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Reception newbie.... so many questions

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by german_1, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. german_1

    german_1 New commenter

    Hello lovely knowledgeable EYFS people,

    I come in trepidation not knowing what I am doing, seeking any help or advice at all!

    I am in an international setting (Asia) where resources are sparse and many things have to be adapted due to the weather!!!

    So my first question is, is it possible for me to have a key person assigned to each child? I have myself and two national staff members who are not trained in EYFS (nor am I, I am primary trained British curriculum, this is my 8th year teaching, first in Reception, obviously). and one has satisfactory English and one has poor English so is not able to do observations etc. They both have good spoken English (although not grammatically correct). And there is me! I have 18 children 17 of whom are EAL and speak a different language as soon as they leave my class!
    It is too hot for us to be outside for continuous provision so we are waiting for the cooler weather.

    I would also like to ask what are your top tips for child initiated learning? I am reading up on this a lot but would love any input I can get from you all as you have done it already and therefore are experts compared to me!

    I have paid for Tapestry for observations and so have realised the development matters document will be my Bible for now. One thing on that - how much evidence do I need to chose that a child is emerging, developing or secure? Any thoughts? Is there a bench mark? So far I am doing observations while getting to know the children and ensuring I have photos of practically everything they do.

    I do have a Head teacher who is EYFS trained but she is snowed under because of security threats where we are so has apologised that she cannot mentor me as we had anticipated.
    Feeling very ignorant about EYFS and would gratefully appreciate any help!!

  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I am confused about the staff member who you say has "poor English" but also "good spoken English". What is poor about his/her language skills? If he/she doesn't feel confident writing in English, perhaps you could source a dictaphone or similar so that he/she could record the observations verbally.

    Yes, you can assign a key person to each child, why not? A key person is one adult that the child can build a special relationship with and feel safe with. If your staff members are able to work with children (ie. they are kind and caring), they are able to take on a key person role; it doesn't matter what language skills they have. What role do you envisage a key person doing in your class?

    Top tips for child-initiated learning:
    1) Provide open-ended resources and let the children take the lead.
    2) Support them in their play and don't try to push things towards your own agenda.
    3) Value what they are doing and use it to inform your planning.

    You don't need a specific amount of evidence to make your judgments. You just need enough to feel secure in the judgment you are making. And the most important thing is that the majority of your evidence should be from child-initiated learning, rather than you sitting a child down and giving him a set task so that you can tick off whether he can do it or not. That's not to say you can't give children set tasks... but just because he did it one time with you, it isn't enough evidence for you to judge that he can do it. I usually set a child a task if I have some evidence that he can do it, but not enough to feel secure about my decision, so I set him a task to make sure he really can do it.

    Oh, and you don't need photographs of everything they do... just significant things. At the minute it's fine because you're just building up a picture of who they all are; but by the time you're four weeks in, you don't need yet another picture of Julia building a Lego house, just because that's what she did. If she leaves the Lego and goes to paint a picture for the first time, that's worth documenting. Does that make sense?
  3. german_1

    german_1 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your reply. Yes that makes sense. Key person sounds good too.
    I will look more in to child initiated learning.
    Thank you!

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