Children’s EYFS starting points are important in ensuring good progress in their development, clear next steps and a true reflection of their capabilities.
The EYFS underpins all children’s development and outlines the milestones each child needs to complete to meet the 17 early learning goals. It is important that when attending an Early Years setting practitioners fully understand each child’s starting points. This allows practitioners to plan for and support children’s learning and development individually.
Practitioners can gain an understanding of a child’s starting point by gathering evidence from parents. This can be achieved through using all about me booklets for parents to complete before the child starting the setting. These booklets enable parents to answer questions about their child’s abilities using the EYFS to understand where they are currently at developmentally. This can be difficult to use with parents who have little or no English; however the setting should aim to include everyone and could offer all about me booklets that have been translated into the parent’s home language. All about me booklets are a great way to gain information on a child’s starting point, yet practitioners should not use this to complete tracking documents and should wait to evidence it themselves as some parents can be biased and provide incorrect information on their child’s capabilities.
When a child has started attending the setting, the key worker should begin observing the child straight away to gather evidence. It is suggested that the practitioner should allow the child a settling in period before documenting their development onto an EYFS On Entry Assessment sheet as some children may not show their true abilities while they are still in a transitional period. Most settings wait around 4-6 weeks before completing the child’s first tracking document; this allows the child to settle in and the key worker to gather evidence to support the tracking. It is important that the key worker is critical while evaluating the child’s development, enabling realistic and achievable targets to be made for further learning. Settings can use initial tracking documents to gain information on a child during the transitional period.
Ofsted is interested to see children’s starting points during an inspection. This allows them to grade the quality of learning, teaching and assessment within the setting. Each child should progress at a steady rate from their starting point throughout their time at the setting. Ofsted will look to see what has been put in place to support the children in developing further, and the impact of planning and assessment has had on the child’s learning and development.
Children’s starting points give the key person a general idea of where the child is at developmentally; it is then their responsibility to enhance the provision of resources and EYFS activities to help the child flourish in their learning and development.