The EYFS framework is designed around gathering vast amounts of data about children. It follows their progress from birth until the age of five. After that, they enter the mainstream education system monitored by other methods with more academic milestones in mind.
The EYFS framework, usually using software like Tiny Tracker, looks at the total development of the child. From their physical growth to self-confidence and abilities in language, numeracy and cognition.
But how do you monitor learning progress at such a young age? When just a few weeks can make an enormous difference, and when children develop in very different ways?
The EYFS Framework – Starting With The Smallest Of The Small
The EYFS system breaks down the groups of children by age, with small groups in the earliest months.
At this stage, there are no learning goals, as such. It is mainly physical development that is assessed.
As the baby grows and fills out, begins to lift their head, roll over, crawl (and the wide range of activities that pass for crawling, such as shuffling on their bottoms, inch-worming along and more), and sit up, both aided and unaided.
Often, babies are not in the company of child-care providers for very long at this stage.
Tracking might require the cooperation of the parents to announce when milestones have been passed.
Early Nursery Days
As the child grows a little more, is walking and talking confidently, they may move into nursery.
This is where progress can be monitored more professionally.
Learning and progress is monitored at this age through observation.
Watching the children at play and having conversations with the child during their attendance at nursery.
It is often ensured that monitoring is undertaken in such a way that the child does not feel observed. This is so there is no impact on their behaviour, from nerves or stress at being tested.
The EYFS Framework – Three to Five
From around three (variably) to five, children are still monitored by being observed while at play and in casual conversation.
They can also be given games to play that check their prowess in literacy, numeracy and understanding of the world.
Once again, this monitoring should be pressure free.
Allowing the child to set the pace, and offered in such a way that the child feels that they are simply playing a fun game. Without undue expectations.
What is Meant by Observation?
At its simplest, observation is just watching the child to see how they interact with the world around them, with parents, other children and teachers.
As the child gets older, monitoring will look for word use, such as the various colours and shapes, basic knowledge of the alphabet and an understanding of how numbers work, and perhaps basic mathematical activities.
The child’s behaviour in class, their moods and changes thereof and even photos may be taken to help to track changes over time.
All of this may seem quite normal and to be expected, but by noting down these changes and when they occur, a good picture of the child’s overall development can be attained.
And this will be of enormous use to the child’s teachers in reception, as they get to know all their new charges and their unique characteristics.