Myself, my setting and my learning
The aim of this reflective account is to discuss my developing practice and how as a childminder I ensure my setting meets the requirements of the curriculum which I follow. This is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, DfES, 2007), whilst still keeping true to my own beliefs in the best environment for learning to meet the needs of all the children whom attend my setting.
My setting has eleven children enrolled, from one to ten years; all children are able bodied, although some have specific behavioural needs. I belong to a local quality assurance and childminding network. As an early years provider I have a responsibility to implement the four themes of the EYFS; A unique child, Positive Relationships, Enabling Environments and Learning and Development including the sixteen commitments. I believe the EYFS has brought positive changes to settings, as it ensures that no-matter what type of setting, there is now a set of standards which all must meet. This can only be seen to offer peace of mind to parents and as a benefit to children’s well-being. 1
The course has taught me the background of the EYFS, as a key part in The Ten Year Childcare Strategy, (DfES, 2004c) and the Childcare Act 2006 (DfES, 2006), ensuring the Every Child Matters agenda is implemented. The five major themes combined with the five outcomes of the Children’s Act 2004, highlights the important role required of the Early Years Services and multi-agency working. As a result of the recent changes of the Childcare Act 2006, one of the biggest impacts I have noticed is the training available. The aim of The Children’s Plan (DCSF, 2007); ‘To make England the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up in’, has many measures in place to support this and one of the changes needed is for professional development to be coherent in the children’s workforce . (KU3) As Sylva et al points out, “Quality of provision is dependent on the quality of the staff who work in the settings” (Melhuish et al, 1999; Sylva et al., 2003). 2 Because of the funding available not only have I been able to access this course, I have also recently completed courses on ‘Observing children in the home setting’ and ‘Senior Safeguarding Children’. I ensure parents are updated of any new training to demonstrate my professional attitude to my setting. (CS1, CS2 & CS3, KU3)
I also show a professional attitude to my role by using parent evaluation forms and having a suggestions box (for children and parents). Due to some of the children coming from broken families I send the diaries via e-mail or paper copy, it is also one of the EYFS principles ‘Positive Relationships’.3 (KS4) Parents receive a parent information booklet, which includes policies and procedures to comply with the EYFS statutory requirements and to highlight my roles and responsibilities, such as; safeguarding children, positive behaviour management, medicines and first-aid, equal opportunities, health and safety, fire procedure, accident and emergency plan and my complaints procedure. A significant change from the EYFS has been the need for planning to focus on each child’s individual learning, development and care needs and to ensure that the children and their families are fully included in all aspects of care. The importance of observations and planning to meet individual needs was stated in an article a in the Child Care magazine (November 2007), “It is important you know what level the child is at, what their next steps are, what their interests are and how you can enhance those interests”. This was before the introduction of the EYFS, in September 2008 and it demonstrates that is was good practice to use observations before it became a requirement in order to give each child a valuable learning experience. By being a reflective practitioner and using observations to construct my planning, I understand when I...
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