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The Early Years Learning Framework describes the principles, practice and outcomes essential to support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. The Early Years Framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning as play is the best vehicle for young children’s learning providing the most appropriate stimulus for brain development. The Framework also recognises the importance of communication and language and social and emotional development. The four nations that make up the United Kingdom have slightly different approaches to the planning and the delivery of the early year’s education. England has the Early Years Foundation Stage which was founded in September 2008. England introduced a statuary curriculum for children ages zero to five years old that are being educated outside of their homes. This applies to all child-minders as well as after school clubs, preschools, nurseries and schools. The EYFS also incorporates the welfare requirements, the structure of the education program is the six areas of development; Personal, Social and Emotional (PSE), Communication, Language and Literacy (C+L), Problem solving, Reasoning and Numeracy (PRN), Knowledge and Understanding of the World (KUW), Physical development (PD) and Creative development (CD). At the end of reception year children are assessed by the teacher, this is where the teacher completes an early year’s profile which consists of thirteen different scales that link to the early years learning goals from the area of learning.
In Wales they have a Foundation Phase which was established in August 2008, this applies to children aged three to seven who are in receipt of local authority funding in schools, nurseries, preschools and child-minders. The structure of the education program is slightly different to England’s one as they have seven areas of development. These areas are; Personal and social development, Well-being and cultural diversity, Language, literacy and communication skills, Mathematical development, Welsh language development, Knowledge and understanding of the world, Physical development and Creative development. At the end of the Foundation stage the children are assessed in three areas personal and social development, well-being and cultural diversity, Language, literacy and communication skills in English or welsh and Mathematical development.
Scotland will have a curriculum for excellence but at the moment they are still in the process of introducing it which will be for children aged three to eighteen years. It is part of an overall strategic approach to education. The curriculum includes the totality of experiences which are planned for children and young people through their education, wherever they are being educated. Underpinning the curriculum is the idea that children should be given experiences in order to progress their development and instead of working to their age they will learn according to their own level. There are eight areas of experiences and outcomes; Technologies, Expressive arts, Health and well-being, Languages, Mathematics, Religious and moral education, Sciences and Social studies. The experiences and outcomes are written at five levels and young children will be working at the first level known as early years. In addition to the eight areas practioners have a responsibility to embed health and well-being, literacy and numeracy across the learning opportunities provided for children. In 2010 the assessment arrangement were still being drawn up but it was expected that setting would have to draw up their own assessments.
In Northern Ireland children before they reach statutory school age there are no specific curriculum but once children are in education they will follow the foundation stage. There are six areas of development which are taken through to key stage one and two. These six areas are; Language and Literacy, The World Around Us, Mathematics and Numeracy, Personal Development and Mutual Understanding, The Art and Physical Development and Movement.
1.2 An explanation of how national and local guidance materials are used in setting
To support the implementation of the national frameworks, each country has also developed guidance, information about the statutory elements and training materials. This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education. This means that local authorities must have regard to it when carrying out duties relating to Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) conducted under section 139A of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. Comments from the organizations below have been considered during drafting of this guidance.
- The Local Government Association
- Hampshire County Council, post 14 learning team
- The Young People’s Learning Agency
- connexions Buckinghamshire
- connexions Merseyside
- Association of Colleges
- National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS)
- Natspec: the Association of National Specialist Colleges
- Disability Alliance.
The legislations that this guidance relates to is the Education Act 1996 and sections 139A to 139C of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. This guidance is made for local authorities to help you them make reliable, effective and robust judgments that may lead to well-informed decisions relating to education and training for children and young people with learning difficulties or disabilities but it’s not designed to be prescriptive in every individual case. The guidance may also be of interest to children, young people and their families, staff working directly with teenagers and their managers, FE colleges and also other providers including specialist providers, and also the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) and from April 2012 the Education Funding Agency (EFA).
1.3 An explanation of how different approaches to work with children in early years have affected current provision in the UK
Reggio Emilia is an educational approach that is inspired by a group of pre-schools that surround the city that surrounds the area of Reggio Emilia the heart of this approach focuses on the partnership with parents and children aged between birth to six years old being involved in their learning. There are four main features to this approach which are children need some control over their learning, children learn through using all of their senses, learn from and enjoy being with other children and that children need a rich environment so they can learn and express themselves in a number of ways.
The high/scope approach first started in America to help improve outcomes for disadvantaged children. Settings that use this approach will let children plan their own learning; they will review it and also report back to the other children. Children are considered to be active learners so play is used for model learning, routines are also considered important they gain stability
The Montessori approach originated with Maria Montessori who was an Italian doctor who wanted to help improve the outcome for children that had disabilities. The Montessori approach shows the practitioner as an observer of the children who can support their learning by making appropriate interventions. The term play is the heart of Montessori resources and equipment has specific learning objects and also provides children with challenge.
The Steiner approach origins in the work of a philosopher named Rudolf Steiner that founded a school after the First World War. Steiner’s approach emphasises the importance of fostering children’s creativity and imagination. Manufactured toys are not used as they are thought to inhibit children’s curiosity. Formal reading and writing will not start until children are seven years old.
3.1 An explanation of partnership model of working with carers
Many years ago once parents or carers had handed over their children to nursery, school or preschool they were considered to be fairly surplus to requirements and it was known as practitioners knew best. Today it is understood that the best outcomes for children are when practioners and parents work together. The idea is while practioners and parents have different rolls within a child’s life they can come together to share ideas, information and thoughts about the best way forward for the child or young person. Settings use ways to make partnerships with parents or carers. An open door policy allows parents or carers to visit the setting and they are welcome at any time without needing an appointment. The assessments we do on children used to be top secret but now we share these with the parents and carers and get them to contribute to them. This is because children act differently with parents than they do when they are with their practioners. In many setting not only do they share planning with the parents they also encourage parents and carers to contribute towards them with their own ideas and comments, such as the lay out of the learning environment. Many setting do invite the parents to come in and work alongside them such as drop in sessions or open mornings and helping out on school outings. Parents will be informed of the current activities that they are doing in school so these can be continued at home.
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