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Early years foundation standards are guidelines with in which a childcare facility work, members of staff must be checked by “Disclosure and barring service”, complete a Health declaration, least one member of staff needs a paediatric first aid certificate and should obtain a level 3 childcare qualification before they start caring for children, one member of staff must have suitable experience with under 2s, at least half of all other staff must hold a level 2 qualification in child care. The children’s health and safety is paramount. Child care facilities must work within the correct adult to child ratio, only permitting the correct number of children for the space they have available.
Children under 2
1 adult -3 children
Children aged 2
1 adult – 4 children
Children aged 3+
1 adult – 8 children
Within the facility provisions must be made for the development of every child, no child is excluded, every child must be supported in fulfilling their maximum potential, the early years stages have a long and lasting effect on the child’s future and ability to start school, no child should be left behind.
Each child will be assessed so all of their needs can be met on an individual level and they have a personal plan in place so they succeed in all areas. The plan set in place should be available to parents, cares and any outside practitioner such as health visitors if needed.
Every child should have equal opportunity, face no discriminatory actions and every child must be included and fully supported in their learning environment. Practitioners must remember every child is unique, they need to forge positive relationships, offer enabling environments, and plan varied activities as each child learns in a different way and at different rate , every child will have a key person, this person is the point of contact with the child’s parent or carer, they are responsible for helping the child be happy and safe, they are responsible for that child’s care, development and learning, they keep clear notes of the child’s progress and help parents with ideas for their child’s progress at home.( www.gov.uk/…/policies/…/early-years-foundation-stage)
There are seven main criteria for the early year’s foundation the three prime areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development.
Then there are four specific areas:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive art and design.
These core guides must be implemented into children’s everyday environment, communication and language: Children need to talk freely to one another and adults alike, roll play encourages children to interact, asking the children to describe things being big or small, talk about family members being male and female, young or old, encourage them to use descriptive language, and help them understand how it relates to them. Physical development: These activities develop the child’s skills set in handling equipment or showing control and co-ordination this is done with games or dance that involve pushing or pulling or outside games that use ball skills such as patting or kicking, throwing and catching, all of these skills help develop the child’s body and hand and eye co-ordination. Personal, social and emotional development: These skills are the ones a child needs to be confident, to talk and play with other children, to talk about themselves and their own environment, to talk about who they are. Doing an activity as simple as “show and tell” would give the child confidence to talk about something they love or something they have done, if you have children from many different cultures talking about their festivals and traditions encourages understanding of others. Literacy: Children love to be read to so try to use a story that is repetitive, giving the children confidence to join in, or ask the children to make up an alternative ending to a favourite story. Giving each child a word card and going round the room and using those words to build a story would help a child understand the context of the word and phonic sounds to build a word. Mathematics: Children enjoy filling and emptying bottles and containers using sand or water, doing so helps to understand, volume and size, building blocks can help them count, how many blocks can you build up before they collapse. Understanding the world: Children need to know where and how they fit in, looking at traditions and festivals across all cultures encourages an understanding of self, making festival food , or making a garland worn at a wedding ceremony, helps the children understand the importance of different cultures, they also need to understand the natural world so going on a bug hunt, looking at the life cycle of a butterfly or creating a garden full of food for insects, this would help them understand the things they have seen and why there important to us as humans. Expressive art and design: Children like exploring and using many different materials, clay, play dough, card and paper, they can experiment with how to change their shape and form, use glue or tape and colour. Children like to be imaginative model making is a great way to encourage imagination and develop skills, mixing paint in to a variety of colours, so they can see that you only need primary colours to make any colour you wish.
Respecting and valuing individuality
Children and families must feel respect for who they are regardless of colour, race or sexual orientation, it’s the practitioners’ job to lead by example the children must understand that everybody is different, everybody has strengths and weaknesses, and everybody is valued. Encouraging manners, caring attitude and understanding will help children become well-rounded young adults. Children should be encouraged to celebrate their cultural differences, and to respect others family backgrounds, this needs to be done in a sharing way, having a world day were the children can look at different countries, the animals living there, the food, maybe ask a parent to ready a native story, it would bring to life the differences giving them greater understanding of where they fit in and how we all fit together. It is important for children not only to share their cultural differences but also their personal differences, some children are good at art some are good at swimming, helping them celebrate their achievements helps children see that everybody is good at something but not all good at the same thing. Doing group activities helps the child learn to work as a team, encourage problem solving, help the children listen and negotiate with one another, or take time at lunch to sit together, talk politely, understanding that eating with the right cutlery and washing your hands before you sit down are all normal behaviour.
Awards, celebrate the children’s achievements in and out of care setting
Reinforce positive self-image
Make a class photo album, ask children to bring photos of family celebrations, and explore the different festivals across the cultures.
Bring to life the different festivals and celebrations that happen around the world. Encourage understanding of other peoples culture
Give children positive role models such as gold medal paralympians, put posters up around the room for the children to admire
Let children understand that being disabled is not a negative and great achievements can still be made
Include toys and play equipment that reflect other cultures, such as dressing up clothes, kitchen utensils in the play kitchen, puzzles and dolls
By playing with these objects the children will become familiar with different cultures
Cook food from around the world.
Let the children make and taste different foods that they might not have everyday
This activity would stimulate them and get them talking about feeling, texture, smell and taste. Cooking activities also help with measuring and science, and help children to understand health and safety and good hygiene.
Sing songs and read stories from around the world, include rhymes and action songs
Children love to participate; this activity is great for children whose first language is not English.
Positive and negative behaviour
Positive reinforcement is a technique used by care givers to modify behaviour, this involves giving positive reinforcement as often as possible, and reminding the children that negative behaviour will have consequences as a carer it is best to focus on the positive but if a negative occurs it needs to be dealt with swiftly and an explanation as to why it is negative behaviour, help the child to develop empathy, the child needs to know it is their behaviour you disapprove of not them as a person, if a child is consistently reprimanded for negative behaviour they will quickly become labelled as “the naughty child”, an action plan must be made for this child so that positive reinforcement can turn the situation around and positive behaviour becomes the norm. At no time should there be: pain, punishment, intimidation, yelling, degradation, humiliation, shame or guilt this would only hurt and confuse the child. Children need a positive environment to develop their self-esteem, emotional growth and well-being. (www.positivereinforcementforkids.com)
Behaviour is not learned once but learned every day. Consistency is the key to dealing with any behavioural situation, children respond to set boundaries and feel safe knowing what is expected of them, let the children know what kind of behaviour you are looking for, with older children they could help set the consequences of their negative behaviour; it would encourage them to be more positive as they have set the rules. As the care giver you need to remain positive at all times it is your professional duty to do so, be a positive care giver, a negative attitude leads to a negative outcome!
Consistency is key.
Boundaries are needed to establish right from wrong.
Children understand the their behaviour has consequences- both positive and negative
Reward positive behaviour: give out stickers, or mark with a kind word “Thank you for being kind and helpful”, “Your team work was great”.
Make the children feel valued and important.
Star chart: so the children know that with consistent positive behaviour also comes reward.
Praise the child for the effort not just their achievements, praise them for their strengths and remind them everyone is different.
If you praise one child use the opportunity to encourage the rest of the group.
We all encounter conflict every day, in the childcare environment it’s child to child conflict or child to adult conflict, study’s done at Texas tech uni by Dennis, Colwell and Lindsey show that girls often have child to child conflict that is more often than not resolved within their peer group, whereas boys often have child to adult conflict and that boys look to the adult to resolve the conflict.(www.kon.org/urc/dennis) As the practitioner it’s you job to manage conflict, like many life lessons children need to be equipped to deal with it, Vygotsky: a Russian social development theorist said “ conflict provides a learning experience for children and in doing so they would learn to function better in the social context”, (www.simplypsychology.org) Vygotsky’s theory is not that uncommon amongst child behavioural theorist, his arguments are supported by the likes of Erikson who thought “ life is full of conflict and in order to become a better person one must resolve conflict in each stage of life”. Often conflict is cause because of the developmental stage the child is at and they as children have not reached the stage where they have empathy or understanding, or sometimes children act out because it has become their learned behaviour, it is the way they have been treated or something they have seen in their everyday lives due to lack of good role models.
As the care giver you need to step back and ask:
- Why is the child acting this way?
- What has made the child feel like this?
- Is it a cry for help?
- Does he/she need my understanding and empathy towards their feelings?
- Are the Childs need being met, are they unhappy, scared, confused or frustrated?
- Are they tired or hungry?
Conflict is often born out of a misunderstanding, if identified quickly it can be resolved quickly, children need to feel that their side of the story is heard, as the care giver it is up to you to guide the situation from one of upset and stress on to a calmer and more positive footing, with a peaceful conflict resolution.
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