Teachers record each child’s progress regularly using an online tool called Tapestry, which records their progress and their teacher’s observations. Parents can view these updates in real-time at home and add to it. Collecting data regularly also means teachers can check to see if there are gaps in a child’s learning by monitoring their progress against the early years curriculum objectives, so that they develop the right skills.
Leaders in the school also help teachers analyse the data to ensure every child continues to make progress. Regularly monitoring in this way results in many children making three years worth of progress in a year.
“We’re constantly looking at adjusting our practice; it’s through that constant adjustment and changing our response to the needs of each child that they manage to make so much progress,” Mrs Charlier said.
“If you put something in place to address their needs, children can move in ways you don’t expect. All you need to do is support them a little and they will fly. You can give them targeted activities through play to move them forward and they will gallop along. We see this all the time.” Jack was no exception.
The school identified Jack needed to work on knowing his letters, how to write them, how to develop a strong pencil grip and knowing how to read. His class teacher identified how to spark his interest and use play to address these areas. To improve his reading skills, he found material on his favourite football team Liverpool. For writing, his teacher drew him into playing roles that involved some form of writing or mark-making.
“Because he wanted to write, he would create a menu for his pizza restaurant. If he wanted to bring me a bill for my meal, he used his knowledge of which sounds make which letters and how to write those letters so he could bring me my bill.” Mrs Charlier said.
A quality, play-based and child-led early years education has also been shown to have an impact on the rest of a child’s education and even the rest of their lives.
Hannah Sanders, an early years, Grade 1 teacher and English teacher at Compass International School Doha said research from Professor Rebecca Marcon at the University of North Florida showed that by the end of a child’s sixth year in school, children who had a child-led early years education had significantly higher grades, compared to adult-led learning.