Supporting Children’s Participation
The central focal point for this discussion is based on an observation (see appendix 1), that led to the planning and implementation of a group learning experience (see appendix 2), designed to aid children’s development and encourage playful participation in-line with EYFS learning objectives. Beckley (2012), proposes three reasons to for carrying out observations, for the purposes I will review the first two with the intention of discussing the context of the learning experience that caused the observation to be recorded. In considering the children who took part in the activity, attention will be focused on their different developmental age and stages, focusing on their physical and personal social and emotional development. The current EYFS (2008) and the revised EYFS framework (2012) will act as a guide for assessing their current development as well as discussing next steps. Theories of how children learn will be explored when evaluating the observation, with comparisons made between Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories of play. In giving a rational for the group learning experience (the bubble activity), I will explore the individual needs of the children and the role of the practitioner when carrying out adult-led activities. Clear objectives for strategies and techniques adopted to encourage children to participate will show knowledge of the importance of inclusiveness practice. In evaluating whether the activity met the learning objectives for each child, the use of space, time and resources will be considered. Planning in early childhood education should begin with observations of the child, this has been emphasised in both the EYFS (2008) and the revised EYFS (2012). The importance of early years’ practitioners’ starting with observations, is well acclaimed, Friedrich Frobel believed that observations of children, made by adults (parents and teachers), could indicate a child’s ‘readiness’ to learn. Montessori also placed an emphasis on the need for practitioners to carry out observations in order to inform planning and assessment (Brudenell & Kay 2008). There are many observational formats that can take the form of narrative description, checklists, and un/structured and time sampling; these can be recorded in various ways too, i.e. written, snap-shot, photographic, voice/video recordings. The observation carried out in appendix 1 was unstructured, having no prearranged aim. It rose out of child A’s discovery of bubbles, and child B’s response to Child A playing alongside her, it was their interest that caused the observation to be spontaneously recorded. Beckley (2012), has suggested three key purposes for carrying out observations, firstly observations aid practitioners in understanding and knowing the child, Practitioner have the ability through observations ‘ to learn more about why and when children…do something by having knowledge of development…’Sharman, Cross and Vennis (2007). Child A is a two year old girl and has been attending the children’s Centre Stay and Play setting on and off for eight months. She is very curious about the learning environment and explores in a restless manner. As described in the observation Child A was able to express to others her delight at creating bubbles, she expressed verbally using one and two word utterances. This behaviour fits with the EYFS curriculum (2008) under Personal Social and Emotional Development: Making Relationships 22-36 months and also show her developing Communication Language and literacy skills. Observations of child A exploring the environment independently, highlights her growing ability to control her body; this can be seen by the way she negotiates the small space between the easel and water tray. This physical development can also be observed in her ability to hold and use the paint brush purposefully demonstrating her developing fine-motor skills. Child B is a 13 months girl; she has been attending the...
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