PLANNING, EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
We have schemes of work detailing a cross-curricular, overarching theme for each project.
Our planning is a continuing process, involving careful observation, identification of needs and capabilities, provision of resources, assessment, and evaluation. Discussion and debate about planning are a crucial part of the process of improving it, by ensuring that adults think about, and are able to justify, their beliefs and practices.
Whilst led by the children, sufficient learning experiences for the children are planned to ensure that the curriculum goals are realised. Planning for our projects and daily learning experiences will usually begin from observations of the children’s interests, strengths, needs, and behaviours. Planning experiences can focus on the environment, the setting, on groups of children or individual children. The focus could also be on a routine or regular happening, such as preparing meals or daily meetings. Planning may be developed to give emphasis to a principle or policy.
Our observations involve gaining an understanding of what the children are learning, how the learning happens, whilst our planning looks at the role that both adults and other children play in such learning.
The curriculum enables all children to:
take increasing responsibility for their own learning and care;
develop an enhanced sense of self-worth, identity, confidence, and enjoyment;
contribute their own special strengths and interests;
learn useful and appropriate ways to find out what they want to know;
understand their own individual ways of learning and being creative.
Our curriculum builds on the child’s own experiences, knowledge, skills, attitudes, needs, interests, and views of the world within our school. Children will have the opportunity to create and act on their own ideas, to develop knowledge and skills in areas that interest them, and to make an increasing number of their own decisions and judgments.
To learn and develop to their potential, children must be respected and valued as individuals. Their rights to personal dignity, to equitable opportunities for participation, to protection from physical, mental, or emotional abuse and injury, and to opportunities for rest and leisure must be safeguarded. Time, freedom, space and supportive adults are our most valuable offerings to share with our children.
Evaluation & Assessment
Learning is a subtle and complex process. We recognise that whilst most children encounter common milestones, they do so in different areas and at different rates. Observational assessment is an integral part of this process; it involves identifying progress, celebrating achievement, and identifying areas for development. The educator’s role is to build up a picture of the uniqueness of each child to provide the appropriate level of challenge, support or change in approach that will enable every child to progress successfully.
Assessment observations and records should provide useful information for the children and additional adults, helping to improve the ways that the school meets each child’s needs. Feedback to children on their learning and development should enhance their sense of themselves as capable people and competent learners.
Assessment should be a two-way process. Children’s self-assessment can inform educator’s assessment of learning, development, and the environment, by providing insights they may not have identified and by highlighting areas that could be included in or focused on for assessment. Children may also help to decide what should be included in the process of assessing the schemes of work and the curriculum.
Observation and assessment of children should encompass all dimensions of children’s learning and development and should see the child as a whole. Attributes such as respect, curiosity, trust, reflection, a sense of belonging, confidence, independence, and responsibility are essential elements of our curriculum: they are extremely difficult to measure but are often observable in children’s responses and behaviours.
Families should be part of the assessment and evaluation of the curriculum as well as of their child’s learning and development. Parents and caregivers have a wealth of valuable information and understandings regarding their children. Care should be taken that, when children are assessed, families do not feel that they are being judged. Observations and records should be part of two-way communication that strengthens the partnership between school and families. It should also be noted that parental understandings and expectations will alter children’s expectations of themselves.
Assessment is influenced by the relationships between adults and children, just as children’s learning and development are influenced by the relationships they form with others. This influence should be taken into consideration during all assessment practice. Adults are learners too, and they bring expectations to the assessment task. The expectations of adults are powerful influences on children’s lives. If adults are to make informed observations of children, they should recognise their own beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes and the influence these will have on the children.
Assessment, recording and reporting procedures will be monitored annually in order that they remain meaningful, manageable and consistent across the school.
The needs of the children, not assessment procedures, will always determine the curriculum.
For further information, see our Assessment Policy.