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Observation and assessment

As staff interact with children, they observe and find out what children can do. They use this information to create snap shots of learning to share with each other and to share with parents. We begin with collecting information about children at the home visit, and then during the settling in process. Over time, observations are documented to build up a picture of what a child has achieved. This type of assessment is ongoing and provides staff with an up to date picture of how children are working towards developmental milestones. This assessment informs the planning of the environment and enables staff to provide effective support in extending children’s learning through play.

When a child turns 2 years old, staff meet with their parents/carers for a progress review meeting where progress and achievement is discussed (checking that children are meeting expected, developmental milestones).

Each term every child is a ‘focus child’ for a week (2 weeks for part time children). During this time the adults working in the room will liaise with the parents/carers of the focus child to collect relevant information about their learning and development at home to find out if any special events/family moments are happening. This information provides staff with a starting point for talk and conversation and helps build up a child’s learning journey that is shared between home and school.

Also, within these ‘special books’ we collect photos from home and school and staff and children together, select pieces of work to stick into the books which are then shared at group times and can be taken home.

At the end of each term staff use their knowledge about each child and documents such as Development Matters and Birth to Five Matters to support them in summarising children’s progress which is then shared at a review meeting with parents/carers.

This information is used to decide on priorities for learning for the next term. Priorities may be individual or for a group of children. Sometimes, priorities reflect teaching and may create a training opportunity. The purpose of having an overview of children’s attainment is to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to make the very best.