You became a tiney home leader because you’re passionate about helping children to make fantastic progress. The main way you record that progress, and keep families updated, is through the Learning Journal.

This is the place that you put your observations of the children learning new things and create a record of the journey each child goes on with you.

We observe children’s learning to find out:

  1. Their interests
  2. What they can do
  3. What they cannot yet do

Paying close attention to each child allows you to plan the steps they need to take next, and to make learning really personal. When you add an observation to the Learning Journal, families can also use it to reinforce that learning at home. Ultimately, the main reason we observe children’s learning is to understand how they are doing and to help them to learn even more.

How to track children’s learning at tiney

1. Short observations

Use the Learning Journal on the app to log short, striking observations of children’s learning. This might be a photo of a child playing, or of something they have made; it might be something a child said; or it could be a quick description of something you saw the child doing. Whenever possible you should include the child’s voice.

To add a new observation:

  • Press on the ‘+’ at the top right corner of the screen
  • Fill in the details (title, date and time, observation)
  • Select the children it refers to and tag the relevant EYFS areas of learning and characteristics of effective learning
  • Upload any photos
  • Add any private notes for yourself
  • Press submit to share it with families.

2. Longer observations

For each child, write at least one longer, detailed observation of their learning every six weeks. This involves finding a time when a child is deeply engaged in meaningful play, stepping back and writing an account of what they are doing and saying. You can either type these longer observations directly into the Learning Journal or handwrite them legibly, photograph them and upload them.

As with the shorter observations, select the child, tag the relevant EYFS areas and characteristics of effective learning, and upload any photos. Then add any private notes for yourself and press submit to share with families.

3. Big learning review, using the Development Matters statements

The observations you make of children in the Leaning Journal, both short and long, are snapshots of their progress at different moments in time. Looked at together, they become a bank of evidence you can use to review children’s learning and development overall.

You should do this review every three months for each child, pausing to take stock of their progress in all seventeen EYFS areas of learning. This is an in depth activity and should be done when the children are not there.

Look back over the evidence you have recorded in the Learning Journal and look at it alongside a printed grid of all the ‘ages and stages’ statements in Development Matters. Combining the Learning Journal evidence with your overall knowledge of the child, look at the statements for all 17 areas of the EYFS and highlight those that the child can confidently do. Use a different coloured highlighter pen for each review so that you can keep track of children’s progress over time.

When you have highlighted the relevant statements for an area, you can see where the child is up to and decide which age band they are Working Within (WW) or Working Towards (WT). Doing this allows you to identify any areas in which children are behind the expected level for their age, discuss this with families, and provide extra support as required.

4. Special Books

As well as seeing your observations on the Learning Journal, families love to have a physical record of their children’s progress. Create a Special Book for each child (a big scrap book) and stick things that they make into it. As well as being a lovely keepsake for families, the Special Book is a powerful tool to talk to children about their learning and help them to see and reflect on their own progress.

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