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CM Club- EYFS - What changes are you making/ What are you doing??

(29 Posts)
sunnyshine Tue 08-Jul-08 22:14:52

Am a registered CM but been on maternity leave for a few months! How are you all implementing this into your day and are there any drastic changes i need to make? I am hearing different things from different people and dont really want to go off course! help please!

gooseegg Wed 09-Jul-08 08:56:41

I have included introducing jolly phonics songs and actions into our morning snacktime. I can't believe how quickly the children are all recognising letters and sounds. They don't realise they are doing it though as they are having so much fun with the actions, sounds and pictures.

I have also swapped parent's daily diaries (which took up too much caring time)for a verbal handover followed by daily evening emails which include photos and each day's observations on their child e.g. xxx picked up a yellow doll and said "yellow". Or xxx concentrated very hard on clapping to the beat of our morning songs.

It feels satisfying - as if my paperwork is now directed away from pleasing Ofsted and instead towards the people who most benefit from it ie the families.

AskABusyPerson Wed 09-Jul-08 09:22:53

What a fab idea gooseegg re diaries, I found that I was scribbling away writing down things the children were doing, but thinking 'I want to be playing with them, not writing!'

I heard differing things on the course I went on, I think EYFS is not a 'You must do X Y and Z' it's more 'How about trying X Y and Z' and observations (which might be easer to do if I didn't have a diary to write too!) Also, what I found with BirthToThree was that I was doing much of the stuff anyway, and it seemed quite easy to fit what I was doing to a particular part of B23, so I'm hoping for the same with EYFS.

Having said that, I'm not going to have any regular under-5's to do EYFS with, but am wondering what to do about the set of twins who come once a month, sometimes twice, sometimes not at all in a month - Mum is a supply school teacher and I am her reserve childcare if grandparents aren't free....they're 2.5 yo so fall into EYFS age, but with irregular attendance, which is often short notice, how am I going to do it?!!!

gooseegg Wed 09-Jul-08 13:09:45

AskABustPerson - With the infrequent twins I would just do the same as with any others of that age.

An email could be full of a celebration of things you have noticed in their development since the last time you cared for them including games you have played with them, books you have read with them etc which reflect their growing knowledge and skills.

An email can also be printed out and popped into folders as proof.

If it's a long time between visits you could also send a prior email asking their mum to let you know of their current favourite activities before they come. (Satisfying both the working with parents criteria and also making it easier to plan for their individual needs).

I do still make some notes during the day but they are literally one or two word memory joggers against each child's name jotted onto a single post-it and stuck to my pc for use later in the evening.

I agree with you in that I don't see EYFS as prescriptive at all, and love the scope it gives us to devise our own systems and ways of working.

I like to work with ideas and create my own practice, and would give up if I was expected to be just like everyone else.

MindingMum Wed 09-Jul-08 17:40:40

AskABusyPerson - you are not required to do obs or planning for children who are ad hoc, temporary or for those for whom you are not the main early years care provider.

In order to minimize the amount of EYFS I have to put into practise, I have let two full time children go and am offering myself as an ad hoc, emergency and temp childminder.

BoysAreLikeDogs Wed 09-Jul-08 17:50:55

Still waiting for my area training courses to be announced hmm

I am hoping that I can utilise diaries to make the obs, to inform my planning, and that we will get pro-formas to use as a guide.


gooseegg Wed 09-Jul-08 18:03:28

MindingMum - please could you show where exactly the requirement/lack of requirement for obs/planning for those children you mention is stated within the EYFS literature?

I am not the main early years carer for several of my minded children (who attend pre-school for more hrs/week than they come to me. There is however a requirement for provisions to work in partnership with one another (easier said than done!). A certain amount of planning and also observation must surely be necessary to meet this requirement - even if informally.

ThePrisoner Wed 09-Jul-08 18:45:40

Oh no, this is going to be a rant ...

I would prefer not to spend the "caring" hours writing daily diaries and, although doing daily evening emails (plus photos!) sounds great in theory, there is no way I would contemplate this.

I already work 7.15am - 6.00pm, on a good day, and then tidy away toys/activities. I have 3 or 4 under 5s each day, possibly more if different children do mornings/afternoons. I am already whacked by then.

I endeavour to do some childminding-related paperwork each evening, despite the fact that I think my working day is already too long.

I believe I offer a very good service to parents, and I do work jolly hard during the day. I am committed to being part of our quality-assured network (more "spare" time doing evening/weekend training courses). I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to paperwork, so already do plenty - I was doing loads long before it became the "done" thing.

Oh, and I forgot ... I also have a family and a life that I would very much like to enjoy a little more. sad

(Note to self - do not read any posts on Mumsnet that discuss the EYFS).

MindingMum Wed 09-Jul-08 18:48:33

To be honest gooseegg I've barely read the literature. The post I wrote above is from information given to me by a fellow childminder who had completed a level 3 in EYFS.

I will post later when I have spoken to her because she eats, sleeps and breathes childminding and is involved in delivering EYFS training in our area. She was also involved in producing some of the literature for the EYFS.

dmo Wed 09-Jul-08 18:50:50

my friend who is a cm asked all her parents to write a letter to her saying that they didnt want their children photographed or observed grin

Shoshe Wed 09-Jul-08 19:06:50

<<<<<<<<Damps the flames down under TP>>>>>>>>>>>>

GordontheGopher Wed 09-Jul-08 19:07:53

I'm just sticking with over 5s!

<<Lazy emoticon>>

gooseegg Wed 09-Jul-08 19:08:15

Thanks MM. I'll see if I can find it myself as well.

TP I completely understand your frustration. For me emails have cut down on the paperwork vs family time stress. They take minutes to do. My working day finishes at 5pm with the playroom already tidied, and I do the emails at any time of the evening to suit myself. Sometimes I do them straightaway, sometimes I wait until dh has left for work/taekwondo traning or I wait until ds is tucked up in bed.

The op asked for examples of how we might be implementing any EYFS changes into our days, and of course all childminders have to devise their own preferred ways of working.

The simplest and least time consuming the better.

dmo - that's just daft of your friend. I can understand no photos but how on earth does a childminder or parent care for children without observing them? Or is my definition of 'to observe' different from everyone elses?

ThePrisoner Wed 09-Jul-08 19:47:41

gooseegg - hope I didn't sound as though I was poo-pooing your email idea ... well, I guess I did, but only in that I know it wouldn't work for me! Sorry, I hope I didn't sound rude. Do you make an effort to take photos every day?

I really do feel frustrated by the whole thing really - childminders all work so differently. If I only had one small mindee, I think the EYFS would be an absolute doddle!! I just feel that, given the number of children some minders have, the hours that some of us work, and that most of us work solo - we are being expected to do rather a lot.

I meet a lot of childminders who don't do any kind of written information (diaries) for parents, don't do written planning, and certainly don't do "proper" observations. It doesn't make them "bad" childminders. If the EYFS is causing this much angst to those of us who already do a lot of this, imagine how scary it is to those who don't.

MindingMum Wed 09-Jul-08 20:17:35

Have spoken to my friend and she reckons that it will be in the new copy of 'are you ready for your inspection?' which is due out this week. She is certain that it is only the primary care giver that does the obs and planning, however all caregivers are expected to liase with each other.

MindingMum Wed 09-Jul-08 20:19:58

oooh oooh <<<excited emotion>>>- found it!

It's on page 17 of the new statutory framework for EYFS, under assessment, point 2.22

gooseegg Wed 09-Jul-08 22:00:18

MindingMum - I have looked at both of those documents and haven't found anything that mentions exemptions for temporary, ad hoc or emergency care.

I think your friend is confusing the statutory requirement for settings to produce a written Profile at the end of the EYFS, with the ongoing requirement for all settings and for all children to plan, observe and match observations to the early learning goals.

TP - No worries! TBH I am only interested in other childminders if they can inspire me in my own practice or if they are open to debate about how best to implement the EYFS.

I don't have time to worry about those who are angst ridden or scared unless they want objective discussion. That probably sounds harsh, but I prefer to try to fight my way out of being swamped and frustrated, and to keep my business healthy, by devising new ways of working.

Yes I do take lots of photos and always have so it's second nature to whip the camera out of my pocket and take candid shots frequently throughout the day.

MindingMum Thu 10-Jul-08 05:42:35

Gooseegg - Yes but if you only provide temporary, ad hoc or emergency care, you probably aren't the main care giver so therefore making obs and planning un-neccesary.

Arfa Thu 10-Jul-08 14:45:51

I don't know if you have to be accepted as a member of the CM Club before you can post, so my apologies if I am treading on anyone's toes.

Anyway, in a press announcement about the review of the literacy goals, the DCSF themselves have now said that "The only statutory requirement to write anything down is that a single document, the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, must be completed in the year the child turns five ... for the vast majority of children [this] will be completed by teachers in school reception classes". I suspect the DCSF are backtracking somewhat in the face of the larger than expected opposition to EYFS because this goes against what it says in the EYFS literature and also in the courses that Surestart are providing.

In addition, Beverly Hughes has said that parents will be able to apply for exemption from EYFS by applying to the setting concerned. The only snag is that the government need to make some regulations under the Childcare Act 2006 before this can happen. However, if the regulations haven't been created and September arrives I would hope that a letter from a parent would be sufficient to satisfy Ofsted should they decide to call. NB If any parent wants to request exemption, they must do so on the grounds of "religion or philosophical belief".

My wife is the CM and she will not be making any plans or recording any formal observations. We are hoping that as long as she can show that she is observing the child and then ensuring that the appropriate toys etc are being provided for them then Ofsted will be satisfied. It should also help that she will have letters from all of her parents requesting exemption. It is interesting to note that of the 6 parents, 3 are teachers and 1 is a careers officer and all 6 of them are against EYFS.

hennipenni Thu 10-Jul-08 15:05:10

Arfa, you don't have to be accepted as a member to post under the heading "CM Club", it's just a phrase that we start our posts off with if we need help from other CMs although everybody is welcome to post on these threads grin

gooseegg Thu 10-Jul-08 18:19:27

Arfa - You say that your wife will be showing Ofsted that she is observing the children. A METHOD of showing Ofsted (who only visit for a few hours every 2-3 yrs) that you are observing children is to have some written past examples merely to complement what the inspectors actually manage to observe in the short period of time they are on your premises.

Ensuring that appropriate toys etc are provided for children IS planning.

It's true that none of this HAS to be written down in any way.

It is however wise for childminders to have a system of some sort to enable them to explain and promote their work to inspectors - who in my opinion simply do not have time to observe us actually working for long enough to make an informed judgement.

A system which relies solely on verbal explanation to Ofsted on the day of the inspection is a system that MAY work.

It is a system that also risks not being able to promote your quality sufficiently to get the grade you deserve.

Arfa Thu 10-Jul-08 22:24:03

My wife has already not got the grade she deserves because Ofsted are more concerned with paperwork than actual childcare, so, if that happens again, what the heck? My wife has never advertised and doesn't allow her name to be put on the Surestart register etc yet she regularly has to turn people away who she has been recommended to, so she must be doing something right.

We both think the EYFS is wrong and is more about the government being able to claim they have done this, that and the other rather than having the concerns of the child at its centre. EYFS is all about too much, too soon and we both believe that children learn better if they are allowed to develop as people first, learning social skills etc. Formal learning should start at a much later age than we are used to in this country, in a similar way to the rest of Europe and especially the Scandinavian countries.

If you have half an hour to spare, try watching this programme from the Teachers TV web site to see what we mean.

gooseegg Fri 11-Jul-08 08:15:36

Thank you for the link Arfa.

I did see evidence of formal learning in the clip.

Children sitting around a table with a teacher matching word cards to objects.

A father talking about his child learning the alphabet, counting up to 10 or even 20, carryng out simple addition of 1 plus 1.

Each child had their on portfolio to show parents ther progress.

Whiteboards in each grouping room.

Sweden's emphasis on the importance of the physical environment (and the premises and equipment in the clip were indeed superb) is reflected in the EYFS.

The emphasis on the cultivation of an emotional environment where children are relaxed and not anxious is reflected in the EYFS.

The importance given to the outdoor environment is reflected in the EYFS (I disagree personally with the professed goodness of outdoor sleeping under layers of warm blankets).

The staff in the clip say that they they have a curriculum that tells them what to do but not how to do it. The EYFS is also not prescriptive. The EYFS is a framework which gives suggestions of how to work, but which leaves it's implementation up to each setting to deliver in their own style.

The self reflection and evaluation that the Swedes give to their own processes rather than to the children is promoted by the EYFS.

Yes, the EYFS does stipulate systematic observational assessment of each child. But this isn't detrimental to each child's welfare if done with the Swedish evaluation of the process itself. The children need not even be aware of it.

As childminders caring for different ages in more family like social groups I believe we should be embracing the guiding themes of the EYFS as something we can use to justify us providing as much or as little of the Swedish model, or of any other model, as we choose.

Arfa Fri 11-Jul-08 09:44:50

Did you also see the bit where the headteacher said that Sweden does not have an army of inspectors because their government "trusts them" to do a good job? How much more money could be shifted to the frontline if we didn't have to pay for as many Ofsted inspectors as we have and all of the bureaucrats who are constantly re-writing the same thing and moving the goal posts?

If the EYFS is so free and easy why are the learning goals set out in such detail? Why is the upper limit of the EYFS set at 5 years when most children of that age are not able to achieve the more challenging EYFS goals? Why not wait until children are 6 or 7 years old, like they do in Europe and Scandinavian countries respectively, before they are expected to achieve the numeracy and literacy targets?

Why is Finland, where children start school at 7 and spend the least time in school, at the top of the European literacy tables? Why are Poland higher than the UK in the literacy tables? Why is there such emphasis placed on literacy when we are hearing so much about some children who are unable to speak properly when they start school?

Nigellapleasecomedinewithme Fri 11-Jul-08 11:29:54

Arfa - totally agree with your views. We have a great CM who really takes care of our children - our #1 priority. They play, they do creative stuff (more than at home!), they go out and socialise. We know she does a good job children are happy - just want a few quick words at end of the day - usually just to say they have been brill and enjoyed the day. A CM is NOT their main educator - that should be both parents and school when they start at 5. All these schemes and money spent what has it really changed. Yes we need to identify any poor cms that do very little but 'mond' them in the most basic way - but parents have the power not to use these. It should be easier to set up as a CM with good guidance and a common sense attitude - this new EYFS is making our cm think about giving up - the last thing we or our children need. We need more supported families that provide stable backgrounds - my dp works in an EBD school and much of the behaviour is honestly down to screwed up backgrounds and kids not really knowing they are loved and taken care of in a secure environment.

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