Ofsted Research: Best Start in Life – Part 2 Released

Ofsted have published Part two of their Early Years Research Review – The Best Start in Life.
The title of the press release from Ofsted published today is ‘A strong foundation in the early years is crucial to children’s success’

The report highlights that frequent interactions between children and adults are fundamental to developing all young children’s knowledge in the prime areas of learning – communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development (PSED). Every interaction between a practitioner and a child plays an important role in building the knowledge and skills children will need.

This latest report, which aims to support practitioners in raising the quality of Early Education,  is part of their series of subject-based curriculum research reviews. Its purpose is to support early years practitioners in raising the quality of early years education. The report has 3 parts:

  • Part 1: Setting the Scene
  • Part 2: The 3 Prime Areas of Learning
  • Part 3: The 4 Specific Areas of Learning

Summary of findings from part 2 (source: www.gov.uk)
Part 2 highlights the following evidence about the importance of ensuring that every child experiences a high-quality curriculum in the prime areas of learning 

  • The 3 prime areas of the EYFS are crucial to children’s early learning and their later success in education and life.
  • The prime areas are interlinked. For example, more developed language and communication are associated with better emotional well-being. Children who are more physically active in the early years are better at regulating their emotions and achieve better in primary school. Furthermore, as explained in the EYFS framework, ‘the specific areas of learning provide children with a broad curriculum and with opportunities to strengthen and apply the prime areas of learning.
  • Communication and language are fundamental to every aspect of young children’s thinking and learning. The rate of children’s development depends on their interactions with adults. Every interaction between a practitioner and a child is a teaching opportunity. The quality of interactions is likely to be more important than the quantity.[footnote 8] Communication and language also provide the foundations for later literacy skills.
  • Personal, social and emotional development underpins children’s early learning and emotional well-being. Warm and positive relationships with practitioners help children understand and manage their emotions and relate positively to other children.[footnote 10] Children also benefit from careful and sensitive teaching about emotions and relationship-building.
  • Developing executive functioning in the early years helps children learn and form positive relationships when they start school.
  • Physical development is central to children’s health and fitness, and provides the foundations for later participation in and enjoyment of physical activity and sport. It supports academic achievement in later childhood. High levels of physical activity improve young children’s health, and reduce the risk of them being obese when they start school. Practitioners play an important role in encouraging less active children to move more and in teaching children movement skills like balancing, jumping and catching.[footnote 16]
  • Frequent, high-quality interactions between children and practitioners play a fundamental role in building the knowledge and skills that children will need. High-quality interactions are more likely to take place when:
    • practitioners notice what children know and can do, and respond accordingly: their responses are based on what they know about each child and their wider understanding of child development
    • practitioners know the curriculum in advance: interactions are more effective when staff know what they want babies and young children to learn
    • all children experience enough planned and incidental interactions with adults to learn what they need: some babies and young children will need more targeted time and attention than others.

You can access the full summary and the report here

Read the Press Release

Part 1 – Setting the Scene can be accessed here

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