What’s more important – baseline or settling in?
There has been a lot written about baseline recently with the trialling of the new baseline assessment starting in September. But the start to each academic year always provides practitioners with a real dichotomy between the need for an on entry assessment, to plan for next steps and show progress over time, versus the need to support children socially and emotionally at the beginning of this new phase, to ensure that they separate happily from their parents and carers, form good relationships with adults and their peers and are settling comfortably into a new, and often, unfamiliar environment.
I was expected to produce a baseline assessment just two and a half weeks after the children started school and so needed to be as creative as possible so this could be completed, in a short space of time, without compromising what I felt was more important, the settling in process. Ensuring children were settled, had established good relationships and understood the routines and expectations of the setting, I believe, is paramount to any future learning and so I planned for the baseline to be tied into activities, stories, games and role play, inside and out, so practitioners could sit back and observe what children could do without the pressure of constant questioning.