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Introduction Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to meet their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a great impact on their future life. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes. Children will mostly be taught through games and play. The areas of learning are, communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development literacy, mathematics, understanding the world, expressive arts and design.
Children’s progress will be reviewed when they’re between 2 and 3 by an early years practitioner or health visitor. Their class teacher will assess them at the end of the school year when they turn 5. The assessment is based on classroom observation. It uses the early learning goals, which can be found in the early year framework. The framework sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well, ensures children are kept healthy and safe, ensures that children have the knowledge and skills they need to start school.
The EYFS framework published on 3 March 2017 came into force on 3 April 2017. The learning and development requirements are given legal force by an Order made under section 39(1)(a) of the Childcare Act 2006.There are many different theories of development that help us to understand children’s behaviour, reactions and ways of learning. All equally important as they influence practice Piaget’s constructivist theory believes that his four stages of development and the structure of teaching is closely linked.
The sensorimotor stage fits in to the early years foundation stage (EYFS) where children mainly learn by playing and exploring the facilities around them. In the nursery and reception classes of the school, the children have a variety of continuous provisions areas within the classroom that relate to the real world such as shops, post office and kitchens. This allows the children to explore role play and discover real life situations. Tasks are set up to allow the children to explore freely whilst the teacher observes the children’s involvement in the activity. This relates to the principle of enabling environments’ in the EYFS themes: The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning. Providing the children with hands on experience in certain areas of the curriculum such as EYFS, mathematics and literacy has been taken from Piaget’s theory. The child is observed during a practical activity and his/her engagement and communication skills are recorded. Piaget’s theory allows the child to learn actively and gain knowledge from any mistakes that they make. However, Piaget’s methods are underestimated and may have a huge impact on learning. When learning the core subjects mainly Literacy and Mathematics, Piaget’s theory ignored the social aspects of the child which unvalued the importance knowledge and culture which led to underestimating the ability of the children. Piaget’s theory of moral development links closely to his stages of cognitive development. Piaget tested and developed his theory of moral development by telling children pairs of stories and asking them questions. He concluded that for the first four years of life, children were in a pre-moral stage. In this stage they learn about right and wrong through considering the responses of adults to their actions. As for children aged four to seven years, Piaget suggested that their morality was based on predicting adults’ responses. Sometimes children’s predictions are not accurate. A child may look worried because he has spilled his drink and in his own mind, he may think that the adult will be cross. The child is then pleasantly surprised to find that the adult is not upset after all. Lev Vygotsky has also proved to be influential and has been adopted by the early year foundation stage framework in England and Scotland. Vygotsky believed that children are born to be sociable and by spending time with their parents and friends, they will gain skills and concepts. Vygotsky also believed children to be apprentices who learn and gain understanding through being with others. Vygotsky suggested that maturation was a vital element of children development, and that their carers must extent their children’s learning, so that the child is able to use these skills and concepts, the idea was defined as the zone of proximal development by Vygotsky, but can also be referred to as potential. Vygotsky suggested that people who work with children should challenge their thoughts so that their zone of proximal development can emerge, he also stressed how important social interaction was and is today. He also believed that adults must work alongside children and also that children can develop each other’s full potential, this means now that children and young people and encouraged to do tasks together in early year settings. Although Vygotsky saw that teaching directly was important, he also believed that it is important for children and young people to be active in their own learning. Vygotsky’s behaviour is particularly relevant to those who are concerned with the use of language as it can be crucial and interrelated with the action. Both Vygotsky and Piaget looked at preschool children in problem solving situations.Pope’s 5-scale test of self-esteem for children .Pope  defined self-esteem as the evaluative feelings one holds for oneself and the sense that one has essential worth, and asserted that self-esteem is evaluated as the difference between the actual self and the ideal self. The actual self is based on objective information that the self perceives about itself, that is, the self-concept. The ideal self is an image of the type of person that the individual wishes to be. Self-esteem is high when the actual self and ideal self are in agreement and low when they are discrepant. Pope’s 5-Scale Test of Self-Esteem for Children consists of 60 questions and evaluates self-esteem on 5 scales: Global Scale, Academic Scale, Body Scale, Family Scale, and Social Scale. The maximum score for each scale is 20 points, and the total score for each scale is used for the evaluation. In addition, Lie Scale was established to evaluate response validity for this test. Moral development is the way in which children learn the difference between right and wrong. As children grow, the areas where they build relationships expand to their neighbourhood and school. Once they reach the age of schooling, children begin to evaluate themselves on the basis of mutual relationships with teachers and friends from academic, social, emotional, and physical aspects. Achievements and accomplishments in these areas increase children’s self-esteem and simultaneously form the basis for its further development. Kohlberg developed a theory of moral development that has three main levels with two stages at each of these levels. In order to understand Kohlberg’s theory, one needs to understand the term internalization which refers to the developmental change from externally controlled behaviour to internal controlled behaviour.Level one known as the Preconvention Morality with sub stage one (Heteronomous Morality) Children obey because adults tell them to obey. Kohlberg calls stage one preconventional because children do not yet speak as members of society. Instead, they see morality as something external to themselves.. Stage two is called individualism, purpose, and exchange. In this stage individuals follow their own interests and let others do the same. At this stage individuals speak as isolated individuals rather than as members of society. There is no identification with values of the family or community.Level two known as the conventional level. Stage three children (usually in their teens) see morality as more than just simple deals. They believe they should behave in good ways and try to live up to the expectations of family and the community. At this stage individuals value trust, caring, and loyalty to others. Stage four is social system morality; the individual becomes more concerned with society as a whole. Moral judgments are based on understanding of the social order, law, justice, and duty.Level three also known as post conventional morality is broken down into stage five social contract and individual rights and stage six universal principles. In stage five, individuals begin to account for the differing values opinions, and beliefs of other people. Rules of law are important for maintaining a society, but members of the society should agree upon these standards. In stage six, Kohlberg’s final level of moral reasoning is based upon universal ethical principles and abstract reasoning. At this stage, people follow these internalized principles of justice, even if they conflict with laws and rules. Lawrence Kohlberg. Cognitive theories consider the reasoning behind the decisions that children make and how this reasoning changes with age. Interestingly enough in view of the Foundation Stage, Kohlberg’s theory does not consider young children at all as being moral. His first stage of morality is achieved by children at around six years old. Piaget’s theory of moral development, however, does include young children, although he too considers that they have a very limited view of morality.Finally, we must consider our own role and the values we are modelling to children.
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