Walking the Talk

It has been wonderful to be back out and about in nursery settings. The last two years have been challenging, and it is vital to draw a line and get back into good habits. There has been so much change that we now need to go back to basics and get the foundations right. One of the most common themes I have been seeing is the inability to ‘walk to the talk’. We are saying the right things, but we are not doing the walking; the room is not implementing and displaying what you are saying.

Practice makes perfect

Practice your learning walk regularly. You want it to feel natural to you and your team. It needs to flow easily, and you need to be confident in your delivery. There is nothing worse than getting tongue-tied when you speak to an Inspector.

Team effort

Encourage the team to do a learning walk too. Two heads are better than one, it is much easier to identify gaps and where you could improve when you hear it out loud instead of in your head.

Set the intention

Encourage your room managers to talk about the day’s intention. What do they want to get from today to ensure they add impact? What is it they intend the children to learn? So, what you want them to say is this: (It may seem to be a little scripted, but it works, so go with me on this one)

Child A

The child in question, Sinah, is 32 months and based in the pre-school room.

He loves being outside and adores dinosaurs, and he brings in a different one each day.

What you need your staff to be able to say is:

‘From the last observation, I have noticed that Sinah can count to 5. I now want him to learn how to count to 10 and practice this. He loves dinosaurs, he brings a different one in every day, and we learn about the dinosaur. He adores being outside, so I have created an activity where I have placed a specific number of spots on the different dinosaurs. He can match with the recognising numbers. He is also at the age when he struggles with sharing, so I will work alongside him to help him see that taking turns in the game is a good idea.’

Actions speak louder than words

With the above example in mind, look at the room and what you see.

  • Are there dinosaurs out?
  • What is the activity’s intent does it involve the dinosaurs and is it purposeful?
  • Are there too many activities out? Too many activities can cause overwhelm and are confusing to the children.

It’s good to talk

The focus on children’s communication and language is of high priority. Although this has always been the case since the pandemic development this area has hit an all-time low. A drop in language and communication skills are not surprising when considering the restrictions that covid 19 imposed on our children. Conversations have been missing and there has been an increase in children accessing devices and the television to keep them entertained. Our crucial role in Early Years is to recognise this and put plans in place to help support children in this area of their development. So, during your learning walk, talk about what you are doing to support children to become confident speakers.

Next Steps

Take the time after you have read this and walk through your setting, or even better, get the staff team on board and at your staff meeting ask them what they feel children gain from being in their room. Let them take ownership, so it doesn’t just fall onto your shoulders.

JigsawEYC works with you and your team to achieve the best outcomes for children. We are passionate about ensuring you are promoting excellent practice and that you can have a positive impact on children’s lives. In addition, we deliver high-quality training and bespoke consultancy to all areas within Early Years including childminders, pre-schools, and full day-care settings.

If you would like more help and advice on the learning walk, book a Quality Improvement Audits (QIA). For further information, visit https://www.jigsawearlyyearsconsultancy.com/services/quality-improvement-audits/ or email info@jigsaweyc.com