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Dr Julian Grenier
grenier@outlook.com
@juliangrenier
Celebrating young
children’s learning
Learning from the past - and sh...
Early years practitioners in
2017?
Measurement, evidence, data
How much assessment?
• There are about 570 bullet-point
statements in Development Matters
• With the common practice of breaking
down each band into beginning,
developing, secure, stages:
• In a nursery class whe...
• There are 141
children aged 3
and 4 years old on
roll at Sheringham
Nursery School.
• There are 18
aspects in
Developmen...
Chores
• “Doing
observations”
can be
experienced as
a time-
consuming
demand by
many staff
working with
young children.
• Jayne Osgood quotes Delia, one of the
practitioners in her study, discussing the
“stress of report writing, record keepi...
Reframing
children
And what about levels?
• Do we really want to find ourselves talking
to parents about children’s learning in
terms of ages...
“I am concerned that the tool intended to support
practitioners to understand and foster children’s
development is too oft...
“Assessment, as
Development
Matters points out,
means ‘analysing
observations
and deciding what
they tell us about
childre...
Susan Isaacs
Tommy and the figs
Phineas and the train picture
Mary-Jane Drummond comments on
Phineas and the train
Priscilla and the worm
Mary-Jane Drummond on cruelty and
tenderness in Isaacs
Isaacs’s thinking was of her time
Margaret Donaldson’s “paradise”
Two things we need to get away from
• From metaphors of children’s development
and learning “unfolding”
• From talking abo...
What style of pedagogy?
• “a close and nurturing adult-child relationship
… is necessary for intersubjectivity, which
allo...
Intersubjectivity
Intersubjective relationships depend on the child
having agency, and the adult’s commitment to
giving mo...
Jerome Bruner
• “Knowledge about children
that comes from outside
one’s own experience seems
to make little headway
agains...
Celebrating children’s learning: a
joint project by a group of
London nursery schools
Our aim was to avoid the
discourse o...
A jump in the puddle
A jump in the puddle
Clinton and Jaden
Clinton said to Jaden “Jump!”
Jaden jumped and landed in the puddle
“I do it” said ...
The stopwatches
The bridge in the garden
the ramp so you took a long ‘run up’ and whizzed up the steep slope.
that if you weren’t to crash...
The bridge in the garden
the guttering leaning up against the edge of the sand pit. Then you poured the water down
the pip...
Counting with
string
Counting with string
Repeating Development Matters
Recording and also capturing
dialogue and teaching
• During our trip to the Science Museum, R is
observing the travellers ...
Keen
observation
Features of best practices
• you can hear the child’s
voice
• there is keen observation of
the child’s exploration, play
a...
www.eleysp.co.uk/celebrating-
childrens-learning/
The Red Queen
Celebrating children's learning
Celebrating children's learning
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Celebrating children's learning

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Assessment in the early years

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Celebrating children's learning

  1. 1. Dr Julian Grenier grenier@outlook.com @juliangrenier Celebrating young children’s learning Learning from the past - and shaping a future beyond levels
  2. 2. Early years practitioners in 2017?
  3. 3. Measurement, evidence, data
  4. 4. How much assessment? • There are about 570 bullet-point statements in Development Matters
  5. 5. • With the common practice of breaking down each band into beginning, developing, secure, stages: • In a nursery class where children’s levels of development range from 16-26, 22-36, 30-50 months - there are 9 levels across 17 aspects = 153 levels to assess. • And some schools still require “evidence” for each assessment….
  6. 6. • There are 141 children aged 3 and 4 years old on roll at Sheringham Nursery School. • There are 18 aspects in Development Matters • That adds up to 18 x 141 = 2538 cells of data and looks like…
  7. 7. Chores • “Doing observations” can be experienced as a time- consuming demand by many staff working with young children.
  8. 8. • Jayne Osgood quotes Delia, one of the practitioners in her study, discussing the “stress of report writing, record keeping and all those other chores”. Osgood comments that “Delia’s reference to “other chores” is indicative of the perceived laboriousness of current expectations in nursery practice.” Osgood, Negotiating Professionalism (2012, p.127)
  9. 9. Reframing children
  10. 10. And what about levels? • Do we really want to find ourselves talking to parents about children’s learning in terms of ages? • How might it feel as a parent of a four- year-old to be told that your child’s development is like a two-year-old’s (e.g. “in the 22-36 month band”)?
  11. 11. “I am concerned that the tool intended to support practitioners to understand and foster children’s development is too often misused. When used as a tick list of descriptors of what children must achieve, it can sadly limit both children’s development and the professional awareness and skills of practitioners.” Nancy Stewart (2016)
  12. 12. “Assessment, as Development Matters points out, means ‘analysing observations and deciding what they tell us about children’.” Nancy Stewart (2016)
  13. 13. Susan Isaacs
  14. 14. Tommy and the figs
  15. 15. Phineas and the train picture
  16. 16. Mary-Jane Drummond comments on Phineas and the train
  17. 17. Priscilla and the worm
  18. 18. Mary-Jane Drummond on cruelty and tenderness in Isaacs
  19. 19. Isaacs’s thinking was of her time
  20. 20. Margaret Donaldson’s “paradise”
  21. 21. Two things we need to get away from • From metaphors of children’s development and learning “unfolding” • From talking about “tracking children’s development”
  22. 22. What style of pedagogy? • “a close and nurturing adult-child relationship … is necessary for intersubjectivity, which allows the caregiver to judge how much the child already knows and understands, so that she can provide appropriate scaffolding to extend development.” • Smith (1999, p.86)
  23. 23. Intersubjectivity Intersubjective relationships depend on the child having agency, and the adult’s commitment to giving more agency to the child over time – as opposed to models which only position the child as the recipient of care. • Smith (1999, p.87): “children’s ability to handle intersubjective encounters depends on: “reciprocal interaction with … more competent members of the culture, adults treating the child as an agent and bent on ‘teaching’ him to be more so” (Bruner, 1995, p.6)”.
  24. 24. Jerome Bruner • “Knowledge about children that comes from outside one’s own experience seems to make little headway against received wisdom and ‘commonsense’ practice. It is only when the research helps one to see with one’s own eyes that it gets beneath the skin”.
  25. 25. Celebrating children’s learning: a joint project by a group of London nursery schools Our aim was to avoid the discourse of ‘tracking’, and develop instead a discourse around celebrating learning, learning about learning, and thinking about teaching.
  26. 26. A jump in the puddle
  27. 27. A jump in the puddle Clinton and Jaden Clinton said to Jaden “Jump!” Jaden jumped and landed in the puddle “I do it” said Clinton and he had a turn but missed the puddle. Jaden said “Oh no, Clinton, you have to do it like this” He jumped again. “You look at the puddle and jump on it” Clinton says “OK, Jaden” He got on the step and had another go. “Look at the puddle Clinton”, “Ready, Jump!” said Jaden. This time Clinton landed in the puddle. He laughed. L To celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday we printed some photos of the queen, L was interested in the photo of the queen at her Coronation sitting on her throne. "I want to
  28. 28. The stopwatches
  29. 29. The bridge in the garden the ramp so you took a long ‘run up’ and whizzed up the steep slope. that if you weren’t to crash off the side of the bridge you needed to a line. Excellent skills, Maria!
  30. 30. The bridge in the garden the guttering leaning up against the edge of the sand pit. Then you poured the water down the pipe and watched it flow along the pipe, gutter and then up the pipe leaning against the side of the sand pit. We both watched it flow back down again. Then you collected some sand and put it in the guttering – I asked you what you thought might happen, you told me “It will block the water, maybe make another flood”. You watched the water flowing down and saw it backing up behind the sand and flowing over. You let other children help with putting water down the pipes. Maria Hi Maria, do you remember the day I made a bridge in the garden? I set all the children a challenge – could they ride their bikes over the bridge without stalling or crashing? You had to go quite fast in order to mount the up ramp, and if you weren’t careful it was easy to crash off the sides of the bridge. Lots of children got stuck on the up ramp or ended in a heap by the side of the b ridge, but you, Maria, managed the challenge with great skill. You knew that you needed to build up your momentum if you were going to get to the top of the ramp so you took a long ‘run up’ and whizzed up the steep slope. You also understood that if you weren’t to crash off the side of the bridge you needed to approach it in a straight line. Excellent skills, Maria!
  31. 31. Counting with string
  32. 32. Counting with string
  33. 33. Repeating Development Matters
  34. 34. Recording and also capturing dialogue and teaching • During our trip to the Science Museum, R is observing the travellers on the tube train. “He’s got black hands” she says, pointing to a man. She looks at her own hands and says “I have white.” She looks at my hands and says “you have white.” When we got back to nursery we looked together at our ‘different families’ poster and R said, “some people are different colours” and she compared her skin colour to those she could see on the poster. I asked her,“Can you see any other children?” and she said “yes – they’re children, but their hands are different colours to mine.”
  35. 35. Keen observation
  36. 36. Features of best practices • you can hear the child’s voice • there is keen observation of the child’s exploration, play and thinking • the practitioner has noticed that the child is learning a new skill, or is making new links between aspects of knowledge • there are examples of sustained conversation and thinking, sometimes with feelings of awe
  37. 37. www.eleysp.co.uk/celebrating- childrens-learning/
  38. 38. The Red Queen

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