The Children Act 1989 has influenced setting by bringing together several sets of guidance and provided the foundation for many of the standards practitioners adhere to and maintain when working with children. The Act requires that settings work together in the best interests of the child and that they form partnerships with parents and carers. It requires settings to have an appropriate adult: child ratios and policies and procedures on child protection. This Act has an influence in all areas of practice within setting. For example; planning.
United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child 1989 – UNCRC is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under a state’s own domestic legislation.
Children Act 2004 – This Act was introduced as a result of the death of Victoria Climbie and was the introduction of ‘Every Child Matters’ which ensures the wellbeing of children through its five outcomes. The Every Child Matters framework has influenced settings by giving them and other childcare settings a duty to find new ways of working together by sharing information and working co-operatively to protect children from harm.
Human Rights Act 1998 – This Act has had a huge impact in current legislation in the UK. Under the Act it was agreed that children would have the same rights as adults which means children have the right to dignity, respect and fairness in the way that they are treated, meaning that settings looking after children should be treating children with respect, dignity and fairness, meaning all children should be treated the same. The Act makes available in UK courts a remedy for breach of a Convention right, without the need to go to the European Court of Human Rights.
Childcare Act 2006 – The Act defines new duties for Local Authorities with respect to improving the Every Child Matters outcomes for pre-school children, childcare for working parents and parental information services.
E3 All the legislations and guidance in recent decades, including the Children Act 2004, make it clear that the child’s interests must come first. All professionals must work together to promote the child’s welfare before all else. All early years settings and schools must nominate a member of staff to oversee safeguarding and child protection. This person should be specifically trained to undertake this role. The whole team, including volunteers and students must work together to promote children’s welfare and keep them safe. “For some children, universal services such as early year’s education and health visiting are not enough to ensure their healthy, safe and happy development. They may experience emotional difficulties, fall behind in their development or learning, or suffer the adverse effects of poverty, poor housing or ill health.
There are also children in need, who are judged to be unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development unless they are offered additional services.” (Bruce, 2010:448) This group includes children with disabilities. Infection control and stopping cross-contamination is essential when safeguarding children, as cross-contaminating food could be vital if children have allergies or intolerances. All members of staff in the setting should be aware of the allergies and intolerances of the children incase they have to prepare a meal. The members of staff should be aware and be in knowledge of the children who need to have an epi-Pen incase of an anaphylaxis shock. It is essential that practitioners are able to recognise possible signs and indicators of abuse. Sometimes you might notice physical signs that a child or young person is being abused. Babies and toddlers may for example, not have the language skills required, while older children may not always recognise that what the adult has been doing is wrong.
Children and young people can also be living in fear as their abuser is likely to have a great deal of control over them. Most children have falls and minor accidents that result in bruising, cuts and bumps. The difference between genuine accidents and deliberate injuries to the child is often the location of the injuries and the frequency with which they occur. Children who have been physically abused may show through their behaviour and play that they are being abused. It is good practice to ask a child about an injury as most children who have had genuine accidents are happy to talk about what has happened to them. Children who have been physically abused might have been told by the abuser not to talk about what has happened and to say that they fell or bumped into something if they are asked about bruising or cuts. If a child seems upset or nervous when talking about an injury, you should always pass on this information to your supervisor.
You may be asked to keep a note of the date and type of injury that you have seen, as well as a record of what the child said. Sexual abuse can be hard to detect as the child may not outwardly seem injured. Some physical signs may be apparent but behavioural indicators can be a more obvious clue. There are a few physical indicators of emotional abuse, although some older children may show self-destructive behaviour such as cutting themselves or drastic dieting. The main indicator of emotional abuse is the child’s need for attention and low self-esteem. Parents who neglect their children may have significant personal and other problems of their own.
The children might be loved but parents find it hard to provide the basic care that the children need. Children who are being neglected are at risk of having accidents through being left unsupervised, either at home or while out playing. They are also vulnerable to attack from strangers. Children who are being abused may show behaviour that is not part of their normal pattern or is out of character. If the change of behaviour is long term then the practitioner should consider the possibility of abuse, meaning the child will be observed more closely for other signs.
E4 The term inclusive is often used to describe the concept of making sure that everyone feels welcome and part of a setting. This applies to parents as well as children. In order to achieve this, settings should constantly be looking at what they are doing and how they are doing it, and think about whether they are really meeting children’s and their families’ needs. Settings that are fair, just and inclusive recognise that anti-discriminatory practice means that individual needs. Settings that are fair, just and inclusive recognise that anti-discriminatory practice means that individual needs are taken into account and that children and their families are not expected to all be the same. Settings that are proactive use many sources of information to reflect on their policies and activities. They may ask parents and children to provide feedback, suggestions and comments about a whole range of issues, for example, what activities the children have enjoyed, session opening hours and requests for information.
Settings also seek information from organisations locally and nationally who support children and families with particular needs. Practitioners should work in a fair, just and inclusive way, taking into account both the statutory legal framework in the United Kingdom and the policies and procedures in the setting. You need to value, and show respect to all those you encounter in your setting as individuals. Definitions of inclusion have developed from being primarily focused on integrating children with special educational needs into a much broader concept concerning social justice and equality for all. Inclusion is the process by which early years settings develop their ethos, policies and practices to include all learners with the aim of meeting their individual needs.
E5 and D2 Daily routine is a strategy which most settings have in use to empower children. The daily routine “provides a consistent, predictable sequence of events that gives children a sense of control over what happens in their day”. Different settings develop different routine depend how long children stay in the premises and their age, but most of the daily routine contain basic components such as: outside routine, large group time, small group time, register time, art/craft time, tidy up time and snack/meal time. During the daily routine the child learns to make choices and discovers their consequences. This creates sort of secure environment, because children know what to expect and this allows them to be more involve in the tasks and more co-operative with the practitioner. The second strategy is planning and providing different activities and experiences for children. This strategy is suggested by the EYFS because allows for adventure, exploration and gaining new experiences. Different activities, which the setting provide develop range of skills and abilities.
Taking part in activities, free-flow or structured, allows children learn social interactions and behaviours such as sharing equipment, taking turns. Providing activities allows children to use their language to communicate wiliness to participation in it, raising their confidence to communicate and self reliance to complete it. Providing different activities stimulate children`s imagination, cognitive, language, personal, social and emotional as well as physical development and allow to fulfil children`s potential. Encouraging children’s self-reliance is an important part of helping them to develop the independence and resilience which will enable them to face life’s demands and challenges in preparation for their adult lives. Encouraging self-reliance involves helping children to develop: independence, dependence, competence in looking after themselves, trust in their own judgement and actions and confidence in their own abilities.
“Be patient and provide time for children to do things for themselves. For example, let younger children dress themselves; although it takes longer, it is an essential self-help skill. Children with physical disabilities may need sensitive support in this area.” (Meggitt, C 2012:296) Settings may use the skill of developing a positive self-image to empower children. A way of doing this is to allow the children to realise who they are; by realising they have their own identity. Children deal with things differently to adults and feel things more deeply than adults do, meaning they need a great deal of support to understand, express and deal with all their emotions that are going on. Children need to learn to be recognised by their name, developing their self-esteem which can be boosted by their key worker within a setting. By developing their self-esteem it begins to help them understand how to seek support from key workers or parents/carers to keep them safe and well, helping them to developing holistically.
By allowing a child to develop his or her feelings it brings them the confidence that it is okay to show their emotions. By their key person being supportive of this it makes the child likely to tell them how he or she is feeling. Independence is another strategy. By a child learning to wash and dry their hands after going to the toilet, messy activities, playing outside, before and after bed, after blowing their nose, etc, it helps them understand the concept of their own and others hygiene. It is also very important for children of any age to understand how to care for their own teeth and understand how important it is to have good dental hygiene. Also becoming independent when going to the potty or toilet is vital when it comes to their lifestyle later on in life.
E6 and D1 One example of how a setting may prepare young children is by using a teddy or a role-play to act out the situations that may occur during a transition. Using a teddy may indirectly allow the child to express their concerns and fears about what their new setting may be like. Role-play is an effective tool for young children to engage in, so that they can act out what may happen in their new setting and how best to confront any problems they may encounter. Tassoni noted that “with older children and young people it is good to talk to them about the transition.” (2007:147) Talking regularly to older children is imperative so as to perceive an idea of the child’s fear or expectations for the transitions. As they will likely not remember everything that they may want to ask at once, therefore continued discussions are helpful for them so that they can settle any uneasiness. Having communication between the two settings is also imperative, as well as making sure that parents are involved, to help make the children more comfortable.
The practitioners should meet in order for them to discuss the needs and preferences of the children in order to maintain some kind of continuity for them. Taking the children to visit their new settings in order to familiarise themselves with it is beneficial for them. On the other hand key workers or the new teacher for the younger children could visit the children so that they can start to bond with them. Some children deal with transitions with more difficulty than others do. Some children can find it difficult when moving from a nursery to a primary school. As children become older, they start to cope better with being separated from their parents, but it all depends on how well they coped with settling into new settings during transitions.
Having stable relationships around the children can help them feel safe and secure during certain transitions in their life. Children need practitioners and caring adults who are able to recognise the importance of attachment and emotional wellbeing during periods of transitions. A way in which practitioners can help children settle during transitions is by bringing all the children (new and old) together at circle time. Activities like circle time allow children to learn new things, about themselves and each other, whether that is singing their favourite song, or telling the group what they did at the weekend – this links into discussion and display. Discussing children’s work and displaying it on boards or posters helps them recognise that they are part of the team and that they feel welcome.
E7 and B1 Discrimination can occur even when individual workers have positive attitudes. If the organisations or institution does not consider and meet the needs of everyone involved in it, and makes assumptions based on one set of values/stereotyped views, institutional discrimination can occur. This can happen when, for example, children with disabilities are not given access to the full curriculum, the meals service does not meet the dietary requirements of certain religious groups, a uniform code does not consider the cultural traditions of certain groups concerning dress. Childcare workers are often not aware of how powerful the culture and institutionalised practices of their organisations are in discriminating against certain groups of children or their families. Institutional discrimination is not necessarily a conscious policy on the part of organisation; more often it occurs because of a failure to consider the diversity of the community. Whether conscious or unconscious, institutional discrimination is a powerful and damaging force.
Children may suffer the effects of stereotyping and discrimination in a number of ways, for example, Research by Milner (1983) shows that children as young as three attach value to skin colour, with both black and white children perceiving white skin as ‘better’ than black. This indicates that children absorb messages about racial stereotyping from a very early age. These messages are very demanding to self-esteem of black children and may result in a failure to achieve their potential. Harm is done to white children too, and to society in general, unless this perception of racial superiority is confronted and challenged effectively. These findings underline the need for all settings, including those in all-white areas, to provide a positive approach that challenges stereotyping. Even very young children can hold fixed ideas about what boys can do and what girls can do. Observation of children’s play shows that some activities are avoided because of perceptions of what is appropriate for girls and boys. This can result in boys and girls having a very limited view of the choices available to males and females in our society.
This is particularly significant when, despite advances in recent years, many women still underachieve. Children with disabilities and their families are subject to many forms of discrimination. Even a caring environment may neglect the ordinary needs of the disabled child out of concern to meet their special needs. This may mean that the disability is seen first, rather than the child, and that the child’s development is affected because of limited opportunities and limited expectations. Children may find it difficult to form relationships with others, meaning that practitioners need to provide activities that show inclusive practice.
The adult’s role is to promote interactions between children, giving them group activities to do, making sure they are bonding with each other. By the adult’s giving the children activities it makes them interact with children they wouldn’t necessarily interact with outside of the setting. Direct discrimination is when discrimination occurs when a child is treated less favourably than another child in similar circumstances. Indirect discrimination is when discrimination occurs when a condition is applied that will affect a group of children unfairly when compared to others – this includes religions like Sikhs. Discrimination of any kind prevents children and young people from developing a feeling of self-esteem. The effects of being discriminated against can last the whole of a child’s life.
C1 Jerome Bruner’s theory on scaffolding is about encouraging children to learn something new by supporting and helping them when they need help, and then letting the child do it on their own when the adult feels they are confident enough. Bruner believes that humans have the ability to learn and grow with no limit; therefore, practitioners should have confidence in the children to learn something new. Although Bruner’s theory is adult-initiated, it still empowers children. When the scaffolding takes place, practitioners must be enthusiastic and encourage children to learn; practitioners must make it enjoyable and exciting to make sure children do not get bored and distracted. This empowers children as when the practitioner slowly moves away, and allows the child to do it on their own, the child’s confidence and self-reliance increases: they believe that they are able to do things on their own.
This obviously increases their independence; they will be happy with themselves and will want to do things on their own more often. If a child has a lot of difficulty, and can’t manage to do what they have learnt on their own, the practitioner can still support them until they can manage to do it on their own. As long as the practitioner does not do the work for them, and the child is still learning, the practitioner can give the child as much support as they need, until they can do it on their own. Another thing which is also good about Bruner’s theory is that once children will be able to do certain things on their own, for example, writing certain letters without help or without reminders on how to write them, those children will be able to help other children who have difficulty with writing letters. This will develop social interaction, and both children will be happy with themselves.
A1 The Children Act 1989 allocated duties to the local authorities, courts, parents and other child-based agencies in the UK, ensuring that the children are safeguarded and their welfare is promoted. Centered on the idea that children are best cared for within their own families; however, it also makes provisions for instances when parents and families do not co-operate with child-based agencies and statutory bodies, like OFSTED. The act states that children’s welfare should be the paramount concern to the courts.
Specifying that any delays in the system processes will have a detrimental impact on a child’s welfare. The court needs to take into account the child’s wishes; physical, emotional and educational needs, age, sex, background circumstances, the likely effect of change on the child, the harm the child has suffered or is likely to suffer, parents ability to meet the child’s needs and the powers available to the court. This influences working practice as the practitioners need to make sure what is going on at home, and follow the correct procedures to make sure that the child’s welfare is main priority.
Children Act 2004 is the amended version of the Children Act 1989. This act was amended in 2004 largely in consequence of the Victoria Climbie inquiry. The Act’s ultimate purpose is to make the UK better and safer for children of all ages. The idea behind the act is to promote co-ordination between multiple official entities to improve the overall well-being of children. The 2004 act also specifically provided for including and affecting disabled children. The sections 39-48 in the Childcare Act 2006 introduce the EYFS which supports the delivery of high quality education and care for children from birth to age 5. The UNCRC involves a Children’s Commissioner. England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, each have their own Children’s Commissioners. The Children’s Commissioner for England promotes and protects children’s rights in England.
She does this by listening to what children and young people say about what matters to them and making sure adults in charge take their views and interests into account. In article 6 of the UNCRC it states that “all children have the right to life. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily”. The UNCRC supports children in their rights, including from abuse or help to safeguard. Section 3 of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is all about safeguarding and welfare requirements within early years settings that practitioners must abide by. Section 3.42 is all about medicines, meaning that practitioners must keep a record of all medicines in the setting and the dosage allowances to the children.
Illness and injuries is 3.48 in the EYFS meaning that all accidents, injuries and illnesses should be reported in an accident book. 3.45 – food – all allergies and intolerances should be kept on file for all those members of staff whom are preparing or serving food. Section 3 is all about safeguarding the children making sure that the children within settings should be protected as ‘Every Child Matters’. “Governments must do everything to protect children and young people from all form of violence, abuse, neglect and mistreatment.” (Meggitt, 2012:243)
Beaver, M, Brewster, J, Green, S, Neaum, S, Sheppard, H, Tallack, J, Walker, M (2008) CACHE Level 3 Childcare and Education, Cheltenham, Nelson Thornes
Bruce, T, Meggitt, C, Grenier, J (2010) Childcare and Education, 5th Edition, London, Hodder Education
Daly, M, Byers, E, Taylor, W (2006) Understanding Early Years Theory in Practice, Oxford, Heinemann
Department for Education (2012) Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, London, Early Education
Meggitt, C, Bruce, T, Grenier, J (2012) CACHE Level 3 Childcare and Education, 2nd Edition, London, Hodder Education
Tassoni, P, Beith, K, Bulman, K, Griffin, S (2010) Level 3 Diploma Children and Young Peoples Workforce, London, Heinemann