Thoughts on improving EYFS

Here are some facts mainly from Goswami Report:

  • All forms of learning for human cognition are present soon after birth, babies and young children simply lack experiences.

  • All basic forms of learning and reasoning are available for babies and toddlers – Piaget thought that we are born with a very basic mental structure – we are not!.

  • Most of the mature adult brain is formed before birth.

  • A baby’s brain has essentially the same structures as an adult brain.

Oracy:

  • Language and talk is the key to development: adults and parents with an elaborative conversational style develop a child’s memory more effectively – so use description.

  • Guided play is a key factor in children’s development.

  • Children who create ‘pretend’ friends, develop richer language skills.

  • Knowledge comes from ‘action’, ‘language’, ‘pretend play’ and ‘teaching’.

  • Interactions around books are one of the best ways of developing more complex language skills – book based experiences in context.

Experiential Learning:

  • Purposeful physical interaction with the world is a key factor in learning.

  • Knowledge is gained best through active learning experiences.

  • To learn we need neural enrichment in an enriched quality learning environment.

Learning Environment:

  • Young children like – and like to learn – through routines.

  • Children learn best when adults differentiate/scaffold imaginative play.

  • The quality of the environment that children learn in is vital – language and number rich.

  • E learning in the early years is less effective than it is with older children.

The Curriculum:

  • Access and participation in daily maths or language based opportunities is essential.

  • We must provide direct teaching from an early age.

  • Children need social interaction where they can learn through imitation.

  • It is essential to link children’s learning, not haphazard learning and play opportunities and complete freedom of choice

  • Children need focussed directed choice to enrich their language development – you cannot exclusively just leave them to it.

  • Social activity is vital to develop imagination.

Child Development:

  • Babies recognise their mother’s voice inside the womb.

  • Babies recognise music in the womb and will respond to it.

  • The ability to imitate is present from birth.

  • From one hour old babies can imitate tongue protrusion and mouth opening

In Their First Year:

  • From 3 months babies can recognise their own feet in a video.

  • From 4 months they know that words can name things.

  • From 12 months basic phonetic sounds are recognised.

  • From 12 months old babies expect fairness and expect to see people helping eachother (Piaget thought this did not happen until 4 years old)

  • By 12 months we can anticipate another’s wishes.

Toddlers:

  • From 2 and a half years old – cause and effect are understood

  • Toddlers hear 5-7 thousand utterances a day – one third are questions.

  • By 16 months children know about 55 words

  • By 23 months children know about 225 words

  • By 30 months children know about 573 words

Young Children:

  • By 72 months children know about 6,000 words

  • By the age of 6 children understand the idea of testing by hypothesis.

  • Some 5 year olds can do and understand some things that some 15 year olds cannot.

The Great Class Divide:

  • By 4 years old a child from a ‘Professional’ family will have heard 50 million words

  • By 4 years old a child from a ‘Working Class’ family will have heard 30 million words

  • By 4 years old a child from a  family on benefits will have heard 12 million words

  • Children from professional families hear about 487 utterances an hour, children from families on welfare hear 178 an hour.

  • Each year children from a professional family hear 166,000 words of encouragement and 26,000 words of discouragement.

  • Each year children from a working class family hear 62,000 words of encouragement and 36,000 words of discouragement.

  • Each year children from a family on benefits hear 26,000 words of encouragement and 57,000 words of discouragement.

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