April 16, 2020
Many thanks to Simon McLoughlin, Early Years Lead, from Lanchester EP Primary School for sharing with us how they are using Evidence Me to support EY children and sharing his top reasons as to why they are finding it so beneficial.
These are unprecedented times and it goes without saying that schools are trying their very best to keep some form of normality for children. For school staff that work with the youngest children in EY, distance-learning can present its own set of challenges. For example, it’s very difficult to set up a properly resourced water table through online learning and sending home paper-based packs of work doesn’t quite fit with the hands-on, exploratory, child-led approach that many schools use in the EY. Having said that, the Early Years sector has risen to the challenge and there are countless examples online of amazing Early Years practice happening at a distance. This pandemic may have closed our schools for now, but it won’t stop us from learning!
At Lanchester EP Primary School in County Durham, we have been using Evidence Me by 2Simple to keep in touch with the children in our large Early Years unit. We have over 100 children,, who normally fill our EY rooms and outdoor area with an electric buzz. However, this buzz has had to move online for a while. And that’s where Evidence Me comes in.
We began using Evidence Me in September 2019, having used its predecessor 2Build A Profile before that. Using this cloud-based software has meant that we no longer keep paper learning journals – think of how much time and paper we have saved! When it was announced that schools across the world should close, our Early Years Lead knew that using Evidence Me was going to be key for keeping in touch with our children and their families during this time.
So why should all Early Years practitioners consider using Evidence Me during closure? Here are my top four reasons:
Before schools closed, most of the parents in our Early Years unit were already connected to Evidence Me. They have access through their web browsers or through the Evidence Me app and can see all the observations that school has shared with them since September. By using Evidence Me, we’re able to create observations and set challenges for the children. When we publish these, the parents get a notification and can log on with their children to see what challenges await them. The really great thing about Evidence Me is that we can send videos, pictures and text, and they’re all stored in the app. Each morning at around 9am, each group of children receives a video message from their key worker. This has been a lovely way to keep in touch and for the children to maintain some form of contact with their main adult in school.
2. We can keep everything on one platform
Using Evidence Me means that we don’t need to use any other cloud software to communicate with our families in EY – we don’t need to text them or send them individual emails. This keeps everything in one place and means that the challenges we set for the children can be accessed easily at any time.
3. Home learning can be used for assessment
The Early Years framework is clear about parents and carers playing a vital role in children’s early development and learning, so being able to see what the children get up to at home is really useful for school staff. Parents and carers can easily upload videos and photos to Evidence Me, which school staff can then use as information to inform assessment. Evidence Me allows school staff to attach assessment information from the EY framework to each observation, meaning that children’s development can still be tracked, even though school is closed.
4. Transition to Y1 will be made easier
We don’t yet know how and when schools will reopen, but we do know that transitions to new year groups will perhaps look quite different in September 2020. For children leaving Reception and starting Y1, moving from the EY framework to the National Curriculum can pose its own set of challenges, especially if a huge chunk of their time in Foundation has not been spent in school. At our school, we will be using Evidence Me to help bridge the gap between Reception and Y1 this year. Y1 teachers will have access to each child’s profile on Evidence Me and we will continue to use it with Y1 in September, gradually moving towards National Curriculum assessments when this is appropriate. This joined-up thinking will help to form solid assessments and will help staff to get to know children through their online learning journeys.
We hope that you have found this useful for your settings, if you do not currently use Evidence Me you can sign up for an extended 60 day trial.
If you would like to feature on our blog about how you are using 2Simple with home learning then please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @2SimpleAus or @PurpleMash, or on Facebook @2SimpleAustralia.