A Child’s Eye View: From explorers to navigators

Published: 14 March 2022 
A group of teachers dance around a table joyously with their arms in the air. There are balloons, a cake and papers on the table.
Professional learning session with artist practitioners and teachers participating in A Child’s Eye View.

Teachers and artist practitioners involved in A Child’s Eye View reflect on their learning journey and the Teacher Development Fund’s impact on their practice. 

A Child’s Eye View (ACEV) saw Parc Eglos School in west Cornwall team up with ten rural schools, MADE and Minack Theatre, through the Teacher Development Fund (TDF). Together they set out to explore how sensate problems/​provocations in music, dance and drama, alongside events at the Minack Theatre, might help to improve personal, social and emotional development (PSED) and language and communication outcomes for EYFS children. Quantitative and qualitative data collected supports that this has been achieved.

The structure of the continuing professional development and learning (CPDL) shifted teachers from observing to team teaching and then to leading, which challenged all. Using sensitive questioning, teachers transitioned from being Explorers’ to Navigators’ as the core ACEV team had hoped. Initially the focus was upon children’s development but this gradually shifted towards teacher development over the course of the programme. Through the reflective research meetings, both teachers and artist practitioners found the transition challenged their usual focus and practice.

Engaging Senior Leadership Team (SLT) support appeared less successful, but reflective dialogue indicates the positive impact of the work has been acknowledged and is directly affecting curriculum design and delivery throughout individual schools.

Although A Child’s Eye View had pandemic disruptions and delivery became digital, the TDF funded programme did result in something special’ for early years teachers and artist practitioners. Not all teachers had the same journey but a range of individual outcomes were triggered. Artist practitioners have also scrutinised and modified their practice.

My confidence when working with EYFS children has increased significantly and the concepts of setting sensate problems’, becoming a playful partner’ and working with children’s ideas have become embedded within my work. I really valued the team teaching and learning from teachers on the ground within the process.”

Artist Practitioner 

The reflective research model, often difficult to sustain with everyday pressures, successfully drew out highs, lows, challenges and achievements. It supported everyone in maintaining momentum and considering change. Together, teachers, supported by SLT, and artist practitioners became resilient, resourceful and reflective.

I can honestly say that A Child’s Eye View has had a deep and lasting impact on my practice. I now include at least one element of dance, drama and music in most of my lessons.”