For my assignment I have chosen to reflect on the children’s learning in the video sequence entitled ‘Hospital Play’, which was filmed at St Stephen’s Nursery School in Newham, London. The sequence is based around the concept of the casualty department at the local St Stephens’s Hospital and was created jointly by the practitioners and the children. My reason for choosing this video clip is that I can directly relate it to the setting within which I work and I have created similar situations myself and can therefore reflect on what I can do differently next time, extending my development.
Children do not learn in the same way as each other ‘they each have their own preferred ways of learning’ (E100, Study Topic 3, p.64). There are many theories relating to how children learn and develop, some coming from Government frameworks but many originate from an individual’s own ideas or beliefs. One of which being Rudolph Steiner, ‘whose principles emphasise the importance of unstructured play and the role of the teacher, who ‘works’ at activities as a model for children (E100, Study Topic 3, p.56)’, this type of unstructured play is evident in the video in that the outside area offered a free play environment where the children can chose to part take in any activity of their choice, either the role play area or the playground. The adult ‘worked’ at the activity when she joined the table offering support and extending the children’s learning through asking questions that required the children to engage further in conversation, developing their communication skills.
E100 Study Topic 3, p.62, discusses the importance of play in early years settings, with the early years curricula in each of the four UK countries embracing the role of play in a child’s learning. The frame work in England for children from birth to five, suggests that learning and teaching is about adults and children working together, to co-construct ideas and new areas of learning, it is believed that investing at this age will benefit families and children at a later stage in their life. This was evident in the construction of the role play area and its play element. In our setting we always develop our curriculum plans through group discussions with the children.
Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky was the main theorist with regards to socio-cultural aspects of children’s learning. His theory relates to the social and cultural element of a child’s learning and the importance an adult plays in conveying these areas of learning and values to the children. The adult is referred to as the more able ‘other’ (E100, Study Topic 3, p.65), in the sequence Daksha Patel the practitioner takes on this role in that she speaks to the children in both English and Gujarati, so all children in the setting are valued and included in the activity, ensuring cultural awareness and that some children may speak a different language. Vygotsky also placed particular emphasis on the role of the adult in the transmission of culture, knowledge and language’ (E100, Study Topic 3, p.65). Cultural values are very important in early years settings and although our setting is situated in an affluent, rural, predominately white community we always ensure other religious beliefs are shared within the setting, celebrating different cultural events in order for the children to extend their learning beyond the community within which they live.
Vygotsky, also developed a concept called the ‘zone of proximal development (ZDP)’, whereby he believes a child has two development levels, where they are at now and their proximal level, what they could do next. Adults play an important role in this element of his work, in that it is them that can provide the opportunity to take the child up to their next level, it maybe that they initially offer support, but positively encourages them to try and undertake the activity (E100, Study Topic 3,...