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Please help need advice! Observations and development matters?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Sadiej123, Jun 9, 2020.

  1. Sadiej123

    Sadiej123 New commenter

    Hi all have been working a pre school and still working towards my qualification have a year left until I qualify but I am so confused by observations/next steps.

    I don’t understand how the development matters work and can’t find anything online. The setting I work at use tapestry so for example if I wrote an observation ‘Bethany created a repeated pattern using the bricks of two different colours alternatively. She focused on this activity for approx thirty minutes’ I would then put as the next steps ‘opportunities to create more complex patterns using to colours or possibly more’ where do the development matters fit into observations like would they be a random 30-50 of what they can do or what they can do next from the development matters?

    Also I’m confused because people say observations link to each other but after reading other staffs observations they don’t link. So if I my next step is ‘opportunities to create more complex patterns using two colours or possibly more’ would this be my next observation? And so on.

    At my setting they write an observations just on whatever the next step is but I’ve been told by a reception teacher who is a friend of mine not to observe moments to meet this weeks observation quota because it s a waste of time and needs to be ‘wow’ moments. But this how they all do it at my setting? Any help would be amazing.
  2. neverstopdreaming

    neverstopdreaming New commenter

    Development matters is like a guide to children’s typical development. That’s why the age bands overlap. It’s not supposed to be a checklist to be used for data, although that’s what it’s turned into.

    Everyone does observations differently. Don’t take what I say as gospel, this is just my personal experience. I’ve been teaching Nursery and Reception for five years, and I’ve been moderated by the local authority a couple of times.

    Personally I don’t think there’s any point in doing observations for the sake of it. I tend to do them when I see children doing things they haven’t done before or for really interesting moments. It can be as simple as making a pattern, it can be a big amazing wow moment. I do think it’s important to record the child’s voice - writing down anything they say. I tend to also meet their next steps in the moment - moving their learning on then and there. So if a child made a simple repeating pattern and their next step was to create a more complex pattern, then I would try and engage with the child, modelling that then and there. Although you do have to make sure it’s appropriate and you’re not totally hijacking their play!

    When I do next steps for the future, I think about what their next steps for learning in that particular area are. I might use development matters for inspiration if I’m not sure but I don’t stick rigidly to it. I use my knowledge and experience and I think carefully about what they specifically need to learn next. Hope this helps!
  3. Sadiej123

    Sadiej123 New commenter

    thankyou so much this is really helpful!
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Have you read pages 3 and 4 of Development Matters? I think the explanation there is good.

    The example you give could be about concentration or about pattern. Let's say it's about pattern, which comes under Maths: Shape, Space and Measure (pages 35-36 in Development Matters). If you look at the age bands, you will see pattern mentioned in 22-36 months (notices simple shapes and patterns in pictures), 30-50 months (shows an interest in shape and space by [...] making arrangements with objects), 40-60+ months (uses familiar objects and common shapes to create and recreate patterns) and Early Learning Goal (They recognise, create and describe patterns). You decide which of these best matches what Bethany can do - I would say it's the 40-60+ months description - and then look down the column to the next age band (in this case, it's the Early Learning Goal) to see what her next step might be. She can create a pattern, but can she describe it? Your idea of more complex patterns is also good. Either one could be her next step. Once you've identified her next step(s), you can look across the row at the 'Positive Relationships' and 'Enabling Environments' columns for some ideas about how to support her.

    It would be impossible to record everything that goes on in each child's learning. Anna Ephgrave (one of my favourite early childhood educators - I highly recommend her books) says
    (Anna Ephgrave, The Nursery Year In Action.)

    That's why many settings focus on the 'wow' moments that really stand out. The way your setting is doing it is just different, but it's not wrong. It is a good thing to be aware of a child's next steps and looking out for an example of the child working towards or achieving it - because it encourages you to plan for the next steps and provide opportunities for further learning. Bethany isn't going to experiment with a more complex pattern if you've only got two colours of bricks... so if you are focusing on the fact that that's something for her to work on, you'll remember to look for some other coloured resources to add to the brick area. If you do that, and then see Bethany creating a three colour pattern, you can write an observation to show she has made progress in this area of her learning. Other settings might just write in their planning that they've added extra coloured resources to the brick area, but not do a follow up observation about Bethany. Either way, you are aware of Bethany's next steps and planning for them, which is the important thing.
  5. Sadiej123

    Sadiej123 New commenter

    Thank-you so much this has helps loads! :D
  6. Sadiej123

    Sadiej123 New commenter

    Thankyou! for taking the time to write this it’s really helped me to get my head round it all. :D ur a star
    Kartoshka likes this.

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