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Principles For Early Years

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Explain the legal status and principles of the relevant early year’s framework and how national and local guidance materials are used in settings In England, the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) is the statutory framework that all settings are required to use to set the standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to the age of five. The EYFS curriculum was first introduced in September 2008, thus since being updated in September 2012. The EYFS framework is for any children being cared for outside of their homes; including preschools, nurseries, child minders and schools. The EYFS aim to set the standards for the learning, development and care of young children. The framework seeks to provide: Quality and consistency in all early year’s settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child gets left behind A secure foundation through learning and development opportunities that is planned around the individual needs and interests of the child and are reviewed and assessed regularly Partnership working between practitioners and parents and/or carers Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice, ensuring every child is included and supported and not disadvantaged because of ethnicity, religion or culture, family background, disabilities or learning difficulties, and gender or ability.

There are seven areas of learning and development in the EYFS that practitioners must plan for in early year’s settings. The three prime areas we support children in are: communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. The four specific areas of learning include: literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. The statutory framework refers managers and practitioners to various other laws and acts to ensure we meet our responsibilities, for example; The Childcare Act 2006, Data protection Act 1998, Local Safeguarding Children Board. Our setting uses the ‘Development Matters’ booklet and posters to assess development, promote positive relationships and provide an enabling environment.

Explain how different approaches to work with children in the early years have influenced current provision in the UK The following approaches have contributed to the development of the early year’s current provision: Reggio Emilia High/scope Montessori The Reggio Emilia approach to education was inspired by a group of pre-schools in Northern Italy in 1989. This approach focuses on partnerships with parents and children aged 0-6 years being involved in their own learning. The main aspects include; Children needing some control over their own play and learning alongside teachers as helpers Children learn through using all their senses Children learn from and enjoy being with others Children need a rich environment so they can learn and express themselves in many ways This approach has influenced the EYFS curriculum as practitioners should provide opportunities for child-led play, the Enabling Environment theme in the EYFS encourages practitioners to think about how effective the environment is for children to learn through playing with others and there is an emphasis on sensory and outdoor play.

The High/scope approach began in the United States as a technique to improve the outcome for disadvantaged children. The method stresses that children should be involved in decision making and taking responsibility. They are considered to be active learners so play is used to develop their learning. The High/scope theory indicates that children should take responsibility for their own actions, resolve their own conflicts, and that resources should be available at a child’s level at all times in order for children to plan their own play and learning. This approach influences current provision in settings because practitioners should provide opportunities for child-led play, and they are encouraged to talk to children about their learning.

The Montessori approach originated from an Italian doctor who strived to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. Maria Montessori approached children’s education as a scientist, using the classroom as her laboratory for observing children and finding ways to help them achieve their full potential. The influences on the EYFS curriculum are: practitioners are meant to observe children individually in order to provide for their play and learning, practitioners should ensure that children are challenged in order to progress their learning. The EYFS guidance also gives suggestions on what children need according to their stage of development.

The Common Core is the name given to the six areas of skills, knowledge and expertise the English government believe is essential for all practitioners working with children and young people. It was established as a range of measures taken after the death of 8 year old Victoria Climbié, whose death at the hands of her carers was considered preventable. The six areas are: effective communication, child and young person development, safeguarding and promoting welfare of the child, supporting transitions, multiagency working, and sharing information. These areas identify training and forms a key part of the Children and Young People’s Workforce qualification. The Common Core has encouraged better working practices for multi-agencies to work closer in partnership with others.

Explain why early years frameworks emphasise a personal and individual approach to learning and development

Each child is an individual and they are all different from one another, therefore it is important to focus on a child’s individual needs as they develop and learn at different rates. Children come from a variety of different backgrounds, so each child has different needs and interests and they require different opportunities for them to be able to succeed. The EYFS stresses the importance of observing and working with a child on the basis of their personal development. Individual learning places children in the centre of learning and development which allows children to thrive in all areas of development. By doing this children gain confidence and self-esteem to be able to express themselves.

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Explain the partnership model of working with carers
The best outcomes for children can happen when parents/carers and practitioners work together. They can come together to share ideas, thoughts and information with each other to work out the best way forward for that child. As a setting we promote an open door policy where parents/carers know they are welcome to visit the setting at any time and we always welcome volunteers to stay for sessions to help out. Every half term, we organise meetings with the parents of our key children to show them our observations and assessments written about their child. It is very useful for the parents to come in as they learn more about their child’s developments, interests, medical and dietary needs, they can share any queries they may have and they can contribute any information you may not have known which can help with future assessments.

Review potential barriers to participation for carers and explain ways in which they can be overcome Possible barriers and ways they can be overcome:
Language and literacy needs: Parents and carers may not speak the same language or speak it fluently or my find it hard to read and write. For partnership working to be successful, the setting needs to encourage parents and carers to feel supported within the setting. This means they could bring someone along to interpret for them or a computer could be used to translate written words. Time: Some parents/carers may not have time to speak to us when they drop off or collect their children, making it harder for them to be able to participate in the setting. To overcome this barrier and develop relationships with the parents we should make appointments to suit the parent, use learning journals/diaries and communications books that parents can take home and retrieve information about what their child has been doing in the setting. The parents can also exchange information back to the setting, through the book.

Emails are also a good way of involving the parents; they can be used for newsletters, plans and observations, of course requiring that consent and security issues have been met. Disability: If a parent/carer has a disability, it can create a barrier to partnership working. Depending on the individuals needs for example if they have a hearing impairment then sign language can be used to communicate with them, or the adult could bring someone who knows sign language into the setting to translate for them. If a carer has a sight impairment they may have to assess the information about their child through large print or voice messages.

For anyone in a wheelchair, there should be access available to them. Confidence: Some parents and carers lack confidence and self-esteem, therefore it is our job to welcome them into the setting and put them at ease by caring and considering their needs. To overcome this barrier we need to make sure they have a positive first experience with us and that we communicate effectively. At our setting we encourage the parent/carer to come into our setting with their child, have a look around and spend some time getting to know the staff and child’s key person before the child is enrolled.

Explain how strategies can be used to support carers who may react positively and negatively to partnership opportunities Despite trying our best to create partnership working with parents and carers, some may not wish to take part in opportunities of partnership or they may react negatively. If we don’t put pressure on them it may result in them feeling relaxed within the setting and having a more positive attitude. We should listen to any concerns parents have and support and involve them within the setting. As a setting we hand out evaluation questionnaires and have a suggestion box for parents to write down their thoughts and ideas. Parents who act in a positive way will tend to feel more at ease discussing their child’s progress.

Effective multi-agency working
As well as working together with parents and carers, practitioners at some point may need to work alongside multi-agencies. Settings should be showing parents other agencies which could be of benefit to them. Children in an early years setting may have a wide range of needs and working together with other agencies can have a positive effect on the child’s learning, health and development. It is also very import to ensure confidentiality is maintained at all times.

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