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This essay will explain the rationale for personal, social &wellbeing and cultural Diversity being at the heart of Foundation phase philosophy. I will explain the role of PSE at the foundation level and what teaching practise experiences i have experienced. Firstly i will discuss the Foundation Phase, as only in the last couple of years has it been out into practice and how some education theorists, theories agree with this new way of learning.
The foundation phase has been divised for young children to have a more hands on approach and learn by doing rather than work in textbooks. They will learn kife skills which they will need later in life.
"Friedrich Frobel believed that childhood was a stage in it own right , not just a preparation for adulthood, and emphasized development and transformation through play, first hand experiences, self chosen activities and intrinsic motivations."
he believed that play was at the heart of young childrens learning, now there has been many arugments amongst educators about the outcomes of play. Many believe that play is not challenging children and a waste oftime on the other hand, like friedrich Frobel believed play can be highly motivating and children develop socially as a result.
From my own teaching practice the children were very enthuatic and were always fully engaged in tasks.
(Jeni Riely:2004) describes the QCA guidlines to play;
"The Qualificatons and curriculum authority (QCA) is convinced that play is an appropriate way fro valuable leatrning to occur in the Foundation Stage, so much so that play is in place within the official advice given to practioners which states that:
Through play children can:
Explore and represent learning exeoreinces that help them make sense of the world;
Practise and build up ideas, concepts and skills;
Learn how to control implusesand understand the need for rules
Be alone, be alongside others or co-operate as they talk or rehearse their feelings;
Take risks and make midtskes;
Think creatively and imaginatively;
Communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems;
Express fears or relive anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations."
The reggio Emilia apparoach plays a huge party in the way children learn today. This approach believes that children should learn to communicate with others, peers , staff and parents in a stable and firnendly environment. And also that teachimng csan be taken from the classroom into the outdoors.
The foundation phase has a huge emahisis on out door learning, with staff being encouraged to use the outdorrs as a second classroom and children using this area on a daily basis, for all of thee areas in the foundation phase. Here are thedifferent areas in which the children will learn in the foundation phase, taken from Framework for children's learning for 3-7 year olds in Wales, Welsh Assembly Government
Personal and Social Development, Well-Being and Cultural Diversity- Children learn about themselves, their relationships with other children and adults both within and beyond the family. The Foundation Phase supports the Cultural Diversity where children learn about different cultures and how others live. They gain moral respect for other peoples feelings and become increasingly aware of the traditions and celebrations that are important aspects of the cultures in Wales.
Language, Literacy and Communication Skills- Children have the opportunity to enhance their reading, writing and oracy skills throughout their learning. Language skills learned in one language will support the development of knowledge and skills in another language.
Mathematical Development-During the foundation Phase children will develop their Mathematical skills through play and practical activities. They will estimate and explore using the indoors and the outside environment.
Welsh language development- Children will have the opportunity to enhance their oracy, reading and writing skills in Welsh. They will learn about the Welsh heritage and appreciate their culture.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World- during the Foundation Phase children get to understand past and present events, people, places, living things, and the work people do.
Physical Development-Children will develop their gross and fine motor skills through exercise and understand how to stay fit and healthy.
Creative Development- Children will engage in creative, imaginative and expressive activities in art, craft, design, music, dance and movement.
Through my introuduction i have talked about the foundation phase and its aims. Now i discuss in more detail Personal, Social & Wellbeing and Cultural Diversity
"It is now very clear that unless a child achieves at least a minimal level of social competence by about the age of six, he or she is at risk for the rest of her life. The risk are not only in subsequent social functioning - many aspects of mental health, the ability to form stable relationships, to maintain employment, and to function well in marital and parental roles; the current evidence indicates that insufficient social competence leads to premature dropping out of school."
Sited in Learning in the early years (Lilian Katz)
This quote sums up for me why PSE is the first learning area, as without this children will struggle in all aspects of life, and so us as educators have a duty to ensure children develop in this area at this small age.
When a child frist starts school at 3 it is a very over whemling experiences. From birth they have been with their mother and the mothers has always catered to the childs needs. Now starting school, they need to start being independant and for some children this can take along time to get used to. PSE therefore is vital at this stage as they will begin to learn about a number of aspects of life which will help them in this early and vital stage.
Children will learn about morals and values, these will be gained during dialy activities as children are encouraged to to work is part fo a team or group and will be required to behaviour in an appropriate mannor, including sharing with others and understanding that everyone has an opinion and not all opinions will be the same, yet not meaning that they are wrong. They will also learn what is right and wrong and how behaving in such mannor will result in punishment.
"concepts of individual worth, honesty,right and wrong, justic4e, entitlement and collective endeavour are within the scope of young children's understanding, provided they exepreince these things in a concrete way" sited in learning in the early years (Roberts,1998)
This quote supports the above that children will learn about sharing and how some actions will result in punishment, but these must be learnt in a concrete way, in which the educator take time to epalin this process, maybe not only to the child but to the class if an incident as occurred.
Circle time is a great tool to use, during my teaching practice an incident occurred in the classroom which reuslkted in a number iof children being very upset. Instead of the teacher solving this problem indicudally she decided to have a circle time session, where the incident was discussed openly with the class, where other children had the opportunity to viocr their opinions and understand the punishment that would be given if this incident occurred again and the case was then dealt with. This i feel was a great way to deal with the situation because everyone had their say and the children understood the consequences.
Behaviourism plays an imperative part on how children learn. It was the work of B.F Skinner a psychologist that brought a new perspective on how teachers/parents approach certain kinds of behaviour. He was a found believe in reinforcement not punishment. He spent his education researching and testing how the behaviourisms organisms work. His findings show that the environment is a leading factor of development.
Culture is another massive part of schooling at present, with the amount of different races in schools, PSE supports knowledge in this area, as school now intoruduce topics on different relighions and many schools incorporate all religions, where it might be bilingual signs around the schools, or day where they celebrate different religions. This is ensuring all the children in the school, nevermind where they are from feel included in the school and it give the other children knowledge of relgions and culture therefore hopefully decreasing the amount of racalisim that is hughly apart at present and by giving children this knowledge at a young ages they should grow up to me respectful adults.
Biligusaim which is incorporated into the foundation phase is also allowing children to learn about where they came from and their hertigage. The consultation document states;
"Learners should be given opportunities to develop and apply their knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales".
Bilingualism is to educate children to be able to communicate with confidence and have an appreciation of the welsh culture as well as others. It is in place to develop and apply their knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, environmental, historical and linguistic characteristics of Wales.
Another area that pse focuses on is weelbeing, children will learn about the importance of healthy eating, fitness and looking after themselves this can be done through practical activities and will give them the knowledge to hopefully follow through with into adulthood. in schools i have visited, many foundation phase setting have topics such as looking after myself, which involves brushing teeth, washing, changing etc, and healthy eating where they look at good diets and how keeping fit will us healthy. By the foundation phase sector introducing these aspects children are encouraged to voice opinion and personal beliefs, hopefully resulting in higher self esteem.
Self estem at this young ages is so important, children should be encouraged to focus on the aspects that they are good at and work towards bettering other areas. Children are also encouraged to be motivated toward school and comintted as both can improve ppersoanl ability. This is where real self esteem is found not in praise such as 'good girl' or giving a child a sticker. Its when children can see for themselves that they csn achieve something, is where their slef esteem is gained. Sited in Learning in the early Years, Robert argues that
'the use of strategies such as habitual empty praise, gold stars, smiley stickers and meaningless statements, are more likely to feed children's self- preoccupation and narcissism than to help them form a genuine sense of their own worth'