Over the last few days we have been asked several times:
“Is it ok to ‘teach’ whilst baseline is going on?”
We have been frustrated by the question and pondering why.
What does this question really mean?
‘Teaching’ in its broadest sense goes on all the time and so it’s impossible NOT to teach. Teaching is how we influence children’s learning – and if you value learning across a broad spectrum then teaching is present within every moment children spend in an educational environment – experiencing, engaging and interacting. Everything we provide, do and say shapes how a child is – is able to be and become. This is a critical and important definition that values the role of the adult in the EYFS and gives well-being & involvement, CoEL and the areas of learning equal value.
Perhaps then the question is not about this definition of teaching – and when you unpick the question further it seems ONLY to be related to maths and literacy, mainly literacy and to be honest – just phonics.
So the question should be ‘Is it ok for me to start teaching phonics during baseline?’
This is a sensible question, of course, you want a true baseline – but what does it say about what we value?
No one to our knowledge has asked:
- Is it ok to settle children in and support them in managing routines and friendships – PSED
- Is it ok to show children how to use the mark making equipment, put on an apron and use the paint brushes? – Physical
- Is it ok to encourage a child to respond to a question or share ideas? – Language and Communication
- Is it ok to support a child to do something that’s frustrating them before they give up? – CoEL
If we are not teaching, across the whole curriculum, what are we doing?
And anyway – will a few weeks of not teaching formal phonics really make that much difference overall, across a year? Isn’t the first few weeks about settling children in, building relationships, getting to know them well as individuals, showing them how to navigate their new environment, manage routines, make friends and so on? It’s about listening to children, working alongside them, nurturing their confidence, encouraging their contribution – all of which will help to complete an accurate baseline!
Let’s finish on the words of Professor dr. Ferre Laevers and remember that if children are not ’well in their skin’ teaching phonics will have little – if any – impact.Post a comment