Tag Archives: EPPE

Articles

The Ultimate Guide to Sustained Shared Thinking

My new online course on Sustained Shared Thinking is now available. You can get it at a special price here…
>> The Sustained Shared Thinking Online Course < <

 
I’m currently getting a lot of interest around Sustained Shared Thinking, which is very encouraging as I am a massive fan of this proven method of quality practice.

This guide will consider the what, why, how, when, where and who of Sustained Shared Thinking.

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Recommended Resources

The New SSTEW Scale

The new SSTEW – Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being Scale for 2-5 year olds

SSTEW cover

by Iram Siraj, Denise Kingston & Edward Melhuish

I was very excited to see that there was to be a quality assessment tool for Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being (SSTEW). As I’m sure you know, I’m a massive fan of Sustained Shared Thinking, and its benefits, but measuring the quality of Sustained Shared Thinking is massively difficult.

How can you really analyse the quality of interactions, which may only be a few minutes long?

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Recommended Resources

My Book: Sustained Shared Thinking

sst-coverSustained Shared Thinking is fundamental to good Early Years practice.
It costs nothing, yet research (via the EPPE project) has shown that it improves outcomes for children by supporting their deep level learning and holistic development.

This book clearly explains what Sustained Shared Thinking is and examines the skills and expertise needed to initiate, encourage and facilitate it. It explores the attitudes, knowledge and understanding that a practitioner in any setting should adopt in order to start or develop successful Sustained Shared Thinking.

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Viewpoint

Value Your EYP

With Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) in the news again for good reasons (supported by the Tickell Review) and not so good reasons (Providers lose their licence), the debate has once again opened on the value of the Status and its role in Early Childhood Education.

Early Years Professional Status was conceived after the Effective Provision of Preschool Education (EPPE) research found that a ‘graduate led workforce’ gave demonstrably better outcomes for children in preschool settings. However, since then the authors of the EPPE research have produced a book (Early Childhood Matters, evidence from the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education project, 2010 Sylva et al.) which clearly states that they had intended the Early Years to be led by qualified teachers (pages 19/20). They declare the current situation a ‘muddle in provision’ being followed by a ‘muddle in training’.

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Articles

What does Assessment mean?

An interesting article caught my eye this week, based around a mother’s conversion to the EYFS.

There a few things which also raised an eyebrow – “every setting in the country” should be “the majority of settings England”, for example.

But the sentence which really intrigued me was that children should be allowed to be children and not “endure a continuous stream of observations and assessments”. The word that was particularly discordant was “endure”.

In my experience most young children thoroughly enjoy having an interested and motivated adult watching and taking part in their play. There are many adults who enjoy being a part of children’s lives, which naturally involves noting the children’s likes and dislikes.

So where does the “endure” or suffering come from? One explanation could be that the process of observations and assessment hasn’t been made clear.

The dictionary tells us assessment is an evaluation or judgement. This doesn’t mean we restrict children’s freedom or play or natural inquisitiveness. A good practitioner will give the children all these opportunities and then take the lead from them to extend their interests – or evaluate, ‘assess’ their play.

The assessment is not about labelling or pigeonholing children. However, if a practitioner can spot schematic play (for example), then this can help support the child’s interests and learning in a way that is the best for the child. Or, put another way, really understands what makes that child tick.

Who wouldn’t want that?

When first looking at the EYFS (2008 and 2012) it may seem to be artificially contrived statements about children just doing what children do best – being themselves. But these have been crafted by skilled and respected educators in the childcare industry, based on some of the most in depth research in Europe (Effective Provision of Preschool Education, 2003).

The strength of the document is that it takes the child’s incredibly complex patterns of learning and makes them accessible, makes it look easy, even. This ensures that the ‘assessments’ we make about children are relevant and accurate.

The EYFS (2012) does have many ‘categories’, against which assessments are made, although few than the EYFS 2008. But the fact remains that, somehow, you have to detail how children develop and learn. If you don’t, how do you know if their development is within ‘normal’ limits? How do you evidence Special Educational Needs, for example? Or gifted and talented?

Without having this information you may not be providing the very best for the children in your care.

Assessment isn’t about sitting children down to be tested or labelled. It is about taking an interest in their development, and then using this to give them an enjoyable and challenging childhood.

References:
Early Years Foundation Stage, EYFS (2008) DCSF http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/earlyyears
EPPE (2003) http://eppe.ioe.ac.uk/

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Viewpoint

Sustained Shared Thinking – How Important is It?

Sustained Shared Thinking
My new online course on Sustained Shared Thinking is now available. You can get it at a special price here…
>> The Sustained Shared Thinking Online Course < <

 
Sustained shared thinking has been defined as

” an episode in which two or more individuals ‘work together’ in an intellectual way to solve a problem, clarify a concept, evaluate activities, extend a narrative etc. Both parties must contribute to the thinking and it must develop and extend” Siraj-Blatchford et al (2002) Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY), Dfes.

This is not a new concept, just a new name. Most early years theorist value the adult/child interaction, from Vygotsky’s social interaction and more knowledgeable other; Bruner’s discovery learning; Piaget constructivism right through to Lave’s situated learning.

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In the News

Unicef Report on Childhood

Unicef ReportI read with no surprise the results from the Unicef report, and the resultant reporting in the Times yesterday (11th December 2008). When all the hype and comment has been cleaned away the nugget of truth left is that a child from a disadvantaged background does not benefit from poor quality day care. Hardly earth shattering. Maria Montessori had spotted this over 100years ago. More recently the EPPE research has proved it. 

The interesting part for me was that the Times had chosen to dedicate two full pages and a half page of comment to this. There were even references to research – EPPE appears on both for and against childcare, again demonstrating a balanced piece of research. You do have to read to the penultimate paragraph before you come to the obvious conclusion –

 “Either the Government must help these mothers to recognise that looking after their young children is a serious job or they must provide these children from deprived backgrounds with highly skilled, well-paid nursery teachers who can help to improve their chances in life not damage them.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5321347.ece

(As an EYP I am assuming here that the author, Alice Thomson, is referring to a ‘teacher’ as all those who educate and care for early years children).

This did give me great hope that the discussion about early years education is becoming news worthy and of interest to the general public. If nothing else it prompts the questions which may be asked by parents – is my nursery/childcare arrangement of sufficiently good quality? Of course, demographics tell us that those parents who are most likely to be reading the Times have already worked this out for themselves. Those parents who need the help to identify a quality setting have been missed again. 

 

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