Communication at an Early Years Setting
Explain how Communication Affects Relationships in the Work Setting, and Identify the Different reasons People Communicate.
Good and bad communication can affect all of us, particularly working with children, and young people. Good communication can ensure a happy and safe environment for all. It helps practitioners work effectively together, a manager work well with all staff, and for us all as professionals to ensure the child is learning and developing happily, with the support of the parents. All of which comes with much communication. Bad communication, however, can result in unhappy practitioners, managers, and parents, and children who could potentially be at risk. Communication does not only need to be good within the setting, but within any agency that works with the setting, if the communication is good between a setting and other agencies then children who need additional support or any other kind of support will have their needs met, if the communication is bad with other agencies then a child with additional could suffer badly, this could also have an effect if the setting thought as child was at risk at home, if the communication is bad between the setting and agency, and there is little trust, this child could be at serious harm.
On an average day within a setting, a practitioner will be communicating constantly, with other practitioners, managers, children and parents, here are something that will need to be communicated them, and the effect that good and bad communication would have on these.
• Practitioners o An activity you have planned. You would need to communicate clearly what the activity is, what the Children will have to do when doing the activity, and anything that is likely to go wrong. With good communication the activity would run smoothly, and children would develop any skills within the activity, it may also help the other practitioner, if any of their key children are doing the activity, they could notice something the child does, that the practitioner hasn’t noticed before, however with bad communication the activity may not even be completed, the children could potentially get hurt, and it would leave the manager with little trust with you. o If a child has hurt themselves, you need to tell the practitioner to either stay with the child while you are getting appropriate medical care, or ask them to get any medical care while you stay with the child, ensuring you are clear about what you may need e.g. bandages, plasters, antiseptic wipes. With good communication the child would be calmed down, and have appropriate medical fast, and done well, however with bad communication the child could end up with a worse injury and a complaint by a parent may be made, due to the lacking of care for their child. o If a child has been hurt by another child you need to tell the practitioner to take care of the injured child while you talk to the other child, ensuring the practitioner knows what has happened so can take appropriate action. With good communication the child that has been hurt will receive good and fast medical care, and the child that has hurt them has been told the consequences of their actions, and been punished accordingly ensuring that that child is still safe. With bad communication the child who has been hurt would not get any medical care, and the child who hurt them may not be spoken to, and then hurt another child. o If a parent has made a request for the child that day (‘Can you make sure you keep asking them if they need the toilet’ or ‘Can you make sure my child is carful with their hand as they cut it.’). You would make sure the other practitioners knew this to follow this out for the benefit not only of the parent but of the child as well. With Good communication the child would be safe, and happy, as would the parent. With bad communication the child could make an injury worse, or could struggle to get used to a routine, and they have an effect on their development.
• Managers o If you have any activity planned that may need some help from extra staff, you would need to ensure that this would be able to be provided while still keeping ratios in other rooms. With good communication both the activity and the running of any other rooms would still run successfully, however with bad communication the activity may not be completed and be unsuccessful, and there could be a room which would be under ratio, which if there were an emergency would have the potential to put many people at serious risk. o If you would like to visit somewhere further afield, this would be to ensure a risk assessment was done, consent forms given out and to ensure extra staff for the change in ratios. With good communication the trip would run smoothly, and the children and practitioners would have an enjoyable time. With bad communication the trip either wouldn’t happen, or the trip would be dangerous. o If there has been an incident with a child which may raise awareness, with regards to family issues, or health issues which are currently unknown, you would need to express your concern, and that they may need to contact social services for example, and ensure their family situation hasn’t changed. With good communication the child would stay safe, and appropriate action would take place, and have a positive effect in the situation. With bad communication the child would remain at risk, and could be seriously harmed.
• Children o To explain an activity, this would have to be done clearly, and in a way that all the children would fully understand what they have to do, and know who to ask for assistance if they needed it. Good communication would ensure the activity would be done successfully, and the children would be safe and enjoy themselves. Bad communication could put the children in harm and could also leave them confused, and unaware of what they have to do making the activity very unsuccessful. o Comfort a child if they have injured themselves or if they have been hurt be another child. If they have hurt themselves ask them what happened, and give them appropriate medical care. If they have been hurt by another child ask how the incident occurred and what happened and then reassure the child that you will talk to the child that hurt them, and explain to them that what they did wasn’t ok. . With good communication the child with injuries will receive good and fast medical care, and the child that has potentially hurt them has been told the consequences of their actions, and been punished accordingly ensuring that that child is still safe. With bad communication the child who is injured would not get any medical care, and the child who potentially hurt them may not be spoken to, and then hurt another child. o If telling a child off, you need to ensure you use appropriate spoken language and body language, to ensure the child knows that what they did was wrong yet not scaring the child, you also need to justify why the child is being told off e.g. hurting another child, not listening to an adult or purposely harming themselves. With good communication the child would know what they did was wrong, and not do it again. Yet bad communication could leave a child feeling scared, and not knowing whether what they did was good or bad.
• Parents o If their child has been in an incident not only would they need to sign an incident form but you may need to talk to them about the incident in a confidential area, you may want to ask them if they would like to go somewhere quieter where there wasn’t other people, if talking about the incident, if the parent would need to talk about confidential information. With good communication the incident would be explained, with good understanding from the parent, and any information that could be confidential was, and would be handled appropriately. o If their child has been in an accident, explain to them what happened what they hurt and if they may need to follow up on any professional advice to ensure the full health of the child. With good communication the child would be at full health within a reasonable amount of time, and the parent would be able to take appropriate care, if necessary. Yet, with bad communication the child may be at more serious harm than is realised, and this may not be recognised, and therefore go unnoticed, and cause further harm to the child. o If there is a trip coming up you need to give them a consent form and explain where the trip is and what we will be doing. With good communication the trip would run smoothly, and the children and practitioners would have an enjoyable time. With bad communication the trip either wouldn’t happen, or the trip would be dangerous.
Describe the Factors in Promoting Effective Communication
I think one of the biggest factors in effective communication is listening; communication doesn’t mean talking, listening is a very big part of it, if something is misheard many things could go wrong. Another factor is being clear and concise with the information you give, you also need to remember your body language and your tone of voice has a bug effect on how people perceive information you give.
A good way of promoting effective communication is to ensure all people possible practice effective communication, for example being open with your bodily language and making sure you accommodate to people’s needs and feelings.
Explain how People from Different Backgrounds may Use and/or Interpret Communication Methods in Different Ways
One of the ways we communicate the biggest yet is very different in other cultures is eye contact. In Western Europe, and North America, eye contact is common, and is considered polite when having a business meeting, or a conversation. In the Middle East, it is much less common and considered less appropriate to make eye contact. Middle Eastern cultures, largely Muslim, have quite strict rules regarding eye contact between the different sexes; these rules are connected to religious laws about appropriateness. Only a brief moment of eye contact would be permitted between a man and a woman, if at all. This is also the case for Asia, Latin America and African countries.
Other ways we communicate is with our hands this is particularly prominent for people with Hearing Difficulties or people that have additional needs. We could use British Sign Language (BSL), or Makaton, as these are further ways of communicating to different people. Signing can also be helpful if people know little or none of your language, as despite speaking a different language, most of the things we do (drinking, eating) we do in similar, if not the same way, and therefore with signing we can communicate with each other.
Identify Barriers to Effective Communication
There are many things that can be a barrier to effective communication, our attitude can be a barrier, as if we are closed minded, or there is a lack of motivation or consultation, or a negative attitude to work there could also be a conflict of personalities, all of which could put up a barrier for communication. The physicality’s of a conversation, for example bad lighting, background noise, staff absences etc. could all contribute. As well as a language or culture barrier, if English is a second language, poor explanations or misunderstandings. These are all barriers to communication, and things we should be looking out for, and trying to avoid, as professionals.
Explain how to Access Extra Support of Services to Enable Individuals to Communicate Effectively.
Despite the fact that everyone communicates, many people communicate differently to others; people with additional needs may find it easier to communicate through photographs, pictures or symbols. Speech therapists encourage talk through pictures, and actions. A speech therapist will teach these to someone in your setting, most likely your SENCO worker. A social worker will provide information and support if a child has additional needs, the social worker will support you with any care, and support you will need to give to help the development of that child.
Explain the Meaning of the Word Confidentiality
Confidentiality is actually the state of being secret. However, when working with children, and young people, confidentiality isn’t about being able to keep a secret, but is knowing who is appropriate to share information with, for example if a child confines in you about potential harm from another practitioner, confidentiality in this case is knowing to share the information with your manager (as long as they are not the one supposedly causing the harm), and your Local Authorities Designated Officer (LADO), they will then contact the Social Services. At all times ensuring that there is consent from the person to share the information (apart from exceptional circumstances. When disclosing you must always stay within the law, in particular the Data Protection Act 1998 .
Confidentiality is also ensuring private information is kept private, as appose to having it on show. SENCO work, personal information of children or their families should all be kept somewhere locked away, to ensure the highest amount of confidentiality is obtained.
Describe the Potential Tensions between Maintaining an Individuals Confidentiality and Disclosing Concerns
Even when the highest level of confidentiality is maintained there can still be tensions when disclosing a concern, this could happen when a claim id made against a fellow practitioner, or a parent. Both of these would be likely to deny the claim, and would most likely take offence, this would then make it hard for you to talk to that person again, without there being tension between you, this could then cause possible further harm to the child as important information may not be shared.
When disclosing personal information you must also only disclose that which is relevant, and no more. (In accordance to the Data Protection Act 1998¹) If you disclose any more information there could be tensions as people could feel like all their information is public, causing them to potentially be able to make a claim about you. At all times, however, you must remember that confidentiality, and data protection, are extremely important, and serious things, and must be taken with the highest level of significance.
Explain why Positive Relationships with Children and Young People are Important and how these are built and Maintained
Positive relationships with children and young people is important as, it will help the childrens development, help them build up a positive image of what a role model should be, and help them enjoy their experience at the setting. Positive relationships are built on positive communication, consistency, aware of conflicts, respect, courtesy, valuing the child and maintaining confidentiality. These key factors are the basis for a healthy relationship, in which the child or young person can trust you, and interact with you openly and freely. These can be maintained by keeping these key factors alive within the relationship. When looking at other relationship in your life, particularly the ones that you are most fond of, you will see these factors within them, and then realise that by having a healthy relationship with a child, it will how they should be in relationships with others. Thus helping their development, and creating a happy setting for that child to be in.
Evaluate own Effectiveness in Building Relationship with Children and Young People
Since working professionally at my setting, I have built many relationships with the children. The children know that I will play games with them, and have fun with them, and also be able to comfort, yet they also know that they need to listen and respect what I say. However, I do find that I struggle with the line between knowing when fun turns in to “rough play”, or fun crosses the line and becomes not appropriate for the situation. The other problem with regards to this is that children often aren’t sure if when I am talking to them seriously whether they should take it seriously as I was playing with them.
Explain why Positive Relationships with People involved in the Care of Children and Young People are Important
Positive relationships within the care of young people are foremost of the importance due to ensuring the child’s safety, and development. Building good relationships involves being respectful, considerate, and helpful towards others. When children feel comfortable with us they can separate more easily from their parents and children are more likely to participate in the play and learning activities if they are secure emotionally, this all comes from building those positive relationships. When creating a sense of connection and belonging with other practitioners, it shows children a good role model for how they should behave, and how they should be in their relationship, something I feel is very important for children and young people to learn. Mother Teresa once said “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” And I feel that is what we should be showing to the children, and the best way to do this is by practising this, and doing this with other adults.
Data Protection Act 1998, 1998. Data Protection Act 1998. [online ] Available at [Accessed 28 February 2012]
Bibliography: Data Protection Act 1998, 1998. Data Protection Act 1998. [online ] Available at [Accessed 28 February 2012]