Observation, Assessment & Planning

'Practitioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime & specific areas of learning & development. They understand & observe each child’s development & learning, assess progress and plan for next steps.' (EYFS, 2012)

At Footsteps we believe that children learn through play. We recognize the importance of the role of the adult in supporting children’s learning. We also believe that parents are the child’s first & most enduring educators and aim to work with them in every aspect of the children’s learning & development.


Why do we observe? – To identify a child’s individual needs, interests, unique stage of development & next steps in learning for that child.

We use online learning journals at the nursery through Tapestry. Parents will receive an email alert when an observation is ready to view. Parents can reply to observations and upload their own observations of the children in their home learning environment. 

An observation is done within the first few weeks of a child starting to look at starting points for that child. The key person then does an observation at least every 2 weeks to look at areas of development and plan next steps in that child's learning. These next steps are added to the planning on a daily & ongoing basis to support that child's learning.

Wow moments & group observations are also recorded.

You can access your child's learning journal at any time to see what progress they are making.


The children's progress is monitored each month accross the setting and any gaps in the children's learning are identified early & then supported. Each term the key person will print off a formative assessment for the term and highlight things your child has done well and plan next steps. The parent can add comments to each observation & assessment as well as being ble to add to the process by uploading photographs and videos to the journal.

Parents have 4 set opportunities a year to meet with their child’s key person and discuss their progress. These are

  • Formal parent consultation days in the Autumn & Spring terms
  • A summer parents BBQ - this is a social occasion and a great opportunity to meet other parents.
  • A Christmas party in December.

Parents can meet with their child’s key perosn at any time, just speak to a member of staff.


We do curriculum planning to ensure that we plan activities & experiences that challenge the children and are fun. We ensure that planning covers the 3 main & 4 specific areas of the EYFS.

Long-term plans - These are done annually setting out how we meet the 4 themes of the EYFS these are

  • A unique child
  • Positive relationships
  • Enabling environments
  • Learning & development

Medium term plans - These are done each term. They include outings, visitors & special events that have been planned to support the children’s learning & development. It might also contain details of any staff training or policy updates.

Short terms plans - environment  - This is done for both the indoor & outdoor environment. This is added to on a daily basis by the practitioner to support children’s interests & development. It covers the 7 areas of learning and gives time for the children to lead the learning.

Short term plans - adult led planning - This is done on a weekly basis for the older children.  Adult led activities & group times to support learning & development, social development & school readiness.

All planning is evaluated by the supervisor & overseen by the manager. All planning is shared with parents via the planning boards displayed in / near the children’s classrooms.

Partnership with parents

  • We make links with parents prior to the children starting with the celebrating me document.
  • Parents support their child’s transition into the setting and in the move to a new floor
  • We ask parents to support their child’s learning & development – we send home curriculum newsletters each term outlining the learning taking place in the classroom, details of outings & song words. It has a home learning section.
  • We have a parents notice board with lots of information about the setting & the surrounding community
  • We need parent helpers on our regular outings & we have parent helper slots available.
  • We have a comprehensive website and parents can email the nursery direct.
  • We are signed up with Parent mail allowing us to share information electronically with parents
  • Your child's key person will add to the online learning journal on a regular basis.
  • Home learning ideas are added to the bottom of all observations
  • On the back of the curriculum newsletter each half term there is a 'home interest sheet' which can be filled in by parents about what their child has been learning & enjoying at home. These ideas are added to planning.


  • We differentiate all activities for the more & less able children
  • Parents give us information on culture, religion & family status
  • We work with PRESENS & EMAS to support children with Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) and with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

Other policies that support this one are;

  • Equalities
  • Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND)
  • Play & Learning
  • Outdoor play & learning
  • Behavior
  • Parents as Partners
  • Visits & outings
  • Key person
  • Listening to children
  • Aims, values & principles
  • Progress check aged 2
  • Art work
  • Emotional Health & Well-being
  • Photographic policy
  • Tapestry