There are three prime areas of Learning and development, these prime areas begin to develop from a base of secure, loving relationships and children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs. Children have a different way of learning and develop their learning at different rates. The three prime areas of learning and development are as follows:
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Communication and language development- this involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, and to develop their confidence in speaking and listening.
Physical development-involves encouraging children to be active in their play and learning. Children should be given the opportunity to move around and develop their motor skills.
Personal, social and emotional development- this area of development helps children to develop an awareness of themselves, to form positive relationships, develop respect for others. It supports children in managing their feelings, and behaviour and to develop a sense of their self-esteem.
The specific areas of learning develop out of the prime areas of development and identify specific skills to be developed. The four specific areas of learning and development are as follows:
Literacy development-children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials to develop an interest in books and understanding of written print. This encourages children to begin to link sounds and letters and they begin to read and write.
Mathematics- is all about providing opportunities for children to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers through early rhymes and songs, calculating, simple addition and subtraction, and developing an understanding of shapes, spaces, through exploring and categorising objects.
Understanding the world-involve guiding children to make sense of their different communities; children will also be given the opportunity to learn about the world around them.
Expressions, arts and design- involves enabling children to explore and investigate a wide range of and media and materials and discover how they work, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, role play and design and technology. ((Open Study College Early Years Level 3 pgs. 75,76)
Planning to meet children’s development needs is important when planning activities, because all children develop at their own rate in their own time. According to (The Department for Education March 2012) “Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development.”
Each child is view as a unique person with their individual needs: a unique child will have their own personality, characteristics and interest. When a child is born they can sense love from their parent, and carers, this will make them feel safe and secure in their environment. when planning for an activity in your setting, practitioners should consider the age group that the activity is for an if it is suitable for all the children involved, you also need to take in consideration other needs such as disability or special needs, for example, if the setting that has a child with hearing problems, then the practitioner should consider planning visual activities for that child to be involved and take part. Practitioners should look at what skills and knowledge the children are demonstrating and build upon this. This will ensure that the individual needs of the child are being met. Practitioners must respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, and giving them a positive interaction.
Within the early years settings practitioners working with the youngest children especially need to focus on the three prime areas of development, which are the basis for successful learning in the other four specific areas. For children whose home language is not English, practitioners need to take reasonable steps to provide opportunities for children to develop and use their home language in play and learning; they must work in partnership with their parents in order to support their language development at home too. Each area of learning and development must be achieved through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is vital for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others.
It is important that practitioners plan effectively because every child is unique and has different abilities, learning skills, attention and education backgrounds, each child needs individual support and planning. It is recommended that the practitioners follow a cycle of planning, observation and assessment of each of their key children. Through observing, practitioners can gather a lot of information about a child’s knowledge, skills and abilities, through assessment a practitioner will look at findings from their observations and use them to plan further activities for that child. In my previous nursery (x) where I worked we had to plan daily activities, I had to support children’s learning experiences through play, we had to plan activities to suit the individual needs of the children, the indoor and outdoor environment was used as part of play, observation, discussions with parents on the interests of the child, we also carried out a one to one talk with children for their own ideas to help us with further planning.
Practitioners need to form a base of secure, loving relationship and a positive environment with young babies and children in order to support the learning and development of the seven areas of learning.
Communication and language development is divided into three aspects:
Listening and attention- Practitioners can build positive relationships thorough being physically close, maintaining eye contact, sing songs and rhymes during every day routines, practitioners can support children’s learning by listening to children and taking account of what they say in your responses to them, share rhymes, books and stories for many cultures. Play games which involve listening for a signal such as ‘Simon say’ and use ‘ready steady go’.
Understanding- Practitioners should look at the baby and say their name and wait for their response. Prompt children’s thinking and discussion through involvement in their play. Show children a photograph of an activity such as hand washing helps to reinforce understanding.
Speaking -Practitioners should model language to babies, speaking clearly to them and using appropriate body language and gestures. When babies try to say a word, repeat it back so they can hear the name of the object clearly. When children begin to talk, practitioners should be partners in conversation, modelling the correct use of language.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development is also divided into three aspects:
Making relationships- Practitioners can support children in making relationships by encouraging children to play with a variety of friends from all backgrounds so that everybody is being involved.
Self-confidence and self-awareness- Practitioners should organise the environment for children to access different resources and materials to promote their independent choice making.
Managing feelings and behaviour- Practitioners need to find out from the parents as much as they can about the individual children before they start the setting so that the routines they follow are familiar and comforting. Practitioners need to set clear rules and boundaries for children to follow in managing appropriate behaviour.
Physical development is divided into two aspects:
Moving and handling- practitioners should help babies to become aware of their own babies through touch and movement. Treat mealtimes as an opportunity to help children to use fingers, spoon and cup to feed themselves. Practitioners should plan activities where children can practise moving in different ways and at different speeds, balancing, target throwing, rolling, kicking and catching
Health and self-care- practitioners should Plan to take account of the individual cultural and feeding needs of young babies in your group. Respond to how child communicates need for food, drinks, toileting and when uncomfortable. Encourage children to be active and energetic by organising lively games, since physical activity is important in maintaining good health and in guarding
Against children becoming overweight or obese in later life.
Literacy- Practitioners should provide a variety of books for all children according to their age and stage of development, it is also important to sit down with the child and spend time in reading stories aloud to them in circle time. Practitioners should support early writing skills. Also support children in recognising and writing their own name.
Mathematics- practitioners can sing number rhymes s they dress or change babies e.g. ‘one, two buckle my show’. Sing counting songs and rhymes which help to develop understanding of number, such as ‘two little dickey birds’ Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Practitioners can provide shape sorters and jigsaws puzzles for older babies and toddlers to enable them to fit the correct shapes into the hole.
Understanding the world- is divided into three aspects:
People and communities: Practitioners need to celebrate and value cultural, religious and community events and experiences. Encourage children to talk about their own home and community life, and to find out about other children’s experiences.
The world: Practitioners need to help children to find out about the environment by talking to people, examining photographs and simple maps and visiting local places.
Technology: babies and young children use technology from a young age with action toys. They will learn how to operate the toys. A children grow older they should be given more complex toys such as wind ups or mechanical toys. Children are curious about the technology around them such as computers, televisions, cd players; practitioners should provide them with the opportunity to use this technology.
Expressive Arts and Design-is divided into two aspects:
Exploring and using media and materials -practitioners should sing songs and nursery rhymes with babies and can provide different musical instruments. Older children enjoy dancing to music; practitioners should encourage movement to the music.
Being imaginative- Practitioners should provide a variety of role play materials and support children’s imaginative ideas. Help children communicate through their bodies by encouraging expressive movement linked to their imaginative ideas.
This source of information has been taken from (Open Study College-Early Year Level 3 Pg’s 81-90). (Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
There are 3 characteristics of effective learning which help us to focus on and understand how children learn. The characteristics of effective learning are as follows:
Playing and exploring – this characteristics observes how children engage with their learning.
â€¢ Finding out and exploring- through play children will find out about and explore the objects around them. Play is a key role for children to develop the understanding of different objects in the world around them, also the understanding of different cultures, and religions of others can be developed through play.
â€¢ Using what they know in their play- play is a key role to promoting children’s learning and development. Free play is important for children as it gives children the opportunity to explore their own feelings, views and ideas.
â€¢ Being willing to have a go- children will develop their self- confidence and will enjoy challenge and risk.
Active learning – this characteristic observes how children are motivated to learn.
â€¢ Being involved and concentrating- will develop children’s ability to hold concentration in activities for longer periods and will help children maintain focus and attention on their activities.
â€¢ Keeping trying-through trying out new experiences and activities, children will experience failure and disappointment.
â€¢ Enjoying and achieving what they set out to do- succeeding and achieving new skills will build children’s self-confidence and pride in their own abilities.
Creating and thinking critically – this characteristics observes how children are thinking.
â€¢ Having their own ideas- within play children will act out as role models and explore their own ideas.
â€¢ making links- once a child has discovered their own ideas and methods, they will be expected to try them out again.
â€¢ Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways- children will develop strategy in their own learning. Children will think about what went well and how to change the activity when they approach it again. Practitioners can support children’s thinking by asking them open ended questions.
According to (Tunja on September 9, 2012)
“Playing and Exploring is when Children can represent their experiences through play and rehearse what they will be able to do without adult help later on. Play brings together ideas, feelings, relationships and the physical life of a child. Children who are encouraged to express themselves freely through play are likely to be more able to adapt and learn new skills in a school environment.”
“Active Learning often occurs naturally during exploratory play. For example, where children are concentrating on something and keep trying until they succeed in their attempts. This might be something as simple as threading beads on a string or more complex such as assembling a construction toy with bolts and a spanner.
“Creativity and Critical Thinking is linked to active learning and can occur where children are able and have time to develop their own ideas. This helps them be able to make links between their different ideas. For example, this is often observed in schemas. Such as when children experiment with a theme like rotation. They might rotate themselves, whisk their milk with a straw and spin wheels linking how things move in circles or spirals.”
According to (Abbot and Moylett, 1999, Early Education Transformed )Educationalist ‘Susan Isaacs’ states “Children in their play can escape into real experiences or out of it and through doing this they learn about reflecting on life, getting a sense of control over their lives, developing self-esteem and feeling abhorred.”
“Piaget was a French speaking Swiss theorist who posited that children learn through actively constructing knowledge through hands-on experience. He suggested that the adult’s role in helping the child learn was to provide appropriate materials for the child to interact and construct” “Jean piaget believed “Children were often viewed simply as small versions of adults and little attention was paid to the many advances in intellectual abilities, language development, and physical growth.”
Supporting children’s learning and development is implemented through the seven areas of learning they have been split in to the prime areas and specific areas. The characteristics of learning identify how children learn; the ways in which a child engages with other people and their environments is through playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking carefully. It is important that practitioners plan effectively because every child is unique and has different abilities, learning skills, attention and education backgrounds, each child needs individual support and planning.
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