Planning and observing in the Early Years setting

Planning and observing in the Early Years setting

Planning is our way to ensure that children’s learning is effective, that they are making the required progress towards the early learning goals and is key to making learning exciting, and progressive, ensuring all children have access to the same development opportunities and enjoy a balanced curriculum. 

Assessment is how we observe children and track their progress and helps us to pick up areas for development which need further work and support. Assessment can then help us to plan more effectively and makes our planning more targeted and personal for the children in our care. Assessment in the Early Years usually takes the form of observations which can be added to a platform such as eyworks to enable both parents and childcare practitioners to add to the learning journey of each child and build a full picture of their development across your chosen framework, and beyond!

eylog enables childcare settings to move away from the restrictions of a paper-based learning journey by incorporating photos, videos and audio files. You can add multiple media to a single observation, enabling you to truly capture the story – be it those first steps, a pop star moment, or grasping a pencil – simplifying the process of recording such moments and assessing the progress of the child, all while eliminating the need for costly paper and ink solutions. The comprehensive sections allow staff to add activity analysis, assessments, next steps and notes to ensure a thorough observation, also linking to multiple additional frameworks such as Leuven Scales and the Early Years Development Journal (EYDJ) where appropriate. 

How does planning and assessment look in the early years setting?

Planning can provide a number of positives in early years settings. It gives routine and structure which we know is key for children’s development, allows for practitioners to manage their time and work effectively as a team and ultimately meet children’s needs so they can develop skills and knowledge through play. It also highlights any areas they may need additional support, time and focus, however all planning should be flexible and allow for spontaneous activities and learning opportunities. Planning in the early years classroom is very different from planning in later key stages, as it allows for much more freedom for child-led activities and outcomes than the later curricula allow for in a traditional 1:30 ratio classroom. Areas may be set up with topics and themes for small world play, or introductions to writing via mark making activities, and opportunities for communication and shared experiences, alongside options for children to select resources and choose independent games and exploratory projects of their own. Which is why assessment also happens more informally through observations as there is no one-size-fits-all outcome for the range of ages and stages in an early years setting. 

Observations document how children are developing through listening to and looking at what they are learning through play and what they enjoy doing with the activities and experiences available to them. eylog offers comprehensive interactive progress trackers and assessment tools enabling you to track progress across the nursery and within pre-defined cohort groups – boys, girls, SEND, looked after child (LAC), pupil premium, 2-year funded, 3 and 4-year funded, 30 hour funded, children of concern etc. Fully customisable summative reports, 2 year progress checks and transition reports are also available to complete on the system.

With eylog supporting a wide range of assessment frameworks in England, Scotland and Wales it enables you to focus and plan towards a well-rounded learning and development for the children, with frameworks that are easily customisable. The English frameworks include Development Matters, Birth to 5 Matters, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Early Learning Goals (ELG), Early Years Developmental Journal (EYDJ), Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL), Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning (CoETL), Every Child a Talker (ECaT), Leuven Scales, British Values, Phonics, Schemas and Montessori. The Scottish frameworks are Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), Pre Birth to Three, Four Capacities and the Wellbeing Wheel. The Welsh frameworks are Birth to Three Matters and Foundation Phase. The Northern Ireland framework is the NI Curriculum.

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