Developed and written by 4 Children in partnership with parents, and supported by the Department for Education, Ofsted and Public Health England.
This new booklet, published in the summer of 2015 is aimed at supporting parents by helping them understand what they can expect from their children as they grow up during the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and signaling how they might help support that learning and development.
After a number of years of no new guidance to support the implementation of the EYFS, What to Expect, When? signals somewhat of an oasis in the desert.
This quality guide which has been primarily developed with parents and providers makes the technical language of the learning and development requirements of the statutory framework far more accessible to parents.
What to Expect, When? explains how children learn and develop, how development bands overlap and the characteristics of effective learning. For each development band the 7 areas of learning (Personal, social and emotional development; physical development; literacy; communication and language; mathematics; understanding the world; expressive arts and design) are looked at from the point of view of the child. There are then concrete and practical examples of what parents can do to support their children. Many of these examples have come from parents themselves.
So we at 4Children are proud of the guide, and think it has the potential – if we can reach parents and practitioners directly – to make a real difference in helping parents to support their children’s development. From initial feedback, we’re on our way with this ambition. The response is so far even better than we expected with over 50,000downloads and 13,000 hard copies dispatched.
4Children worked with parents throughout the process and they were forthright in their opinions - they did not want to feel patronised and wanted the document to have as little technical language as possible. We’re thrilled that now the guide is complete, parents tell us that it fits the bill.
We know too that providers and the workforce are finding it helpful in sharing and opening up discussions with parents around children’s learning and what they can do at home. What to Expect, When? helps parents know roughly where their child should be in terms of development for their age and supports early intervention by encouraging them to seek help if they have any concerns.
The Department of Health see the guide as being a most useful resource in supporting the two year old integrated review - and Health Visitors can use the booklet with the parents they will be working with.
We are now seeing real alignment in work to support parental engagement across early years policy - with Ofsted's new Common Inspection Framework, the roll out of the Integrated Review, Public Health England’s - Best Start to Life, the Early Years Pupil Premium and early education funding for two year olds. It seems, with its focus on parental engagement to improve quality and outcomes in the early years, What to Expect, When? has arrived just at the right time.
Sue Robb, Head of Early Years, 4Children