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Statutory Framework from September 2023
At Freshfield Nursery School we use OPAL as our Observation of Play And Learning (OPAL) assessment tool
OPAL puts the child at the centre and with more emphasis on the practical side of staff being present in supporting children’s learning. OPAL assessment ensures that staff time is mainly spent with the children, getting to know them, creating bonds, playing and interacting.
We understand that as parents you know your child best. The OPAL system ensures that parents are part of the process throughout, working in close collaboration with staff about your child’s learning.
So how OPAL works;
Milestones – what the children are assessed against
Opal works on the basis of having very simple, six-monthly child developmental milestones, which we use to monitor children’s development. These milestones reflect what we believe a ‘typical’ child, should be able to achieve.
OPAL-MILESTONES 2023 – click to view how we assess the children against OPAL’s milestones document
The observations and assessments that we make are called ‘spotlights’. We observe children’s innovation, their creativity, their ideas, their intents and feelings. The insight that we gain enables us to discuss, reflect and plan our environment to support and shape future learning.
The ‘spotlights’ are assessed against the age-related milestones (see document above), not a best fit judgement in a wide age-band. We want to shift the focus to the child, not the assessment. The assessment is a quick look at whether a child is meeting their age related milestones and if not, having discussions, thinking about why and planning what to do.
When it is time for your child to have their bi-annual spotlight meeting you will be invited to have a meeting with your child’s group leader, either in person, remotely or by telephone – what the parent prefers. At the meeting you can have a chat with your child’s group leader and discuss your child’s development.