Moving Forward: Exploring Changes, Challenges and Opportunities in the EYFS
Back in the summer I was kindly asked by Nursery World to offer some thoughts on how things had changed since the pandemic; the impact this was having on everyday life, our families, our friends, ourselves and the children we work with.
Few could have imagined where we would be now and how the many elements of normality that we had perhaps taken for granted, today seem even more precious.
At this time, I think all of us have been impacted upon personally in some way by the on-going crisis and are yearning for hope and light. During the autumn term I was privileged to see first-hand the amazing job schools and settings are doing to ensure that the needs of their community are being met in the broadest sense – a true testament to dedication and passion those working in education have.
As we move forward, we have we been presented with opportunities to not simply go back to the way things were before, not to reboot the systems, but to reflect, refresh and re-evaluate what really matters.
It has been inspiring talking to colleagues who have seen these last months as a chance to try something new, to pause and rethink what it is their children really need and to adapt accordingly. From changing practice in Year One, to finding new ways to connect with parents and carers, to making greater use of the outdoors – the stories have been inspiring, the impact powerful.
What the next year in education will look like, we have yet to see. There are many understandable concerns about not only children’s learning, but their mental health. How we address these in a way that is right for our children, our communities in a meaningful and sustained way will be key. It is not without great sadness that when I reflect on the fantastic work Children’s Centre’s did in reaching out to support the most vulnerable families, and the tragedy that in many cases these services have been significantly reduced, that I am reminded of the impactful way those services wrapped themselves around the families when they were in need. However, what made many so successful was the way they also embraced the whole community – recognising that true, embedded strength came from being together – that we all may be in need at some time.
This is mirrored in so much of what we see happening now, colleagues going above and beyond to support families in need, whilst often facing challenges of their own. True community compassion. The current crisis has highlighted many of the broad underlying inequalities across communities, bringing them into the spotlight, a clear reminder that things cannot be allowed to simply go back to how they were and that urgent action is required.
As a sector, we choose to enter education believing that every child deserves the very best experiences, opportunities and care. This has been a unique experience for all of us and the children and will continue to be so. I believe that what so many of us have truly valued over these months has been the opportunity to talk with colleagues, to develop a shared understanding of what has been taking place, what may lie ahead and to feel we are not on our own.
So, moving forward as we address planned changes, within a climate of uncertainty; it will be even more important that we continue to converse, to discuss, to debate, to reflect and to be there for each other.
At Early Excellence we recognise that keeping abreast of change can be challenging and to support you with this, we will are offering a package of webinars to identify the key changes within the new EYFS framework for 2021. Throughout the sessions, we will be considering the implications for staff expertise and examining how we can successfully meet the statutory requirements as part of a rich and unique curriculum within provision. Find out more HERE
Phil is our Head of Regional Development for the South of England as well as leading on our work with British International Schools. Previously Phil has worked for over 20yrs across the early years and primary sector, including teacher, leader and headship positions. Phil was also the head of an integrated early years centre and is a regular Key Note speaker. With a passion for collaborative practice and professional development; Phil has worked in partnership with early years settings, schools, teaching schools and local authorities to develop and deliver personalised programmes to meet their needs.