24 July 2022
How do we lay the foundations for Computing in EYFS?
As Computing Subject Leads we are often asked to produce documents or guidance that stretches a little beyond our comfort zone and our expertise. This is where having a personal learning network, like the one I have here on Computing at School, is invaluable. Not only does it help me develop my expertise in areas that I feel less confident in, but it also challenges and broadens my Computing expertise in areas where I do feel confident, namely in Early Years.
So when Nic (@nhughes) started a discussion on ‘Outcomes by end of EYFS’ I was keen to get involved. I had already started a document similar to the one he had been asked to produce, but hadn’t got very far with it, so I knew this was going to be the impetus I needed, and I haven’t been disappointed by the collaboration that has followed…
Mark (@markweddell) mentioned the use of cameras; Tim (@twatts) highlighted the EYFS Barefoot resources and online safety expectations; Matthew (@mwimpennys) suggested use of unplugged activities and ScratchJr; Gillian (@gbratley) posted a link to a fantastic draft document she’s involved with that links to the Teach Computing curriculum expectations; Richard (@AmazingICT) emphasised the importance of communication skills, verbal and non-verbal, being develop; and Stuart (@Stuart) reminded us of the value and importance of play with some suggestions for role playing with keyboards. Nic then updated his initial list of outcomes and produced this document for further discussion and input.
So I have been mulling over what we want to achieve by using technology with our Early Years learners and how we go about doing this. In a nutshell, we want them to know more about technology and be able to do more with technology by the end of their time in EYFS than they did when they started. We achieve this in the same way we achieve anything in EYFS - through building strong relationships, engaging in conversation, observing what children do, providing high-quality resources and enriching experiences in an enabling environment.
Talking to children about what the technology is doing and about what they are doing with technology is, in my opinion, the best way to ascertain what they know and understand. To be able to do this they need vocabulary. Perhaps if we know what vocabulary we want children to develop, this will provide a basis upon which to build those rich learning experiences. While it may not be conventional to start with the words we want children to learn and then build a curriculum around them, the Statutory Framework for EYFS is very clear throughout about the importance of talk in EYFS. “The development of children’s spoken language underpins all seven areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial.” (DfE 2021)
So perhaps it’s time to have a conversation with your EYFS Team about the vocabulary that you and they think is appropriate for children to know and use by the time they leave your Early Years setting. And as you do this, it will naturally lead into a conversation about what resources and experiences need to be provided to enable your young learners to achieve this.
Here’s my list for starters (in no particular order and linked to Teach Computing topic headings):
Computer systems and networks
Data and Information
Numerals 1 to 20