Kent County Council’s Early Years and Childcare Service has scooped a second nationally recognised award for one of its innovative products, the ‘Enhancing Family Involvement in Children’s Learning (EFICL) Toolkit – Pathways to Excellence’.
In 2016 the EFICL toolkit was also awarded the Nursery World Award for ‘Best Staff Resource’ and we are delighted that it has now been awarded the maximum five star rated ‘Early Years Excellence Award’.
Roger Gough, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education at Kent County Council said: “We are absolutely thrilled the Early Years and Childcare Service has been recognised with this second award for this excellent toolkit. Over 750 providers have already attended training in the use of the toolkit and Ofsted is now recognising this work in its inspections. Further tools are now being developed for Key Stage 1 and beyond. It was developed to influence children’s emotional, social and intellectual development therefore the lasting impact of this valuable tool will be seen for years to come.”
The toolkit contains a wide range of resources to support Early Years
providers and all those working with and supporting families and young children to work more closely with families to improve and enhance their involvement in their children’s learning.
Based on extensive research, the toolkit includes comprehensive audit and reflection tools for Early Years settings, Children’s Centres and Out of Schools providers, along with a wallchart accompanied by a useful strategies booklet containing 14 inspiring opportunities and an 80 minute DVD called The Power of Schemas. A supporting booklet gives families a better understanding of patterns in their child’s play and behaviour. A useful guide and risk assessment to carrying out visits to family homes is also a valuable feature of the toolkit.
The toolkit is used by Early Years providers, including schools, childminders, Children’s Centres and foster carers to build respectful and meaningful relationships with parents/carers and families. It is designed to raise their understanding about children’s dispositions to learning and the importance of learning through play.
In addition the EFICL Toolkit provides information about an exciting free app called ‘SmarterPlay’. The Educational App Store has recently awarded the app with the highest scoring five star rating. The app provides information for Kent families on family-orientated places to go in Kent, how to seek and choose quality childcare in their area, accessible learning tips linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage, a ‘precious moments’ capture section to show a child’s learning journey through annotated photographs and much more. SmarterPlay is available free to download from the App Store.
Lucy Ring, Manager of Smarties Nursery in Maidstone fully endorses the toolkit, she said: “Kent County Council’s Enhancing Families Involvement in their Children’s Learning toolkit has provided the team at Smarties Nursery with a framework to help develop and improve our practice.
“Although we previously understood the value of working in partnership with parents, the toolkit helped broaden the early year’s educators’ understanding of the important part the wider family plays in children’s early education. The EFICL toolkit contains an audit tool which we used to assess our practice and inform a variety of improvement plans. Through using the toolkit and assessing aspects of our practice, the management team was inspired to create an EFICL coordinator. The EFICL coordinator’s role is to ensure the nursery is committed to working towards regularly completing audits and creating improvement plans to continue reflective practice and continuous improvement.
“One idea the toolkit has supported us to implement is the ‘Visits to your Family Home’ with practitioners gaining a better understanding of how this can aid children and their families’ transitions into the nursery setting. The EFICL toolkit has improved the knowledge of the management team and Early Years Educators alike and supported the team on our journey towards providing better outcomes for children and their families.”
- The Early Years Excellence Awards are run by the Teach Early Years magazine.
- The ‘Enhancing Family Involvement in Children’s Learning (EFICL) Toolkit – Pathways to Excellence’ has won the category of Continuous Provisional Development Resource