It is important for practitioners to identify children’s care and learning needs in a setting, there are many reasons for this. Firstly, is to promote development. Some children develop and learn faster than others and it is partly our responsibility to ensure all children’s needs are cared for no matter what stage of development they are at. We can do this by carrying out observations; these help us to identify the exact learning needs of children. They can show us clearly what stage of development each individual child is at, we would compare each child against milestones for that age and stage of development and then we can begin to plan to meet the learning needs of certain children who are not meeting milestones and also plan to accommodate for those children who are over excelling the milestones. Children will develop better if there are adequate numbers of staff/adults present, taking into account the correct staff ratios for each particular age of children. With more hands on around the setting children will benefit greatly so it is important to plan how many adults/staff should be present for a particular day/activity, by doing so there is a higher chance of meeting all of the children’s needs. For example, in my placement I am in a Primary 1 class where there is a teacher and a classroom assistant. For this age range of children the extra support is extremely important as the children’s care and learning needs are higher than that of a Primary 7 child i.e. toileting, a Primary 1 child would need more assistance than that of a Primary 7 child. So if a teacher is caring for the needs of a child who has had a toileting accident it is important to have a classroom assistant so that the other children are supervised and their needs also met.
Practitioners should be aware of current frameworks and legislation and how to meet the requirements of those, so it is important to identify how these aim to meet the care and learning needs of all children. The statutory framework in Northern Ireland is The Revised Curriculum from foundation to key stage 4. On their official website http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/about/ the department of education state that the revised curriculum aims “to meet the needs of young people, society, the economy and environment in the 21st Century”. The Revised NI Curriculum clearly sets out the areas of learning for foundation stage on their website http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/foundation_stage/areas_of_learning/ ; there are six areas of learning comprising:
Language and Literacy
Mathematics and Numeracy
The World Around Us
Personal Development and Mutual Understanding
Physical Development and Movement
By clearly defining each area of learning it is easier to identify which areas children are developing or not developing. This way it ensures that all children’s learning needs are accurately cared for. In my placement they use learning area observations; they are observations which are set out using the learning area headings stated in the Revised Curriculum for foundation stage. For example, the teacher will watch a child for a particular period of time and take notes under each heading i.e. The Arts. These notes include information on how the child is developing with skills such as griping a pen/paintbrush. This means that each child’s learning needs are constantly being monitored and if help is needed then it is provided. It is important to identify the current framework as it aims to meet the care and learning needs of children and as practitioners we should be aware of what statutory curriculum is in place in order for us to practically plan to meet the individual needs of children. The ‘Entitlement Framework’ is part of the Revised Curriculum at key stage 4 and post 16. Following a piece of legislation in 2006 called ‘The Education NI Order’ it was made a requirement to provide all pupils at grant-aided schools access to the Entitlement Framework....
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