To have ‘outstanding’ practice is to be able to question, challenge, reflect and re evaluate. As a team we meet regularly to review our nursery Quality Improvement Plan which is formulated against the Ofsted inspection criteria. But what really is “quality”?
I looked up its definition: “The standard of something as measured against something of its own kind”. Well we already have a problem as no child should me measured against the standard as set by someone who isn’t themselves.
And this education system is full of judgements, “best fits”, goals, targets, standards, levels, grades, value added, attainment value. Is it just me or is this starting to sound more like a business conference room than a playground? I vividly recall a parent friend once saying that they would be happy for their child to be average. They meant this in the sense of getting “average scores” but I was (secretly) horrified and swore that no child of mine, nor of those I cared for should ever be, or feel, average. And although I (begrudgingly) evaluate children’s learning against the “best fit” ages and stages of the EYFS as given to me, I don’t like hearing myself say “she’s just where she should be”. Because of course all children (given the right experiences and care in life) should be exactly where they are, for who they are.
So quality is in its uniqueness; (def): ‘Being the only one if its kind; unlike anything else’ . The EYFS has as one of its umbrella headings ‘the unique child’ but how can it devote a definition to this if, by its very definition it is beyond definition?
To be unique, to be quality is always going to be subjective from child to child, family to family, individual to individual and society to society. How can just one framework of judgement be for the good of all? So, whilst please do read our current QIP which qualifies our outstanding practice against those criteria set by Ofsted; and whilst we will continue to provide you with observations and summaries of learning based on the definitions of learning based on ages and stages, what we really want to give you is the story of your own very very unique children and sometimes there are no words to match. So I thought I would provide an ethical snapshot of what the ethos of Little Star quality really is in this gallery of pictures.