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- Vanessa Clare
Every child is born unique; they have their own characteristics, personalities and interest. They developes at different rates, but do follow a similar development pattern, i.e. one child may begin to walk 9 months whereas another child may not begin to walk until they are 17-18 months.
There may be many factors that also come into the equation when a child is developing, i.e. If a child is born premature or at term, if the child has any special educational needs or other disabilities which a child needs extra support for, weather there has been any long or short term illness, and the environment that the child is in, this includes the Childs social environment, also stress.
A Childs growth and development is influenced by their learning and their influenced by the people and the environment around them. The EYFS document Development matters show the four themes that the Eyfs underpin all guidance, these are:- A unique child + positive relationships + enabling environments = learning and developments.
When planning for a child it is best to get as much information on the child as possible, ask parents for information, as they are putting their most treasured procession in the safety of your care. Observe the childs free play to find out their likes, dislikes, strengths weaknesses, where you can support the child in their learning and environment. Anylise your finding using the four themes, principles and practice from the Development matters document. This helps to find out where a child is on their learning path, consider ways to strengthen their current learning development, showing guidance from positive relationships and enabling environments so that you can plan for the Childs learning and developments to fit their needs. As a practioner you will get to know each of your key children and will find other ways to work with the child alongside their planning. By following the planning, observations, assessment triangles you gain understanding of the Childs actual stage of development, their interest and their particular needs , it will stop the you from planning activates and resources that may be too hard or easy for the child, or that the child does not find interesting. Activities that are too hard can negatively affect their confidence and self esteem, as they will not feel able to do it. Activities that are too easy will not hold their attention and they will lose interest quickly.
By doing the observation, analysing and planning triangle it helps constantly review the Childs progress and share with the parents as required by the EYSF at two points, the prime areas between 24 and 36 months of age and at the end of the EYFS in the EYFS profiles.
The EYFS breaks down the areas of learning into prime areas and specific areas,
Prime areas are fundamental, work together, and move through to support development in all other areas
Personal, social and emotional development
Communication and language
Specific areas include essential skills and knowledge for children to participate successfully in society
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
When planning activities you need to make sure that you are meeting all the children’s individual needs and requirements so the children are all treated equally. Putting into practice the equal opportunities which are essential.
Equality, the practice of treating every on equally
Diversity the practice of recognising and valuing individual characteristics and differences
Inclusion an approach that makes sure that all children can participate to a full extent within their environment.
A worldwide document that governs equal opportunities for all children is “The National Convention on the Right of the Child” this document outlines all basic human rights that all children are entitled to. All early years setting practitoners must follow this convention and empower the children in their care.
The world made a promise to children nearly 25 years ago “that we would do every in or power to protect and promote their right to survive and thieve, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and reach their full potential.”
The convention defines a child as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular countries has set the legal age for adulthood younger.
Young children often don’t realise that they have rights so it is up to adults to make sure that they know that they do, one of the rights relevant is the right for all children to have their views and opinions listened to and their best interest at heart.
The EYSF requires all setting providers to have implemented a policy and procedures to promote the equality of opportunity of children in their care, and show support for children with special educational needs and disabilities. This policy should also cover how the individual needs of all the children will be met.
All staff should have read and have understanding of their settings equal opportunities polices. All children should be given the same concern and attention and not all treated the same as this can be discriminating against them. A setting and their staff should provide an inclusive environment as this will challenge discrimination which will help to build a positive environment where children and their families will feel respected and valued, making them want to return.
The equality act 2010 replaced all existing equality legislations and is in place protect individuals from discrimination. If children are discriminated against it can cause them to become withdrawn and could affect their development by causing delays. There are many ways that children could discriminate against, a few of these are due to their gender, social class, physical appearance, race and culture, it will lower their self esteem and confidence and they will start to question their beliefs. You must treat everyone the same no matter what their gender culture etc. This does not just apply to the children but to their families too. Any one working with children has to challenge their own views and beliefs and not show any prejudices to any of the children or their families so they want to return to the setting. To make a setting welcoming to children and their families welcome signs should be in multiple languages, staff should have a smile and a positive greeting when children and their families enter the setting, this creates a happy environment, learning a few words in the children’s own language helps build strong relationships.
Support children in their own choices, when it comes to cultural /religious celebration these should be in place whether a child of that religion / culture is in the setting or not, ask for people that are from that culture or religion to come in and help promote to a higher standard so that the children get a fuller picture of the culture / religion or festival.
Help children to feel they can come and talk, encourage children to build on their unique character and feel comfortable in themselves, helping them feel positive about their background which in turn will help them gain emotional well-being. By promoting good diversity children will be more accepting of other who are different from themselves.
Children trust the adults that look after them to keep them safe and love them as do their parents as they are giving their most precious prize possession to look after and keep safe and happy .part of caring for a unique child is promoting their well-being , making them feel safe and secure in their environment. Key workers are essential as a first point of contact for the unique child and their family. The key worker spends time on a one to one with the child getting to know the needs of the child supporting them as they learn to spend time without their parents, and learning all about their interest, the key worker also helps support the parent in talking to them about the routines and likes and dislikes and aiming to follow them. Setting need to be set out for the children’s age and developmental stage, making sure that the environment is appropriate and safe for the children. Staffs ratios are a legal requirement, in the age group 0-24 months the ratios are one member of staff to every three children, from 24-36 months the ratio is one staff member four children and from 36-60 the children are more independent and have a greater knowledge of their own safety so the ration is one staff member to eight children, at this age children should be given rules, boundaries and activities that get the children to listen. Road safety Stanger danger awareness to personal safety should also be introduced at this age.
As children grow they can be given the chance to learn about keeping safe themselves, encourage the child in making decisions give the child the power to say no if don’t want to join in. Promoting independence is an important part of growing and learning and becoming a unique child. And environment should be set out in an appropriate manner for the child. I.e a child of 0-12 months will need the toys in reach so they can chose themselves as they become mobile the environment should be set out so resources are at the child’s height and they can get them easily. A choice of healthy snack should be offered, from 12-24 months the environment should be accessible to the child and they should be voicing opinions which should be listened too, from 24-36 months children should be choosing what they want to play with, communicating is getting better and children should be having their opinions asked and listened to they should be continuing to help set up and tidy away to promote independence and help with children following rules and boundaries. From 36-60 months children should enjoying independent choices they should be involved in the setting playing and communicating, ask the children what they would like to play with involving them in setting out their environment, at the same time setting boundaries.
Setting should following the children’s act 1989 which promotes empowerment for children, making sure that they are involved in decisions that can affect their well being. Making sure that the children’s feelings and opinions are listened to, making sure that individual needs for the children and families are met, that children have their race, culture, language and religion are valued and respected and making sure that the well-being is of paramount importance.
By using all of these when working with children you come to learn that all children are unique and by meeting all of their individual needs you are making sure that they are in a happy safe environment where they can grow and learn at their own pace feeling confident at doing so with the all the love support and resources that they need to do so.
By meeting the unique Childs individual needs will help the child in five of the “Every Child Matters” outcomes. In staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making positive contributions and achieving economic well-being.
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