(1) Explain the benefits for children when their individual needs are met.
In the setting as every child is different, it is important to think about, plan for, and interact with the individual, as well as the group as a whole. Consider the range of children’s styles, social interactions and personalities:
- Some are quiet; others are noisy
- Some like to spend time by themselves; others are the life of the party
- Some are shy; others are outgoing
- Some are active; others are quiet
- Some enter into new situations easily; others like to stand back and watch
There are differences in cultural and language backgrounds, life experiences, temperament, interests, skills and talents.
- If you are a new staff member, talk to colleagues who already know the children. Take advantage of what they know and how they see the child. A caution however: try not to use ‘labels’ and fixed ways of seeing a child. Everyone sees and relates to people differently. It may be hard to both listen to what others say and form your own opinion, but do try to keep an open mind about a child who is considered difficult or challenging in some way.
- Ask if you can look at the enrolment forms. They may have non-confidential information that could be useful to you in getting to know a child.
- Talking formally to the child’s family. They will have great insights about the child. Learn from their perspectives.
- Help nurture a culture among staff of talking to each other about children and sharing insights.
- Learn children’s names, greet them by name, and take every opportunity to have individual conversations with children. Be careful about talking only or mainly to the whole group or numbers of children at a time. You don’t really get to know somebody unless you interact individually.
- As you get to know children, try to notice, comment on or talk about something that is unique to that child – a new haircut or piece of clothing, a comment about something you did or talked about yesterday, something you read or heard that you think he or she might be interested in.
- Pay attention to a child who is telling you something. This is a challenge, as it might be necessary to maintain supervision and awareness of what is going on around you while at the same time engaging with the child.
- Be a good listener and observer. Spend time just watching children interact with others and engage with the material. Listen in on conversations. Make notes so that you can remember and make constructive use of the information.
- Accept individual differences in children. This doesn’t mean tolerating disruptive or destructive behaviour, but it does mean working with the fact that each child is different.
- Be aware of your own notions or biases of the ‘ideal’ child. Each of us probably has preferences – some like outgoing cheeky children, while others gravitate towards dreamy, quiet or reflective children. Think about how these ideals might affect your interactions with children. Similarly, think about what kinds of behaviour or characteristics really bother you in children. Acknowledge these biases to yourself and maybe even to your colleagues, and then work against them as you interact with children.
- When a child has an additional need such as a disability, or when there is a language or cultural barrier or a behavioural problem, try to figure out ways to deal constructively with it – for example to communicate with a child who has limited English, or to truly include a child in a wheelchair.
- At all times, there are choices of things to do among a range of different kinds of activities.
- There is flexibility about who is doing what, when and for how long. There are relatively few if any times when everyone is expected to do the same thing.
- The majority of materials are open- ended – that is, they lend themselves to a variety of uses so that children can adapt them to their own interests and agendas.
(2) Describe how the principles of anti- discriminatory practice can be applied to practice.
In the setting anti-discriminatory practice is very important in a childcare setting to ensure that everyone involved in the setting, such as children, parents/carers and staff members are not discriminated against in relation to their age, disability, ethnicity, gender, health, religious beliefs and sexuality. In my setting we apply anti-discriminatory practice with children by ensuring we show no favouritism in children and all the children get treated the same, also we ensure we do not refuse any children because of their beliefs, religion etc.
Our setting is committed to anti-discriminatory practice to promote equality of opportunity and valuing diversity for all children and families. We aim to:
- provide a secure and accessible environment in which all children can flourish and in which all contributions are considered and valued;
- include and value the contribution of all families to our understanding of equality and diversity;
- provide positive non-stereotyping information about gender roles and diverse family structures, diverse ethnic and cultural groups and disabled people;
- improve our knowledge and understanding of issues of anti-discriminatory practice, promoting equality and valuing diversity;
- challenge and eliminate discriminatory actions;
- make inclusion a thread that runs through all of the activities of the setting;
- foster good relations between all communities.
We do not discriminate against a child or their family, or prevent entry to our setting, on the basis of a protected characteristic as defined by the Equalities Act 2010. These are:
- gender reassignment;
- religion or belief;
- sexual orientation;
- pregnancy and maternity; and
- marriage and civil partnership.
- We do not discriminate against a child with a disability or refuse a child entry to our setting for reason relating to disability.
- We believe that no child, individual or family should be excluded from Pre-school's activities on grounds of age, gender, sexuality, class, family status, means, disability, colour, ethnic origin, culture, religion or belief.
In the setting we will ensure that our service is fully inclusive in meeting the needs of all children. We recognise that children and their families come from diverse backgrounds. All families have needs and values that arise from their social and economic, ethnic and cultural or religious backgrounds. Children grow up in diverse family structures that include two parent and one parent families. Some children have two parents of the same sex. Some children have close links with extended families of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins while others may be more removed from close kin or may live with other relatives or foster carers. Some children have needs that arise from disability or impairment or may have parents that are affected by disability or impairment.
Some children come from families who experience social exclusion or severe hardship. Some have to face discrimination and prejudice because of their ethnicity, the languages they speak, their religious or belief background, their gender or their impairment.
(3) Describe why it is important to plan activities that meet the individual needs of children.
In the setting it is important for practitioners to identify children’s care and learning needs in a setting, there are many reasons for this. Firstly, is to promote development. Some children develop and learn faster than others and it is partly our responsibility to ensure all children’s needs are cared for no matter what stage of development they are at. We can do this by carrying out observations; these help us to identify the exact learning needs of children. They can show us clearly what stage of development each individual child is at, we would compare each child against milestones for that age and stage of development and then we can begin to plan to meet the learning needs of certain children who are not meeting milestones and also plan to accommodate for those children who are over excelling the milestones. Children will develop better if there are adequate numbers of staff/adults present, taking into account the correct staff ratios for each particular age of children. With more hands on around the setting children will benefit greatly so it is important to plan how many adults/staff should be present for a particular day/activity, by doing so there is a higher chance of meeting all of the children’s needs. For example, in my placement I am in a Primary 1 class where there is a teacher and a classroom assistant. For this age range of children the extra support is extremely important as the children’s care and learning needs are higher than that of a Primary 7 child i.e. toileting, a Primary 1 child would need more assistance than that of a Primary 7 child. So if a teacher is caring for the needs of a child who has had a toileting accident it is important to have a classroom assistant so that the other children are supervised and their needs also met.
(4) Explain how the practitioner can promote children's physical and emotional well- being within an early year setting.
Between birth - 6 months a child will:
- Turn their head toward sounds and movement
- Watch an adult's face when feeding
- Smile at familiar faces and voices
- Reach up to hold feet when lying on their backs
- Look and reach for objects
- Hold and shake a rattle
- Put everything in their mouths
Between 6 - 12 months:
- Move from sitting with support to sitting alone
- Roll over from their tummy to their back
- Begin to creep, crawl or shuffle on their bottom
- Pull on or push against adult hands or furniture to reach a standing position
- Raises arms to be lifted
- Turn and look up when they hear their name
- Pat and poke objects when playing
- Pass objects from hand to hand
- Look for things that have been hidden or dropped
- Reaches hand towards source of food
Between 12 -24 months:
- Begin to walk
- Sits alone indefinitely
- Feed themselves
- Push and pull toys while walking
- Wave goodbye
- Point or make noises to indicate wants
- Enjoy a picture
- Shake head for 'No'
- Uses thumb and first two fingers to grip
- Bangs objects together
- Stoops to pick things up from the floor
- Begins to show preference for one hand
- Builds tower of few bricks
- Holds crayon in palm and makes marks on paper
Between 24 - 36 months :
- Kneels to play
- Kicks ball
- Builds larger brick tower
- Pour liquids
Between 36 - 60+ months:
- Jumps with feet together
- Walks on tip toes
- Walks up and down stairs
- Catches a gently thrown ball
- Climbs with increasing confidence
- Gains control over eating tools
- Throws with aim
- Uses scissors
- Holds a pencil and can draw people/houses
- Kicks with aim
- Catches ball
- Handles pencil with control
- Copy shapes and write some letters
- Sews stitches
Emotional well- being:
Birth- 3 months:
- Responds to adults especially mothers face and voice
- Smiles, concentrates on adults face during feeding
- Very dependent on adults for reassurance and comfort, quietens when held and cuddled
- Fleeing smiles when asleep
Between 6 - 12 months:
- Enjoys company of others and games like peek-a-boo
- Shows affection to known carer, but shy with strangers
Between 12 - 24 months :
- Likes to please adults and to perform for an audience
- May become anxious or distressed if separated from known adults
- May use comfort objects
- Mostly cooperative and can be distracted from unwanted behaviour
Between 24 - 36 months:
- Developing sense of own identity, wanting to do things for self
- Demanding of adult attention, jealous of attention given to others, reluctant to share playthings or adults attention
- Acts impulsively, requiring needs to be met instantly, prone to bursts of emotion tantrums
- Enjoys playing with adult or older child who will give attention, beginning to play with others of own age for short periods
Between 36 - 48 months:
- Becoming more independent and self motivated
- Feels more secure and able to cope with unfamiliar surroundings and adults for periods of time
- Becoming more cooperative with adults and likes to help
Between 48 - 60+ months:
- Makes friends but may need help in resolving disputes
- Developing understanding of rules, but still finds turn-taking difficult
- Enjoys helping others and taking responsibility
- Learns lots about the world and how it works, and about people and relationships
- Makes friends (often short-term) and plays group games
- Needs structure and a routine to feel safe
- When behaviour is ‘over the top’, they need limits to be set
(1) Kate, Kath, Sue, Penny.(2010) 1st edition, London: Heinemann.
(2) Kate et al (2010) 1st edition, London: Heinemann.
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