Within an Early Years classroom, Characteristics of Effective Learning (CoEL) underpin learning and development across all areas and support the children to remain effective and motivated and as a result, become strong, lifelong learners. In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) we consistently refer to the characteristics whilst planning, teaching, assessing and observing the children. As good practice, we expose our children to the CoEL statements, which support them in understanding how they learn best. When the characteristics are present, solid learning takes place. Without the CoEL, children do not develop in all areas of learning.
After reflecting on the importance of the CoEL and the vital role it plays in instilling motivation and empowering children to become confident, creative and effective lifelong learners, it got me thinking - why are the Characteristics of Effective Learning prominent within the Early Years, yet not established within the Infants, Juniors and even beyond? This resulted in me wanting to develop our very own set of Brabyns learning values for our whole School.
At the start of the academic year, I spent a lot of time researching learning values and collated a list of those that I thought would be most beneficial for our children. Subsequently, I created Google Forms and involved our staff, children and parents in choosing which learning values they thought would have the most impact on our children’s learning. After analysing the data, it has been confirmed that we will be trialling the following learning values, with the same half-termly focus throughout the school: curiosity, independence, responsibility, resilience, reflection and seeking challenges. During the upcoming INSET day, as a team, we will decide upon the order in which we deliver the learning values throughout the academic year, in addition to devising differentiated learning values across the whole school, so that each learning value outcome differs from class to class.
For the EYFS and Infant classes, I am currently working on perfecting how each learning value will be promoted through the use of ‘Achievosaurus’ posters, certificates and a rap song.
For our Junior classes, we will be using a similar approach to promote the learning values within Year 3, 4, 5 and 6. Year 6 will be heavily involved in choosing which animals link to which learning values. Ultimately the material they produce to promote these values will be left as a lasting legacy to the School.
Keep an eye out for the launch of our Brabyns learning values.
Rachel Pickford (Head of EYFS)