Learning through play
Play helps children to learn and develop through doing and talking, which research has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think. Our setting uses the Early Years Foundation Stage 'Development Matters' guidance to plan and provide a range of play activities which help children to make progress in each of the areas of development. These activities can be either child or adult led.
Characteristics of effective learning
We understand that all children engage with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning that are described in the 'Development Matters' guidance to the Early Years Foundation Stage as:
•Playing and exploring - engagement;
•Active learning - motivation;
•Creating and thinking critically - thinking.
We aim to provide for the characteristics of effective learning by observing how a child is learning and being clear about what we can do and provide in order to support each child to remain an effective and motivated learner.
We assess how well young children are learning and developing by observing them frequently. We use information that we gain from observations, as well as from photographs or videos of the children, to document their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents know their child best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their child likes to do at home and how they as parents are supporting development. We make periodic assessment summaries of children's achievements based on our ongoing development records. These form part of children's records of achievement. We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals as well as times of transition, such as when a child goes to school.
Progress check at age two
The Early Years Foundation Stage requires that we supply parents/carers with a short written summary of their child's development in the three prime learning and development areas - Personal, Social and Emotional Development; Physical Development; and Communication and Language - when a child is aged between 24 and 36 months. The key person is responsible for completing the check using information from ongoing observational assessments carried out as part of our everyday practice, taking account of the views and contributions of parents and other professionals.