Managing Contemporary & Quality Practice

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Drawing on your current study of Early Childhood discourses in Ireland and beyond, identify an area of interest to you and critique its impact on current practice. Suggest how practice in the future might evolve to accommodate this area and give your rationale for your suggestion.

The area of interest in current practice in Ireland is the role that interactions and relationships have on children’s early learning experiences. The following will discuss the research behind the growing emphasis of interactions and relationships on a local and international scale. It will look at the development of Siolta and Aistear and the impact they have on the current practice in Ireland and how they are evolving into current practice to contribute to a new national level of quality in the early childhood care and education (ECCE) in Ireland. The discourse ‘In The (Class) Room’ by Helen Penn 2002, discusses the importance of children’s relationships with adults and their peers. Penn’s view of quality includes reciprocal adult/child relationships as an integral part of providing quality services for children. She links this quality with staffs professionalism and training, emphasising the importance of understanding the development of children at a fundamental level (Penn, 2002). The regulation of training in Ireland has only been rectified in the childcare sector since the introduction of the free-pre-school year for 3-4year olds. It ensured that any setting that participates in the scheme must comply with the 2006 childcare regulations which ensures that staff have a minimum of a level 5 qualification (DOHC, 2006). Training provides practitioners with a fundamental knowledge of children’s developmental. Penn believes that this level of understanding is beneficial when building relationships with children. It provides the bases from which to grow and develop in partnership with children so that they can become confident and competent learners. The revised child care regulations 2006 (regulation 5) outlined the responsibility of (ECCE) to include children’s individual learning and development in the daily routine of the setting with due regard to ages and stages of each child but also the experiences and interactions of each child. This marked a change in the quality of settings and their views and beliefs on the educational needs of the children. (DOHC, 2006) Current practice in Ireland includes the implementation of Siolta’s quality framework 2006 which highlights the important provision of positive, collaborative relationships in successfully achieving a quality environment for children to develop and learn (CECDE, 2006). Relationships have been identified as a key area of children’s learning and development by both classic and modern theorist and researchers. This research has shown the powerful influence that attachment and relationships have on a child’s overall learning and development. Bowlby and Ainsworth outlined the influence of parents contribution to the child’s psychological attachment and the influence that these early experience can have on the formation of relationship throughout their lives (Santrock, 2010). Parents are their children’s first educators. When parents provided secure, trusting and positive attachments for their children, it enables children to develop a sense of security, with that security comes self-confidence to form new key attachments with the wider community. These early secure attachments allow children to freely explore the world around them and develop and learn through positive experiences with adults and other children. Curriculums like Aistear, 2009 acknowledges the role of reciprocal relationships and the part they play in children’s early learning and development. Building trusting and honest partnerships with children allows practitioners to develop a deep understanding of the individual child’s development enabling them to successfully provide a quality learning experience for the...
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