Part one : Key elements of children's learning.
In this assignment I have chosen to focus on one child's communication and language development. The child in question is Catherine who is three years and four months of age. Catherine attends the setting three full days and a half day a week. I am her key worker. All ethical guidelines have been met. Confidentiality is key and the names of all concerned have been changed to respect their right to anonymity. The parents have the right to remove their consent at any time. A copy of the ethical statement can be found in the appendix 1.
Whitehead 1999 argues that it is very easy for us as practitioners to assume that a child’s interest in language and communication has to begin with words and how children begin to use these. Reader 2 pg141. What we need to remember is that words are laid on the foundations which have been in-bedded in the earlier communications between babies and their parent/carers. In the last few years the Early years curriculum across the UK has begun to move away from specific areas of experience and set curriculum headings, especially after the tickle review (30th march2011). This will change again in September 2012 when a new government initiative comes into play in my area reducing the number of early learning goals from 69-17. www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/a0068102/early-years-foundation-stage-eyfs .
In England PSED is one of six interrelated areas of learning included in the early years foundation stage. The EYFS principles are based on four themes that encapsulate the skills and abilities of babies and young children from birth to the age of five. The themes of positive relationships and a unique child are particularly relevant to a child's physical, social and emotional development (PSED). The PSED curriculum itself can be defined as all the things a child experiences that both promote strong relationships with adults and peers, personal identity and self esteem. ST 17 pg108. It is important to remember that the roles of parents/carers, family and cultural community will “always be of great significance in children' s linguistic, intellectual and social development. Children do not just learn a language they learn a way of life.” Whitehead 1999, Reader 2 pg 143. Whitehead appears to sit on the nature side of the fence in the great nature/nurture debate and appears to believe that children are a product of their environment.
Observations allow us as early years professionals to gain an insight into how a child learns, the skills they are developing through play, the environment and resources we provide and how children interact and communicate verbally and non verbally with others. (Devereux 2010 pg73).It is also an integral part of the learning and development process in the EYFS. (DFES 2007 p16.) I believe that the three observations I have undertaken clearly show positive signs of PSED and communication and language development. My first observation,was a non participant observation, which can be seen fully in appendix 2. During our occupation themed half term I help to create a post office area for the children, we got the children to create a post box out of cardboard box and used old cards to create post cards. Catherine who had previously avoided interacting in role play with others sat at the table and “wrote” on her post card then took it to the post office. For the first time she initiated conversation with a small group of children and told them that the card was for nanny she lives far away. Ku1. The observation indicated to me that Catherine is not only showing increasing signs of confidence in new creative situations but that she is also able to listen to others and interpret their body language to indicate when she is able and unable to input her own thoughts into the conversation. (Carr 2004 ST13 pg 22.) Ps1.