Our approach to learning, development and assessment
Learning through play
Play helps young children to learn and develop through doing and talking, which research has shown to be the means by which they learn to think. We use the Development Matters In The Early Years Foundation Stage guidance to plan and provide a range of play activities, which help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development. In some of these activities, children decide how they will use the activity and, in others, an adult takes the lead in helping them to take part in the activity. In all activities, information from Development Matters In The Early Years Foundation Stage has been used to decide what equipment to provide and how to provide it.
Characteristics of effective learning
We understand that all children engage with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning that are described in the Development Matters In The Early Years Foundation Stage guidance as:
- playing and exploring – engagement
- active learning – motivation
- creating and thinking critically – thinking
We aim to provide for the characteristics of effective learning by observing how a child is learning and being clear about what we can do and provide in order to support each child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them frequently. We use information that we gain from observations, as well as from photographs or videos of the children, to document their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents know their children best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their children like to do at home and how they, as parents, are supporting development.
We make periodic assessment summaries of children's achievement based on our ongoing development records. These form part of children's records of achievement. We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals, as well as times of transition, such as when a child moves into a different group or when they go on to school.
The progress check at age two
The Early Years Foundation Stage requires that we supply parents and carers with a short written summary of their child's development in the three prime areas of learning and development: personal, social and emotional development; physical development; and communication and language; when a child is aged between 24 – 36 months. The key person is responsible for completing the check using information from ongoing observational assessments carried out as part of our everyday practice, taking account of the views and contributions of parents and other professionals.
Records of achievement
Splash & Dash keeps a record of achievement for each child. Your child's record of achievement helps us to celebrate together her/his achievements and to work together to provide what your child needs for her/his well-being and to make progress.
Your child's key person will work in partnership with you to keep this record. To do this you and she/he will collect information about your child's needs, activities, interests and achievements. This information will enable the key person to identify your child's stage of progress. You and the key person will then decide on how to help your child to move on to the next stage.
Working together for your children
We maintain the ratio of adults to children in Splash & Dash that is set by the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements. We also have volunteer helpers (including parents and carers), where possible, to complement these ratios. This helps us to:
- give time and attention to each child
- talk with the children about their interests and activities
- help children to experience and benefit from the activities we provide
- allow the children to explore and be adventurous in safety