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Self Awareness and Interpersonal Skills Essay

The following assignment is highlighting the importance of self-awareness and interpersonal skills within the early child care setting. The rights of the child within the ECCE. How to communicate effectively with children their families and other colleagues and how this benefits all involved. How being part of a team within the ECCE benefits and what regulations are put in place to ensure quality of education and the quality of the child care setting and facilities. Self-Awareness is the understanding of your own personality, behaviours, habits, emotional reactions, motivations and thought processes. Having this self-knowledge helps you to highlight your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes feelings about certain topics and wants within relationships and careers as stated by Self Creation (2012). Self-awareness is important within the childcare setting as it makes the child care practitioner more aware of personal limitations.

When this is present it can avoid a child pushing past your limits and you will be more likely to achieve your fullest potential in the caring profession if you can determine these limits. Young (1999) claims that knowing yourself awareness and asking for help when it is needed is a sign of strength not weakness and in these cases this is why strong teamwork is needed. Childcare workers need to be aware of prejudices, stereotyping and past experiences and need to prevent these from influencing and affecting their interactions with children and co-worker. Tassoni, Beith, Bulman & Eldridge (2007) defines Interpersonal Skills as the way in which you communicate and respond to other people. Tassoni (2007) states interpersonal skills are vital when working with children as working with them is about relationships that work and effective communication. Children need to feel safe and secure the child will be more inclined to feel this if you have good interpersonal skills.

Good interpersonal skills are important also to make sure parents feel confident in you and also to work well with other professionals and colleagues within a team. The general right of a child is the UN convention on the rights of the child 1989. The articles of convention can be broken down into four broad areas them being survival rights which covers a child’s right to life and basic needs such as nutrition, shelter, access to medical services and an adequate living standard . Developmental rights include the right to education, play, leisure, access to information, freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Childcare practitioners have a duty and responsibility to ensure developmentally appropriate routines and activities for each and every child which does not discriminate against the child on any grounds.

Protection rights require that children be safeguarded against all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Issues covered are care and rehabilitataion for children who have been abused and/or exploited including special care for refugee children, safeguards for children in the criminal justice system and protection for children in employment. Participation rights emphasises child’s freedom to say and express opinions in matters affecting their lives. Adults have a responsibility to allow children to control choices in their lives and acknowledge and act on the feelings and opinions expressed. This information about the UN convention on the rights of the child 1989 was cited from Donohoe & Gaynor (2007). Effective communication with children is important to get a child to trust you and want to communicate with you. Stearns, Walsh, Schmieder & Millar (2011) say for communication to be effective child care practitioners are encouraged to be respectful and consistent and also patient when listening and responding to children.

When talking to a child a childcare practitioner should make sure they have the child’s attention and go down to the child’s level to make eye contact with the child and speak in a friendly tone of voice. They also can use colourful posters, pictures or displays to express ideas or to communicate information in a way a child will understand it. Effective communication with family should be established from day one and throughout the year the child is there and not just when a problem occurs as Learn NC (2013) states. Childcare.net (2013) describes how mutual respect, trust and co-operation are needed for families and child care practitioners to communicate effectively. Families need to be confident that you value there child and that you can communicate with them about the child’s learning and development.

You can show respect by greeting the family member by their preferred name and by speaking directly and clearly to them and use positive body language and eye contact. Effective communication with colleagues is vital when ensuring a positive working environment. A positive working environment means people will be happy in their jobs and are more inclined to like what they do. This is based on establishing friendly but professional relationships which allow you to give and receive support. Communication should always evolve around the shared goal of promoting children’s learning and development as Stearns et al (2007) describes. According to Early Years Update (2008) effective well organised child care teams need a balance of team members who possess a variety of skills, attitudes and personal qualities. Visions and objectives of a team have to be clear and understood by all and everyone needs to be clear of their role and responsibilities within the team and if unsure should always communicate with others to clarify what is being asked of them.

Being an effective member of a team leads to respect from all staff members and management. Examples of effective teamwork are to follow the facilities policies and procedures, attend staff meetings and training courses. Staff should be on time and be considerate of time keeping at the start/end of shifts or when taking and finishing breaks. Also accurate and prompt communication of all messages and report issues to room leader or facility manager as expressed in Course Notes (2013) Aistear is the early childhood curriculum framework for early childhood care and education. Its four main themes offer a way to plan for and support children’s learning and development so that they benefit from positive and enjoyable experiences in their early years.

The four main points of Aistear is wellbeing, identity and belonging, communicating and exploring and thinking. NCCA (2009) BCCN (2013) describes sìolta as the national quality framework for early childhood education. It was designed to define, assess and support improvement of quality over all aspects of the ECCE setting which include full and part time day care, child minding, sessional services and infant classes in primary schools. Sìoltas 16 quality standards set out guidelines that all early childhood services should work towards as it guides the way all early childhood care and education services work and develop.

It also serves as a self-assessment quality assurance programme by following all 16 standards which helps to achieve high quality and accreditation as according to Early Childhood Ireland (2013) Pre-school regulations 2006 set down the high standards of health welfare and development of a child, first aid and medical assistance, management and staffing, adult/child and space ratios, behaviour management, register of pre-school children, information for parents, premises and facilities, safety measures and food and drink all cited from Citizens Information (2011) The above mentioned are important as these all provide the ground rules of how a child should be educated, the quality of care a child has the right to receive and the standards of the care setting itself and the quality of facilities they provide.

In conclusion self-awareness and interpersonal skills are important qualities of a childcare practitioner. Effective communication can help all within the childcare setting on various levels and helps to build up good team work between the colleagues. All children have a right to participate and develop and learn and be protected from harm any dangers that may around them. Pre-school regulations 2006, Aistear and Sìolta all provide the grounds of how pre-school settings should be run and to what standard and how education should be delivered to the children in their care.

Reference

BCCN (2013) What is Sìolta (http://www.bccn.ie/what-is-s%C3%ADolta.html) (Accessed 9/1/13) ChildCare.net (2013 Communication (http://www.childcare.net/library/parentprovider.shtml) (Accessed 7/1/13) Citizens Information (2011) Regulations of pre-school childcare services in Ireland (http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/education/pre_school_education_and_childcare/health_safety_and_welfare_of_preschool_childcare_services.html) (Accessed 9/1/13) Donohoe, J. & Gaynor, F. (2007) ‘Education and Care in the Early Years’ (3rd Edition), Gill & Macmillan: Dublin Early Childhood Ireland (2013) Sìolta & Quality (http://www.earlychildhoodireland.ie/quality-in-childcare-practice-of-childcare/siolta-quality/) (Accessed 9/1/13) Early Years Update (2008) Building an Effective Childcare Team (http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/building-an-effective-childcare-team-3179) (Accessed 9/1/13) Learn NC, (2013) Communicating with parent, colleagues and administrators (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/2774) (Accessed 9/1/13) NCCA (2009) Aistear: Key messages from the research papers, The stationary Office: Dublin Self-Creation, (2012) What Does it Mean to be Self-Aware (http://www.selfcreation.com/self-awareness/what-is-self-awareness.htm)


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