During the second half of the twentieth century the focus was on parents who needed more help and came from deprived areas, from poorer backgrounds and “Family Centres” were established to give the support and advice needed because the only other support was given by the private sector and couldn’t be afforded by them, such as childminders, nannies and nurseries. In 1948 nurseries and childminder acts monitored the private sectors for the early year’s provision, this lead to changes in children’s act in 1989 and the care standards act in 2000. Parents in the 1960’s wanted more for their children, so they set up and organised playgroups using church halls, and community facilities allowing the children to have fun while learning through play. Parent’s childcare needs varied. Here are a few examples of what they wanted from childcare:
•Parent’s wanted full and part time child care cover enabling their child to learn and play in a safe environment, providing an opportunity to go back to work or study to gain some qualifications. •Parents thought it would be nice to stay with their child when attending playgroups. They could watch their child have fun while socializing with other parents. •Some parents like the idea of a setting where it was specifically aimed at children to play and learn. •Some parents thought their child would be suited for a smaller home based care. •Some parents were not in the position to pay for childcare provision. Now we have various forms of childcare for parents to choose from if they decide they wish to go back to work. There is good support for each parent’s individual needs to be met from babies, toddlers and school aged children. Here is a table I copied from Children & Young People’s Workforce which highlights these forms.
2.1 Identify current policies, frameworks and influences on the early years. We have used a lot of theorists study results to identify and help guide us in how we should best set up our teaching and professional practices with regards to children. Theorists such as Vygotsky, Skinner, Maslow and Bowlby are still very influential in how we do this. Vygotsky is a cognitive theorist and influenced how we teach children by stating that it is important to work alongside children that they need to socialise and do activities with each other.
He felt ‘direct teaching’ was very important but that equally important was that children are active in their own learning. Skinner was a behaviourist theorist and came up with 3 theories to do with actions and consequences; they were Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement and Continuous Reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is highly used in school teaching and within the child care profession. The use of positive reinforcement through attention, praise, stickers and sweets are used all the time as a way of getting the most out of children. He also worked out that these positive reinforcements had to be sporadic and not continuously given to get the best result as children tried harder all the time just in case this would be the time they would get a treat, as Continuous Reinforcement tends to be counter-productive in the long run. Also the reward would have to be immediate not held back until the end of the week.
Negative reinforcement does not necessarily mean punishment, merely the removal of something annoying i.e. a noisy washing machine can be quietened by closing a door. The intervals between these reinforcements were also studied, a variable period being found to deliver the best results. Maslow theorised that people need their basic needs met first before they can achieve self-actualisation. His studies have helped people working with children understand that we must satisfy their basic needs such as food, warmth, love, affection, shelter and emotional support first. We have to consider the environment we put them in and build and strong relationship with them. Bowlby had a lot of theories about attachment and they are still used to this day. He understood the need in the early years for a child to have a strong bond with a carer and how a child’s life could be affected if they didn’t get that. Another thing that has influenced change is since the 1990’s more mothers to under 5’s are working.
Some of the reasons for this are: •a rise in expectations and aspirations due to better education and opportunities for girls •an increase in single parent families, with the lone parent usually being a woman •the government is trying to reduce the number of people receiving benefits and the children who find themselves living in poverty by promoting training and work. Due to these the demand for childcare has massively increased since 1990. It has been private nurseries that have met this demand.
2.2 Explain the impact of current policies, frameworks and influence on the early years sector. It is now widely known that the early years are very important and have a huge impact on how a child’s life will pan out. Politicians, the government, parents and teachers have all realised the more help, intervention and parental input a child receives (in the early years more so) the better the outcome will be, they will be less likely to be involved in crime, addiction, teenage pregnancy or anti social behaviour issues. Help is being made available to all not just those who struggle or who are from low income families because of the knowledge of the above. However some people feel excluded from getting the help they need because of their “social situation”.
It might be because they are lacking in education which leads to not getting offered good jobs. It might be because of poor housing opportunities, disability or prejudice. Any policies made to try to eradicate or overcome these feelings of exclusion will serve to promote inclusion. The Sure Start Program is trying to do this in the UK and is available in most communities. Its aim is to be “a one stop shop” giving help, advice and support with health, early education and social care. Below is the structural educational framework for England’s children aged 0-5 years old, the things we should be focusing on developing:- •Personal, Social and Educational Development
•Creative Development •Physical Development •Knowledge and Understanding of the World •Communication, Language and Literacy •Problem Solving, reasoning and numeracy
2.3 Describe what is meant by evidence-based practice and give examples of how this has influenced work with children in their early years. Everybody has knowledge about how we should teach and bring up children and we gain this information in a variety of ways. However if you are a professionally qualified child carer you have to use an evidence based practice. An evidence based practice is where there has been a full and big study of a given subject in order to find out what is best and true for the given subject. The idea is not to assume, it is to gather evidence to prove your findings. Theorists mentioned in 2.1 have done this and have proven their findings enough for us to use them in today’s life. As a professional you are expected to keep yourself up to date with all current studies and findings with regard to children and apply them within your setting.
Sometimes though this can be difficult because of things such as contradictions, some findings could have been gathered with too small a number of children therefore not giving an accurate result and sometime the media can report findings badly giving the wrong interpretation and impression. The EPPE have done a vast study of 3000 children in the UK from different diverse backgrounds and given sound results that have confirmed that “guided play” is great for early years learning especially within low income families. They have also proven that those who attend pre-school have an enhanced development as oppose to those who don’t attend one. They say that an early educational start relates to better intellect, improved independence and concentration and will improve their socialising skills. Full-time children have no bigger gain than those who are part-time and they also state that children from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit greatly from good quality pre-schooling, especially if the centre has a diverse mixture of children.
3.1 Explain what is meant by:- Diversity- Diversity means a difference between people. It includes things like ethnicity, culture, religious beliefs, gender, disability, family structure, sexuality and appearance. The more you explore these diversities the better your understanding will be. The better you understand the more you promote equality. Inclusion- To include everyone equally regardless of diversity. Make sure they know they are included and feel included. Treat one child’s opportunity just as important as the next. Discrimination and prejudice will not help with equality and inclusion, it just helps solidify things such as lesser value, inferiority, less significant and terms such as “they’re not normal”. Inclusion promotes diversity and equality. To include is to state there is no difference that is wrong. That a child is a child no matter what the differences, we have a duty to break down any barriers real or imagined Participation- Is including everyone who you are working with in your provision.
Allow children, adults and elderly to have a voice to express their opinions. All this can be achieved by having meetings and discussing whatever is concerning them. Letting people participate can be done formally, asking the person what works for them. What kinds of things would they like to be put in place to achieve a good result in solving their problems? Or even to get involved in a task that is going on around them. People may want to get involved in the development of a project and they would all like to give some ideas towards it. 3.2 Explain the importance of anti-discriminatory/anti-bias practise, giving examples of how it is applied in practise with children Anti-Discrimination is where we treat all adults and children equally in their settings, such as workplace, school, nurseries etc. It is to give equal opportunities for every individual person regardless of their age, culture, gender and disability. It is to involve everyone that is in your setting and not to exclude them from an activity that you may be doing.
For instance, if you have a child and they don’t celebrate Christmas and you are making Christmas cards for the parents, you can encourage the child to take part but make a picture instead. Every child is then taking part in the activity. If a child is left out in an activity and not encouraged to join in this could lead to low self-esteem and self-worth. A child could find it hard to mix in next time there is an activity going on in the setting. It is all about how we can adapt what we are doing in our settings and how we can involve everyone and identify any differences that may accrue during our provision. It is to take positive action towards other people’s feelings and not to discriminate against anyone.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTI –BIAS It is important that children do not become biased or prejudiced. In our settings we should apply materials for children to see how different we are in our cultures. It will help children with their education on the world if we supply them with as much information about life and where people live in different countries. How we can apply this in practise:
Is to allow boys and girls to play with each other toys and not label it by saying to a boy, for example, “you can’t play with that pink pram as it’s for girls only”. We could have multicultural costumes for dressing up in and provide hand puppets for children to play with. We as carers or childminders can explain why we use different clothing for jobs and what that job entails. E.g. a chef would wear chef whites and may cook Pizza which originates from Italy and then you could expand on that, by showing pictures and books about the country, talk about the cities and what transport you need to see that part of the world. If children talk about family life then they can see that parent’s jobs vary from day to day and it’s not just one genders role.
3.3 Explain how the active participation of children in decisions affecting their lives promotes the achievement of positive outcomes. By including children in the decision making process we promote their self-determination and get them used to making decisions for themselves. By deciding for themselves what they want to do, or what they want to play with they are more likely to play longer at that activity and perhaps be more engrossed in what they are doing.
This atmosphere of deciding for themselves is more likely to instil in the children a sense of decision making which will be of benefit to them in later life, rather than being used to ‘following the herd’ or being told what to do. In situations where the parents have separated consideration is given to the child’s wishes when deciding which parent they should live with. In the early years foundation stage we as childminders know it is important to work with the parents, getting them involved in their child’s activity. Having their parents show an interest in their play gives a positive impact on their learning and the child may become more confident in creating new ideas. We need to guide children in making the right decisions in life, for example, when discussing food or snacks, give them a choice between an apple or banana rather than a sugary sweet.
All this may help when they get older, although it may not go down too well at the time. 4.1 Explain the importance of reviewing own practice as part of being an effective practitioner As a childminder it’s important that we reflect back on the week and see what we have managed to achieve and that what we did that was effective in our settings. These will help us to analyse the way in which we have done things and how organised we were, and if all the children benefited from each session. When you reflect back on the past week you may realise that a child may have needed more “one to one“ with you. Throughout your working life you should always reflect back as this will give you a clearer view on the running of your business going forward. We can always make improvements and amend things that don’t work and need to be changed.
Showing parents that you are taking steps to improve and developing new ideas will help you to provide a better service for everyone, giving you, and the parents, confidence in your work role. Also, if a question was asked from a child and you were not quite sure how to answer it, or if you didn’t know how to explain it properly, then you will be able to reflect back to get the answer and have a clearer understanding and knowledge of the answer to give to the child the following week. Should the question arise again, or if the child even remembers the question. 4.2 Undertake a reflective analysis of own practise.