Observation, Assessment and Planning

Assessment is about noticing what children can do and what they know. It is not about producing lots of data and evidence.
Effective assessment requires practitioners to understand child development.
Practitioners also need to be clear about what they want their children to know and be able to do. Accurate assessment can highlight whether a child needs extra help and support.
Assessment should be useful and not take practitioners away from children for long periods of time.

Ofsted Early Education Update. May 2021

Formative Assessment

This happens all the time and is part of everyday practice. Formative assessment informs how adults respond in the moment and over time; adapting teaching, interactions, the environment and resources. It is about being curious, wondering, pondering, questioning what is observed and being open to possibilities. It involves being alongside a child in their learning, being present and listening actively. Formative assessment informs our interactions with the child about their learning and development, to support their meta-learning (thinking about their own learning). It is important that children have regular, planned opportunities, as well as commenting in the moment, to reflect on and review their learning with an interested adult and each other.

“Ongoing assessment (also known as formative assessment) is an integral part of the learning and development process. It involves practitioners knowing children’s level of achievement and interests, and then to shape teaching and learning experiences for each child reflecting that knowledge.” EYFS 2021 page 18 2.1

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment is a snapshot overview of a child’s development at a particular point in time. Periodic summative assessment can be useful to keep an overview of children’s progress and stage of development in relation to the EYFS. There are three statutory summative assessments in the statutory EYFS framework.

  • 2 Year Progress Check (an EYFS Requirement for Childminders)
  • Reception Baseline Assessment at the beginning of reception year
  • EYFS Profile at the end of reception year

In order to know what progress children are making and if they are meeting developmental milestones it will be useful to make additional best-fit summative assessments. These will provide regular snapshots of a child’s learning and development over time.

Alongside practitioners’ professional knowledge of child development and their children’s learning, childminders might consider using one of the following tools:


The Childminding Support Team

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