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Communication and relationships represent one of the most important characteristics of working with others, adults and children.
There are a variety of reasons why people communicate, mainly:
-Gaining and sharing information: I need to gain and share info in work non only with children and their families, but also with colleagues and managers. This will help in the way that I work and problem solving
It is essential to establish good relationships with all the people I daily deal with.
Good communication skills are related to strong relationship with children, parents, colleagues and other adults.
We need to communicate to share and gain information, like routine info about how a child is feeling, play interests or health and welfare. Communication is fundamental to gain parents confidence and trust in us and make them feeling comfortable with us. It’s hard but necessary to be able to quickly find ways of communicating with them and building relationship, for example in a settling in context.
A good quality of communication, then, allow a child to feel relaxed and play and learn more effectively. When I can communicate effectively I’ll help to build vocabulary to allow expressing themselves.
Communication it’s furthermore important in the case of a child transition to another classroom or school: the main aim is trying to pass all the info related to the child so to allow other people to build relationship as quickly as possible. Communication, finally, is essential to my relationship with all my colleagues, to work well together it is essential to communicate in a strong and professional way.
To promote effective communication it is essential to choose which communication method to use and the right style of communication: face to face interaction, phone conversation, sign language, written communication (emails, reports), gesture, picture of children in action. It’s useful to consider the environment in which the communication happen to be: it’s better to communicate with adults in a quiet place or create a cosy and homely place to establish relationship with children. Another important factor is represented by the distance between me and the person I’m communicating with. Being very close to a child can be very useful but not as much as if I don’t know the child of if he/she is shy. Posture is important as well (e.g. standing at the same level of a child while communicating with him).
When people share more or less the same cultural background and the more or less the same experiences, they interpret things in a similar way and this make communication much easier and avoid misunderstandings. This is easy and happen naturally in a family context, but normally the people I daily communicate with comes from a different culture, background and linguistic knowledge. In my Italian culture e.g. it’s important and natural to associate verbal communication with gesture, or in the Chinese culture eye contact is interpreted differently.
We build our way of communicating by learning from our parents or family background so mine is culturally far from an English speaking family and far from a bilingual speaking family e.g.. this means that I have to be careful and cannot take for granted that my viewpoint of style of communication will always be effective. It’s important to consider different backgrounds, beliefs and individual values and respect them so to develop the confidence to express themselves freely and make choices.
Language difficulties: different mother tongue represent an important barrier to effective communication, both in oral or written form.I personally try to study English every day and to learn how to communicate effectively in this language. I’m very interested in different culture and always try to learn some word of the other language a child can speak or being able to understand (French, Spanish, Japanese e.g.)
Inappropriate method of communication: difficulties in choosing appropriate words or language, inappropriate style or tone, illegibly writing, choosing to write a letter instead of having a word…
I think it’s very important to consider each and every situation and the kind of relationship I might have with the people I’m dealing with so to choose the best method of communicate and make it effective.
All the barriers related to the transfer of communication: background noise, unreceived mails…I make sure that the passage of a message to another adult or child is done in an effective way, checking feedbacks and if one of those condition are present:hearingimpairment;visualimpairment;disability/learning difficulties.
Demonstrate strategies misunderstandings that can be used to clarify paraphrasing and reflecting to check
There are a number of services that can be accessed to support communication, including:
These services can be utilized by educational and health services through a booking system. Local authorities also have access to a team of specialists, such as Speech and Language therapists. Support can also be found on the internet through various specialist websites, including The British Deaf Society and The National Blind Children’s Society. Information on how to access to help can be found on internet, but also in clinics and libraries.
There is also a range of specialist equipment, like induction loops, Braille embossers and printers. As a nursery assistant, if I feel that a child is in need of extra support, I will refer him/her to my manager. Having explained my concerns, she may choose to observe the child herself. If she felt it was necessary she would then book any support services that may be required.
Confidentiality means not sharing information about people without their knowledge and agreement, and ensuring that written and electronic information cannot be accessed or read by people who have no reason to see it (using a password protected computer which is only accessed by named staff members and viewed by appropriate officials like Ofsted and parents).
So, you cannot tell anyone what you’ve been told by a teacher, a student or a parent unless you have their permission, knowledge or if you think that the child is going to be in danger. Confidentiality includes respecting other people’s rights and keeping safe the information that they have provided. In such a workplace as a Nursery it is easy to come to know personal things we are not supposed to. For example, a child may tell us something private, not understanding we should not know it. It is our duty to keep the information for ourselves.
However, in the setting there is a Policy about the privacy which is to be read and signed by all members of staff and, of course, respected too.
While parents and children have the right to confidentiality there are occasion when the need to maintain confidentiality might be breached. If I have concerns that a child is being abused, I must disclose this information to the Manager, unless I think that by disclosing the information I will put the child in further danger. Being it very hard to work out such a decision, sharing the concerns with a trusted colleague could help a lot. In case the Manager doesn’t see any abuse where I clearly see it, I will continue to keep an eye on the child I think has been abused and whenever I feel the child is in significant danger, I will report immediately to the Manager again and, in case of necessity, to the owner of the setting.
Speech is the vocalized form of human communication, based upon the syntactic combination of lexical and names that are drawn from very large vocabularies. Each spoken word is created out of the phonetic combination of a limited set of vowel and consonant speech sound units. These vocabularies differ creating the existence of many thousands of different types of languages. Most human speakers are able to communicate in two or more of them. The vocal abilities that enable humans to produce speech also provide humans with the ability to sing.
A gestural form of human communication exists for the deaf in the form of sign language. Speech in some cultures has become the basis of a written language. Language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, and a language is any specific example of such a system. In addition to its strictly communicative uses, language also has many social and cultural uses, such as signifying group identity, social stratification, as well as for social grooming and entertainment.
Communication is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or a group of living creatures. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or non-linguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes.
Speech, language and communication needs it’s a term used to refer to any difficulty that a child has in any of the three areas, e.g. difficulty in producing certain sounds (speech).
Speech, language and communication skills support: learning development because they help a child to understand what is being seen or provide a way for the child to communicate what he/she has seen. Babies use sounds and facial expressions to communicate needs and express themselves. Toddlers use words and gestures to make connections and develop their knowledge and understanding. Pre-school children ask questions and make sense of the responses, they use words to express their ideas and develop their understanding; they support emotional development because controlling emotions is a large part of emotional development and if children become frustrated, angry or jealous and can’t communicate their feelings they may have a tantrum.
But as their skills develop they can name their emotions and find other ways of expressing them, so babies use sounds and facial expressions to develop an attachment and relationship with their main carers, toddlers use words and body language to express their feelings and preschool children use speech and language to express their feelings and exert their independence; they support behaviour because once a child understands language they can begin to understand the consequences of their actions and start to think things through, becoming less impulsive and they support social development as children can start to recognise how others feel by watching their body language and listening to what they say and learn to adjust their behaviour accordingly. Children also start to understand social codes and how to behave appropriately.
So, babies use sounds and facial expressions in responding to adult interactions, toddlers use words and gestures to interact with others and pre-school children use speech and language to interact with others and develop friendships.
Such difficulties may have an impact on a child overall development both currently and in longer term. Currently, because a child may not follow the expected pattern of development for communication finding it difficult to communicate with carers and peers and causing him to become frustrated and show negative behaviour, anger, lack of confidence, find it difficult to form relationships, to learn process and apply new information and find it hard to be understood by others.
The children may have social problems struggling to communicate with peers leading them to avoid joining in with certain activities or leading them to play on their own affecting their social development. In the long term it can cause continued communication problems, low self-esteem, reduced life chances, finding it hard to make and maintain relationships, feeling isolated and excluded, not being able to be independent, develop antisocial behaviour. It is surely very important to be able as a carer to recognize as early as possible the presence of symptoms of such difficulties in order to intervene promptly and give more chances to the child.
The words and levels of language adults use with children (including the use of questions)
One of the skills to acquire is to quickly work out the level of language we need to use with children and also the style we need to adopt. Adults seem automatically to be able to change the structure of their language when working with babies in order to simplify it, this seems to be particularly important so that babies can focus on the key words in a sentence and so begin to associate these words with meaning. Questions play an important part in stimulating and extending children’s speech, they can show children that we are interested in what they are doing or thinking. Rhetorical questions are useful when working with babies and toddler, but are not helpful with children who already have speech as they simply deny children the opportunity to answer.
Informations and activities used
Planning activities or using books will prompt children speech, although it is always important for adults to build on children’s existing interests as well as providing new things for them.
Their conversations/interaction with children children who have speech need time to chat to adults, most children like to be doing something or have something to show the adult for the conversation to take place. This often require the adult to sit down at their level. Good conversation do not work when the adult is moving and cannot make eye contact or is distracted. For babies and toddlers early interaction is often playful, including songs and rhymes.— work with parents/carers
Parents/careres often have a strong relationship with their children and they’re able to tune into them and adapt their language. This means that parents have the potential to be brilliant language partners for their children, where a child has a specific speech and language need, both setting and parents will need to work together with a speech and language therapist.
Every child is unique. It is obvious then that when they enter the nursery they will not be at the same level of development, not necessarily at least. We all know that some children start to speak at the age of 12 month while others will walk at 9 months, but others may take longer to start doing both activities. It is very important to help children settle in since their learning opportunities are amplified when children are confident, happy, motivated, engaged and supported in their play and exploration.
For these reasons planning for children’s needs is a requirement of each setting and is an effective way to support children’s developing communication, speech and language needs. To help children settle in we need to take into account how much stimulation and encouragement they have experienced, what is their first language spoken at home, if there are any individual speech, language or communication needs/difficulties/gaps. That is why when entering the setting all parents are asked to fill in a form for their child where they have the opportunity to give us information about their child’s needs and requirements.
To help a child settle in, it is also very important to be aware of his/her self-confidence, self-esteem, ability to settle. Moreover, facilitating communication between children helps with understanding each other, forming positive relationships, and demonstrates ways each can utilise negotiation and conflict resolution by waiting, listening and expression.
Communication friendly spaces are essential to help children develop their speech and language and these spaces should be made available both indoors and outdoors. Such spaces should be ideated thinking to reduce noise and distractions to a minimum otherwise the children cannot concentrate (for example the book area). The area should have sunlight to maximise the use of light and enable young babies or toddlers to see your face and how we use facial expression (particularly important if you have a child with an hearing impairment or while working with babies that do not speak yet so that are not able to use language to communicate). You should consider the impact of the colour to reflect on a child’s emotions, a good colour is yellow since this colour is recognised faster than any other colour, evokes spontaneity, is joyful, optimistic, warm and signifies communication. Our rooms have a different colour each one and one has, as a dominant colour, red and I find it a bit overwhelming, while the other two rooms are light blue and light grey and you feel more relaxed in them. In the book corner we have a nice shelf with different age/stage books in; we also have some very nice musical stories that come with books with illustrations and that children really love a lot. We then have a soft box where we keep soft toys and puppets we use for singing time and to mime. All these materials are always kept at children’s keep so they can help themselves, this enables the area to be inviting for the children.
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