Sitting This One Out
In an article published in TES over the weekend, Julian Grenier discussed the need for a discussion around assessment within early years. He highlighted the focus that the rest of the education sector has had on this topic and accused early years practitioners of "sitting this one out", of being disengaged with this particular topic.
I agree that this conversation is one that needs to be had, but how dare anyone accuse early years practitioners of being disengaged at this moment. Incase Dr. Grenier has failed to notice, we are currently in the grasp of a global pandemic. To date, we have seen 57,551 deaths and 1,617,327 infections. These are our practitioners, their families, our communities, and, in some cases, the very children we care for. Throughout all of this, our practitioners have been on the frontline. Caring for the children of our keyworkers initially, before being the first settings fully reopened in June. They have held their heads high against fear, infection, and massive job insecurity. So, I'm very sorry if we've been "sitting this one out" when it comes to this debate on assessment. Of course, that is also not the case. The debate around assessment, within the early years, is alive and well. Admittedly the ivory towers of TES, Impact, academic journals, and published books are a little beyond those of us at the coal face but take the time to come out of your office. The debate on the ground is alive and well. Practitioners are always discussing the uniqueness of each child and pondering how best to support their learning. Please attend staff meetings (when possible) or LA meets, you will see that practitioners are always debating how we assess children as a part of wider conversations on pedagogy. My colleagues are the most dedicated and driven people on this planet. They care deeply for children and their learning. They do not "sit this one out", they deliver each and every day.