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Importance of Children's Play and Independence

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 4959 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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D1: Explain why it is important for children to have opportunities for play.

‘Children's play is any behaviour, activity or process initiated, controlled and structured by children themselves; it takes place whenever or wherever opportunities arise’ (http://www.earlyyearsmatters.co.uk/). Children have a natural curiosity to discover and explore. Children’s interest in their general surroundings is apparent from the day they are conceived. Children rapidly utilise every one of their faculties to investigate themselves and they are encompassing in their push to understand the world. Early years practitioners have a duty to help and fortify this inborn interest to give children the certainty to build up their very own theories about the world and how it functions. Innate means built-in, born in a motivation or drive to do something that has had no interference, intervention, suggestion or guidance, seemingly from anyone. As children grow they are constantly adding to their store of knowledge and skills about the world.

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Play can support different aspects of children's development. It is essential to a children's development; it is an indispensable piece of a child's Early Years Foundation Stage and backings their learning venture as well. In the Department for Education (2014) EYFS statutory framework, ‘…a play is essential for children's development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems and relate to others…' (https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/eyfs-statutory-framework/ 2017). Young children can create numerous skills through the intensity of play. They may build up their dialect skills, feelings, inventiveness, and social abilities. Through this, they can learn fundamental skills, for example, critical thinking, working with others and sharing. Giving children a scope of toys will enable them to learn in various ways. Such as playing with the water tray. This will help the children learn about Maths and Science. Also, it will help the children learn about water and how it moves.

Sand and water can be an early introduction to science and maths, e.g. learning that water is liquid, not solid, soft or smudgy and that it can be measured in different sized containers. Also, the setting where I go, children play with dough or clay or painting picture which can encourage creativity, imagination, and expression of feeling which will help them develop creativity, imagination and emotion skills. This will help them develop their social skills by playing together and will develop their language and communication skills with the practitioners.

Moreover, another reason for how play contributes to children's learning is by child-led and adult-led play. An adult-led play is where the practitioners are in control of learning to the children. Such as identifying purposes and objects which will help them gain more skills. For example, painting. Practitioners should teach the children in the setting how to paint with colours and how to hold the brush correctly. Also, a good example of adult-led play would be cooking or some types of art and craft where equipment such as knives or scissors would not be safe for children to use alone. In these types of activities, adults like practitioners in the setting will teach children how to use the equipment.

A child-led play is where children are in control, which is given them an opportunity to play. It enables children to attempt new things in an environment that is protected and secure, yet likewise difficult. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) urges child-initiated play to be taken place as it helps the child’s confidence with the other children in the setting. (https://www.slideshare.net)  Example of this would be when the practitioner in the setting place out an activity for the children and they can then use the activity to play but the child would play would play in the way they prefer to copy adult-led such as pretend cooking. The setting where I go, children role-play, they act of being a mother, father or princess, and king. They place their own role and activities. 

D2: Describe the characteristics of an enabling environment that supports children’s learning and development.

The setting should include an open space or a big space because it will develop their physical skills. Such as children love to run, they like to ride bikes. It will develop their bones and muscles growth, assisting with the development of gross motor and fine motor skills, improving concentration and thinking skills and it will provide the opportunities to develop social skills and make friends with the others in the setting. However, if the setting is small, accidents might happen in the area and the children might not develop any skills from a small area.

Another activity that children will develop their physical skills is a climbing frame. It improves spatial awareness and works children's muscles so that they grow, strengthens and develop as they should. Also, the method used in climbing can help a child's cognitive development through problem solving, memory and the feelings of fear and motivation often experienced through climbing also have a great benefit to children in the setting.

In the setting, children develop their communication and language skills by interacting with the children and practitioners. When playing children should take a turn. This is a way of developing their skills from children to children. Snack time also develops their skills because they are eating together and communicating with others. Which shows that children are making friends.

Playing with blocks are made for sharing. So, when the children in the setting begin to build with others, they can start to improve their cooperation skills. In fact, playing with building blocks is for children to play in a group which makes building blocks a great way for social skills and interaction. Also in my setting, when practitioners read a book to the children they start to pick up on the rhythm, tone, and inflection which will help them when they start learning to read.

Cultural will also help them develop their social skills. For example, in the setting practitioners should welcome the children and the parents by putting a ‘welcome board' that said in different languages. They should also have religious needs, such as Christmas, Eid, and Diwali. In every term, kids in the setting learn about different celebration which will help them interact with others and feel connected. In article 31.2 mentioned ‘…respect and promote the right for the child to participate fully in cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity…'. Also, it will help them support the children with disabilities such as with wheelchairs which will make them feel comfortable with others. To make children feel comfortable and safe in the setting, Early Years practitioners should make the setting should be valuing diversity. An example of this activity would be when children bring their favourite belonging to the setting and show it to other children. This will also bring them their confidence by talking in front of the practitioner and other children in the setting.

There are many measures that Early Years settings could and should implement to provide an enabling environment for children to play and learn. One way to think of this through the outdoor and indoor environment.

One characteristic of enabling outdoor play environment is that the practitioner will put out different types of resources and activities for children. This helps to promote the children's confidence and independent skills as they can choose themselves what activities or resources they want to play with. An outdoor play environment should also have spaces to contrast and be creative, so they should have cardboard boxes, milk crates, wooden blocks, mark making, natural materials/resources and shells in the setting. This will help the children to express their emotions by creating something. Research shows such as A Rawstone (2017), that ‘outdoor play reduces the rate of infection’. Children move more when they are playing outside and all the movements are good for their body and the body puts the brain in motion. Being outside makes children happier and sociable with other children.

An enabling indoor play environment also means that the practitioner should provide the children with their own basket or drawer to store the items. This is done so that the children feel like they are part of the environment which helps them feel safe and secure at the setting. In the setting, the practitioner should ensure that the area has boundaries to a different area such as messy play or clean area. It will let the children concentrate and feel safe and comfortable. By having different areas, the children will be able to develop and improve their imagination skills. It will also help them to focus on what they want to do.

C1: Explain the importance of promoting children’s independence during care routines

It is important for children to develop their independence because it is about learning to do things for oneself, which includes making the decision and taking in responsibilities. It will also develop their self-esteem and build their confidence and also, it will develop some other skills. ‘The aim that the child should grow up to become confidently independent is synonymous with the aim that the children should grow mentally healthy’ J. Bowlby 1969.

During mealtimes, children can pass food and can help the practitioner to serve food on the lunch table. This will help the children to develop their physical skills and communication skills by counting plates and cups. Children can be independent when eating food. They want to eat by themselves and they like it. Taking turns can be independent when they pass food around giving it to the next child next to you. Instead of feeding the child, let them eat by their selves and touch the food, this will develop their fine motor skills by moving their finger and hands.

When nappy changing, the practitioner could encourage the child to bring the nappies, which they get quite happy of doing it.  In my placement where I work, children put their own tissues in the bin after blowing their nose by themselves. This has been taught by the practitioners in the room. The children are building their self-esteem. Also, when toilet training, the practitioner could ask the child to put their trousers down or up by themselves instead of practitioner helping out. This will develop their confidence skills. Part of toilet training the child include helping them get more independence by learning how to wipe themselves, wash their own hands and flush the toilet. Also, the practitioner should teach children how to brush their teeth after lunch and snacks. They should provide to support and help the children when they need it.

Also, during the tidy up time, it will promote children’s independence. Helping the practitioner, tidying all the toys up and where it belongs too. When children are involved in regular routine starting before the age of four, they tend to be more independent in early adulthood than children without the experience of helping out.

The practitioner should encourage the children in the setting to dress themselves. By pulling the sock on or off. Pull up their pants after diapering and help them put arms through sleeves. As children get older. The practitioner should encourage them to dress themselves up like zipping and unbuttoning the coat when going outside or coming back playing from outside, which develops their self-esteem and pride in their independence.

C2: Explain how effective health promotion in childcare settings supports children’s well-being

Health is very important for everyone. Combined with physical activity, diet can help people reduce and maintain a healthy weight and also, it reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and lung disease and promotes your overall health. Eating healthy allows people to be more active. Feelings of well-being can be protected by ensuring that our diet is full essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. ‘Well-being show clear correlations to the emotional aspect of a child’s development, which plays a significant role within the build-up of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to nature children’s individual well-being’.

Children who are overweight are at risk of having obesity which leads to breast cancer and liver cancer. Eating too much sugar like sweets will lead to having tooth decay and tooth decay may lead to having heart disease. In the 19th Century, children in school had to get weighed because the teachers had to check if the kids were eating properly or not. This is because many people in the 19th Century couldn’t get enough food for themselves due to poverty.

There are many ways to promote children’s health in placement to support well-being. One way is that practitioners in the setting should give the children a healthy meal. If they don’t like the meal, then the early year practitioner should eat with them and this will encourage them to eat. Also, the practitioner should play music to encourage the children to dance and this will make them feel healthy and happy. Moreover, the early years’ practitioner should be their role model, not to have tooth decay practitioner should brush their teeth with the children. This will encourage them to brush their teeth.

Practitioners in the setting should allow the children to play outdoors, this will develop their physical skills such as running, jumping and their muscles will also develop. Examples, of playing outdoor are riding a bike and playing football.

The setting should have events to promote their children’s health. Such as ‘healthy eating day’, the practitioners should bring the parents to the setting to learn about healthy eating, for their children. This will give them ideas to promote their children’s health in their own time. 

B1: Discuss effective approaches to planning that support children’s play, learning and development

Observation is very important because it is the key to understand children as learners and a vital tool in finding out more about them as individuals. Observation is about watching children’s actions, expressions, gestures, and behaviours and listening to their talk and interactions. Also, observation is for seeing what the children can do and what practitioners need to plan ahead to develop their skills.

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To support children’s play, learning, and development an example of it would be adult-led. Adult-led is where practitioners are in control of learning to the children. It leads to certain outcomes and covers the seven areas of EYFS. An adult-led play is also used so that children can learn specific skills and concepts. A good example of this is playing a board game. By playing a board game with an adult, a child might start to recognise numbers on the dice and start to count. If an outing is arranged, children may also learn about things that are new to them. For example, an outing to a zoo or a farm will help them to learn about animals. In my placement, we had to guide the children on how to use the scissors correctly and how to hold it safely.

Child-led is where children are in control which is giving them an opportunity to play. It enables children to attempt new things in an environment that is protected and secure, yet likewise difficult. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) urges child-initiated play to be taken place as it helps the child’s confidence with the other children in the setting. (https://www.slideshare.net) Moreover, practitioners need to know their self-interest by observing them which will help the children learn because they are choosing it. In my placement, a child loves to play with animal toys like dinosaurs. The child loves dinosaurs and he is able to develop his language skills by talking with the toy. Example of this would be when an adult place out an activity for a child and the child can then use the activity to play but the child would play in the way they prefer to copy adult-led such as pretend cooking, they place their own role and activities such as a role-play and they tell another child their own direction in cooking.

Also, practitioners can observe with the professionals because they will be able to communicate with the practitioners so they can help the children need and help what to develop. Such as therapist and social workers can communicate with the practitioners to able to find out about the child’s development.

Moreover, to develop children’s skills, practitioners can also work in partnership with parents and carers. For example, parents can visit their open days, this will help them gain more ideas. The benefits of family learning are improving communication between parents in their children’s learning, it also improves their relationship between the parents and children. The Early Years Foundation Stage seeks to provide ‘partnership’ working between practitioners and parents. It states that ‘…key workers should build relationships with parents, keep them up-to-date with their child’s progress….’ (www.teachingtimes.com 2008), and respond to observations that they share, involve them in assessments and support them to guide their child’s development at home.

There are many types of methods of observing a child, such as assessment, recording, and reporting. This will benefit the practitioners in the setting because they will be able to work with other practitioners work together to develop and plan the next step and report to the parents. In my setting every month, practitioners have a meeting about their children progress and what their self-interest is.

To get the best result for children, practitioners need to concentrate on going those additional miles, as opposed to making do with doing exactly what they have been advised to do. This will help their skills and understanding as a reflective practitioner. It also helps further their own personal goals. As a reflective practitioner, they will identify and resolve problems, review their methods to improve the quality of their practice and consider the impact their actions have on children and their families. (www.earlyyearscareers.com 2018)

B2: Reflect on the need for practitioners to be fully compliant with safeguarding policies and procedures.

Practitioners in the setting must follow the policies and procedures in the setting in order to keep the children safe. One of the most important policies that the practitioner should follow is ‘No mobile phones’. Phones should be kept in a box and kept in their staff room or in their bags in silent. This is because children should be protected in the setting.

Practitioners in the setting should follow the health and safety policy which ensures all the staff and children are kept safe and all the types of equipment are also safe for the children in the setting. Practitioners work closely with parents and health care professionals to ensure all children access nursery facilities safely. To achieve this policy, practitioners must follow the risk assessment that the setting has. For example, fire safety, allergies, and electrical appliances. Also, the practitioner, ‘should have induction, training day so the staff will be able to keep the children safe’. (http://www.nurserymoksliukas.co.uk)

Moreover, if a child discloses abuse, practitioners should follow the policies and procedures. If it’s a serious abuse, then the practitioner should inform the manager or the safeguarding officer.

However, if policies and procedures are not followed in the setting for example, if a child discloses abuse they should not share with anyone else in public. If they did, the child would be in danger. After disclosing, they should be confidential to keep the child safe. Also, it is important to keep confidentiality because it helps to build and develop trust ‘…the Early Years Foundation Scheme will need to have first obtained and Enhanced Disclosure….’ (www.disclosuresdbs.co.uk) Ofsted will assess how well the practitioners make decisions about the suitability of their staff during a regular inspection.

A1: Discuss hoe observation methods can be used in settings to assess children’s development

In the setting, practitioners can access children by observing them with paper, taking pictures, videos or checklist which will understand their level of achievement. When the practitioners have completed the children observation, they need to plan ahead. This is because planning in the Early Years is about meeting young children’s needs so that they can ‘play and learn happily in ways which will help them to develop skills and knowledge across the Prime and Specific areas of learning in the EYFS’.(www.earlyyearsmatters.co.uk)

Checklists are especially useful for types of behaviour or traits that can be easily and clearly specified. Checklists can be used for curriculum planning and activities can be planned to encourage certain behaviours that they have not yet observed. It also helps to focus observations on many behaviours at once. For example, some practitioners in the setting observe by completing the checklist which focuses on one development like ‘physical’.

A written narrative is a description of children’s actions. It may include a record of the language used by the child, a level of involvement and other children that they play with. It usually takes twenty minutes to half-an-hour to observe a child, so as much information as possible can be recorded.

Photos, tape, and video recording can likewise be useful and are an available method for sharing observations with children and their parents. They might be required to utilise a standard frame in the setting, which distinguishes the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Practitioners and managers, for example, child’s improvement or a few of the seven stages of learning and advancement. These structures can arrange their observations and help them choose how best to recognise areas in which the children's improvement is of course.

Sometimes, practitioner in the setting will choose to follow a child throughout a session, multi day or longer to discover increasingly about that child as an individual learner. It might be that they need to recognise or confirm, interests or repeated patterns of behaviour. Or on the other hand, they may want to look closely at the child’s relationship with other children or at the response of the children to the rhythm of the nursery day. Practitioners may likewise need to discover increasingly about that child's style of learning or the decisions they make at the setting.

A2: Analyse the effectiveness of the observation methods discussed in A1 to inform planning children’s development

A checklist is a guide used for assessing a child on a particular day a list of specific ‘milestones’ that should be reached at a certain time. The checklists can be used on all children on a regular basis to enable you to plan for each child’s needs. Checklist is quick and simple to use. It is a fast way of giving a great deal of information. It can be used as part of a longitudinal study. It can be often repeated to assess development progress. Also, parents and carers can use it.

However, the checklist may allow practitioner narrow and limited information. The checklist might not give an accurate picture on the day if the child is upset or unwell. Also, it may be tempting to put a tick against a skill that the practitioner think a child has achieved therefore the practitioner is not being objective and may disadvantage the child.

The written narrative is something that is taking place naturally and leads to a factual description of what is seen and heard. No planning is needed and can be carried out when convenient when doing a written narrative. Also, it provides data that can be interpreted later and practitioner are using skills which they practice every day. It allows for spontaneous observations to take place.

However, events happen quickly so the practitioner may not be able to convey all the information that they wished. A form of shorthand may be required so that the practitioner can write as much as information as possible. Notes need to be written up quickly as the practitioner may forget the details later. 

Using a camera either to photograph or film children are becoming increasingly popular as an observation technique. Either photography or filming can help practitioners in the setting notice details that they might have otherwise missed. It is easy to review what children are doing and notice details. This method is popular with parents, as they can see what their children have been doing. Older children can use this as a medium to show us what is important in their lives.

However, confidentiality can be an issue. Also, the EYFS stated that ‘…children can only be filmed with parental consent, and this includes children who are not the focus of the observation but who may stray into the shot…’ (GPS Moodle 2018). Recordings have to be kept secure. Background noise may prevent you from hearing what children are saying. Photographs only give limited information. It is not possible to know what the child did or said in the moments leading up to the photograph or film or immediately afterward.




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