Friday 4 June 2021

Guest Blog: Looking back, looking forward with the IEYC

Early Years IEYC IEYCturns5 International curriculum

Written by Michael Ward, IEYC Writer

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It feels like only yesterday I was sitting down with Janice Ireland, the creator of the IEYC curriculum. It was 2016 and I was at the Fieldwork Offices in London – and over much coffee and plenty of cake, we were planning out the very first of the IEYC units.

I had been chosen for the task because I had been lucky enough to work on many of the units for the International Primary Curriculum – so by then, I suppose I was something of an ‘aged veteran’ when it comes to writing for such a unique global audience and to the high standards expected of such a creative and rigorous curriculum. Back then, moving to the Early Years was a little daunting – but Janice had faith and I was ready for the adventure. And that adventure started literally at the chalkface, so to speak. I got the chance to visit some Early Years settings and chat to practitioners (and the true experts, the children themselves) – and soon I was penning my first IEYC unit, on minibeasts!

Fast forward five years. Has it really been that long? Now, IEYC is moving into a new and exciting phase. Again, it’s been a huge privilege to be asked back to be a part of the writing team – and to tackle the first batch of the new-look units.

I have a fondness for all the past units I wrote for the IEYC – so I’ll admit, I was a little wary at what this ‘new look’ might entail. After all, the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is one I’m a hearty believer in. But after my first meeting with Matthew Silvester, the new Curriculum Manager for the IEYC, I left enthused, with a fresh rush of excitement to get stuck in.

The new look – or makeover, if you prefer – is all about accessibility. It’s about reacting to the experiences of practitioners on the front lines, who have now had five years to teach these units and share their feedback. So, the unit themes are not going away – instead, they are getting a fresh lick of paint, to help keep them practical and relevant to today’s teaching.

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Each unit’s activities now have a tighter focus on specific learning goals and outcomes – and offer detailed guidance on enabling the environment, delivering language and mathematical development, and forging learning links with children’s families and the local community. The units feel fresh and exciting, tailored now to a more practical context, which should make them easier to plan, resource and deliver in your setting.

I’ve also written two brand new units, which I am excited to share. The first is on the theme of ‘Healthy Habits’ and tackles specific areas of physical and emotional wellbeing. The second is entitled ‘My Class, My School’, and provides creative advice and activities to help with the process of transition – whether that is a transition to a new class/year, or simply a transition within the daily routine. Both are informed by the latest research, and will offer a practical set of resources that I’m sure practitioners will enjoy discovering, teaching and sharing.

This is a really exciting time for the IEYC – and it’s lovely to be a part of this stage in its development. I look forward to the time when these new and refreshed units can be shared with the IEYC audience. And, as always, the whole team are eager to see all the amazing learning (and fun!) that will be occurring as a result.

Until then… I better get back to writing.
(And that probably calls for more coffee and cake!)

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