A childcare setting is preparing for their annual self evaluation activity to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the Early Years Framework. You have been asked to prepare the following evidence for your manager: * an explanation of the legal status and principles of the relevant Early Years Framework and why the early years frameworks emphasise a personal and individual approach to learning and development The legal status and principles of the relevant Early Years Framework It is important as an early years practitioner to understand the purposes and principles of early years frameworks. Some of these are: * The dominant importance of the parents and carers as a child’s first educator and guarantee of wellbeing. * The acknowledgement that babies and young children are competent learners right from birth, and the importance of their development of relationships both with other children and with adults.
* The essential role of play in supporting learning. Young children learn much more by doing, than being told. They also learn more when they are given appropriate responsibility and allowed to make choices and decisions for themselves. When making mistakes after making choices or decisions the children also are learning. * The importance of a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities. * The inclusivity of all children through embracing diversity. * The essential importance of involving key partners in the successful development and learning experience.
Some principles of the early years frameworks emphasise a personal and individual approach to learning and development, they are: * The importance to develop effective relationships with parents/carers and any other settings that a child may attend. * The importance of the key person scheme for each child in every setting, which helps to ensure their wellbeing and encourages them to develop their independence by having someone at the setting that they can depend on. * Using on-going observations and assessments, the need to plan for each and every individual child. All routines and learning must be guided by the child’s needs. * The focus on what a child can do instead of what they cannot do, as a starting point in their developmental planning.
* an explanation of how national and local guidance materials are used in settings
How national and local guidance materials are used in settings The Early Years Foundation Stage – The EYFS was brought into force in September 2008 by orders and regulations of the Childcare Act 2006. All early years providers are obligated to use the EYFS to guarantee a compliant and consistent approach to children’s care, development and learning. By fulfilling the EYFS it enables children and young people to achieve the five ‘Every Child Matters’ outcomes, which are: ‘staying safe’, ‘being healthy’, ‘enjoying and achieving’, ‘making a positive contribution’ and ‘achieving economic wellbeing’. The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage – This document sets out the legal requirements relating to learning and development and welfare.
The learning and development requirements are given legal force by the Early Years Foundation Stage Order 2007 of the Childcare Act 2006. The welfare requirements are given legal force by Regulations of the Childcare Act 2006. Together, the Order, the Regulations and the Statutory Framework document make up the legal basis of the EYFS. Practice Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage – This document provides practitioners with guidance on fulfilling the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. The document contains useful advice and in depth information on how to support children’s development and learning and welfare.
There are seven areas of learning and development that cover various different aspects. The seven areas cannot be fulfilled separately as they are all equally important and need to be delivered together to produce a rounded approach to child development. All seven areas need to be fulfilled through well planned, purposeful play that is balanced between child-initiated and adult-led activities. The seven areas of learning and development are divided into two sections: Prime Areas and Specific Areas. The Prime Areas are:
* Personal, Social and Emotional Development
* Physical Development
* Communication and Language
The Specific Areas are:
* Understanding the World
* Expressive Arts and Design.
* an explanation of how different approaches to work with children in early years have affected current provision in the UK.
How different approaches to work with children in early years have affected current provision in the UK There have always been people that have been prepared to stand up and fight for what children and young people need. They are the pioneers that help all that work with children and young people to move forward. Probably the greatest influence in the UK in the nineteenth century is Friedrich Froebel. Other pioneers include Susan Issacs, Margaret McMillan, Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner. They all believed in integrated early years provision which has a long and respected heritage. Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) – Through observations of children, Froebel learned how important it was for children to have real experiences that involved them in being physically active. Froebel had the belief that everything is linked and is somehow connected to everything else; he called this the ‘principle of unity’. Some of Froebel’s ideas were: * Parents are the first educators of their child.
* Schools should be places where parents are welcome to join their children. * Children should learn outdoors as well as indoors. * Finger play, songs and rhymes in the educational context. * Children should have sensible food that is not too rich. * Froebel valued symbolic behaviour intensely. He realised how important it is for children to understand that they can make one thing stand for another. * As children pretend and imagine things they show their highest levels of learning. * Froebel introduced the idea of what we now call ‘free-flow play’.
* Froebel placed great emphasis on ideas, feelings and relationships. He believed that relationships with other children were just as important as relationships with adults. Susan Issacs (1885-1948) – Issacs was influenced by Froebel. Some of Issacs ideas were: * Play is valuable because it gives children the opportunity to think, feel and interact with others. * Issacs felt that young children needed to move around to be able to learn and that movement was just as important as eating and sleeping. * Issacs greatly valued parents as she considered them to be the most important educators in a child’s life. * Issacs encouraged children to express their feelings and not bottle them up inside. * Issacs supported the idea of a home from home environment at nursery and thought that children should remain in this environment until the age of seven.
* She kept detailed records of all the children in her nursery. Margaret McMillan (1860-1931) – McMillan encouraged manual dexterity exercises. McMillan used Froebel’s ideas. Some of McMillan’s ideas were: * McMillan believed that first-hand experiences and active learning were important. * She put a lot of emphasis on relationships, feelings and ideas. * She believed that children’s play helps them to apply what they know and understand. * McMillan developed nursery schools that were like a home from home environment. * She believed in a very close partnership with parents.
* McMillan wrote in her book The Nursery School (1930) ‘most of the best opportunities for achievement lie in the domain of free play, with access to various materials’. * McMillan thought it was important that all adults working with children were appropriately trained and that they needed to be inventive and imaginative in their work. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) – Montessori worked with children with learning difficulties and she spent many hours observing the children which was one of the great strengths of her work. Montessori came to a conclusion that children pass through sensitive periods of development when they are predominantly receptive to particular areas of learning. She saw children as active learners. Some of Montessori’s ideas were: * Montessori devised a structured teaching plan.
* Montessori designed a set of ‘didactic materials’ that encouraged children to use their hands. * Montessori thought it important that a child worked alone, as she thought it aided children to become independent learners. * The highest moment in a child’s learning Montessori called ‘polarisation of the attention’. At this time the child is completely absorbed in the activity that they are participating in and silent. *Montessori did not support learning through play.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) – Steiner believed in three phases of childhood. They were: 1. The ‘will’, 0 to 7 years: Steiner believed that the spirit fuses with the body at this stage. 2. The ‘heart’, 7 to 14 years: Steiner believed that the rhythmic system of the beating heart, the chest and the respiratory system meant that feelings were especially important during this time. 3. The ‘head’, 14 years onwards: Steiner believed that this is the period of thinking. Some other ideas by Steiner:
* The child needs a carefully planned environment in order to develop in a rounded way. * Steiner was a vegetarian and he felt that what a child ate was very important. It was also important to him that children had an equal balance between rest and activity. * Steiner believed that a child’s temperament was important and that an adult should never go against the temperament but always with it. * Steiner encouraged strong relationships and believed that children should keep the same teacher for years.
As an important part of the work of the childcare setting involves working with carers and other professionals, you have been asked to include as evidence: * an explanation of the partnership model of working with carers The partnership model of working with carers
A partnership model of working with parents and carers is a system of working together, communicating effectively and being sympathetic. For this system to be effective the early years setting, the parents, family or carers, the child, any other early years setting the child may attend and any agencies involved with the child all need to cooperate and work together. If the system is successful each and every child can achieve the best possible outcome.
A diagram of a partnership model might look like this: In conjunction with fulfilling the requirements of the EYFS a child’s development and learning can be enhanced when a partnership model is successful through all involved being fully supportive. * a review of the potential barriers to participation for carers, and an explanation of how these barriers may be overcome The potential barriers to participation for carers and how these barriers may be overcome * Concerns about welfare, development and learning of a child – As an early years practitioner it is paramount to promote the welfare, development and learning of each and every child. Unfortunately in some situations this means raising often difficult and sensitive issues with a parent or carer. Some of the concerns that a key person might need to share with parents are: * a child is overweight or unhealthy
* a child has special educational needs * a child is not receiving sufficient support and help at home or that the needs of the child are being neglected. As these concerns are sensitive it is important that they are raised in a way that does not criticise the parent and shows true concern for the child. The discussion needs to be sensitively arranged and occur in a confidential space with the focus being on the child’s best interests. It is also important to involve senior members of staff such as the setting manager or SENCO. * Parents becoming angry or upset – Early years settings have a policy or procedure on how you can get help from a senior member of staff if there is an emergency of any kind. It is important to involve the manager if you are not sure how to handle a situation.
It is important to always remain calm and polite and encourage the parent to move to a quiet and private place to discuss the issue away from the public area. * Parents and carers with other priorities – It sometimes may appear that a parent prioritises other parts of their life at the expense of their child’s welfare. It may be beneficial for a key person to offer some advice in a non-critical and friendly manner. At times it may be difficult to see eye to eye with parents but as long as the child is sufficiently taken care of and is developing and learning well it is important to accept that parents may not always act the way that we would like them to. * Parents and carers having prejudicial attitudes – There should be information given to all parents when their child first starts at the nursery setting that promotes the settings’ positive attitude to diversity, how it encourages the different languages that children speak and how it vigorously opposes discrimination.
In difficult situations the setting’s manager needs to be strong regarding the legal and moral requirement to oppose discrimination and it is important to teach children within the setting to respect others. Any parent that has a prejudicial attitude needs to be informed that it is not acceptable in an early years setting. * Differences in rules and expectations – It is important to accept differences and to try to build bridges between home and the nursery setting. In these situations it is important to explain to the child that there is a different expectation or set of rules in the nursery in comparison to home.
* an explanation of strategies that can be used to support carers who may react positively or negatively to partnership opportunities
Strategies that can be used to support carers in partnership opportunities There needs to be a range of ways for parents to access partnership, so that it is far more accessible to them by finding a way that is suitable for them. Some of the strategies could be:
* regular home visits
* a diary for communication
* talking to the child’s key person
* sessions in a parents’ or staff room – parents can meet up with other parents and some of these sessions can be run by the local health visitor. * easily accessible learning journeys
* regular reviews where the parent and key person formally sit down together * workshops – where parents can experience some of the things that their children do and staff have a chance to explain what the children learn from the activities. * open days and evenings – these can be just social events or a mixture of a social event and a workshop or talk.
* an explanation of how effective multi-agency working operates within early years provision and benefits children and care
How effective multi-agency working operates within early years provision and benefits children and care Multi-agency working is different agencies, services, early years practitioners and professionals who work together to provide services for children and parents/carers. These are sometimes integrated together to offer a more effective care for young children. As well as working together with parents and carers, early years practitioners need to appreciate that they should also be working together with multi-agencies too. It is important that the nursery setting advises parents and carers about other agencies which could be of benefit to them.
Children in early years settings may have a wide range of needs and working together with multi-agencies can have a positive impact by helping to fulfil the children’s needs and therefore improve children’s health, development and learning. Multi-agencies that work together with children and their families can share lots of information. By working together they can form an agreement of the best possible ways that they can assess and plan for a particular child. The parents can be involved in any assessments and both the child and parents can be involved in the planning, this will help the child to reach their full potential. In multi-agency working it is essential that confidentiality is maintained at all times, but by sharing information between all professionals concerned that are working together with a child, the outcome for the child can only be a positive experience.
Children and Young People’s Workforce – Carolyn Meggitt, Teena Kamen, Tina Bruce, Julian Grenier (2011) Revised EYFS – Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – Early Education (2012)