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Choose one case study and write an academic essay Essay

PART A = Identify the educational needs of the class/training group. Use these educational needs as the basis (headings) for outlining classroom practice, including strategies, in order to accommodate the diverse learning needs of the entire class/training group. Strategies are to be of a detailed, practical and realistic nature. PART B = Name the Education Queensland (or relevant educational body) policies, frameworks, statements and directives that will have implications for this class/training group (include website address). Note how these policies will support your planning that you have written about in part A.

Due Date: 20th January, 2014
Course: Education
Specialization: Early Childhood
Lecturer/Course Examiner: Noah Mbano
Word Count: 2380

This assignment will identify and address the educational needs present in the early childhood case study. The educational needs being addressed will be the basis for Part A, which are, English as a second language (ESL), cultural diversity, social skills, intellectual disabilities and behaviour management. Pedagogical practices and strategies will be suggested to cater for the diverse learning needs of all children attending the service. The focus will be on the delivery of learning opportunities, according to need, to maximise students’ learning capacity and not to label the children. Part B will support the pedagogical response and planning ideas outlined in Part A, by the relevant policies, frameworks, statements and directives from Educational government bodies that implicate the service.

PART A

English as a Second Language (ESL)/cultural diversity
The case study states that the centre has a number of children with different cultural backgrounds. The first educational need relates to ESL and cultural diversity. Educators must respect the diverse cultural backgrounds and ensure equity, so children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities (DEEWR, 2009). A positive sense of self is fostered when children are supported in their environment to feel safe, secure and supported (DEEWR, 2009). Early childhood educators should support students for whom English is a second language to develop their English language skills, empowering them to communicate and engage within their new environment. From the start of their enrolment, students and their families should be welcomed and feel a sense of belonging at the service.

The centre’s philosophy should be based on an understanding that parents should be recognised as the child’s first and most influential educator, whilst supporting the National Childcare Accreditation Council’s quality area two ‘Partnerships with families’ (NCAC, 2005). In practice it has been found that, to support a smooth transition parents and child should be encouraged to have a settling in period, which can be used to share knowledge about the center; it’s curriculum and cultural background. Educators should exchange this information verbally as well as in a written form. During the settling-in period the child has the chance to meet new friends and to become more familiar in their new environment, whilst in the comfort of their parents. Enrolment strategies are to understand, support the child, his/her families and caregivers and to differentiate your program to support all cultures.

Educators should build an understanding of individual culture including “norms, values, beliefs, languages, traditions, behaviours, symbols, activities, achievement, and possessions” (Ashman & Elkins, 2012). Educators can familiarised themselves with the families’ beliefs and values by providing the parents with English-language programs or translators, helping by collaborating and giving continuing support. Using these strategies to encourage family participation within the centre will support cultural diversity and an understanding of the world we live in. Example of this would be celebrating cultural days, such as Naidoc week within the Aboriginal culture.

Workers in the industry report that ways in showing a cultural understanding is to ask families to bring in family photos for display, to provide familiar words from their native language or invite them to talk about their culture or share a special dish are other possibilities. This will help ease the child into the classroom environment. To support the child, strategies such as simplifying language, making instructions clear, breaking down the steps, providing multiple technology devices of communication and observations to recognise confidence could be used. Have classroom routines and consistent expectations to help the child understand what they are expected to do. Educators should ensure individual expectations are clear and understood by children to reduce frustration and barriers from being formed (Ashman & Elkins, 2012). Social Skills

The second educational need is the inclusion of social skills. Educators have the responsibility to provide a welcoming and safe environment, where children feel accepted and part of a group. Through social interactions children can share knowledge and develop confident self-identities (DEEWR, 2009). Educators should identify each student’s positive characteristics then use them to establish an understanding of interests to keep them engaged. This helps move towards an inclusive environment. An inclusive classroom should provide a safe, flexible learning environment where all students have sufficient support to achieve outcomes consistent with their capabilities, become willing to take risks, and construct knowledge that is personally relevant and meaningful. Differentiating the program experiences and assessment by taking on an individualised approach aims to promote success and self-esteem (Ashman & Elkins, 2012).

It cannot be assumed that social inclusion will occur automatically to new students (Ashman & Elkins, 2012). Strategies to encourage social inclusion are to ensure all students are actively involved in the organisation of the classroom; the educator thus needs to build a positive relationship with the student, providing opportunities for social interaction in group work, games and activities. Educators are qualified enough to support students’ friendships and ensure that their classroom is socially responsive. Following up on these aspects should be done promptly with regular observation and review on progression in social skills from the child. Through anecdotal evidence, documenting these observations have shown to support the reflection process and assist in justifying and preparing plans for the child’s individual needs, interests, strengths and weaknesses (Churchill et al, 2013).

Intellectual disability
The third educational need is the inclusion of children with intellectual disabilities. All schools aspire to have collaborative, school-based terms that are organised to develop supportive networks for students, including the intellectually disabled. Educators should recognise strengths and capabilities and not make assumptions about the students’ ability based on their diagnostic label. Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure students with disabilities are given multiple means for participating in learning. These would involve learning through multiple, examples, media and formats, choice of context and tools, opportunities for demonstration and level of challenges. Give students plenty of options for expressing what they know, and provide models, feedback and support for their different levels of proficiency (CAST, 2012).

Multiple strategies can be guided by the principles from the ‘Universal Design for learning’, which is a framework that shifts educators’ understanding of learner differences. It challenges them to rethink the nature of curriculum materials and endow them with the inherent flexibility necessary to serve diverse learning needs (Wright, 2006, as cited in Module 4, 2014). Strategies that also facilitate this include, varying the type of activities or the method of instruction, providing additional human and technical resources, giving extra support, modifying the ways in which the student will respond, or changing the classroom environment. These variations should be designed in such a way that the student with a disability is able to participate in the learning experiences on the same basis as a student without a disability, and without experiencing discrimination. There is anecdotal evidence that contemporary approaches to intellectual disability emphasise equal access, participation, and recognition that a person’s level of functioning will improve if appropriate, individualise and supports are provided.

Behaviour management
The fourth educational need is behaviour management. Before considering specific learning issues, there are a number of factors outside of the school that influence school behaviour issues; family, socio-economics, culture, religion and race; and socio-political factors. Educators should agree that it is important to establish a cohesive understanding of socio-culturally acceptable behaviours when addressing behaviour management. Strategies to encourage positive behaviour rely on a pedagogical approach that sees the educator making adaptations, so the students can work effectively. In practice is has been found that students with behaviour problems often learn best when tactile and kinaesthetic strategies are presented. According to Early Childhood Australia (2013) the two main reasons misbehaviour usually occurs is when, children are expressing their feelings and children who have not yet learnt how to do what is expected.

Strategies aimed at preventing misbehaviour include setting clear limits with input from the children and teaching the children what behaviour is appropriate and what is not (Early Childhood Australia, 2013). A critical aspect of maintaining students with behaviour problems in an inclusive classroom is the recognition of the learning difficulties that students face (Mooney, Epstein, Reid, and Nelson, 2003, as cited in Ashman & Elkins, 2012). One of the most important strategies for any teacher is to be a role model and to create a supportive and welcoming classroom. This will encourage all students to persist and work together more inclusively. To encourage appropriate behaviour, staff to child ratios should be obeyed at all times. This will ensure adequate care is been given to each child. Routines to be followed, keeping mealtimes regular and not too late, as some children will be hungry and this can lead to misbehaviour due to irritability.

This can be changed by being responsive, flexible and adopting an individualised approach to routines. However sometimes circumstances change suddenly and this can result in routines been disturbed, for example, changes at home and the circumstances affecting behaviour is out of your control. The main idea is to facilitate individuals in developing his or her authentic self, through fostering student’s knowledge in a number of different genres, within a school, family or social environment. As a result of the diverse economic, social, spiritual, cultural, and political realities of our individual lives, a single aim of education wouldn’t suit everyone’s needs. Therefore we need to create opportunities that will lead a student to their own success, a success defined by the individual. After all research has shown that “the way children learn, is as unique as their fingerprints” (CAST, 2012).

Including students with educational learning needs in the regular classroom will provide the children with opportunities to interact with more able peers. By interacting in small groups, students learn to listen to what others have to say, understand that they may have different perspectives, share information and ideas and express different points of view in socially acceptable ways. Although it may appear that time and considerable organisation is focused on children with educational needs, it will have a positive impact on the delivery of the curriculum. The strategies outlined can be used not only for the child in need but all other children in the class will benefit from the additional strategies that will in turn cater for the multiple ways of learning throughout the class.

PART B
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is Australia’s first national framework, which forms an important written guideline for the unity of care and practices ensuring all children involved in early childhood education settings experience quality teaching (AGDEEWR, 2009). The EYLF’s curriculum supports children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. Part A mentions strategies that relate to the EYLF’s curriculum The ‘Being, Becoming and Belonging: The Early Years Learning Framework is the document used in all services implementing the National Quality Standard. It consists of a set of principals, practices and outcomes that advise educators that children have a strong sense of identity, children are connected with and contribute to their world, children have a strong sense of wellbeing, children are confident and involved learners and children are effective communicators.

Strategies suggested in Part A directly relate to these outcomes from the EYLF by advocating play-based learning while recognising the importance of communication, language, social and emotional development (ACECQA, 2009). All elements are fundamental to curriculum making decisions and pedagogy in an early childhood setting. The National Quality Framework (NQF) is a tool to assist childcare providers to improve their services in the areas that impact on a child’s development and empower families to make informed choices about which service is best for their child. The NQF has many implications for the centre, including a national legislative framework that consists of the Education and Care Services National Law and Education and Care Services National regulations, a National Quality Standard (NQS), an assessment and rating system, a regulatory authority and ACECQA. ‘The Guide to the National Quality Framework’ directs centres in implementing the framework.

The National Quality Standard is responsible for administering, including approving, monitoring, and quality assessing and rating. Services are assessed and rated against the Seven Quality Areas; this ensures the organisation and its educator’s are meeting the standards and providing high-quality educational programs. The Seven Quality Areas that relate to all practices outlined in Part A, are; Educational program and practice, Children’s health and safety, Physical environment, Collaborative partnerships with families and communities, Staffing arrangements, Relationships with children, Leadership and service management. Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) Act 2011 outlines the legislation that has implications for the service. It outlines regulations regarding inclusion and provisions.

The National law establishes the ACECQA, which is responsible for ensuring that the NQF that is implemented consistently across all states and territories. The Child Care Regulation 2003 directs policies and outlines the lawful standards that implicate the service. These regulations implicate all practices and strategies outlined in Part A, by providing a directive for compliance. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sets out rights in 54 Articles and is guided by four fundamental principles. The articles are about how adults and governments should work together to make sure that all children get all their rights. The four fundamental principles are, non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, survival, development and protection and participation. These protocols have implications for the service with its outline of the basic human rights that children everywhere have. This is put in place to ensure that services are meeting the basic needs of children, to help them reach their fullest potential.

Many of the rights support planning strategies outlined in part A including the right to his or her own name and identity, the right to an education, the right to be protected from abuse or exploitation, the right to express their opinions and have these listened to and, where appropriate, acted upon and the right to play and enjoy culture and art in safety (UNICEF, 2012). The Disabilities Discrimination Act (DDA) education standards outline the obligations to assist people with a disability under the DDA. The DDA therefore has direct implications for the service when catering for children with disabilities to ensure their right to participate in educational courses and programs on the same basis as students without disability. This means a person with disability should have access to the same opportunities and choices in their education that are available to a person without disability.

These policies support the planning and implementation of differentiated learning, assessment, accommodations, adjustments, re-designing and the universal design for learning. Melbourne Declaration outlines a commitment to working to support the development and strengthening of early childhood education, to provide every child with the opportunity for the best start in life and there for has implications for the service. The ‘Commitment to Action’ supports the planning for part A in such areas as developing stronger partnerships and strengthening early childhood education, advocating services to work towards smooth transitions into schools, providing parents, carers and families with information regarding equity and supporting young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens (MCEECDYA, 2008).

References

Ashman, A., & Elkins, J. (Eds.). (2012). Education for Inclusion and Diversity (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia

Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). (2011). Guide to the National Quality Framework. Retrieved from http://acecqa.gov.au/storage/1%20Guide%20to%20the%20NQF.pdf

Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) for the council of Australian Governments (2009). Being Belonging Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Canberra, ACT: DEEWR.

CAST,inc. (2012, May 3). National centre on Universal Design for Learning: UDL at a glance [Video file]. Video posted to http://www.udlcenter.org/resource_library/videos/udlcenter/udl#video0
Churchill, Rick. (2nd Ed.). (2013). Teaching: making a difference. Milton Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

Early Childhood Australia. (2013). Managing challenging behaviour. Retrieved from http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/learning_and_teaching/childrens_behaviour/managing_challenging_behaviour.html

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved from http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, {MCEETYA} (2003). A National Framework for Professional Standards for Teaching. Retrieved January 2, 2014, from source. http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/national_framework_file.pd

Module 4 – Differentiating the curriculum and universal design principles. (2014). Retrieved January 2, 2014, from http://usqstudydesk.usq.edu.au/m2/mod/resource/view.php?id=167984

National Childcare Accreditation Council. (2005). Quality Improvement and Accreditation System: Quality Practices Guide. Retrieved from http://www.ncac.gov.au/resources/qias_qpg.pdf

Queensland Government. (2012). Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Retrieved from http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2013C00022

Unicef. (2012). Convention on the Rights of the Child. Retrieved from
http://www.unicef.org/crc/


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