Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Introduction to Working with Children

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Unit 1 - An introduction to working with children E1) Statutory care and education must, by law, be provided by the government and be free of charge. An example of a statutory education setting is Primary School. While some Primary Schools are private, there must also be Primary Schools that are free of charge to attend. Private care and education is education or care that must be paid for. An example of a private education setting is a private Nursery. Most Nurseries are private and require a fee for admitting children. Voluntary care and education settings do not charge a fee for admittance and are staffed by volunteers.

They are mainly funded by charities and small donations from parents. An example of a voluntary care and education setting is a Parent and Toddler group. E2) Primary Schools aim to support children in their education, physical development, emotional development, social development and cognitive development. Educationally, they teach children a variety of subjects with much focus on literacy and numeracy skills. Primary Schools help to identify children’s learning needs and relay useful information to parents on their children’s development. They also offer extra support for children who need it.

Primary Schools offer family liaison officers and children’s liaison officers should parents feel they need help. Primary Schools also offer the chance for parents to go to work during the hours they’re educating their children. Nurseries aim to support children in their education, physical development, emotional development, social development and cognitive development. Educationally, they teach children colours, numbers, the alphabet and various other skills and subjects children need to help them learn more in the future. They teach using the EYFS.

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Most Nurseries provide flexible hours so parents can go to work. Some Nurseries provide an out-of-school club, where children can play, be fed and socialise until their parents are able to pick them up. Nurseries also work to help identify any special needs of children and communicate with parents on the best way to deal with any issues their child may have. Parent and Toddler groups aim to support children in social development, helping children gain confidence and make friends, which is a good way to get children comfortable with socialising before they go to a Nursery.

Parent and Toddler groups aim to support families by giving them the opportunity to socialise with other parents and, if needed, teach them how to play with children as often, parents are unsure of how to communicate and have fun with their child. In many Parent and Toddler groups, a health visitor will be on-hand to give out health advise and check their children’s physical development. E3) One of the main pieces of legislation in the UK that supports the rights of children is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The UNCRC covers all the basic rights of a child including health, education, emotional care, privacy and human rights. The Child Care Act 2006 provides the framework to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the Every Child Matters scheme (now known as ‘Help Children Achieve More’). Under this Act, child care settings have to meet National Standards to help children achieve their full potential. It incorporates the welfare standards that all settings working with children under the age of 8 must comply with.

This Act outlines the importance of standards in child care settings and children being kept safe, healthy and being able to enjoy their lives, which are all directly related to articles 19, 23, 24, 28, 29, 36, 33 and 37 in the UNCRC. Education Act 2002 promotes the local authorities’ and educational facilities’ duty regarding safeguarding and child welfare. This relates to protection from physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse and kidnapping. It also relates to the authorities and educational facilities providing privacy and allowing children their dignity.

Articles 11, 16, 17, 19, 34, 35, 37 and 39 in the UNCRC also cover this. Education Act 2004 was designed to ensure different services, such as social workers and GPs, work and communicate with each other effectively. This Act was largely a consequence of the Victoria Climbie inquiry, which also was also largely responsible for the Every Child Matters (Help Children Achieve More) programme. Education Act 2004 relates to articles 3, 4, 24, 28, 39 and 40 in the UNCRC. Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws, for example, Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The Act was brought in to try to stop discrimination in settings and the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 covers 9 protected characteristics: gender reassignment, age, disability, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation, race, sex and religion or belief. Equality Act 2010 relates to articles 2, 12, and 14. E4) E5) A child should be valued, respected and treated as an individual with opinions of their own. It is easier to value yourself if other people value you too. If you don’t value yourself, you may end up permanently afraid of being rejected so you may push people away for your own protection.

All children are different and should be treated for their individual needs so that they can accomplish everything to the best of their ability. All families are different also, and knowing a child as the individual they are, you can help them through situations such as their parents splitting up, as some children cope with things in a different way. Due to all children having different personalities, likes and dislikes, emotions and ways of thinking, you should help them to learn in different ways that suit the kind of person they are.

For example, one child may learn better through listening, while another child may learn better by doing practical tasks. Knowing how different children like to learn can help you teach them more effectively and let them get the best of their education. Children should also be valued for being of a different culture or religion which may take them out of the setting for religious events with their families, which must be a decision that you respect, even if the culture or religion isn’t your own. Special arrangements must be made for some religions such as Jewish children only eating kosher foods.

Decisions made by parents must also be respected as parents are children’s primary educators. If a family doesn’t want something taught to a child, you must respect their wishes. E6) A professional skill needed by practitioners is teamwork. Teamwork is necessary for the care of children because children must be kept an eye on at all times to keep them safe, and in a room of twenty three year olds, one person cannot keep watch on all of them. Also, different people have different knowledge, and collaborating knowledge and ideas is helpful to keep things interesting and new for children.

Another professional skill needed by practitioners is organisation. This is because you must keep an organised environment to avoid chaos and also because children must be observed for the benefit of knowing the child’s limitations, strengths and skills so they can be taught and handled accordingly. Problem solving is also another professional skill that is needed in order to keep order. It is needed to solve problems, whether they be between people or the way things are run in the setting. An example of this is staff to child ratios.

A manager may need to work out how many children are going to be in the setting and how many staff they’ll need to meet the needs of the children. E7) Study skills such as time management can help in your training because it means you’ll be able to get to your classes and placements on time and get the full benefit of your allotted time in class. Note-taking can help you in your assignments and research, making it easier to do your work and remember what you’ve been taught. It also helps with observations in settings, making it easier to write them up.

Flashcards can help you memorise specific terms, words and pieces of information in preparation for exams and essay-writing. This can be helpful in settings for learning children’s names. Communication can help you read and write your essays and work to the best of your ability. Asking someone else how they would word something can give you a good idea of how you should word it. Communication skills in a setting are vital for the welfare and education of the children because a lack of communication can mean that errors that put children in jeopardy can occur.

Reading is a good study skill to have, as you can learn much by reading and it can give you quotes and examples for your essays. Being able to read in a setting can help you learn more about children if you’re reading their file. Concentration is essential for studying as becoming distracted could make you late for handing in essays or you may miss something vital in class. In a setting, you must concentrate on your task of looking after the children or accident may occur.

Writing skills are important in class as your essays must be clear to read and if you have good writing skills, essays are easier to write. In a setting, writing skills are needed to teach children how to write and so you can write up clear reports and observations on the children. D1) Practitioners should develop and maintain good relationships with parents because that way, it will be easier to communicate with them about the child’s needs and progress and for the parents to listen to them without being hindered by a dislike for the practitioner.

Practitioners should also listen to what the parent has to say, as it may be beneficial in getting to know the child, how to deal with the child and how to meet the child’s needs. Relationships with parents should be kept appropriate and professional. Should a practitioner wish to discuss a problem they’re having with a child, the practitioner should do it through appropriate means, such as writing a letter or talking to the parent face to face within the setting, not through a social network site or texting. Arguing with a parent, for example, about the needs of their child would be inappropriate.

Practitioners must respect that, as the child’s parents and primary educators, they know what is best for their children (unless it poses a serious risk to the child, in which case a practitioner would have the right to report the issue). Practitioners may make suggestions on what the child needs to parents, but if the parent doesn’t accept what the practitioner is saying, the practitioner must accept the parent’s decision. Appropriate relationships with other practitioners should be maintained also. Maintaining a proper relationship with co-workers will make working as a team easier and allow you to be able to carry out your job effectively.

Maintaining good relationships with your co-worker could help you if you have a problem in the setting that you’re not sure how to deal with as they may have knowledge on how to deal with it. You can learn new things from your co-workers which could help you carry out your job effectively. If you’re arguing with a co-worker, this would make for an inappropriate relationship, which could hinder your work and create a bad atmosphere for children. Arguing with your fellow co-workers could cause a problems with teamwork which would not be beneficial to children. It could also make you and your co-workers unhappy and may cause more arguments.

If you’re preoccupied with arguing with a co-worker, it may distract you from your job and from meeting the children’s needs. D2) Working in a team with other agencies collaborates different practitioners from different sectors and professions to provide a more effective way of working with children. Children who need additional support can get the right support for their needs. An example of when a multi-agency team would be considered effective and relevant would be if a practitioner follows the Common Assessment Framework because the practitioner believes the child may have some form of learning disability.

If proper protocols and procedures are followed, a plan would be tailor-made to suit the child’s needs, which may include agencies such as social workers, Doctors, specialists in the disability, and teachers, who would meet to discuss with the child’s parents how best to deal with the child’s needs. The agencies involved would share information on the child to make sure everybody involved in the child’s care knows how to effectively care for the child and meet the child’s needs.

Working with different agencies if beneficial to a child with special needs because each agency specialises in a different sector of care and the information different sectors can provide will be provided to the other agencies involved with the child’s care, meaning new knowledge will be passed to different people which could also apply to caring for other children too. An example of when a multi-agency team has failed and the repercussions of their failure is the Baby P case. Many different agencies had information regarding Baby P, that, if shared, could have saved him from death.

Agencies such as social workers and Doctors were involved in the welfare of Baby P, but they didn’t communicate effectively. The Baby P case happened after Children Act 2004 was created, which was largely a consequence of the murder of Victoria Climbie, another case of a multi-agency team not communicating effectively, meaning that there are still flaws within a multi-agency team working for the welfare of children. C) Early Years practitioners should listen to the views and opinions of children because what children have to say is important in learning about the ersonality of the child, and knowing the personality of the child will let you care for them more effectively because you will know how the child learns best and what their likes and dislikes are. Listening to the views of children and valuing their opinions will also higher the child’s self esteem and make them rightfully feel like their opinions have worth and are important to people. It will give them confidence to speak up for themselves and the ability to communicate their opinions and ideas more effectively.

If a child feels that their opinion doesn’t matter, they could become hesitant to join and contribute in social groups and feel shy and feel unable to stand up for themselves and what they believe in, which may upset and frustrate them and make it hard for them to make friends. B) Education Act 2002 relates to safeguarding children and making their welfare top-priority. Knowing the boundaries and limitations of your job will help you conform to this piece of legislation and make sure that what you’re doing for a child will not put them in danger or put you in danger of going against this Act by accident.

It is important that practitioners understand limits and boundaries of their role. An example of when limits and boundaries should be set is with confidentiality. You must know when it’s okay to share information about a child and when it is not. Sharing information with another parent about a child that isn’t theirs would be inappropriate and would break confidentiality rules but sharing information about a child with another practitioner in the setting would be appropriate as long as the practitioner is also involved in the care of that child.

The setting a practitioner is working will also have their own set of policies and procedures. Not following these policies and procedures may get the practitioner into trouble in their workplace and/or put children in danger. Some settings may ask that their practitioners not hug or kiss children. While some parents are happy to let the people who also care for their children to hug and kiss their child, it may go against the setting’s policies. When working in partnership with parents, it is essential to know your limits and boundaries as a practitioner.

Practitioners must remember that the parent is the child’s primary educator and carer and that they have the right to do what they think is best for the child, even if it goes against what the practitioner thinks is best (unless it would put the child in danger). Some parents may not wish for their child to eat certain things, and as a practitioner this must be respected; if you gave their child a food that a parent has requested their child not eat, this would be crossing boundaries. A) A child centered approach promotes the child’s right to make connections, communicate and make decisions for themselves.

It gives children the freedom to experience, question, search for answers and think independently in a safe environment. Practitioners take a role in letting play develop without them directing it. This enhances a child’s creativity and enhances their communication skills. An example of a popular child centered approach is the Reggio Emilia Approach. This educational philosophy was created by Loris Malaguzzi, a teacher, and the parents of the villages around Reggio Emilia, Italy, after World War II.

A school was built from the ruins of the villages because it was the belief of Loris Malaguzzi and the parents of the children who attended the school that the education and care of their children was paramount to rebuilding their society. The Reggio Emilia Approach puts at the heart of its system the image of a child being powerful in their own right. “Children are seen as expressing themselves in varied ways - known as the hundred languages of children. ” (www. leixs. gov. uk/using_the_reggio_Emilia_approach_to_personalise_learning. df) Reggio educators do not see children as empty vessels that require educating. They see children as capable of building their own knowledge and being full of potential and competence. “Time, and how adults use it, is central to Reggio philosophy. The rhythm and pace of the child is always given overriding importance… This means really having time for children’s thoughts and ideas, and giving value to their work, their conversations and their feelings by slowing down to listen to them”. The Reggio Emilia Approach, page 21) Reggio schools allow children to direct their own projects and have free reign of materials and methods. They are watched over by Reggio teachers, but not guided by them. The children learn creativity, communication and problem solving without the guidance of adults. Loris Malaguzzi believed “Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible”. (www. community

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