As an Early Years Implementation Lead, I initially spent time collating information and evidence to accurately diagnose the specific challenges to children’s literacy & numeracy development, within my EY setting. Throughout this process I observed the children, colleagues and daily practice within the room. I reviewed our tracker information to identify areas that we could improve to further support children’s maths and literacy skills. I produced questionnaires for staff measuring their numeracy and literacy teaching confidence levels, to create a baseline to help measure progress throughout the project. This highlighted the following:
- Development areas where children were commonly showing limited progress and attainment in literacy and maths
- Gaps in staff knowledge
- Practitioners sometimes failing to extend children’s knowledge or missing further opportunities to build on children’s learning
- A lack of literacy/numeracy focused resources in the setting
- Inconsistency in supporting challenging behaviours during learning time
Based on this evidence, I wrote and redrafted a Securing Achievement action plan with feedback from an Evidence Lead in Education, based within the local Research School. I put this action plan into practice in the setting which included:
- 1:1 support for targeted children who were underperforming in early numeracy/literacy
- Delivered intervention sessions focused on a child’s individual needs and explored how to further their learning and development
- Planning and delivering group numeracy and literacy times
- Organising literacy and maths activities as a consistent provision in the room
- Adding literacy and numeracy resources to support the children’s needs
- Undertaking observations of staff, organising in-setting training and development.
- Used part of the £2,000 grant to purchase resources to support children’s early maths and literacy skills
- Ensured that maths and literacy opportunities were present in all areas of the setting, including a new cosy corner literacy area with puppets, wooden story spoons, wooden story slices and a natural alphabet on the wall
- Created borrow bag resource packs to be loaned to families including literacy and maths activities
- Changed the books available on a weekly basis
- Began a ‘story of the month’ initiative with daily activities based around a book, involving a Makaton sign of the week coinciding with the book of the month
- Used part of the £2,000 grant to buy in training for all staff in the setting for a literacy course and a numeracy course
Within my role as an EYIL, I completed a comprehensive training programme with the IOA project including sessions on the following: principles of effective implementation, drafting action plans, early communication, SEND, supporting children’s early reading/writing, parental engagement, evaluation, improving children’s behaviour and supporting children’s early numeracy.
After completing training, I communicated key learning and best practice back to other staff in setting, during staff meetings and also shared the recorded videos on the Early Years Implementation Lead padlet, when I felt they would be beneficial. I regularly shared project plans and advice about how we could implement each strand through staff meetings and peer support, in the room. This enabled me to successfully cascade learning to other practitioners and colleagues, to help them to better support children’s literacy and numeracy development.
Being part of the EYIL project has really helped our setting to focus on maths and literacy. It was a great way to reflect upon daily practice, look at what our setting offered and identify effective ways to make improvements. I focused our numeracy and literacy activities around our children’s interests, which kept their focus and concentration maintained. The outcomes from these focused activities have shown improvement in the children’s maths and literacy skills.