Reflective Account

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The theme of this reflective account is engaging children in participation, and enabling children to have a voice. The Every child matters documentation (Department for Education 2010) focuses on the important role of the adult in enabling children to make decisions and encouraging them to participate and make a positive contribution. As a result through this account, how children in my setting are encouraged to participate in the outdoor play space will be explored. A small piece of research was carried out which will be reflected on, as will theory relating to children making a positive contribution in the early years. The reason I chose to carry out my research on the outdoors area is that outdoors is very popular in my setting, and I wanted to improve experiences for children, as although popular, after observing outdoor play there are areas that are not used by the children. The every child matters outcome of make a positive contribution focuses on the adult’s role in enabling children to make decisions and encouraging them to participate so this was a good area to engage the children. (Knowles 2009). White (2007) places importance on stimulating outdoor provision emphasising the positive effect it has on minds and bodies. She suggests outdoor play is essential for children but needs considerable planning to be fruitful which my research with children will support. The outdoor play space provides a complex learning environment that is more flexible and child led than indoors and provides an area where children can make sense of the world, by play and exploration of the natural world. (White 2007) Therefore as the outdoors is such an invaluable and popular part of the provision, it was an area that I felt would be valuable in gaining children’s perspectives. To enable children to have a voice and engage them in participation, I carried out a small research project with the children in my setting, to gain their perspectives on our outdoor play area. Before commencing my research with children, I considered various ethical considerations and ensured I was meeting article 12 of The United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child (United Nations 1989). The work was of benefit to the children by enabling their voice to be heard. By gaining their perspective their outdoor space will be based on their ideas rather than adults. Article 12 of UNICEF’s rights and responsibilities of a child (UN 1989 article 12) emphasises children’s rights to participation and be consulted when decisions affect them. It places importance on listening to children and engaging them in age and development appropriate consultations which is what I planned to carry out. I carried out research with four children. Two preschool children and two children from toddlers, as it was their area that was to be developed. To ensure the children were a reflection of the setting two girls and two boys were invited to take part, of which one was bilingual, and one was a different ethnicity to white British. The reason for this is in the setting the majority of children are white British, speaking only one language, but we also have children whom are bilingual and various ethnicities. Prior to commencing my research I gained relevant permission, and explained what I planned to do and why. I created a leaflet for the children in age appropriate language to explain about my research and why I was carrying it out. I then asked each child individually if they would like to take part and explained if at any point decided they wished to end their part in it, they can stop at any time. I also reassured them the information they gave me would be...
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