In this essay it is required to choose and evaluate one of the seven learning areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage 2012 (EYFS), as well as including the influences on the making of EYFS (2012) and the principles, beliefs and values that led to the creation of a national framework for early childhood education. These beliefs and values underpin the approaches to learning and teaching in the EYFS. The essay will also include the current practical, theoretical and legislative context; that has given rise to the EYFS.
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The specific area of learning that the assignment focusses on is ‘Communication and Language (CL) in the EYFS. In particular how this is supported by the practitioner. In addition I will discuss different theories that influence work with under lives. To conclude, the essay will examine how play and exploration form a crucial part of the principles of the EYFS (2012) as well as observing the part they play in the teaching practice in the setting and how it develops children’s education.
The EYFS (2012) is divided into seven areas, three of which form prime areas of learning; Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Communication and Language. In addition the are four specific areas of learning reformed to as Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. However it is important to remember that each area connects to the other. Underlining the curriculum is believe that develop and learning is holistic. (Martello, 2013)
Moving on to the term curriculum, the general definitions, refers to the course of deeds and experience through which children grow to become mature adults. Kelly (1999) prescribed curriculum of seen in school it is prescriptive, and is based on a more general syllabus which merely specifies what topics must be understood and to what level to achieve a particular grade or standard. She mention about curriculum as, ‘All the learning which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school (Quoted in Kelly 1983: 10; see also, Kelly 1999).
However Saracho and Spodek (2002) mention that curriculum developers to establish goals, develop experiences, designate content, and evaluate experiences and outcomes. They go on to say that most curriculum developers consistently use such terms as curriculum planning, curriculum development, curriculum implementation, and curriculum evaluation, and many others to describe curriculum related activities.
Moving on to early years curriculum, Bruce (2000) who is a social learning theorist influenced by the work of Froebel, in considering early childhood education, looks at the three parts of the curriculum which are the child (context) the people and places and the content which is what the child knows and wants and needs to know. In consideration of Bruce, Saracho and Spodek theories, Practitioners acknowledges that the best way to prepare children for their adult life is to give them what they need as children. Children are whole people who have feelings, ideas and relationships with others, and who need to be physically, mentally, morally and spiritually healthy; with Bruce Practitioners are contracting the early year’s curriculum by stressing that the context of child’s life is considered play.
At the heart of the EYFS is ‘Play’. The word ‘play’ can come in many definitions but Bruce (2000) suggests that play co-ordinates learning. However, Jennie Lindon (1999) defines play as giving children a range of activities that involve their own interests and the satisfaction that results. The writer believes that this happens in the setting as children are motivated and they feel that they have ownership and control over their play. The practitioner in the setting does not take over the activity because then the activity will stop feeling like play to the children. Bruce2000 and Lindon 1999 both agree that play should be open-ended as well as having the idea that play is a mechanism for the integration of learning; this is especially relevant to what takes place outdoors, and the reason would be for the greater autonomy children have both to direct their learning and to interpret their sensory experiences.
In addition the Early Childhood Education (2012) is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling in other words the term relates to educational programs and strategies geared toward children from birth to the age of eight. This time period is widely considered the most vulnerable and crucial stage of a person’s life. Early childhood education often focuses on guiding children to learn through play. The term often refers to preschool or infant/child care programs. It refers to the formal teaching of young children in the setting outside the home.
Childhood education often focuses on children learning through play, based on the research and philosophy of Piaget (). This belief is centred on the “power of play”. It has been thought that children learn more efficiently and gain more knowledge through play-based activities such as dramatic play, art, and social games. This play theory stems from children’s natural curiosity and tendencies to “make believe”, mixing in educational lessons.
At the setting every day children play in the garden which provides an environment which allows Child A, Child B and Child C to freely explore their feelings, ideas and relationships. It supports their learning as well as developing the use of the natural world that stimulates and shape their play (this is shown in assessment A – Observation one). This helps the writer who is a practitioner considering play and its role in learning to be useful when he can focus on different areas of development while still acknowledging the complete nature of play and that any episode of play would be embracing more than one, and possibly all of the seven educational areas, mentioned above, at the same time.
The EYFS 2012 is at the heart of nursery education and now the way forward is in working in partnership with parents. This is presently being practised involving the seven areas set out by the government.
The historical background is located in the new labour’s national childcare strategy. The hope was to create a national framework curriculum for under-fives. It created a framework that replaces the three previous early year’s documents – Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, Birth to Three Matters and National Standards for Under 8s Day-care and Child-minding. These were, in effect, updated to be manageable with common principles that everybody involved in early years will be working towards:
‘The overarching aim of the EYFS is to help young children achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes of staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic wellbeing.’
(EYFS Statutory Framework, p7)
The school is a mixture of cultures and ethnicities, like every other school in Central London. It is a primary school for children three to 11 years and most children who attend live in the surrounding estate. Within the setting there are more children from a Bengali background. In order for observation to be effective it is important to deliver the knowledge in a way that adults and parents can understand and make sense of it.
Curriculum Area Communication and Language – Observations
The curriculum area of development I chose is Commination and Language which is a prime area. I believe that the area works all round and is used in child life regular has being part of them. (See Appendix 2 – Observations)
Piaget () cited in theories of Childhood (2000) describing what I was trying to discourse, that of the mental structures or “schemas” of children as they develop from infants to adults. Piaget () goes on to say that through their interactions with their environment, children actively construct their own understanding of the world. Child A, B and C’s were observed to reflect the development of their logical thinking and reasoning skills in “periods” or stages, with each period having a specific name and age reference. (See Appendix 2 – Observations)
However, according to Vygotsky (year) mention that language is a social concept that is developed through social interactions. He mention on his books about the 20th-centur of Soviet psychologist that, language is acquisition and it involves not only a child’s exposure to words but also an interdependent process of growth between thought and language. His theory of the “zone of proximal development” asserts that teachers should consider a child’s prospective learning power before trying to expand the child’s grasp of language.
I focused on three children in the planning file in assessment A which I outlined the seven main areas of development. I maintained an on-going observation to see how the curriculum is supporting their learning in term of planning activates and implementing and reviewing and evaluation achievements if set targets fail. The EYFS (2012) encourage in working in partnership with parent which help the writer to link the learning and extend the child knowledge and understanding and gives the parents an insight of their child’s progress, in maintain a good relationship with parents as well as enabling the child to develop in the seven areas of EYFS 2012.
Child A was observed in many areas of the school as well as involving all areas of his learning. He is 4 years of age and has shown on-going progress in his learning development. He is now writing and drawing meaningful pictures that are well in his stage of development (See appendix 2 – Observation)
Child A took part in acting out the story that Child B was reading and later this developed in both of them going on to making the own story out of Lego (See Appendix 2 – Observation 1). I done a number of observations on Child A and in his Literacy activity, he has the capacity to explain and write a few words after phonics about the picture he saw. He has good use of sentence to tell us what he drew and what he wrote (See Appendix 2 – Observation 4). As the EYFS (2012) stresses about the particular importance to Communication, Language and literacy, it recognises its important contribution to children’s learning, wellbeing and belonging. (REFâ€¦http://www.ncb.org.uk/media/58917/factsheet_6_finaltemplate_ready_comm_lang_lit.pdf )
Communication and Language is an important in the role of play. As EYFS identifies children’s ability to communicate ideas, express feelings and share them worth others as one of the seven key areas of development in early years. Young children aged 3-5 are naturally sociable and curious and interested in communicating with other people in a variety of ways including eye contact and developing language. Communication and Language is the fundamental to young children’s learning and development because it is a fundamental aspect of life. It enables the formation of relationship and friendship and exploring feelings. Children learn to communicate in lots of ways, not just through speech, but also using gestures, signing and others bodily expression, creative skills such as drawing dancing and through their play.
Child B is five, she has maintained a steady progress according to her profile and from the observation (See Appendix 2). Child B drew a picture and was able to write her name. she was also able to explain with eqse that the picture was about her best friend.
I had assisted a few of the children with writing the names and finding out which can sound out the letters. Each child was given a name card which had different sahpesâ€¦..
Child C enjoys playing outside either sitting watching other children playing games and then participates in chasing on another. He also sits to look at books with his friends and likes to point out things of interest. He represented a kite with his hands, attaching a small string to his finger. The Practitioner then helped him to make a real kite which he flew outside (See Appendix 2 _ observation…) In Literacy Child C finds it difficult to understand what sound goes with what pictures, needing more time and practice to help him concentrate to take more care in his understanding skills. Overall he did well.
By observing Child C he displays a lot of symbolic play this goes into developing literacy with good and emergent language portraying his development of representational thoughts. Both literacy and symbolic play require the ability to use words, gestures, or mental images to represent actual objects, events or actions.
Symbolic play is also seen in Child A and B, allowing them to imagine with no objects at all, it is useful for Practitioners to use props and substitute actions of all types, and evokes imaginary situations through words. However Piaget (year) mention that symbolic development are seen in the child’s being able to take on a variety of diverse roles in collaboration with peers, engaging innovatively in fantasy.
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The above mentions the importance of the role of planning and assessing which a process is of activates that helps to identify areas of learning like Children A, B and C. as well as moving displaying the children’s next levels. They all have different learning abilities, (as every child is different) by doing observation this gave working Practitioners a clear idea when we do our planning. All children in the setting had an assessment file, which is kept in the record file to monitor areas of concerns and areas of development. In the setting Practitioners need to deliver good quality of support for encouraging learning and the development of play.
The bases of the conclusion I believe that the EYFS 2012 has been successful in ensuring that there is consistency of care and standards between early years settings, planning across the ages is unified making monitoring easier, good practice is shared with other settings. But the most importing of all is promotion the areas of development that planning for children’s specific needs. This is done by analyzing all the areas of development and the setting can see how each area interlinks with others.
However I gained that including communication and language to be in curriculum for the children needs to be followed and learned to enable good planning and upon looking the type of records of how vital it is to keep these up to date. In the setting it is delivers the EYFS. The curriculum has several millstone that a child’s needs to reach. Children are, monitored has several milestone that child needs to reach all and all practitioners and teachers deliver high quality support for leaning and play.
If I had to change the essay I would have talked about all the areas rather than focusing on one aspect. I also feel that this particular module gave me a greater insight to paper work, like the cycle of observation assessment and planning. By inviting the parents into the setting it is very helpful to get the whole picture of the children. In my opinion, this is proving to be successful as who well know better about the child then the parent.
Appendix One – Permission slip
The father to Child A gives permission concerning Abdul to take pictures, drawing and any other effects to help him to complete his task. I also give him permission to look at my child’s profile or anything related that he might need to use.
The mother to Child B gives permission concerning Abdul to take pictures, drawing and any other effects to help her to complete his task. I also give him permission to look at my child’s profile or anything related that he might need to use.
The father to Child C gives permission concerning Abdul to take pictures, drawing and any other effects to help him to complete his task. I also give him permission to look at my child’s profile or anything related that he might need to use.
I __________ Mentor for Abdul at the school, give him the permission to take a serious of observation on Child A, B and C to complete his task.
Appendix Two – Observations
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