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The Role of the Adult in EYFS

The Role of the Adult in developing Writing in Early Years.


After an initial period of data gathering, analysis and deeper interpretation the Trust Year R Team developed the enquiry along two development pathways: the transformative and the pedagogical.



Vision set:

  • To walk into an Early Years environment and see adults highly engaged with children, effectively cutting away and having a rich use of language fostering links in understanding. 
  • Effective question and interactions of adults will demonstrate great understanding of  the metacognitive process in writing, characteristics of effective learning and this in turn will be demonstrated by children in their child initiated and enhanced learning. 
  • Boys will be engaged with provocations and evidence of child interest will be seen in their challenges to write.


Aspirational goal:

  • The summer 2017 review will demonstrate clear strength of adult role and questioning.
  • Summer 2017 data will show an increased percentage of boys achieving E.L.G. in writing.
  • Staff will feel more confident in their discussions of next steps in writing and pedagogical strategies.
  • A cohesive working atmosphere will have critical friends embedded.


How we will realise the vision:

  • Share research so far with early years team and feedback from the reviews.
  • Survey the team to discuss how confident they feel they are in engaging in learning in the moment, subject knowledge and Characteristics of Effective Learning.
  • Film current interactions – where are we at what do we need to change? Reflective dialogue.
  • Lesson trio using IRIS where we plan a lesson together, one person teaches and the others act as critical friends with a focus on vulnerable boys (ongoing and we have included target teach time of vulnerable children).
  • Share this across the Trust Early Years team as an effective model to discuss practice.
  • A gradual process of building confidence and trust, experimenting with approach to teaching lessons.
  • Focussed use of tapestry to identify parents of boys who need to close the gaps.
  • Parent workshop.


Pedagogical: Relationships are key to this process it must come from having open and trusting relationships where coaching is valued and experimentation allowed.


Impact across the Trust:

2017 Percentage of boys achieving ELG in writing in:

  • Little Owls 93%                          
  • Little Bubbles 75%
  • Little Rainbows 62%
  • Blackfield Cohort Boys ELG in writing data was 75% in 2016 and 75.8% in 2017
  • Fawley cohort data Boys ELG in writing data was in 77% 2016 and 93% in 2017
  • Year group reviews have highlighted a strength in adult modelling, practitioner feedback and embedded characteristics of learning in children’s own discovery time challenges.


What we have learnt from the project?


  • Being part of the research project has really enabled us to think about how to enact change around an area of focus. 
  • We feel that having a horizontal approach to leading change and professional development aligns with our beliefs and we have strived to achieve a professional learning community within the Year R Team.
  • Through reflection on the project, we can see the clear strengths between three teachers engaged in professional dialogue when planning.
  • Discussions are more purposeful and focussed upon metacognition in writing as well as feedback with specific next steps.
  • Pupil progress review meetings have been used to target key children and identified strategies to be used with them to accelerate their progress to achieve reading and writing. 
  • Specific examples of vulnerable boys in each class who have made rapid progress to diminish a difference and achieve Early Learning Goal in writing is evident.
  • This has been achieved through the continued regular professional dialogue between practitioners
  • Intervention has centred upon effective modelling of growth mindset, stretch zone learning and metacognition.


When looking at the barriers for children achieving writing in 2017, the prime areas are still affecting achievement.  However, progress from starting points shows that these children entered the setting at an earlier level of development. 


Moving forward when conducting our on entry assessments in Year R in 2017 we would want to continue the effective strategies used this year at an earlier stage such as parent workshops, use of tapestry, individual curriculum boxes.