Celebrating Children’s Learning

Early Years Assessment Materials

These observations were contributed by nursery schools across London to help practitioners to assess children’s learning and exemplify the progress they make, using the Development Matters guidance. They were particularly selected to show the Characteristics of Effective Learning in action. Every aspect of the seven prime and specific areas of learning is illustrated by real observations of young children’s learning in action, using a wide range of different styles and formats.

We hope that these materials will be useful for training and development purposes, both to develop the quality of assessment, and to improve the accuracy and robustness of assessment across the early years. If early years settings, childminders and schools come together for training and for moderation, that will improve transition arrangements and will help to ensure that children can build on their learning and deepen their interests. Higher-quality assessment information will also engage parents more, and prompt more discussion: fostering early learning is a partnership between parents and practitioners.

As we worked on the project, we identified four features in the most effective practice in early years assessment:

  • you can ‘hear’ the child’s voice or ‘get a feel’ for their play
  • there is keen observation of the child’s exploration, play and thinking
  • the practitioner has noticed that the child is learning a new skill, or is making new links between aspects of knowledge
  • there are examples of Sustained Shared Thinking, or a response from the child showing their feeling of awe and wonder.

You can find out more about our project in All About…early years assessment.

We strongly believe that one of the most promising ways to develop innovative practice is to work collaboratively like this. We would welcome your feedback. To do so click through to each individual document (PDF) via the image or title and leave a review/rating by clicking the ‘Leave a Review’ link inside each box. If you’d like to submit an observation for future inclusion, please email .

Newham Nursery Schools Joint Website

You can find our more about our “Learning without limits” project by visiting the site.