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School European Professional Development
Start date: Jul 1, 2016, End date: Jun 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

As an early years setting we always have outside learning as part of our provision, including interventions such as forest school and active group time/story time sessions for children with language difficulties (English as a second language or speech and language delay), physical delays and children who have other developmental delays or physical disability. Our objectives are to improve our understanding of outside learning and excellent early years practice; particularly pertaining to our forest school interventions, as well as our understanding and knowledge of excellent early years practice by visiting countries that teach their youngest children in different and more effective ways. We want to look at practice in Sweden and how they implement teaching and learning through their forest school system in order to bring back ideas, strategies and excellent practice from one of the homes of this type of learning. This will help us to improve the practice of our practitioners as well as the strategies they use for outside learning for our outside learning areas. We also want to improve our knowledge and understanding of excellent early years practice by visiting Italy to see how they teach children in the early years with a particular focus on how the Reggio Emilia approach works and how they use child initiated learning projects to create a system of learning where children are able to investigate and solve their own problems based on projects they create and explore with their teachers and other adults. As well as see how they use and teach through their outside learning areas to help us gain a more comprehensive view of excellent early years outside teaching and learning strategies and practice. We would like to send our teachers (5), early years practitioners (5) as well as members of senior management (2) making up a group of 12 participants to both Sweden and Italy. This will allow us to improve knowledge and understanding of how to implement and practice excellent outdoor early years teaching and learning across our whole staff team in a more holistic and informed way, through viewing the different approaches that are used in the aforementioned countries, where their children's attainment on a national level are much higher than of that currently in the UK due to the way in which their children learn through use of their outside areas and child initiated learning projects. Our school has a 'team teach' approach which means we all plan and assess for all the children in our school together and so by allowing our leading practitioners to go on these two movements will help impact greatly on the way we teach and use our outside provision on a school wide basis.We want to send the 12 members of staff to Sweden for a week on a course to view forest school teaching and learning as well as their early years practice. We wish to send the same 12 members of staff on a course in Italy for a week to view outside teaching and learning as well as their early years practice; with a focus on the Reggio Emilia approach to early years teaching and learning. We intend to use the same participants on both movements to improve the knowledge and understanding of our lead practitioners/senior management team. This will allow us to cascade down what we learn from these experiences throughout the whole staff team within our school as well as sharing ideas with other Southwark early years settings. It will also allow us to have a collective knowledge and approach to how we continue to provide excellent early years teaching as well as impacting our outdoor teaching and learning provisions and interventions for our children. These movements will result in a more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of excellent early years practice and outside learning opportunities by viewing international practice on a first hand basis for our leading practitioners. It will help our leading practitioners to consolidate knowledge and understanding of excellent early years practice, feeding their own teaching practice and educational research studied as part of their own professional development. We will then use what have learned to implement changes to our school development plan and how we continue to provide excellent learning opportunities for our children on a long term basis. Having the opportunity to send such a large number of our staff team on the movements will have a huge impact on how we operate as a team as well as allowing us to train our teaching assistants and special educational needs and disability team to be more effective when teaching and supporting our children's learning within our inside and outside learning areas. We envisage that these movements will reap benefits in the long term, for instance closer links with international schools, practitioners who actively endorse outdoor play and incorporate new knowledge into their practice which will benefit the children.

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