As early years people, we help you to get learning and development right, so as a parent, practitioner, or business owner you can get everything right for EVERY child for their best start in life. 0203 390 2412
"We have just bought sparkPRO and as an established, experienced nursery, we already recognise the benefits. The system can be used in any nursery, but I would have snatched spark's hand off for this years ago when I was starting up. I would thoroughly recommend to new inexperienced nurseries too."
“The sparkearlyyears app has really revolutionised the way that we implement our EYFS Curriculum… You absolutely cannot miss any learning milestones with the app.”
“Parents love it and staff are really enjoying it!! It really is great and it's making a huge difference to the amount of time staff spend with children and not writing things up! Well worth the investment!”
"Staff were admittedly a little apprehensive about this change, however, after one training session all their prior concerns evaporated, and the staff were extremely excited about the programme and how it would impact upon their working lives. Not only did they feel it was a much easier ways of recording children's learning and development, but they felt that it would be quicker, allowing them more time to spend with the child, which is obviously the most important part of their role."
"I find it hard to believe how everything is made so simple."
"The team leader checks every child's profile regularly to ensure that key persons make frequent observations and use the system proficiently. This enables her to keep an extremely sharp focus on each child's progress, to identify any gaps in children's learning quickly and to monitor the effectiveness of the key person's observational and assessment knowledge." – Ofsted Report
"Practitioners use their observational skills to assess children's development and input their observations onto the nursery's computer software program. This system is effectively used to track and follow children's progress." - Ofsted Report
“sparkearlyyears is one of the best things that has ever happened to me as a practitioner in the early years…. it helps me to think outside of the box by preparing the right resources and materials that child would need to achieve that milestone… I also love the evaluation method, it’s instant; you don’t have to wait for a later time.”
“sparkearlyyears is a fantastic software that has helped our school overcome many of the challenges that we have faced in the past; with the brilliant innovation of the instant, next step suggestions for all the seven areas of learning… It has also helped us to provide our parents with instant and simple reports and the response from them has been really positive.”
“Having all of the planners to hand is brilliant as it allows me to monitor activities at the click of a button. In my senior role, I can see if practitioners are updating their review of plans consistently whilst considering their key groups next steps. These tasks were previously very time-consuming.”
"Initially feeling daunted about the 2-3 progress check I can safely say as a team we now feel completely confident. The step by step guide ensures you are fully aware of each point you need to consider and gives you a very thorough understanding of your key child. Also, this involves the parents in such a positive way, as well as other professionals."
"A key strength of spark is its ability to free practitioners up to get on with the important business of being authentic/sustained shared moments with children." - Sue Gascoyne - Early Years Author.
"We want to really set the foundations from day one and using the home software has really helped to encourage parents to become involved in their child's learning and also to work with us. This has really been a unique tool when we have shown prospective parents around the nursery. The feedback has been 100% positive."
"I had a chance to use spark@HOME and today found it extremely useful. This totally keeps us in the loop and helps us track Jael's progress as well as start to prepare her for the next steps as much as we can. I think it is a brilliant tool that should even be used by primary schools, as it is difficult for parents to keep up with a child's progress these days."
Ten Plus Reasons to spark up your provision
See where you could save save save!
And bring in money money money!
1. Save time
By deploying staff effectively in practical terms and with financial efficiency; Practitioners can continually be with the children. Time out to catch up on ‘paperwork’ or add to digital records is not required.
On senior staff doing and checking Practitioner’s work. Regular observations go out to parents in real-time without any literacy issues.
On compiling paper learning journals. No more ‘cut out and stick’ evidence into books.
On writing up long observations.
Cross-referencing observations. It is all done instantly addressed within the software.
Working out the Next Steps. Spark provides focused suggestions based on the individual’s progress for the Educator to choose from in line with the child’s current interests.
Carrying out analysis. Each child’s progress is instantly before you, all at the touch of a button, in different formats, and each is easy to decipher (no need to reproduce something else.
Checking if data is accurate; spark holds and gives precise and accurate information.
Tracking Groups. With a range of options, appropriately organised, you have everything on hand.
Planning the environment and activities. spark’s flexibility will match your ethos on planning for the children while staff are supported with child development. The planning features can be used formally, informally, or not at all.
Compiling transition reports; choose what you wish to share.
2. Wow your paying customer – Enhance your reputation and consequently gain more revenue
Parent – Educator relationships are robust, and professional discussions about learning and development can confidently take place. All staff have access to information. Key Persons will know the children exceptionally well as will staff within that team.
Information not remembered can be quickly accessed and given to the parent.
Children flourish. spark has been designed to flow with the child’s interests, building upon what they already know and can do, in a ‘use on the go’ format, so learning and adult-child interactions are not impeded.
Gaps in learning and development are discovered quickly as are children who excel. Consequently, staff can swiftly exercise applicable interventions.
Children can learn at their own pace in things they are keen to know about. Therefore, they seek and enjoy new experiences and attending the setting.
As all are working from a consistent platform no child is disadvantaged by the ability or aptitude of their Key Person; therefore there is less worrying and complaints by the paying customer (freeing up senior time again).
Parents will appreciate daily progress and informal learning objectives.
Relationships with parents should be strong.
spark offers parents different ways to become active brain builders at home during their daily routines and activities they may organise.
Differentiate for families, so they have suitable software tools to encourage and develop their involvement level.
Parents receive standard observations instantly, including photographs.
Parents receive extra information on these observations instantly or on the same day.
Reminders are sent in an evening to encourage parents to share events with their child.
Every adult involved with a child’s care and education may become involved (for example, sending news, feeding back after a Learning Journey Profile Report or into The Progress Check).
3. Retain staff and save on recruitment costs by enhancing job satisfaction
Deploy staff effectively and save on the number within your team. May be able to re-deploy the saved staff hours to fill a role or vacancy that has been hard to fill (being lean).
Your team will spend more if not, all of their time with the children. Playing with the children is generally the part they most enjoy! Non-contact time to do ‘paperwork’ or to catch up on digital observations is not required.
Improve your team’s work: life balance, if there is currently a need to take work home.
Members of staff focus on the children’s or setting’s needs as appropriate to their role.
Promotes the well-being of the team as there will be less stress and pressure. Such as, always being on an ever-ending paperwork/observation/planning ‘catch up’.
Working ‘on the go’ ensures team members can see the difference they are making every day.
Staff members are supported with the EYFS through spark and from evaluations. All can accomplish and aspire to do even better for their Key Children.
HR issues can be quickly substantiated around learning and development, and highlights of exceptional practice, within a team, celebrated
Happy staff, happy children, and happy parents.
4. Save on staff training and narrow in to use your training budget well
“sparkis certainly a powerful piece of software with an array of possibilities for analysis and feedback. The next steps are what I really like. It feels like software that is ‘malleable’ to the needs of the setting too – not didactic which is a big positive. In a way, it is like a training tool for staff too that brings into focus the children and their needs.” – Greg Bottrill, an early years expert in the power of play
The software (whichever sort) provides ongoing support and guidance for each hierarchical level.
spark supports less able or inexperienced staff in understanding and to appropriately deliver the EYFS curriculum confidently.
Evaluation and writing reports are less laborious Ref C, as staff are supported through the processes and with their literacy skills.
All staff are encouraged to evaluate their ‘teaching strategies’ against each of their Key Children’s progress in a particular field (Areas of Learning, Characteristics of Effective Learning, Sustained Shared Thinking, Involvement, Phonics etc.). Therefore, upskilling is a continual process.
Using spark supports professional conversations with parents and external professionals (LA, Ofsted, Case Reviews etc.).
Information is available for staff supervision and appraisals.
Data and evaluations indicate who and what teams need additional support. This approach enables management to take accurate measures to upskill effectively (mentoring, individual or group training). So there can be a targeted focus on training expenditure and the difference it has made.
The outcomes from the training provided can be measured and authenticated as improvements are visualised.
spark offers a platform to empower a continuous improvement ethos.
5. Take advantage of the free, extra and personal support
From an experienced Early Years sparkCONSULTANT. Weekly initially and then as required.
Via monthly sparkNEWSLETTERs
Video clips within sparkTUTOR
sparkDROPINs– pose questions and discuss spark and early years with other sparkUSERs alongside Catherine (founder of spark)
6. Improving your cashflow
Take advantage of different ways to pay.
Only pay for what you need rather than for elements you don’t require.
Pay at different times of the year for what you want for your setting.
Paper and Post-It-Notes.
Printer and Biro ink.
Scrapbooks, folders, laminating pouches and glue.
Arch lever files
spark works on all platforms and inexpensive tablets.
Improve occupancy through an enhanced reputation.
Professional reports, charts and graphs are available to share and set you aside from others.
Time to be customer-focused, thus enhancing customer service
Developed partnerships with parents, external professionals, local schools and providers
Boosted progress in children’s learning and development as staff are consistently focused
Increased recognition by regulatory and professional bodies (Ofsted, Quality Assurance, External Professionals)
Add a fundraiser by introducing spark@HOME
9. Be professional and keep within the law:-
Maintain at least the Minimum/Living Wage rates by not needing staff to work ‘unpaid’ hours at home as they strive to keep up with paperwork
10. Save on space and the maintenance perhaps!
There’s no need for shelves of heavy files, where paper may slip out, get lost or get tatty.
All the valuable information is kept safe and altogether in one place on spark.
11. Be green
Do your bit to save the planet for the children in your care
This article has been written on what is possible with spark. It will rely on how well it is used. spark always will respect which bits you wish to use for your setting and ensure you gain fully in these aspects.
A – The focus of this article is on sparkPRO; however, sparkESSENTIAL will potentially improve your bottom line too.
B – Cross-Referencing refers to; Areas of Learning, Development Matters Statements and Characteristics of Effective Learning; spark will also cross-reference to ECaT and Sustained Shared Thinking Strands
C – For example, in 15-20 minutes, you have a detailed report of progress. Included are the child’s progress; the chosen next learning and development needs with ideas in how the parent might help their child at home. Get in touch, and we will send you one!
You receive the EYFS in a very practical way, putting each child’s learning goals at your fingertips.
spark offers practical, hands-on activity ideas for educators across all areas of learning and development, spanning all age-ranges.
Caregivers (teachers and parents) work with infants and toddlers know exactly what to look out for when working with young children, taking your service far beyond business as usual.
A prompt and knowledgeable response from the spark support team is guaranteed.
spark provides on-the-go training and support for all early years staff, at no extra cost.
You will be able to make sure that no child is left behind. Gaps are recognized early on, interventions are created where necessary to support each individual child.
Staff performance evaluation is made easy, as managers and administrators are provided with information and evidence to support this process.
You are able to generate the necessary and relevant reports for both the parents and the school’s internal information.
Your software is very user-friendly!
Differentiated instruction and learning just got easier with the spark software.
spark creates the balance between child development and academic achievement, in order for you to provide a wholesome early childhood experience for each learner.
You can provide your families with daily updates on what their children are learning and how they are faring within your early years community; ensuring that parents do not miss a thing and are enabled to build on progress.
Our support team follows your team from the beginning and until they feel confident to enhance practice in your school.