Promote the health and physical development of children. Unit CCLD 307
I learned very early on in child care that every child needs to be treated as an individual and there is no such thing as “an average child”. When I am planning any activity in the play setting I consider the age, gender, ethnicity, experience, abilities and any special needs of the children. By doing this I am ensuring that I am taking into account every child.(K3D287) Some activities are better suited to certain children but that can be seen as a positive factor. It means that children get to experience what is important to other children and this broadens their outlook and encouraged them to try new things. I observe the children both as individuals and also as a group. I establish which stages of development each child is experiencing. I look at balance and coordination, gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Different activities help develop different skills. A lot of the outdoor activities e.g. climbing equipment, ride on toys, bat and ball games, encourage the balance and coordination. Gross motor skills are also practised with outdoor toys and the use of sand, play dough, dressing up. Hand-eye coordination is encouraged by building blocks, painting, computers. (K3D288)
When drawing up an activities chart there needs to be a plan B in case of unforeseen circumstances. I had a child come into playgroup with a broken arm recently and I adapted some of the activities so that the child would not feel left out by not being able to take part at times. Instead of doing planting of seeds we went for a walk and looked at and picked some wild flowers. Later when we did the planting some of the other children were keen to help the one with the broken arm still plant some seeds with his name on them. (K3D289,K3C404)
Health and safety policy in the play setting must be checked regularly. All equipment needs to display the Kite-mark, the Lion mark and the CE mark. Often parents ask if they can donate toys or resources to the play setting. In such cases, the toys will only be accepted if they display the correct marks. All equipment is regularly checked, children’s personal safety is paramount and the correct adult-child ratios must be met at all times. (K3H290)
In my play setting, the toys are rotated regularly to make sure that there is a variety of activities available. The children will experiment with new toys and learn about them. They will also learn new skills by playing with the toys in new ways. All of the children are encouraged to take part in activities – whenever possible gender stereotyping is discouraged. It is also good that children show cooperation and interaction while playing although this is dependant on the stage of play achieved by the child’s age and development. It is important to have a rough idea of when a child has the ability to perform certain skills. It is unrealistic to expect a child to confidently peddle and steer a ride on toys before the age of about 4 years. (K3H291)
Children can be encouraged to develop new skills by providing activities which are fun and achievable. I usually try to take part in the activities and act as a role model for the children. If they see that sometimes I miss catching the ball then they won’t feel bad when they miss it. Playing together as a group in useful as well. It is important to be part of a team because it encourages sharing and turn taking. Working along side other children is a good learning process and praise should be given when deserved. (K3D292,K3H294)
After any energetic activity I encourage the children to take time and rest. This is important for the body’s resources to be replenished. There are three levels of quiet periods. There are sleep times for babies and toddlers. There are rest periods for toddlers and pre-preschoolers There are quiet activities which are needed by all children. This can be story time, watching a DVD, listening to music all of which should be soothing and non-stimulating. Other activities in the day need to be based around quiet times. The routine will take into account toileting, temperature of the setting, noise and distractions. (K3D293)
A balanced diet is one that includes a large variety of foods so that an adequate intake of all nutrients is achieved. The Balance of Good Health is a pictorial food guide produced by the Food Standards Agency to help people understand and enjoy healthy eating. (K3H295) I have a large poster showing this on our wall beside the food seating area. While we are having snacks we talk about the different types of foods and the children are encouraged to name lots of different types.(K3H296,K3H299 )Currently all children who attend nursery session of two hours or more are eligible to receive (free) a third of a pint of milk on each day that they attend. Different aged children need different types of nutrition. Babies are generally breast fed or bottle fed for the first six months. After six months the child needs in addition to the milk some solids which start off a sloppy then gradually has different textures included as the child learns to chew. (K3H297) New foods can be introduced at regular stages. Pre-preschoolers need a healthy family lifestyle to maximise the energy levels. Food hygiene is also an important issue. There needs to be a trained food hygiene member of staff in all settings where food is prepared and served. Food hygiene practices cut the risk of food poisoning. Micro-organisms responsible include bacteria, viruses, moulds and yeast. A strict hygiene regime is in place to prevent food from being contaminated. All food areas are cleaned every time they are used. Raw and cooked foods are kept separate. The children are taught that it is essential that they wash hands thoroughly after toilet times and that coughs and sneezes must be avoided near food. There is a good supply of tissues for use. (K3H301,K3H302)
Different diets are taken into account in food presentation.(K3H298) Diets can be determined by the family’s culture, ethnicity or religious beliefs In my play setting the children are encouraged to value different diets. We have some Chinese children and we celebrate the Chinese New Year by making decorations and trying Chinese foods. (K3H297)
All children are encouraged to keep healthy lifestyles and every effort is made to educate young children in basic hygiene. The children are made aware of their bodies. Books and songs are used to teach children different body parts and some activities include measuring and drawing body parts e.g. feet, hands.(K3H303) Dental hygiene is very important in young children and usually there is a liaison between play worker and parents as to whether the child should be cleaning teeth in play setting. (K3H300) There is a nurse assigned to our play setting who is responsible for health and will attend to any physical special needs for the children. (K3H304,K3H305)
Promote children’s well-being and resilience. Unit CCLD 308
Every child has a variety of emotional needs – security, self-esteem, belonging and agency. A child will need a quality level of well-being to ensure good physical and mental health. This gives him the ability and confidence to cope in different situations. It is important that the child can experience disappointments without there being hurt to the self-esteem. This is resilience. It is during a child’s early years that his sense of well-being and resilience is formed. It is important therefore that the early years care setting provides the support to the child to develop confidence. (K3H306)
During training I was taught how important is it to be able to recognise potential pressures that can affect a child’s resilience. To be able to do this, it is important to know of any issues that may be causing an individual concern. Family breakdown or household changes, pressure to achieve academically, drugs, smoking and alcohol, media and environmental factors can all be sources of pressure.(K3H307) I feel that it is essential to form a good bond with each child by listening carefully to what he has to say, to notice any differences in behaviour but mainly to let the child know that there is consistency in the play setting.(K3H308) Every child should be encouraged to feel good about himself. The way that this is possible is determined by the age of the child. I have found that babies and toddlers generally respond to smiles and voice tone, whereas children of about five to six years start to compare themselves with their peers so it is important not to over praise or draw regular conclusions about children. (k3H309,K3H310)
I am aware of the importance of the role of the adult in the play setting. I always try to make children feel good about themselves. This helps develop a higher level of self-esteem which in turn will encourage the child to try different challenges and be more ambitious. There is a link between self concept (how you view yourself) with ideal self (how you would like to be). It is self-esteem which links the two. It is the role of the care worker to provide a supportive and challenging environment which allows the children the opportunities to achieve. Each child should feel secure and safe with the carers and this leads to the child being able to express feelings and learn about what their capabilities may be.(K3D311,K3D312) Active encouragement is important to prompt new behaviours in children but it is never a good thing to make a child feel a failure if hasn’t done as well as the next child. If a child is given the opportunity to take responsibility and make choices from an early age, then he will be more likely to cope in stressful situations.(K3D313,K3D314) There needs to be a gradual process which teaches the child risk assessment. This will be dependent on the child’s age and the stage of development. If the child has decisions made for him most of the time, he will start to rely on others making decisions and may feel that what he thinks is not important. (K3D315,K3D316)
I have learned how to carry out risk assessment in the setting. This is done to identify hazards and to decide the best way to carry out an activity. Different areas of the play setting have different risks. Once these are identified then the risks can be minimized with appropriate action. When the children are doing collage, there is always an adult present to supervise the use of the scissors. I regularly check all of the outdoor equipment to make sure that there are no sharp edges, that everything is working safely e.g. the ride-on toys have no loose wheels, that all fencing and gates are secure and in place. (K3H407,K3H408,K3H409)
Children should be encouraged to show and accept their feelings – both positive and negative. There is a tendency to acknowledge and reward positive emotions and feelings in children. However, I also try to encourage children to appreciate that it is OK to feel jealous or angry or disappointed at times. These type of feelings are acceptable and we talk about how they can be dealt with. This varies according to the child’s age and understanding. It is important that all staff manage their feelings in front of the children. Aggressive acts such as shouting, smacking or swearing are completely intolerable. The adults need to be role models to show how negative feelings can be dealt with appropriately.
Language is important in helping children manage feelings and impulses. Focused attention is about listening to and responding to children. I aim to have one to one time regularly with the children because this time between myself and each child helps build relationships. It also helps the child’s self esteem. I sometimes sit in the quiet area of the playgroup and give a child the opportunity to approach me and share a book or maybe just have a chat about what he has been doing at home. I also sometimes give each child an opportunity to help me to lay out the snack tables or to clear up. We chat about what we are doing.
If a child demonstrates inappropriate behaviour in the group then I feel that it is important to stress that it is the behaviour that is inappropriate and not the person. I also try to manage what can become attention seeking behaviour – children will try boundaries so it is important to be aware of why this might be happening at particular times. (K3C316)
I regularly assess my own role in the play setting. I have a list of performance criteria and I look carefully at how often I am meeting my goals. I also regularly consider how best each goal can be met either through providing new resources or rescheduling time.(K3P318) We do have a school nurse who regularly visits our setting and promotes a routine child health surveillance programme. It is important to talk to parents to make sure that any potential health problems may be present e.g. asthma, allergies. If the care workers are kept informed then the problems will be minimised and the child will continue with an ordinary child care regime.
Plan and implement positive environments for babies and children under 3 years. Unit CCLD 312
Before taking part in observations of children under the age of three years, I needed to learn the developmental stages as a baseline. There is an observation cycle which is generally used. It starts with the knowledge of child development coupled with a knowledge of child’s circumstances and developmental level. A plan of action is then devised and further observations are done to review the plan of action. An aim is decided on and the type of observation which is needed is made. Information is gained and conclusions are drawn.(K3M397,K3M398) Regular observations are needed with children of these ages as their behaviours are constantly changing. There are several different methods of observation – check lists and tick sheets, free description, and sound recordings.(K3D391,K3D392,K3D393,K3D394) When doing observations of children I always need to have permission from my supervisor and the parents. All information needs to be kept confidential and behaviours are not openly discussed in the playgroup setting. (K3M396,K3M395) (K3O386,K3O387,K3O390)
It is important that observations are an ongoing part of the play setting. Reliability and validity can be affected by many factors. Sometimes a child will be uncooperative because he is feeling unwell, he may be tired, hungry or thirsty. A variety of different settings is also needed with observations done indoors and outdoors and at different times of the day. This will give a much broader view of the child’s behaviour. When making observations I try to be completely objective and not be influenced by preconceived ideas about a child. I try to be realistic about what a child is capable of and not be influenced by my attitudes about the child. (K3D388,K3D389)
During my training I have learned the development of language. I have learned the pre-linguistic stages and also the linguistic stages which a child works through up to the age of about 5 years old. As with other stages of development the stages are only there as a guideline as many factors can affect a child’s language development. In my setting, language is encouraged by means of repetition of key words, gestures, lots of one to one support between staff and children. Any potential delays can be picked up and may be a reason for the use of the observation cycle.(K3C399,K3C400,K3C401,K3C402)
When a child is put in a play setting and separated from the main caregiver, it is usual for the child to have to work through the separation. It was originally though that children had a special bond with the person who provided what was needed to satisfy physical needs. This is not the case. Generally it is the quality of the care given which is more important than the amount of time spent with the child. As a child gets older, he learns that although the parent leaves him at the play setting, he will know that the parent will return.
I think that it is important to communicate with young children by lots of different means. Eye gaze is a powerful gesture which shows that communication is possible. Facial expressions, body language, imitation, vocalisations and body movements are all indicators of a need to communicate. When a child shows that he wants to communicate the adult should respond by repeating key words, cuddling gently and making eye contact, using exaggerated facial expressions. How a child responds to communication may vary for a number of reasons. The temperament and personality of the child needs to be considered as does any cultural differences. A child may be advanced in gross motor skills but may have limited communication because he has been concentrating on physical activities. I have learned that it is important to know to deal with difficulties. I should not talk for the child, over the child. Patience is needed and pretend play and picture stories can be used as means of getting around the immediate difficulties. (K3D403)
Babies tend to be amused most and learn most from faces.(K3D406) Very young babies need their physical requirements to be met e.g. body temperature, establishing day and night patterns, provision of food. Babies and young toddlers learn from sensory activities and toys and equipment. All young children thrive from good routine and most types of physical care can be used as a learning opportunity. (K3C405)
It is important to include parents whenever possible in the care plan. It is also encouraged to provide sources of advice to families both at a local and national level. National Sure start programmes often include a range of professionals to support families. More specialist support is available from speech therapists, educational psychologist, physiotherapists. Voluntary organisations such as Parentline Plus and Cry-sis. I do compile and keep updated a list of help agencies which is available to all parents if needed. (k3M410,K3M411,K3M412)
Tassoni, P. Bulman, K. Beith, K & Robinson, M – Children’s Care, Learning and Development, Heinemann, 2005, Oxford.