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- Rohan Dawson
All Children are individual, having different interests and learning in different ways. As practitioners, we must recognise this and adapt so that children become happy and confident individuals who are willing to learn.
Just as we all have our own unique fingerprint; we also have our own unique personality and needs. The ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage Document’ shows that although there is an expected development range, because all children are unique, expected development ages often overlap. The sequence of development shows that children will develop skills in a particular order - learns to walk before they can jump, but because the rate of development is different in every child, some children will learn skills earlier than others. It’s impossible to say that by a certain age all children will meet certain criteria. We need to assess and understand each individual child.
Factors affecting development may include:-
- Family background – children have different levels of interaction, opportunities and experiences.
- Illness – long stays in hospital may affect social skills.
- Disability – needing 1-1 support or special equipment to carry out certain activities.
The ‘Phillipines Multigrade Teachers Handbook’ found on the Unicef.org website defines the need of children
•‘Children are unique – no two are the same. They must be understood by their parents and teachers in their uniqueness and their individuality must be respected.’ From the planning we do, each child will benefit in their own way from these activities.
Planning an activity where all children must take part at the same level will only deter children from learning – it may be too difficult for some or too easy for others and neither child will enjoy taking part. A three year old who doesn’t sit still will not learn if the game or activity is too long and they are expected to sit and listen for long periods of time. Instead, by getting to know the children and planning activities which are relevant, it will keep them engaged and help them to achieve their next steps.
As well as planning activities, we need to think about how we communicate and guide them through the activity. By asking questions dependent upon their learning needs, the outcome is they have all participated in the game and made steps towards their learning journey.
e.g a number activity – recognising and naming number 1-5
Some children will be able to name some numbers. Others may be able to match a number. Children in the same group who already have this knowledge could be asked “can you find the number 1 more than/less than?”
The outcome is they are all taking part and have a sense of achievement, but at their own level. Activities become meaningful to each child and in turn they become successful and willing learners.
Within Early Years, children learn through play. A variety of activities must be on offer. Some children are very confident holding a pencil and drawing detailed pictures. Others may draw a picture resembling a scribble in a small tray of sand using their finger but will be able to tell you what it is. Both activities are important to that particular child. These children have had their needs met by being able to scribe their imagination in different ways and will have a sense of achievement so they can move onto the next stage.
Although practitioners can plan most of the activities within the environment, it is important to listen to the children. What are they interested in? Can this be the next topic for the Nursery or something to make that day? Whichever it is, by listening to their interests they will feel valued and will learn from both your interaction and by other children joining in the play.
Treating children as unique individuals and building up positive, caring relationships not only helps them to become willing learners, but also confident people throughout their lives. They will feel that they are being listened to and will be willing to have a go at tasks that are initially challenging. They will become sociable and have positive relationships with their peers.
Describe How the Principles of Anti-Discriminatory Practice can be Applied in Practice
Before we can practice an anti-discriminatory environment, we must understand what ‘discrimination’ means.
The Oxford Dictionary states:-
Discrimination - make or see a distinction as a basis for unfair treatment.
Whatever our personal points of view are, we must ensure they are not practiced within the Nursery environment and we work towards all children feeling safe and secure .
Article 31 of the ‘United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ says
All children have a right to relax, play and to join in a wide range of activities
We must give all children the opportunity to be included in all activities whatever their race, religion, ability and gender. They should receive the support needed to reach their full potential, whether this is providing special equipment or receiving support to work towards the activity objective.
In practice making all children feel welcome and valued can be done in a number of ways:-
- Greet all children coming into the environment in a warm and friendly manner. Use their names, making sure the pronunciation of their name is correct.
- Arrange the Nursery so that all areas are accessible to all the children. If a wheelchair is used, can the child manoeuvre themselves to access all the play and amenity areas?
- Respect allergy issues. When planning a baking/cooking activity, consider the ingredients being used to ensure those with allergies can still participate. Also think about practicalities at snack/lunch time. Arrange tables differently so that the risk of an allergic reaction occurring is minimalized. Make this the norm, even if the child is not there so that other children do not discriminate.
- Celebrate all cultural events, not just those of our own religion or religion of the school. Eg. Diwali or their own way of celebrating birthdays. These should not just be celebrated at the time the child is in Nursery but all the time. Parents coming into the practice are a good way to teach children about different religious events, bringing in costumes/food and talking about how they celebrate and what it means to them.
- Offering a wide range of toys and activities, encouraging both genders to participate. Don’t discriminate if a boy wants to dress in girls dressing up or a girl wants to play in what is primarily a boy’s activity area.
- All adults, whether staff or visitors should be good role models, behaving in a professional manner to all children.
By carrying out all these practices, children and families from all walks of life will feel welcome, valued and respected, both inside the Nursery and within the school community. Children will build positive relationships. It will help to stamp out discrimination as children will learn to value and understand each other.
Describe Why It Is Important to Plan Activities that meet the Individual Needs of Children
As all children are unique, we must support each child to reach their learning goal. To do this we need to follow the ‘Observation, Planning, Assessment’ cycle.
The first thing to do is plan activities to help us to assess the children. Having a general theme within the environment, with lots of activities around this theme helps us to understand where each child is now, in the different areas of development.
Eg. The theme is ‘Humpty Dumpty’. The activities and their assessment outcomes might include:-
- Can they join in the rhyme? Or say the word at the end of each line?
- Colouring sheets – How do they hold the pencil and with how much control? Can they draw Humpty Dumpty on top of the wall?
- Cutting activities – cut around the brick or Humpty Dumpty to stick on the wall. Are they able to operate the scissors with good control?
- Can they build a wall using bricks? Can they name the shape of the bricks and Humpty. How many bricks did they use to build the wall?
As well as having a planned theme to assess key areas, lots of play areas must be on offer eg. Water, sand, story and tinker table
This helps us to observe the children in ‘free play.’ Which area do they spend a lot of time in? Do they move around Nursery independently or stay in one area? Do they play on their own or initiate play with others? How do they play with the toys? Because children are observed during free play, they do not know the assessment is taking place and do not worry about the outcome.
By making observations in different ways we can assess their current knowledge, abilities and how they play. We can understand their stage of development in the different ‘Early Years areas.’
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Communication and Language
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Their ‘individual next steps’ can then be formed to help them develop new skills and achievements.
As the cycle starts again, so does the planning. Activities can be planned, which can be adapted so they are relevant to each individual. Planning also ensures the right equipment is available so that all the children can take part. By playing with or leading an activity, we are helping the child to learn and meet their next stage of development. Continual observations and assessments are made, making sure they develop their learning and skills.
Explain how the Practitioner can Promote Children’s Physical and Emotional Wellbeing within the Early Years Setting
Within the early years setting, children need to feel safe and secure. For some, they may have not been away from Mum or Dad before and the initial experience can be traumatic. Parents also need to know that their child’s physical and emotional wellbeing is paramount to the practitioners.
A number of strategies should be put in place:-
- Each child to have a key worker. The child will feel secure if they have a familiar adult they can play and communicate with. The Key worker will work 1-1 with the child introducing them to new activities and experiences, helping them to make choices, giving them encouragement and praise. A Keyworker is also important for the family, as this is often the first person they come into contact with and can share their child’s knowledge, interests and concerns.
- Helping children to understand their own feelings and those of others. Talking about why they are feeling how they are.
- Talking about the effect their own actions have on others.
- Giving space in the environment where children have the space to play with the toys and concentrate on activities.
- Be good role models to create a relaxed and happy atmosphere, where other children are also happy in their play.
- Encouraging children to take risks, which are appropriate for their age. With support children will try new experiences.
- Having rules and boundaries within Nursery. Children learn and feel safe when they understand that rules are in place and they understand the consequences if these are constantly not adhered to.
- Making sure all toys are safe and in good repair.
- Encourage physical play – playing outside, helping to tidy up, acting out nursery rhymes/songs.
- Eating healthily – Offering fruit and milk/water for snack.
If we can take these things on board, each child will grow to feel safe and happy.
‘Supporting Every Child’ section of the ‘Every Child Matters’ Document states:-
All children have the right to:-
- Stay Safe
- Be Healthy
- Enjoy and Achieve
- Make a positive contribution
- Achieve economic well being
By treating each child as an individual, they not only become successful learners who want to work hard and achieve, but they will also be confident in their relationships, with adults and their own peers. Whatever role they take, they will feel valued and their full potential will have been reached.
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