weighingAre you considering the children’s Sustained Shared Thinking capabilities?

Our sparkPRO EYFS software has a unique observational journey that supports educators and practitioners in helping children’s learning and development within the EYFS. This observational journey underpins the acquisition of skills and information to fulfil a child’s potential and to achieve the non-statutory Development Matters Statements, which are also contained within our software.   Observations are made on an ongoing basis and are quick and concise.

Based upon what the child has achieved, the Next Steps facility guides staff in what could be included, while planning around the child’s interests to ensure preparation is relevant for the individual. While practical achievements are recorded the choice of Next Steps alters accordingly and the child’s learning techniques (Characteristics of Effective Learning) are automatically recorded for future reflection.

What’s new? Now, sparkPRO has encompassed the Six Thinking Stands which relate to what is collectively known as Sustained Shared Thinking. How a child thinks contributes to good progress and outcomes. So now, how children develop their thinking is automatically recorded as observations are made against these six strands; enquiring, information processing, reasoning, evaluation, problem solving and creative thinking. To gain language, a child has to share thinking with another. By encompassing our ‘Enable, Evaluate and Evolve’ approach we have introduced this, in keeping with the other tools we have developed on sparkPRO. Staff are encouraged to evaluate and modify their approach for individual children to enhance the child’s thinking skills. Practitioners and educators see quickly how a child is progressing, can evaluate the progress and consider how the adult may alter their style or planning to further meet each child’s needs. In turn, this improves practice and the quality overall, of the provision.

The Six Thinking Skills have been welcomed by one particular setting that was downgraded from Outstanding to Good in 2014. Ofsted criticised as practice did not demonstrate how staff could support thinking. Ofsted had arrived on the first day of the term after a twelve day holiday and under the circumstances, staff’s concerns were focused upon the children’s well-being rather than ‘stretching’ their thinking abilities. Now there is proof, showing progression.

There is an emphasis within the current Ofsted Inspection Framework on teaching.  This impacts on how learning and development opportunities are facilitated and evaluated. The tools to ‘Evaluate and Evolve’ within sparkPRO, including those related to Sustained Shared Thinking, provides pertinent information for management to carry out relevant staff supervision, assess training needs and impact positively on the team’s professional development.