Professional development, consultancy and research for those working in early childhood education and care.
We are the authors of the SSTEW scale and the only trainers who can ensure the reliable and consistent use of the SSTEW scale for audit, regulation and research.Contact us
We believe that everyone working with children aged birth to seven should have the chance to achieve their full potential and enjoy the benefits and pleasure of delivering high quality education and care.
We provide support and evidence based courses specifically designed to meet clients' needs.
We promote pedagogy and practices which provide children with experiences and opportunities known to impact on children’s outcomes; that is, experiences which support and enhance learning and development.
The SSTEW scale is an Environment Rating Scale (ERS) – a tool to assess quality in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). It is designed to measure and promote practice that supports children in developing skills in sustained shared thinking (SST) and emotional well-being (EW). It supports the development of strong relationships, effective communication, self-regulation and concept development.
The SSTEW scale looks at the quality of interactions that occur between the adults and the children and between the children themselves. It considers the responsiveness of the adults to the children and how they intentionally support children’s learning and development.
Fundamental to the SSTEW scale is the understanding that the adults need to know the children well and develop positive relationships with them in order to successfully engage in sustained shared thinking. In addition, they require a good understanding of the children’s current development, their cultural heritage and achievements, their feelings, behaviours, and responses to learning. An effective early childhood educator would need to be able to recognize when the children are thinking, and sensitively extend language, periods of concentration and support perseverance.
The 14 items in this scale consist of clearly defined ‘indicators’, showing… Practices that support emotional development as well as task focus in problem-solving all rest on communication between adult and child. Narrative is important here but so too is guided thinking based on open questions and the sharing of views. The complex communication described so richly in the scale is multilayered in its focus on the external world, the world of things and events, but also on the internal world of feelings and wishes.
We have already begun devising and running professional development and training on and around the SSTEW scale in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. We have supported researchers and those engaged in auditing ECEC settings to become reliable with their observations, and devised bespoke professional development for ECEC settings following the use of the SSTEW scale combined with other environment rating scales (e.g. Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales-Extension) which identified their areas for further development.
In an endorsement of the scale Collette Tayler, Professor of Early Childhood Education and Care, University of Melbourne wrote:
The SSTEW Scale is set to make a real contribution to EC professionals wanting to improve their pedagogy in support of advancing children’s learning, as well as serving researchers interested in early education method and the behaviours of adults as they bring everyday early childhood programme experiences to life with groups of young children.
1. Using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS): ECERS-E and the SSTEW scale for self-assessment and improvement (ERS-SA01).
The course consists of five days in total:
2. Reliability and Moderation Training (RM01) (RM02)
RM01: Reliability and moderation training to support the use of the SSTEW scale for research, audit or regulation. This training will typically follow initial training on using ERS for self-assessment (e.g.ERS-SA01). It supports reliability and moderation for the SSTEW scale. Participants are accompanied during observation visits to settings/schools (typically in groups of 3 or 4) by a trainer acting as a ‘gold standard’. This is a whole day training course. Each day will typically accommodate two cohorts or groups of 3 or 4 participants. Following the observations, the scales are scored, compared and discussed.
RM02: Training to support ongoing standardisation, reliability and moderation is offered on an annual basis for those using the SSTEW scale for research, audit or regulation. Training is offered where participants (usually in groups of 3 or 4) making observations are accompanied to settings/schools with a trainer acting as a ‘gold standard'. This is typically completed in the morning, which leaves the afternoon for discussion of observations, reflections, analysis of the findings and discussion and planning to ensure that the whole team is consistent and reliable. This is typically achieved by staff who have attended the standardisation visit making joint visits with the rest of the team.
3. Professional development designed to strengthen intentional and relational pedagogical quality informed by and using ECERS- E and the SSTEW scale. (Courses vary in length from 1 to 5 days: PD01, PD02, PD03, PD04, PD05)
These courses consider individual areas within the scales. They are tailored to the specific needs of the participants on the course in areas of practice identified (usually through observations undertaken using the ERS) as likely to benefit from strengthening.
Individual areas include science and exploration, mathematics, communication and language, literacy, self-regulation, high quality interactions designed to extend thinking and critical processes, planning and assessment for learning and leadership for learning.
The length of the courses is dependent upon the number of areas covered, however, the course is typically delivered in full day sessions (courses vary in length from 1 to 5 days). If more than one day of training is chosen then these days are best delivered separately to allow time for the adults to put the information, ideas, materials etc into practice in between sessions. The following day(s) of training can then incorporate time to evaluate and reflect on this practice, supporting a cycle of improvement.