The UNCRC happened in 1989 and out of this came the children’s act 1989. The act was formally adopted in England and Wales in 1991. The most important aim of the act was to ensure that children’s views were of paramount importance and that the children thoughts and views about their future were taken into consideration. After this, the children’s act 2004 was formed. In this act the framework for the every child matters programme was set out. Every child matters was formed after the tragic death of Victoria Climbie. Victoria Climbie was failed by the very people who were supposedly looking after her. “It led to recommendations for a radical reform of services”. The aim of the act is to make sure that services work together a lot better and more efficiently than previously.
Children’s should be listened to and their opinions valued. We need to listen to children carefully to understand what a child is trying to say. If they cannot be understood or do not feel listened to they may get upset, frustrated, angry or become withdrawn. They could show their upset by hitting, biting, shouting etc., and it will lower their self-esteem. A child may have something important to say that needs our attention for example safe guarding . “every child can be hurt, put at risk of harm or abused, regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity.” (http://www.safenetwork.org.uk/getting_started/Pages/Why_does_safeguarding_matter.aspx) A change in behaviour, something a child says or how they act can also alert the practitioner to safe guarding issues or perhaps something else that is happening outside the child care setting. Therefore it is essential that we listen to children and build up the child’s trust in adults and “enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.” (http://www.safenetwork.org.uk/getting_started/Pages/Why_does_safeguarding_matter.aspx)
If you cannot understand the child by listening ask them to draw what they want to tell you, act out what they want to tell you or if they use sign language get them to sign what they want to tell you as this may also help you . It is important for children to be given different options of what they want to tell us either through, verbal communication, acting, drawing or pointing. This will show them we do value them and we want to listen and reach out to them. In contrast if a child is listened to and feels understood they are more likely to be happy and confident. We can also find out if the child has understood a lesson or what you have said by using questions and listening carefully e.g. after a story you might ask a question to see if they have understood. The children’s opinions should be valued so that they are encouraged to express themselves and have got a sense of individuality.
It will also help them to build confidence and trusting people and also encourage their communication skills. Children will come from a variety of different cultural backgrounds and have been brought up by parents with many and varied opinions on everything from religion/non religion to food, clothing and what are deemed to be acceptable behaviour. We need to be aware of all these influences and respect the diversity of our society in a non – judgemental way .
By doing so children will feel that we comfortable in their thoughts and feelings to you without fear of being misunderstood. Children who have disabilities should be given the opportunity to express themselves in a way that they are comfortable or able to. A child who does not have speech may make different noises which can be interpreted as happy or sad. This form of communication should be valued and we should respond to it as we would to a child who has speech. A child who has physical disabilities should be given choices about how they complete tasks and their opinions respected.
It is important that practitioners understand the limits and boundaries of their job roles when they work with children. This is to get the best outcomes and the best quality of care for the child. There are 4 main areas that which are “Particularly important when thinking about your role, boundaries and limits are;
•Health and safety
•Managing children’s behaviour
You should always follow the legislations (children’s act 1989 and children’s act 2004) and read them often to refresh your mind as they often change and then you are always aware of what your limits and boundaries are. It is very important to follow the policies and procedures set out at your place of work, so that everybody is working in a consistent way.
By following procedures everybody knows who is responsible for each task and important jobs do not get missed. Also this is a way of making things clear to everybody and prevents misunderstandings, allegations and it will also help with knowing what to do in certain situations, E.g., •Following the fire procedure- Where fire exits are, where the assemble points are, taking the register and alerting parents/carers •Missing child policy/ procedure- Who to contact
•Suspecting any child abuse – who to speak to ( child protection officer) knowing how to react when the child tells you something ( do not look shocked, no leading questions, but tell them you’re going to have to tell someone) •What to do if you’re going on a school trip- head counts, booster seats, right number of adults to children •General security policy/procedures- shutting gates, identification cards, signing in/out, knowing who’s going to pick the child up It is also crucial to make sure the appropriate people are made aware of any allergies or anything deemed important e.g. if a teacher was going to give out cake for someone’s birthday and it had nuts in and they were unaware of a child with a nut allergy this would cause serious difficulties.
You should understand that when you are told something in confidence you should keep it confidential as stated in the policies and procedures. “Everyone is entitled to their privacy” (http://www.reference.com/motif/health/why-is-confidentiality-important) and may not want personal information to be common knowledge. This could for many reasons including that it is embarrassing for the family and for child protection reasons. However in certain circumstances e.g. in relation to child protection and safe guarding issues it may be vital to share information with relevant professionals (child welfare officer, safe guarding officer, social services). For example if a child tells you that they get hit at home or that they get left home alone every night.
At my placement, to ensure confidentiality they lock up any files about the children and only shown to people on a need to know basis. We should know how to look after child a without crossing the professional boundaries and causing harm to a child. On the 14th of august it was reported in the mail online that a practitioner had physically abused some children where she worked at Small Talk Nursery in Birmingham. It was reported that she “could be seen throwing a 17-month-old girl onto a mattress, causing her to almost strike her head on a radiator.” (: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2188314/Small-Talk-Nursery-Kehyren-Sajid-dragged-toddler-mat-like-rag-doll-mistreated-children care.html#ixzz2BetgdNPW) This is obviously very unprofessional and she crossed the professional limits and boundaries.
Therefore you should know your limits and boundaries to keep the children safe and protected All practitioners should know what their job role and responsibilities are, and not try and do something that isn’t within their role. They may not be trained appropriately and this could cause problems if something goes wrong. Each person is accountable for their own actions and we all must take responsibility. Also if you do the job that is in your job description then it will prevent friction with other colleagues as you won’t be seen to be interfering with things. You should be mature and respectful even if you do not necessarily agree with what someone is saying. You have to liaise with parents and have a friendly relationship so they feel they can tell you things. However professional boundaries should be kept so that if you are concerned about something you are more able to deal with this situation appropriately.
A child centred approach is important in an early years setting. This is because young children develop at different stages. It is important to find out as much as information about the child as possible, by interacting with them through play and chatting, so you can meet the children’s needs. Once you know the child well, you can starts to plan activities tailored to the child and start to build on their existing skills towards their next stage. Also when using a child centred approach children feel empowered and learn to make decisions for themselves and they also get the best experience out of their child care setting. In order to meet the individual needs of children a child centred approach is necessary.
This requires planning, time, effort and patience. In the late 1940’s a town named Reggio “developed an approach to pre-school learning”.(Level 3 child care and education, Tassoni,2007, pg188) The approach believes “in the importance of discovery, stimulating learning environments (both indoor and outdoor) , children reflecting on their own learning and documenting children’s learning as part of the process.”.(Level 3 child care and education, Tassoni, 2007, pg188) This approach is based on;
•Exploration and discovery
•Following children’s interests
•Valuing and encouraging all ways children express themselves •Asking children to talk about their ideas”
(Level 3 child care and education, Tassoni, 2007, pg188)
The above information is, I think, very important as it makes sure that the child and their needs are the priority. Tailoring activities to the interests of the child and getting their reactions from this will help to plan future sessions. . The child’s needs are put above anything else rather than sticking to a routine for the convenience of child care practitioner. The Reggio Emilio theory links to the EYFS as it is a “play-based and child-led framework”. (https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DFE-RB029.pdf) One approach used set out in the EYFS framework and in the reggio amellio theory is to allow play to develop and be led by the child rather than the play leader.
At my placement, which is in a nursery , we actively encourage children to learn through play, and we get them to choose what they would like to play with Eg; sand, water, play dough and painting. The child centred approach is good for children who disconnect unless it is something they are interested in. For example if a child loves playing with trains, it would be used to capture a child’s interest in a subject such as singing instead of singing about cats You would sing songs about trains to engage the child and get his/her full attention.
It is also good because a child centred approach gives a sense of inclusion, because for example, if you are in a wheelchair you will still be included in the activities as they have been planned to support your need. “The Child Centered Approach promotes the right of the child to choose, make connections and communicate. It allows freedom for children to think, experience, explore, question and search for answers” (http://www.growingplaces.org.uk/reggio.htm)
Courtney from Study Moose
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