Which comes first in each of the lines below:

  • To use the time for paperwork or time for children?
  • To make observations or plan for outcomes?
  • To record or evaluate?
  • The Curriculum Agenda or the Staff Competencies to carry it out?
  • Record the Development Matters Statements or record the Characteristics of Effective Learning attributes?
  • Focus upon the Areas of Learning or children’s interests?
  • Support learning for each child or enable parents to support their child appropriately?

What order should these be on the priority list?

  • Evaluation of teaching and learning
  • Proving children’s outcomes to higher authority and Ofsted
  • The next strategy, to build further, your partnerships with parents
  • ‘Continual Improvement’ (based on what?)
  • Engage parents’ interest to work with them for their child’s benefit

Tall order. Difficult decisions. All intertwined.

Research reveals statistics about early brain growth, and how achievement in the formative early years affects the child’s future exam results. So there is a sense of urgency to ‘get it right’ for the child during the Foundation Stage.  To ensure they are skilled to move onto formal schooling, to achieve formally through our exam system so they have great choices to shape their adult lives. With so many components within and in delivering the EYFS well, achieving this is no mean feat! The challenge, perhaps, is to get everything in balance; time with the children, making observations, evaluating, planning new objectives and improving how it is all done. A continual cycle.   It is also a journey of ‘continuous improvement’; to plan, deliver on that, take stock and balance it all up again before planning to push forward once more. Exciting, exhausting, and the execution is often key for the professional educator.

Hence sparkPRO was conceived. As specialist software, designed within the early years, sparkPRO supports all those that are involved, who influence the fulfilment of the child’s potential; educators and parents. Taking a 360-degree viewpoint, sparkPRO enables providers to also develop the team, alongside their practice in delivering the curriculum. The software is flexible and provides choice to test and measure success, and as a consequence to target training needs appropriately. Parents are informed and contribute. With spark@HOME they also have ownership and encouraged as an equal, to take part and additionally promote focused progress. This effectively knits the educational establishment and home environments together from the child’s perspective. All adults have the opportunity to enable learning outcomes to be achieved together through good communication and a consistent focus. This encourages optimum learning outcomes.

Many parents are unaware that 80% of their child’s brain will be grown before five and that they can help shape their child’s brain and future prospects.  Often they do not view it as their role to ‘educate’ and/or are ‘too busy’.  However, as with other everyday routines, for example, feeding, bathing and dressing they will understand why it is important to find the time, to not just nurture but also to provide learning opportunities. Learning and development gleamed easily through the spark@HOME software. As they make their own observations and receive those made by the education provider, it all collates into the child’s Learning Journal, to be cherished for future conversations. To complete this circle, the provider receives extra information about what the family has noticed about the child’s interests and may divulge what happened at home. These nuggets of information, possibly not given at busy drop off/collection times can then be included in discussion and plans, within the setting, to further benefit the child.