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Let’s Talk Intent, Implementation and Impact in Early Years

October 25th 2020| Hannah Johnson

Let’s Talk Intent, Implementation and Impact in Early Years

Early Years has been a passion of mine since I started my teacher career in 2005. I have taught in and supported many different Early Years settings over the years and I love that they all are unique. They look and feel different and they should do, as the children are all different.

As the foundation for education, it is essential that early learning is done well. With Early Years being so subjective, there really is no wrong or right way to set up your provision. There are of course key aspects to include but how you organise and deliver teaching and learning is up to you. What is vital is being able to explain what your curriculum is and why you have chosen it.

When I was an Early Years Lead, there were always three essential points that underpinned the provision:

  1. The setting was safe
  2. All children were happy
  3. All children were learning

If children feel safe and happy then conditions for learning will be right. Every day I ensured my learning environments, both indoors and outdoors, were safe by completing risk assessments. I also greeted every child personally in the morning to check how they were feeling. If any of my children were displaying signs of concern, I would address these before starting any type of learning with them.

Let’s Talk Vision

When I was asked ‘What is your vision for Early Years?’ I sometimes struggled to explain what it was. What really helped me was thinking about some poignant questions.

This is essentially your Early Years curriculum intent, implementation and impact.

Where to start?

Always start with your children. From year to year, every cohort is very different. The class context changes – the number of girls/boys, the number of children who are summer born, pupil premium, EAL or SEND. This all affects the dynamics of your class and how you will ensure that high quality teaching and learning is happening. Get to know your children very well. Great teachers are constantly making observations and assessments on their children. They know what they can do consistently and their next steps in learning.

Know the Early Years Framework inside out. Obviously, the more experience you have of teaching and learning in Early Years, the more subject knowledge you will have. Keep up to date any DfE changes, like the early learning goal reforms coming in September 2021.

Planning Your Curriculum

Teachers have the massive task of setting children up for their futures. We need to make sure what we are teaching is going to help them and set them up for the next stage in their education.

Think about your curriculum in three ways:

  1. intent – What do you want for your children?
  2. implementation – How will you make this happen? What will you be teaching? How will you teach it?
  3. impact – How will you know children are learning?
Ofsted School Inspection Handbook, p 77

Your curriculum intentions should be based around core knowledge and skills that you would like your children to learn and retain. It should consider the starting points for every child and how high expectation for outcomes are vital. The academic side of teaching and learning is of course very pivotal in today’s classroom. However, what is equally if not more important is teaching well-being and giving children life skills rooted in good morals.

Design and implement your curriculum with your intent in mind. Your school context is important to consider here. Consider what experiences you want your children to have or which knowledge they need to learn that they won’t necessarily get from their home background. Schools in poor socio-economic areas may have very different curriculums to those in more affluent areas.

Refer to Ofsted’s School Inspection Handbook as it sets out what Ofsted thinks is outstanding provision

Ofsted School Inspection Handbook, p 79

Carefully map out your topics/themes so that learning has breadth and depth and allows children to master key skills, considering how you will enrich the children’s experiences. Plan for early reading across the curriculum and the acquisition and development of vocabulary. Establish links between areas of learning and key concepts. Plan how you will retrieve previous knowledge and keep new knowledge spinning. Inspire creativity and critical thinking with inquiry-based learning opportunities. In one of my previous blogs, I talked about Rosenshine’s Principles of instruction (2012) as a means of teaching. Think about what teaching strategies you use and your approach to teaching and learning.

Have very high expectations and ensure that all members of staff are aware of and set good examples of your expectations. For example, one of my expectations was around the way staff modelled speaking to the children. I set the expectation that staff would always speak in grammatically correct sentences, introduce new vocabulary, offer alternatives for words, explain word meanings and ask children to repeat what they said using ‘my turn, your turn’.

The impact of your curriculum should be very positive. It should highlight how children make progress from their starting points and have good levels of attainment, having acquired and retained knowledge and skills. Refer to how your curriculum gives children a sense of who they are, who they want to be and how they can make a difference in the world.

Your curriculum intent, implementation and impact are like your core beliefs for your teaching and learning in Early Years. They explain why you teach what you teach and do what you do. Following on from this blog, I will be writing a blog about planning and provision in Early Years and how your curriculum is directly linked to this.

If you would like any more information or have any questions about this please contact us and I will be happy to help.


View all posts by: Hannah Johnson
Categories: Classroom Environment
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