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Contex and Principles for Early Year Learning Essay

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Question: An explanation of the legal status and principle of the relevant Early Years Framework and why the early year frameworks emphasise a personal and individual approach to learning and development 1. 1 The statutory framework for the EYFS sets out the legal requirements relating to learning and development and the legal requirements relating to welfare. The EYFS framework has statutory force by virtue of Section 44 of the Childcare Act 2006. The EYFS is a central part of the ten year childcare strategy Choice for parents, the best start for children and the landmark Childcare Act 2006.

This Act, which regulates the childcare in England, formalise the important strategic role local authorities play, through a set of duties. These duties require authorities to • work with their NHS and Jobcentre Plus partners to improve the outcomes of all children up to five years of age and reduce inequalities between them • secure sufficient childcare for working parents • provide a parental information service • provide information, advice and training for childcare providers.

The act also lays out registration and inspection arrangements, providing for an integrated education and care framework for the Early Years and general childcare registers. The sufficiency, information and outcomes duties came into effect on 1 April 2008 and the remaining provisions came into effect from September 2008. The revised, simpler framework for the EYFS was published on 27 March 2012, for implementation from 1 September 2012. This is an integral part of the Government’s wider vision for families in the foundation years.

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It demonstrates our commitment to freeing professionals from bureaucracy to focus on supporting children. Together with a more flexible, free early education entitlement and new streamlined inspection arrangements, this is a step towards a lighter touch regulatory regime. The Government will continue to seek to reduce burdens and remove unnecessary regulation and paperwork, which undermine professionals’ ability to protect children and promote their development. The new EYFS framework makes a number of improvements:

• Reducing bureaucracy for professionals, simplifying the statutory assessment of children’s development at age five. • Simplifying the learning and development requirements by reducing the number of early learning goals from 69 to 17. • Stronger emphasis on the three prime areas which are most essential for children’s healthy development. These three areas are: communication and language; physical; and personal, social and emotional development. • For parents, a new progress check at age two on their child’s development.

This links with the Healthy Child review carried out by health visitors, so that children get any additional support they need before they start school. • Strengthening partnerships between professionals and parents, ensuring that the new framework uses clear language. The Early Years Register (EYR) and the General Childcare Register (GCR) provide a regulatory framework for childcare under the act. Ofsted regulates the two registers – the EYR for people caring for children aged from birth to 31 August after their fifth birthday and the GCR for childcare over this age.

The GCR has two parts: the compulsory part (for providers of childcare for children aged five to seven) and a voluntary part (for providers of childcare for children aged eight and over or childcare that is exempt from registering on a compulsory basis). The EYFS has replaced three precedent frameworks: Curriculum Guidance for Foundation Stage, the Birth to Three Matters frameworks, and the National Standards for Under 8s Day-care and Childminding. The EYFS is given legal force through an Order and Regulations made under the Act.

From September 2008 it will be mandatory for all schools and early years providers in Ofsted registered settings attended by young children – that is children from birth to the end of the academic year in which a child has their fifth birthday. All early years providers are required to meet the EYFS requirements. From September 2008 it is the legal responsibility of these providers to ensure that their provision meets the learning and development requirements, and complies with the welfare regulations.

The Early Years Foundation Stage 2012 (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. The EYFS seeks to provide:

• quality and consistency in all early years settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind; • a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly; • partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers; • equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring that every child is included and supported. The EYFS specifies requirements for learning and development and for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.

The learning and development requirements cover: • the areas of learning and development which must shape activities and experiences (educational programmes) for children in all early years settings; • the early learning goals that providers must help children work towards (the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five); and • assessment arrangements for measuring progress (and requirements for reporting to parents and/or carers). The safeguarding and welfare requirements cover the steps that providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare.

Four guiding principles should shape practice in early years settings. These are: • every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured; • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships; • children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers; and • children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.

The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. The aim of the EYFS is to help young children achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes of staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic well-being by: 1. setting the standards for the learning, development and care, ensuring that every child makes progress and that no child gets left behind.

Parents, providers should deliver individualised learning, development and care that enhances the development of the children in their care and gives those children the best possible start in life. Every child should be supported individually to make progress at their own pace and children who need extra support to fulfil their potential should receive special consideration.

All providers have an equally important role to play in children’s early years experiences and they have to ensure that the provision they deliver is both appropriate to children’ needs and complementary to the education and care provided in child’s other settings. 2. providing for equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice and ensuring that every child is included and not disadvantaged because of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties or disabilities, gender or ability.

Practitioners should focus on each child’s individual learning, development and care needs by: removing or helping to overcome barriers for children, being alert to the early signs of needs that could lead to later difficulties and responding quickly and appropriately, stretching and challenging children because all of them should have the opportunity to experience an enjoyable programme of learning and development. 3. creating the framework for partnership working between parents and professionals, and between all the settings that the child attends.

Working with children means working in partnership with a lot of people, for this reason is important that practitioners ensure continuity and coherence by sharing relevant information with each other and with parents. Parents and families are central to a child’s well-being and learning’s needs. For this reason practitioners should support this important relationship by sharing information and offering support for extending learning in the home. 4. improving quality and consistency in the early years sector through a universal set of standards which apply to all settings and providing the basis for the inspection and regulation regime.

5. laying a secure foundation for future learning through learning and development that is planned around the individual needs and interests of the child, and informed by the use of ongoing observational assessment. It is important to their future success that children’ earliest experience help to build a secure foundation for learning throughout their school years and beyond. Practitioners must sensitive to the individual development of each child to ensure that activities they undertake are suitable for the stage that they have reached.

Children need to be stretched, but not pushed beyond their capabilities, so that they can continue enjoy learning. Practitioners must observe assessment planning for each child’s continuing development through play-based activities, and respond quickly to children’s learning and development needs. There are a lot of important aspects on the early years’ provision in the EYFS framework. These principles are: 1. There should be a variety of provision for children under five in any locality. 2. All groups should operate in safe, healthy premises and should register with the local social services department. 3.

Groups should be of manageable size and have a high adult to child ratio. 4. Groups should comply with al employment legislation and pay adequate salaries and expenses to volunteers. 5. Staff should be trained and experienced, and with volunteers and parents, should be given the opportunity to further their learning. 6. Groups should have opening times that reflect the needs of parents and children. 7. Groups should have clear policies and procedures for admission and attendance of children 8. Groups should consider children’s dietary needs to ensure that any food or drink provided is appropriate, acceptable and nutritious.

In the provision of any refreshment, groups should respect individual, cultural, religious and medical requirements. 9. Groups should have appropriate and adequate insurance cover. 10. Parents are the main educators of their children and should be involved in all aspects of the group including management. 11. Groups should have sound management procedures. 12. Groups should be recognised by, and have contact with, other local providers of education and care for young children. 13. Groups should provide for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties including “children in need” as defined by the Children Act 1989. 14.

Groups should be well organised, with carefully planned activities. 15. Groups should provide good quality educational equipment and play activities appropriate ages and stages of development. 16. The quality in any group is ultimately dependent upon the skills, attitudes and commitment of adults, and groups should build upon these. 17. There should be equal opportunities, in all aspects of the group’s work, for adults and children. All children in England between ages 5 and 16 must receive a full-time education. For children under age 5, publicly-funded nurseries and pre-schools are available for a limited number of hours each week.

After the age of 16, students can attend sixth form colleges or other further education institutions. There are different types of child settings but all of them should follow The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 that sets out two main duties for childcare providers: • not to treat a disabled child ‘less favourably’ • to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled children Registered day nurseries Children are normally admitted from age 18 months to 3? years. They usually have fixed opening times and are usually open all day and during the school holidays to meet the needs of working parents.

They may also offer before and after school childcare and holiday care for school aged children. Local authority nursery schools and nursery classes They are funded by the local authority. Children can start a nursery school or nursery class attached to a primary school from the age of three. Some nursery places are for a half-day (either a morning or an afternoon), others are for the whole school day. Pre-schools and Playgroups Pre-schools and playgroups provide care, play and learning opportunities for children aged two to five years.

They usually offer half day sessions, term time only, although some may offer extended hours. Primary school Primary schools are for children aged from four or five until the age of 11. Secondary school Secondary schools are for children aged 11, until the age of 16 but often also include sixth form centres or colleges which have pupils until the age of 18. Special schools Special schools educate children or young people aged 5 and upwards almost always with statements of special educational need. Childminders Provide care, play and learning opportunities within the childminders own home.

They may be able to work flexible hours and periods. Will often take or collect children from playgroup or school. Can care for a maximum of six children under 8 years of age, depending on the play space available, but no more than three under 5 years of age and not normally more than one under 12 months Question: An explanation of how national and local guidance materials are used in setting 1. 2 UK’s current provision to work with early years children has been influenced by many different theories. FRIEDRICH FROEBEL (1782-1852) Froebel founded his first kindergarten in 1840.

He believed in outdoor and indoor play and invented finger play, songs and rhymes. He valued symbolic behaviour through play: this is where children understand that they can make one thing stand for – or symbolise – something else – for example, a yoghurt pot can symbolise a cup of tea. He felt that children were able to learn at their highest level through imaginative play. He was also well known for encouraging block play which he called gift – encouraging children to understand a variety of mathematical concepts and relationship through play with various wooden blocks.

His theory start with the concept that humans are creative beings, for this reason true education must help children to understand their true nature as creative beings. Froebel believed that play is the engine that drives true learning. Play is not idle behaviour. It is a biological imperative to discover how things work. It is happy work, but definitely purposeful. Froebel sought to harness this impulse and focus the child’s play energy on specific activities designed to lead them to create meaning from this experience. In his opinion children can only learn what they are ready to learn.

Each child is unique and develops according to their own schedule. Nothing can be more wasteful or frustrating than to try to force a child to march to a different beat. Froebel works with each child’s own rhythm but makes it purposeful and guides the child toward the group. Froebel recognized that you cannot control the child so he controlled everything else. A prepared environment provides the teacher with the proper tools and gives children the experiences that the teacher feels are most beneficial, leading the child’s mind to the subject at hand. It feels less structured or forced, but it is actually extremely efficient.

After his death the idea of his child-centred kindergarten became popular in both Germany and the rest of Europe. MARIA MONTESSORI (1870-1952) Maria Montessori was a doctor in poor areas of Rome in the early twentieth century. During this time she observed children’s development and saw them as active learners. She did not believe in imaginative play but she felt that children needed to experience concepts such as shape, size and order through structured play. She also felt that, at different stages of their development, children are particularly receptive to certain area of learning and that the adult must guide them through these.

Montessori believed that children would become independent learners if they worked on their own. She did not encourage sequence of exercises often using specifically designed didactic (instructional) materials. (Penny Tassoni, 368)These are materials that involve sensory experiences and are self-correcting. Montessori materials are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, yet sturdy and were developed by Maria Montessori to help children develop organization. Montessori believed that the environment should be prepared by matching the child to the corresponding didactic material.

The environment should be comfortable for children (e. g., child-sized chairs that are lightweight). The environment should be homelike, so child can learn practical life issues. For example, there should be a place for children to practice proper self-help skills, such as hand washing. Since Montessori believed beauty helped with concentration, the setting is aesthetically pleasing.

The “Montessori method” consists in a carefully developed set of materials which create the proper environment for children at each stage of their development. In this environment and with the guidance of trained teachers, they can develop their intellects and acquire all the skills and content of human civilization.

Over sixty years of experience with children around the world proved Dr. Montessori’s theory that children can learn to read, write and calculate as easily and naturally as they learn to walk and talk. Her methods are still popular in Montessori schools around the world. The High/Scope approach The High/Scope Approach has roots in constructivist theory. Constructivists believe that we learn by mentally and physically interacting with the environment and with others. Although errors may be made during these interactions, they are considered just another part of the learning process.

Although both Constructivism and the Montessori Method involve learning by doing, there are significant differences. In Montessori, for instance, the didactic, self-correcting materials are specifically designed to help prevent errors. Children learn by repetition, instead of by trial and error. The role of pretend play is also different in the two methods. In High/Scope, children’s creative exploration is encouraged, and this sometimes leads to pretend play, while in Montessori, “practical life work” that relates to the real world is stressed.

Although Constructivism is a theory of learning, as opposed to a theory of teaching, High/Scope has exemplified an approach of teaching that supports Constructivist beliefs. Thus, children learn through active involvement with people, materials, events, and ideas. What Are High/Scope’s Main Components? Social • One of the fundamental points in the High/Scope approach is that children are encouraged to be active in their learning through supportive adult interactions. • The High/Scope approach includes times for various grouping experiences in the classroom.

There are specific periods in each day for small group times, large group times, and for children to play independently in learning centres throughout the classroom. • Children are encouraged to share their thinking with teachers and peers. • Social interactions in the classroom community are encouraged. Teachers facilitate work on problem resolution with children as conflicts arise. • When a child talks, the teachers listen and ask open-ended questions; they seek to ask questions that encourage children to express their thoughts and be creative rather than a “closed” question that would elicit more of a yes/no or simplistic answer.

• Each day the High/Scope teacher observes and records what the children are doing. During the year, teachers complete a High/Scope Child Observation Record from the daily observations they have collected. Curriculum • “Key experiences” were designed specifically for this approach. The following is a brief summary of key experiences taken from Kostelnik, Soderman, & Whiren (1999, p. 32). The key experiences for preschool children are: -Creative representation -Classification -Language and literacy -Seriation -Initiative and social relation -Number -Movement -Space -Music -Time.

• “Plan-do-review” is another major component of the High/Scope framework. Children are encouraged to: 1) plan the area, materials, and methods they are going to work with; 2) do, actually carry out their plan; and 3) review, articulate with the class-room community what they actually did during work time. The review time helps children bring closure to their work and link their actual work to their plan. • Cleanup time is a natural part of plan-do-review. Children are given a sense of control by cleaning up. Representative labels help children return materials to appropriate places (Roopnarine & Johnson, 1993).

• The High/Scope classroom has a consistent routine. The purpose of the resulting predictability is to help children understand what will happen next and encourage them to have more control in their classroom. Environmental Set-Up • The High/Scope® classroom is a materials-rich learning environment. Usually, the locations for classroom materials are labelled to help children learn organizational skills. • Materials are set-up so that they are easily accessible at a child’s level. This helps facilitate children’s active exploration.

• Teachers set up the classroom areas purposefully for children to explore and build social relationships, often with well-defined areas for different activities. Reggio Emilia Approach Reggio Emilia is a small town of northern Italy. The approach has become so popular in the early childhood field because it offers many unique curriculum ideas, because of the strong infrastructure for the Reggio schools, and because of the attention to co-construction. What Are the Reggio Emilia Approach’s Main Components? Social • Cooperation and collaboration are terms that stress the value of revisiting social learning.

First, children must become members of a community that is working together (cooperation). Once there is a foundation of trust between the children and adults, constructive conflict may be helpful in gaining new insights (collaboration). • Co-construction refers to the fact that the meaning of an experience often is built in a social context. • An atelierista is a teacher who has a special training that supports the curriculum development of the children and other faculty members. There is an atelierista in each of the Reggio Emilia pre-primary schools.

• Pedagogistas are built in as part of the carefully planned support system of the Reggio Emilia schools. The word pedagogista is difficult to translate into English. They are educational consultants that strive to implement the philosophy of the system and advocate for seeing children as the competent and capable people they are.

They also make critical connections between families, schools, and community. Curriculum • One of the special features of the Reggio Emilia approach is called “documentation. ” Documentation is a sophisticated approach to purposefully using the environment to explain the history of projects and the school community.

It does not simply refer to the beautiful classroom artwork commonly found throughout schools following Reggio Emilia Approach. And, even though it often incorporates concrete examples of both the processes and products that are part of a child’s education, it is more than just that. It is a fundamental way of building connections. Documentation is discussed in more detail in the next section that describes the uniqueness of the Reggio Emilia Approach.

• Co-construction increases the level of knowledge being developed. This occurs when active learning happens in conjunction with working with others (e. g.having opportunities for work to be discussed, questioned, and explored). Having to explain ideas to someone else clarifies these ideas. In addition, conflicts and questions facilitate more connections and extensions. There is an opportunity to bring in different expertise.

Thus, to facilitate co-construction, teachers need to “aggressively listen” and foster collaboration between all the members of the community whenever possible. Real learning takes place when they check, evaluate, and then possibly add to each other’s work. • Long-term projects are studies that encompass the explorations of teachers and children.

• Flowcharts are an organized system of recording curriculum planning and assessment based on ongoing collaboration and careful review. • Portfolios are a collection of a child’s work that demonstrates the child’s efforts, progress, and achievements over time. Environmental Set-Up • In Reggio Emilia, the environment is similar to that found in Montessori schools. However, the environmental set-up as a “third teacher” has been enhanced and extended in the Reggio Emilia approach. • Like Montessori, it is believed beauty helps with concentration; the setting is aesthetically pleasing.

• Reggio Emilia schools create homelike environments. In Reggio, the homelike atmosphere is designed to help make children feel comfortable and learn practical life issues. • Each child is provided a place to keep her own belongings. • Documentation is a major part of the environmental set-up. Documentation illustrates both the process and the product. In documentation, the child is seen as an individual but also in relation to a group, with various possibilities for the individual. Question: An explanation of how different approaches to work with children in early years have affected current provision.

1. 3 Early years frameworks emphasize a personal and individual approach to learning and development because every child is unique and they develop and learn in different ways and at different rates, for this reason all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected. Another reason is that experiences during the early years strongly influence a child’s future development. This means that the care and education that babies and young children receive to support their growth, development and learning must be of high quality and appropriate to their individual needs.

Therefore, all practitioners should look carefully at the children in their care, consider their needs, their interests, and their stage of development and use all this information to help plan a challenging and enjoyable experience across all the areas of learning and development. In fact EYFS’s aim is to reflect the rich and personalised experience that many parents give their children at home. Like parents, providers should deliver individualised learning, development and care that enhances the development of the children in their care and gives those children the best possible start in life.

Every child should be supported individually to make progress at their own pace and children who need extra support to fulfil their potential should receive special consideration. All providers have an equally important role to play in children’s early years experiences and they have to ensure that the provision they deliver is both appropriate to children’ needs. Question: An explanation of the Partnership model of working with carers 3. 1 Working with children means have a lot of responsibilities and one of the main ones is to have a positive partnership within the child setting’s staff and parents/carers.

For this reason every child setting has its own policy to regulate relations between carers and carers and families. Positive partnership calls for: • mutual respect and trust • a recognition of equality between parents and professionals • awareness of cultural and ethnic diversity • partners to share information and skills. This means that good communication is essential to working with children, young people, families and carers. It helps build trust, and encourages them to seek advice and use services.

It is key to establishing and maintaining relationships, and is an active process that involves listening, questioning, understanding and responding. • an acknowledgement and sharing of feelings • all parties to play a role in the decision making process. Question: A review of the Potential barriers to participation for carers, and an explanations of how these barriers may be overcome 3. 2 Barriers to partnership working There are many potential barriers to establishing a working partnership with parents, which can apply to both parties. Here are some of them: Time and availability.

• Finding a mutually convenient time and venue to meet • Other demands from family and work • Access and transport for some parents Language, culture and religion Cultural and/or religious attitudes towards disability • Language barriers (there are no words for Down’s syndrome in Punjabi or Urdu) • What is culturally acceptable Parents own education • Negative feelings towards school and authority • Feelings of inadequacy • Fear of being judged Communication • Poor communication channels (e. g. through the child only) • Poor information sharing (what does go on in school? ) • Automatic use of jargon.

• Shyness • Lack of confidence School and staff • Personal relationships between teacher and parent • Limited facilities for meeting with parents • Lack of empathy with the role of parent • Lack of staff skills and confidence • Access to relevant information • An unwelcoming environment Parent and school • Who to talk to? • Lack of acceptance or awareness of child’s difficulties • The value placed on education • Young people not wanting parents involved • Lack of information around transition periods (from one school to the next) • Disinterest/lack of clear responsibility.

• Lack of consensus between parents Previous experience • Negative previous experience • Feelings of being judged • Lack of action or follow up • Being patronised Some ideas for overcoming barriers Communication • Use regular newsletters to improve information flow • Have a central information point e. g. regularly updated notice board • Have a central contact point • Exploit technology – web sites, email, blogs, text messaging • Provide up to date information and a jargon buster.

Create regular meeting slots • Create opportunities for informal as well as formal contact e.g. parents assemblies, social events • Collect parents views e. g. suggestion box, parent forum, parents’ spokesperson • Involve parents in school activities • Use home/school books and diaries • Use email or phone if there is sensitivity about keeping a written record School and staff • Develop staff skills in communication and listening • Increase availability of staff and head teacher e. g. regular meeting slots, surgery times for 1-1 meetings • Improve the range of activities in which parents can participate • Make direct personal contact with parents • Provide creche.

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