Birth to 5 Matters launches today

The new Birth to 5 Matters guidance document is being launched by the Early Years Coalition in a live Facebook stream, tonight. Following six months of consultation and input from across the early years sector, ‘Birth to 5 Matters – Guidance by the sector, for the sector’, will be streamed live at 7pm tonight (31 March).

Nancy Stewart, project lead for the Early Years Coalition,a coalition of 13 membership organisations,  said, ‘The guidance includes detailed examples of trajectories of development and learning in all the prime and specific areas. The need for this information to support child development knowledge came through very clearly in our consultations.’

The guidance includes:

  • a core document available as a free download, with printed copies available to purchase.
  • An interactive online version, which includes all the text from the core document and additional resources.
  • Suggestions for further reading and a bibliography.

Beatrice Merrick, chair of the Early Years Coalition, said, ‘We are delighted to offer this support to the early years sector as they look ahead to implementing the revised EYFS from September. It is a rich resource which will support knowledge of child development and how children learn, and help practitioners make their own professional judgements about meeting the needs of the children they work with.’

The coalition said that although Birth to 5 Matters builds on previous non-statutory guidance for the EYFS, it has updated all the material to reflect research evidence and meet the needs of practitioners today.

It outlines the foundations of good practice and offers information and guidance for practitioners to consider how the Principles of the EYFS can be brought to life in their setting. New sections on play, characteristics of effective learning, and self-regulation are designed to help practitioners to reflect on and develop their own pedagogy.

However, Nancy Stewart cautions that a ‘new mindset’ is needed across the sector, to move away from a checklist approach that takes practitioners away from being with children.

If settings have been using previous guidance as a checklist, they should not see Birth to 5 Matters as a replacement to be used in that way. Instead, it is a support for informed professional judgement that will help practitioners move to a new way of understanding and supporting children’s learning, with a minimalist approach to recording assessment.

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