Unit CU 2941 1.Be able to address the range of communication requirements in own role Communication is the way we portray and process our thoughts. This could be through speech, messages, telephone, email, sign language, body language, facial expressions and all of which are equally as effective and nurtured to each recipient. Within our nursery setting we firstly communicate through posters and hand-outs (prospectuses) that you receive upon first entry of the nursery. We have a mission statement clearly written on the wall for people to read as they come in and a code of conduct for people to follow. Within my job role as a room leader of a busy 2 – 3 year old toddler room I liaise daily with different people such as colleagues, parents, children, health professionals, social workers, speech and language therapists and other early year’s professionals.
When liaising with parents I feel I can take a more laid back approach as I feel they respond better when they feel more relaxed. I change my tone of voice and explain things regarding childcare simpler. When communicating with health professionals, social workers, and other early years professionals I take a more professional tone and I also liaise through email, phone calls, letters, and meetings. When communicating with children you have to adapt depending upon their age and stage of development. In some cases this may require sign language training or learning the key words of another language to enable you to communicate effectively if they have English as an additional language.
It is vital that we are able to communicate effectively to build positive relationships. Firstly with the children so that they feel safe and secure enough to trust you and to ensure an enabling environment in which the child wants to learn and develop. Secondly with parents to gain their trust as they are leaving their child in your care and through effective communication we can inform them through paperwork and informal chats why they can trust us and what we can do for their child while they are with us. And lastly with other professionals across the early years and health teams. We need to be able to provide written reports for various purposes so our basic English skills need to be of an acceptable standard, we need to inform them thorough phone calls of any information they need to know.
To achieve this we also need to build positive relationships with them and this is achievable through effective communication skills. As early years practitioners we face many barriers and challenges regarding communication. * The main barrier is families with English as an additional language. Initially when they start our setting their English is very little and vice versa. Over time their English becomes better which then aids better communication. When the child starts nursery we ask parents to provide a list of key words in their home language that we can use to communicate with their child, and gradually the child learns English and that then aids their communication amongst their peers. In the more severe cases an interpreter will be invited to help communicate with parents if we are really struggling. We also translate any information we are sending home to parents into their home language.
* Another main barrier is phone calls and messages not being passed on properly between staff, from this repeatedly happening we bought personal message pads so they could be written down. * SEN children or parents with additional needs. More support would be offered to these families and other agencies would be involved so that they are accessing every avenue to help the child or parent with additional needs * Speech impediment, referral to speech and language and we would work closely with them to implement strategies to improve communication skills, such as visual clue cards and activities to promote speech and language development Good relationships between staff and parents/other agencies need to be built first and foremost so then you can decide how you need to communicate with them to achieve the best outcomes for the child as poor communication across a lot of vital agencies can have a negative impact upon the child whose needs are the most important aspect of your job. 2. Be able to Improve communication systems and practices that promote positive outcomes for individuals
We currently have a child who has severe developmental delay. From liaising with other childcare professionals it was decided that visual clue cards would be beneficial for this child. We created these cards for every member of staff within the child’s learning environment to wear at all times and to use them to prompt the child to do desired things. The ‘toby’s’ as they are named, where pictures such as, a nappy for nappy changing time, a water bottle to indicate if he wanted a drink, his water bottle also had a picture of him on it as he could recognise himself but not the actual spelling of his name, a toothbrush to indicate teeth cleaning, a car that he generally always plays with and a yoghurt as it was the only thing he would eat. We also use visual timetables for all children that show the routine of the day so they know what’s happening now and what will happen next.
When we first implemented the Toby’s the child wasn’t very responsive and was still following his own agenda and struggling to follow routine. Through persevering he is now very responsive and will use the clue cards to indicate what he may need, for example if he wants to play with the car but can’t find it he will use the clue cards to tell you what he wants. The Toby’s have been very effective for this child as he went from communicating through crying and tantrums to being able to show you what he needs and us being able to show him what we want him to do without him being upset as he didn’t know what we wanted him to do as he wasn’t understanding the instruction as he struggles with verbal communication. The only changes I would make are maybe implementing the toby’s at home using pictures that reflects his daily routine at home and following his learning strategies that he has learnt from nursery. I would also make sure that the Toby’s are implemented when he starts school to reflect his new routine and it’s something he understands and knows how to use.
3. Be able to improve communication systems to support partnership working
Partnership working is working together effectively with people, professionals, agencies and organisations to enhance the wellbeing of people and support positive and improved outcomes. We have effective communication systems in place that enable us to work in partnership with various agencies. Such as: * Planned meetings where many different agencies and professionals come together to discuss the needs of a child within our care and what help we can provide i.e a CAF (common assessment framework) meeting, core-group meetings. These meetings also make the family and each professional there aware of who is involved in the child’s life and we then become more confident to share relevant information amongst eachother.
* Phone calls to inform other professionals working with the child of any updates or changes that may have occurred between meetings, we also record this on information sharing sheets. Keeping the other agencies up to date with any concerns will ensure the child’s safety. It also builds good relationships amongst professionals. * Written reports for meetings regarding a child in need or a child subject to a child protection plan. These are useful as they show were the child is developmentally and we can write down any concerns we may have had since the last meeting and voice them at the meeting amongst the professionals involved with the child. * Face to face chats when an agency has come in to observe a child within our setting that we have referred to the inclusion team or speech and language therapy. These are effective as we are able to discuss the the development of the child and key things we have observed and the professional will observe the child and give us information of how we can help him and activities we can use to promote his development. The above communication systems are all effective but some more than others.
I personally prefer meetings where all agencies come together. They are more serious and all agencies are present to discuss the needs of the child together and the family know what is happening and what is going to happen, what they need to do and we will do. They are recorded effectively and the minutes of the meetings are posted to us within a week or so of us meeting. All agencies provide reports from what they have observed and have been working on and by us all doing this we get a wider picture of the child and the family and this enables us to make judgements on what should happen next in the best interest of the family. Face to face meetings were a professional comes to observe a child within the setting can be quite challenging. The professional wants to observe the child but she also wants to speak to the key person of the child to get their view on things, whilst she speaks to the key person the other member of staff may struggle to look after the other children depending on how many children there are. The key person speaking to the professional then feels she has to rush what she is saying as she feels she is needed to help. This could be improved by putting another member of staff in the room whilst the member of staff liaises with the professional without having to worry about the care of the other children which then makes the communication system more effective.
4. Be able to use systems for effective information management
As early years practitioners our main job role is to safeguard the children in our care. Confidentiality is another main key within our job role and we as practitioners have to decide what information we feel we need to share. We share private information amongst other staff members when regarding the safety of the child i.e. persons who can and cannot pick up children. This information needs to be shared to ensure the safety of the child. I attend a lot of core group meetings and case conference reviews for children subject to a child protection plan. We provide written reports that remain our property but we also have the right to grant permission for other agencies to take a copy and we also take copies of reports from other agencies with their permission.
The information is shared through a conference review that is recorded and kept property of the WSCB (wigan safeguarding children’s board) for 75 years and then destroyed. As an early years practitioner if I feel a child is being abused or I have concerns regarding a child I would approach my Safeguarding Officer that will look at the situation and respond appropriately which may result in information sharing amongst other agencies to ensure the safety of the child. We have to make judgements on whether we feel the child is safe in their home environment. We also information share regarding children’s development. We have to have parent’s permission to discuss their child which is either in writing or just verbally agreed. This then enables us to discuss children’s development and decide what is best for them and how we can come together to help them.
We have different information management systems that enable us to share information correctly and effectively. When sharing information we have ‘information sharing sheets’ on which you record what was said in the conversation, who it was with, what type of contact it was and parents sign it if the contact was with them or the member of staff signs it who had the contact. When at meetings we record what the discussion points where and keep this information in the child’s individual child protection files kept in a locked cupboard that only relevant people have access to. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires us to tell parents what we need the information for and whom it will be shared with. We gain consent from parents to share care records if it is with an outside agency. All staff are appropriately trained in regards to confidentiality and all have safeguarding training and their knowledge and understanding of the two are tested regularly during staff meetings.
Courtney from Study Moose
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