EYFS Series Part 3:
Welcome to part 3 of the EYFS Series we are running to support you with the EYFS reforms which come into play in September. In today’s article, June O’Sullivan MBE and CEO of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) – one of the UK’s largest and most successful charitable social enterprises – teaches you how to make it work for you!
Catch up on:
The reviewed statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) will come into operation from September and is giving us collywobbles.
Stop worrying and asking questions – just read it. It’s here.
What you will find is that not much has changed except for the need to include oral health alongside the requirement to “promote the good health of children” and, of course, the slim-lined Early Learning Goals. But ultimately it is still a framework and it’s still statutory focusing on safeguarding, welfare and partnership with parents. So, stop worrying and let’s see how we can use it to develop more confident pedagogical practice.
Developing more confident pedagogical practice
We all agree that every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support we provide in our settings will help enable them to fulfil their potential. We don’t have time to get it wrong because children develop quickly and the experiences they receive have a major impact on their future life chances. So, no pressure!
The bit everyone worries about is the teaching and learning requirements, the seven areas of learning and development and the dreaded Early Learning Goals. These summarise the knowledge, skills and understanding that all young children should have gained by the end of the reception year. And, of course, many will be worried about how you will describe what you do to Ofsted and how they will judge your understanding during the learning walk.
Be clear about how you teach
A pedagogy is the means by which we lead the children to learn and it includes our values and principles, theories of learning (including our understanding of how children develop and learn), our teaching approach and our view of the child. How you create your pedagogy is up to you but one element that you need to be clear about is how you teach and that includes the means by which you decide to cover the ELGs.
Ofsted’s definition of teaching is helpful, particularly as it covers the importance of play. The EYFS also describes play as essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems.
Children learn by leading their own play and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.
Teaching should not be taken to imply a “top down” or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes: their interactions with children during planned and unplanned child-initiated play and activities, communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment that adults provide, and the attention given to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations.