics (referred to as protected characteristics). This means that the setting cannot discriminate against pupils or treat them less favourably because of their gender, race, disability, religion or belief. (The Act also covers discrimination relating to gender reassignment, sexual orientation or pregnancy or maternity which perhaps has less relevance for young children).
Early Years Foundation Stage
EYFS 2012 is a legal framework that sets the standards for all the providers for early years to certify that children learn and develop as well as maintained in a healthy and secure manor. It encourages teaching and learning and ensures that they are well equipped with a range of knowledge and skills. In addition this will help them build the basis of their learning and aid them to progress through education and life.
The school wants the children to develop independence and to co-operate with others and to talk and communicate in a range of situations.
The opportunities for learning are provided through a planned and balanced adult-led and child-initiated curriculum. To enable children to develop positive self-esteem and attitude, learning takes place both indoors and outdoors. It is expected that suitable clothing and footwear are worn to school so that children can benefit from the experiences provided in all weathers. All early years providers follow the EYFS (2012) ensuring that every child is encouraged to learn through play.
In September 2008 the EYFS framework becomes statutory for all early years care and education providers in Ofsted registered settings attended by children from birth to five years of age.
It created a framework that replaces the three previous early year’s documents – Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, Birth to Three Matters and National Standards for Under 8s Day-care and Child-minding.
However On the 27th March 2012 a revised version of the EYFS framework was established which then followed the execution from the 1 September 2012. This covers a vital part of the Government’s wider vision for families in the foundation years. It shows the emphasis of supporting children by removing professionals from bureaucracy. Together with a more flexible, free early education entitlement and new streamlined inspection arrangements, this was the birth of EYFS 2012.
In addition the Early Education (2012) is also pleased to launch Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage, new non-statutory guidance produced by Early Education with support from the Department for Education that supports all those working in early childhood education.
The role of observation and assessment in planning for children’s learning
Children are observed to assess developmental progress. Observation takes place primarily through children’s normal daily activities, their use of language, social interactions with others and work samples that demonstrate learning.
In a sense, observation can have different meanings and imply different degrees of involvement to many practitioners. But in this case, the term ‘observation’ according to Wadsworth, (1983) is the act of looking at something, without influencing it and recording the scene or action for later analysis (Also see Appendix 3A).
The four key ideas of observation involve regular intentional watching of children in a wide variety of circumstances that are representative of their behaviours and skills demonstrated over time. Secondly, a daily observation would be an on-going one involving classroom/home performances and typical activities of the child leading to the collection of a wealth of reliable information. The third key idea of observation relates to demonstrated performance during real activities, not actions that are contrived or unnatural. Finally, as a practitioner the writer would need a solid understating of the meaning and purpose of observation and should have practice recording children’s behaviours and skills every day.
According to Bruce (2006), we observe in order to improve our teaching, construct theory, help parents, use an assessment tool, wonder why and solve a problem and communicate with children. The different types of observation include narrative where the observer makes records that keep track of everything that happens in a specified time period. The writer finds this most valuable, but also the most difficult because â€¦. Secondly, the observer can use time samples where the method used is to count the number of behaviours occurring at uniform timed intervals. There are also event samples where the observer records a specific behaviour only when it occurs. Finally, there are teacher-designed instruments, like checklists, rating scales and shadow studies.
When assessing a plan, evaluation would be key, according to ________ (year), who goes on to say that in education practitioners evaluate for curriculum, materials and equipment, the environment, children’s behaviour and teachers’ effectiveness. As the writer is a practitioner he can reflect that when he evaluates, it provides information by which to rate performance, define areas of difficulty, and look for possible solutions, as well as goal setting, monitoring growth and progress, and planning.
___________ (year) suggests good evaluations include selecting what will be evaluated, having a clear purpose and stating goals clearly, and so forth. But ___________(year) expresses concern about evaluations making unfair comparison, placing overemphasis on norms and interpretations, and so forth. However, although both theorists might make a justified point, the current writer agrees that evaluation is a broad concept which can be an informal process but is often times confused with more formal testing and measurements. Through evaluation, teachers link specific goals to larger, more encompassing objectives that focus on the relationship between teaching in the classroom and the overriding educational objectives. The writer also understands that observation is a natural process in which all practitioners participate all the time. They look at and listen to children.
However the disadvantage and a major problem with observation, according to Wadsworth, (1983) is the fact that an observer is also a learner. Observers, like their subjects, have feelings, aspirations, fears, biases, and prejudices. Any one of these can influence and distort that which is being observed. He goes on to say that, ‘an observer watches a group of children at play. One child turns to another and strikes him on the arm. The observer jots down “hostility.” The event was “one child strikes another.” The observer interpreted the act to be one of hostility. Wadsworth (1983) explains that when an observer thus infers motive to observed action, he/she adds something of him/herself to the data. Such data may be distorted and therefore invalid and unreliable.
In the early years setting there are seven areas of learning and development which are labelled into two. The first is the three prime areas which are Communication and Language (CL); Physical Development (PD); and Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) Secondly, the four Specific Areas, through which the three Prime Areas are strengthened and applied, are Literacy (L); Mathematics (M); Understanding the World (UW); and Expressive Arts and Design (EAD).
Macleod and Kay (2008), mention that all areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. The Three Prime Areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
The writer’s school Developmental Assessment follows the EYFS (2012) review. They consider the assessment pyramid. The pyramid demonstrates that there is a large amount of information collected about each child and attempts to define some of these data sets. This pyramid also attempts to demonstrate that there is a link between formative assessment and planning. The pyramid shows that the end result of summative assessment of the data collected is the end product and that the progress of the child remains as the main focus of the process (EYFS 2012). The Statutory framework for the EYFS mentions the responsibility for assessment and day to day practice like the planning cycle. This lies with teachers who observe, assess, plan and do these again and again.
Development Matters (2012) is also used as part of observation, assessment and planning. It is used at points during the EYFS (2012) as a guide to making best-fit summative judgements, with parents and colleagues across agencies, about whether a child is showing typical development, may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age.
Appendix 1A shows the Plan in the settings of EYFS ‘Medium Term Planning’ for Children A, B and C; it displays the seven stages as mentioned before. The main focus and theme is traditional tales. (See Appendix 1A underlined in pink) It also gives objectivess and early learning goals; these are under the seven areas of development and the ones that are highlighted in yellow are the ones Child A, B and C had completed; at the bottom are the Characteristics of Effective Learning like assessment, environment/resources and stories. (See Appendix 1A)
Appendix 2A shows the Assessment and Evaluation of the weekly planning for Child A, B and C. and gives the children’s interest, needs and schemas. It also gives the children seven areas as well as the next steps to be taken for Child A, B and C; finally it gives the children’s experiences. (See Appendix 2A)
Appendix 3A shows the weekly Environment Plan for Reception giving time to include the activities with the theme set. (See Appendix 3A)
Appendix 4A is the characteristics of effective learning – process over outcome. This is to give practitioners and teachers ideas and encourage the keeping in mind of these thoughts when interacting with children. (See Appendix 4A)
Observation of children A, B, and C
Based on the three assessments above the writer observed each child engaged in activity/exp.
The framework which the school uses is the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (2012). The activities they provide cover the seven areas of learning for Child A, B and C. It will help them to plan how best to support young children’s learning and development and share information and ideas with parents and carers.
Assessment and Evaluation
Observationsâ€¦Aresa Prim and Specify â€¦â€¦
Weekly Environment Plan for Reception
Observationssâ€¦ Areas working together
Good assessment and planning show that all staff participate together as a team for the good of the children giving the children the best start in life with the parents at the heart of their child’s planning and learning.
In order to provide an appropriate curriculum, it is required that individuals working with young children learn about the individual child’s needs, as well as the needs of the group (Peck et al, 1993). Assessment should be an on-going process, be made both formally and informally, and incorporate a variety of methods. Assessment should include the use of input (Peck et al, 1999)
As a practitioner working with young children the writer should acknowledge the importance of consistently updating assessment information and using that information in planning and developing programmes and intervention strategies. The children who were observed are constantly growing, developing new skills, and sometimes developing new concerns and difficulties; it is recognised by the setting that the importance of collecting data on a child’s progress is less important than determining how to address their needs.
In conclusion, at the school attendee by Child A, B and C curriculum goals would seem to be realistic and attainable for most children and assessing of individual children’s development is appropriate for the curriculum. The literature relating to early learning suggests that assessment and curriculum should be integrated, with teachers continually engaging in observation for the purpose of improving teaching and learning. This seems to be the case at the school in question and the planning/observation cycle has enabled progress in Child A, B and C’s learning.
Appendix One – Permission slip
The father to Child A gives permission concerning Abdul to take pictures, drawing and any other effects to help him to complete his task. I also give him permission to look at my child’s profile or anything related that he might need to use.
The mother to Child B gives permission concerning Abdul to take pictures, drawing and any other effects to help her to complete his task. I also give him permission to look at my child’s profile or anything related that he might need to use.
The father to Child C gives permission concerning Abdul to take pictures, drawing and any other effects to help him to complete his task. I also give him permission to look at my child’s profile or anything related that he might need to use.
I __________ Mentor for Abdul at the school, give him the permission to take a serious of observation on Child A, B and C to complete his task.
Early Years Foundation Stage Medium Term Planning for Reception
Assessment and Evaluation
Weekly Environment Plan for Reception