LAAT’s latest EYFS Network meeting empowers Early Years practitioners to enhance learning outcomes and standards

The Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (LAAT) successfully concluded its final Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) meeting of the year, bringing together Early Years (EY) practitioners and reception teachers from many of the LAAT schools. Held at Ruskington Chestnut Street Primary, and led by the Trust’s newly appointed Associate Lead for Early Years, Lianne Cook, the event was a resounding success, providing a platform for high-quality Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and fostering a spirit of collaboration among EYFS practitioners.

The EYFS Network is an integral component of LAAT’s comprehensive approach to early years education, recognising the vital role that practitioners play in shaping the learning journey of young children. The day provided a platform for teachers and Trust members to discuss best practices, evaluate high-quality EYFS curriculums, and look collectively at data to create the best learning environments for all pupils beginning their early years of education. 

Knowing the importance of transparency and community, during the recent meeting, attendees had the opportunity to engage in informative sessions, workshops, and interactive discussions led by experts in the field. These sessions focused on assessments, Ofsted, developing outdoor provision, supporting children with language and communication as well as working with parents as partners. 

Each session was packed with guest speakers from within the wider LAAT team and practitioners. LAAT’s subject advisors provided spotlight sessions on themes such as early reading and communication, and science in EYFS, ensuring practitioners can align their practices and promote a standardised and unique approach that benefits all children within the LAAT community.  

The primary objective of the day was to foster the sharing of successful learning methods for those in their early years, and for this meeting, the focus remained on outdoor learning, with the ultimate aim of raising learning benchmarks for all children within the Trust. The theme was ‘forest school art’ and attendees were encouraged to bring a diverse range of free/low-cost outdoor learning resources to help those on a tight budget, to exchange innovative ideas among participants in hopes that the impact of this will be improved provision for all LAAT settings. 

Understandably, the practitioners enthusiastically delved into a range of engaging activities during the event, including the exploration of mud paint, the crafting of clay tree faces, the making of magic wands, and the creation of printed fabric adorned with leaves and flowers. These hands-on experiences provided plenty of inspiration, ready to be incorporated into their respective school environments and shared with the pupils. 

Practitioners also explored the effective use of floor books and high-quality texts to enhance students’ communication skills and nurture a love for reading. As a result, inspiring ideas emerged, and genuine discussions revolved around the creation of outdoor spaces that can be utilised by children all year round. 

The meeting featured guest speaker, Jon Brown, who delivered an informative session on Ofsted, following requests from practitioners to prepare for future inspections and to understand how this impacts EYFS. Jon talked through the process and was able to answer all questions that practitioners had, dispelling myths and setting minds at ease. 

Friskney All Saints School teacher, Jane Banham, also gave an insightful presentation on blending the scientific curriculum for EYFS and Year One. Jane provided some valuable EYFS scientific resources that teachers could use to enhance the EYFS science curriculum within each school. Discussing these key points develops a better grasp of how the EYFS themes encourage the knowledge that pupils continue to acquire throughout primary school and beyond. 

LAAT remains committed to its mission of delivering outstanding education within its EYFS provision. By supporting the development of its practitioners through the EYFS Network, the Trust ensures that every child experiences a nurturing and engaging early years environment that lays the foundation for lifelong learning.