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Working with Children Essay

A – Reflect on the importance of a child centred approach in the early years settings.

A answer = It’s important that in an early years setting they use a child centred approach. They should also promote the rights that children have, such as having freedom to do what they want. A child centred environment gives practitioners a new role to take on within their practice, they’re able to observe the children and see what they enjoy doing. If the practitioners are observing what the children enjoy doing in this environment, they can then implement this into the education. This means the children will enjoy their education more, rather than just being taught what the teacher has planned and they’ll gain confidence and creativity from this.

An example of this: In my placement the children were watching the rain outside and asking the practitioners about rain. So the practitioners planned to implement this into the children’s education. We spent 2 days teaching the children about the rain cycle and used this across the curriculum, by transferring the rain cycle into various lessons. If the teachers hadn’t seized this opportunity to plan around children’s interests and they’d just planned what they wanted, then the children might feel like the adults take no notice of their interests and don’t value their thoughts. This could make the children feel like they aren’t valued by the adults.

A child centred approach means the environment has things such as: colourful walls, lots of pictures, decorations, low desks/draws the children can reach, toilets/sinks at the children’s level and lots of materials/equipment which children can interact with. A child centred approach represents an environment which focuses on children, it gives them freedom to think, explore, experience and question. If a setting didn’t implement a child centred approach then children might feel unsettled and insecure. They wouldn’t have the right environment for them to be able to explore/experience, therefore they wouldn’t be able to achieve their full potential.

By having a child centred approach in a setting, children gain:
* Independence
* Confidence & self-esteem
* Communication development
* Confidence to take more risks
* Support for their peers
* Personal experience
* And they are able to achieve their full potential

One of the main approaches to make early years settings child centred is the Reggio Emilia Approach. This approach began in Italy in the 1940’s, it was founded to eliminate fascism. Reggio Emilia is an extremely educational, creative approach to pre-school education; it’s based upon these principles and significantly encourages todays practice within early years education:
* Adults are the facilitators of children’s learning and children are the initiators
* Teachers should be reflective practitioners
* Children must have some control over how they learn
* Teachers should listen to children on a deep level
* Topics/themes should be used, sometimes using children’s suggestions
* Children must be able to learn through using their senses and have the opportunity to express themselves
* Teaching and learning should unfold at the children’s pace


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