This essay aims to explore the role of the early years practitioner in planning provision to meet the needs of the child, simultaneously applying theoretical research and professional practice. In addition to this, making appropriate links to the Early Years Foundation Stage and using pertinent examples to support the child’s needs.
In order to be a successful early years practitioner, they should be able to demonstrate key skills, these include showing that they are patient, considerate, caring, flexible and consistent. What’s more, it is imperative that ‘every practitioner working with young children needs a sound and thorough training in child development’, (Bruce 2010,p.133) the practitioner will then be more likely to be able to provide opportunities to build on children’s already existent knowledge and present them with invaluable and stimulating opportunities that they may not be able to acquire at home. Moreover, the practitioner needs to make sure that they are doing their upmost in building upon the child’s development by providing stimulating activities in accordance with each child’s specific and individual needs. The practitioner also needs to keep up to date with and adhere to current legislation, be able to demonstrate appropriate forms of practice within the setting and show awareness of ‘positive relationships’(EYFS 2007). It is a legal requirement that the early years practitioner follows and works within the guidelines of the Early Years Foundation Stages four themes and principles; unique child, positive relationships, enabling environments and learning development which came into effect in 2008 to support children’s learning and development and to ensure that all providers offering care and education to children aged 0-5 outside of the family home work within the same framework and standards to ensure good practice across the age range and recognise children as individuals and competent learners.
A positive practitioner needs to ensure that each and every child’s specific needs are met. In order to do this they need to be aware of the different ways in which children learn. For example within an observation (see appendix i) child A demonstrated a construction schema (Piaget 1926). This was demonstrated through child A building a tower with wooden blocks. ‘Children’s schemas, identified and nurtured, can provide opportunities for continually learning. Children’s persistent threads of action and thought seem to be fundamental elements which link what children do and think with the process of learning and with its content. This kind of continuity, where children create their own continuities in the process of exploring, thinking and learning belongs at the heart of any discussion of curriculum continuity. Without observation and reflection on the part of professional educators , these fine threads remain invisible and children’s chosen activities may appear to lack continuity either of content or of thought’,(Nutbrown 2006,p.34) If the practitioner is able to identify the child’s schema, in this particular observation being a construction, they will then be more able to plan and organize appropriate activities to ensure that they plan in accordance with each individual child’s needs to make sure that they are not missing out on valuable learning opportunities. By being able to comprehend with the fact that each and every child learns in a different way, early years practitioners are then able to ‘support babies and children to develop a positive sense of their own identity and culture, this helps them to develop a positive self-image.’ (DFES 2007 PIP 1.1)
In addition ‘these schemas are strengthened as children repeat their actions; through interactions with others they begin to make connections in their thoughts and so recognize cause and effect.’ (Dowling 2005, pg. 7) By participating in...