5th August 2021 All Posts EYFS Series

Why is parental collaboration still key following the EYFS reforms?

EYFS Series Part 9:

Welcome to part 9 of the EYFS Series we are running to support you with the EYFS reforms which come into play in September. Today we take a look at the pivotal role parental collaboration plays in helping to create a positive and more holistic learning experience for children.

Catch up on:

  • Part 1 – ‘Beatrice Merrick on using Birth to 5 Matters’
  • Part 2 – ‘A whistle-stop tour on Self-Regulation with Sue Asquith’
  • Part 3 – ‘Don’t worry about the reviewed EYFS: Make it Work For You’
  • Part 4 – ‘Feel prepared for the revised EYFS with Sue Asquith’
  • Part 5 – ‘Some thoughts on pedagogy and curriculum’
  • Part 6 – ‘Implementing the revised EYFS in your setting’
  • Part 7 – Inclusion and equalities in early years’
  • Part 8 – ‘An Ofsted inspection walk-through’

The EYFS reforms are set to come into force in September, meaning there isn’t much longer to go until childcare providers across the country are operating under the new framework.

The seven areas of learning and Early Learning Goals (ELGs) are elements which many practitioners are feeling anxious about – wondering what this means for how they operate their setting, and how to make sure they’re following the new model.

But regardless of the changes, one thing is for certain and that’s the pivotal role parental collaboration plays in helping to create a positive and more holistic learning experience for children.

How is child progress tracking changing?

One of the main objectives of both the updated EYFS framework and the government’s Development Matters guidance is to place less focus on paperwork and more attention on spending time developing children.

Practitioners are empowered to use their knowledge, expertise, and professional judgement to create a holistic learning environment – instead of solely relying on the ELGs as a one-size-fits-all approach to tracking children’s progress. 

This has been introduced to not only reduce the heavy administrative burden currently on childcare professionals, but to stop generating data for the sake of it – or for Ofsted’s benefit.

Ofsted has made it clear that it won’t be looking at data, so please don’t think that this is absolutely necessary for assessments. In reality, evaluating children’s progress should be less about boxes ticked and more about observing little ones individually and on a regular, daily basis – seeing how they’re doing, identifying their achievements, and sharing all this with their parents, so they can help to extend their learning journey outside the nursery setting and into the home.

In essence, it’s all about truly knowing your children – what works best for them, being aware of their interests and more challenging areas, and tailoring activities accordingly to help them progress further. 

Perhaps an easy way to think about it is, if the information you’re recording isn’t useful for you in providing any of this insight about the children and their progression, then it probably isn’t worth noting down in the first place.

Why is parental engagement still important?

As well as helping parents to understand their child’s social, cognitive, physical, and emotional development, involving families in what their youngster has done or achieved on a daily basis can assist in creating a more inclusive and extended learning environment.

Being able to communicate effectively with parents to share resources, stories, concerns, or developments helps practitioners to understand the children in their care so much more. It allows them to compare what they see day-to-day in the childcare setting, to the home setting – where children may experience and display different behaviours and feelings.

While the updates to the framework don’t mean the complete abolishment of progress tracking, the focus is now more upon the method in which this is done – and the fact this doesn’t all have to be written down. But despite this fact, communicating with parents remains just as crucial and should not be forgotten about.

Childcare providers have long recorded youngsters’ special moments and developments in online learning journals, and while these aren’t a specific requirement under the revised EYFS, many settings will naturally continue to use them as they offer a safe, convenient, and shareable way to monitor children. And this is completely fine.

Keeping these systems in place enable early years professionals to quickly snap a photo or video of a child and share it in real-time with parents, whereas if this isn’t documented, it’s impossible to remember and convey all the magic moments that have happened in the setting, all in one dialogue.

This two-way conversation not only bridges the gap between practitioners and parents – helping to build better relationships – but it massively benefits the children. It enables both parties to gain an understanding of the bigger picture of their child’s learning journey, alongside encouraging the metacognitive process – allowing little ones to revisit and reflect on things they’ve learned.

Ultimately, practitioners need to choose the method that best suits them when it comes to monitoring development. And if learning journals are here to stay in your setting, you shouldn’t feel like you have to populate them every day – it’s far more important to ensure that what you do decide to input and save is helpful and informative for you as a practitioner. 

As a result, this will not only provide a positive learning environment for the children, but it will create a setting in which practitioners feel valued, parents feel involved, and development is at the heart of everything the collaborative does.

More from the EYFS Series

  • Part 7 – Inclusion and equalities in early years’
  • Part 8 – ‘An Ofsted inspection walk-through’

Next up… We’ll be looking into best practices on Observations and Assessments in the new EYFS. We’re looking for Customers to be interviewed as EYFS Experts. If you would like to take part email caitlin.holmes@connectchildcare.com.

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About the Author

Campaign and Content Manager at Connect Childcare