Children learning development especially when outside is highly sensitive and should be taken with the seriousness it deserves to ensure that the learning delivers its intended outcomes. As such, members of staff tasked with the responsibility of overseeing and impacting such learning need to be overly cautious and in perfect harmony with other members of staff to deliver such results. Failing to meet such demands is detrimental to the development of children and consequently the careers of involved staff. To save the situation described in the scenario, concise decisions and actions, backed by understanding of ECEC is necessary.
ELYF’s third principle describes that harmonious workplaces are a result of consistent application of professional qualities. The professional qualities applicable in this case include; appreciation, professional courtesy, emotional well-being, clear communication, conflict resolution, and consistent and coherent approach with children. To support the staff, I will exploit the different qualities one at a time to ensure that am able to bring the member of staff to the right position. Boyd (2014) imposes a question, “Do educators thrive in the workplace, and on a continuous trajectory of becoming?” This is the principle question that should be of main focus. The colleague who is straying as well as everyone else need to be on a continuous trajectory of becoming. Staff should work together to help each other improve and thus become. For staff to work together, EYLF has a checklist which calls for an environment that supports philosophical debate, humor, a consistent team approach, enthusiasm, good dialogue and democratic decision-making.
With all the mentioned professional qualities, it would be my undertaking to gather sufficient confidence and professional courtesy and talk to the colleague. In my one-on-one session with the colleague, I will begin by appreciating the good relationship that she has managed to build with the parents and children and outline its importance in the development of the children under our care. I will then point out the professional quality that she is failing on which is the lack of consistent and coherent approach with children. In my talk, I will ensure that there is a clear communication and good dialogue that does not jeopardize the spirit of consistent team approach. I will endeavor to understand if there are underlying problems, for instance, do we have different understandings of how children learn? After ensuring that there are no grey areas between my thinking and her thinking, I will endeavor to point out why I think she erring by spending much time talking with colleagues and not with children who are playing outside.
Part of the reasons I will highlight to my colleague relate to the practices that touch on educator-children relationships. The importance of forging a relationship with children as an educator is important. DEEWR (2009), asserts that educators are part of the people whose relationship with children has a significant effect on the children’s involvement and success in learning. Depriving children the same will have obvious undesirable outcomes and it is a contravention of EYLF’s first principle of having reciprocal relationships with all children. To make the point sink to the colleague, I will point out a quote from Malaguzzi (1998), who mentioned that, “…the major role of the caregiver is as creator of relationships rather than as transmitter of knowledge.” To end the discussion, I would point out to the colleague that the children need to form a relationship with her more than she needs to form with other colleagues.
Fostering relationships between children is a great way of ensuring that their learning experiences is fruitful. DEEWR (2009) explains that children will thrive when educators and families work in harmony in supporting their children in learning. EYLF’s first principle is emphatic that relationships between children are important for early development. The principle outlines that there are four parties in the cycle; children, families, ECEC staff, and communities. All should foster different types of relationships which should be informal, formal, and sustained. Joey, the 2-year old in my class is conspicuously devoid of these kind of relationships. The task at hand is determining how the same can be done to reduce the mistrust Joey is having and the interference and emotional impact he impacts on other children when he is let out of his comfortable zone.
To unearth the problem that Joey might be facing, it would be important to involve the parents and assess what might be the root cause of Joey’s automatic rejection of other people’s relationships. Shonkoff and Philips (2000) explain that interactive influences of early experiences affect the brain’s development and thus future behaviors. It seems Joey has experienced something that wired his brain to not trust people easily, and if the same is known, reversing the same can be easy to ensure that Joey does not grow with the problem.
The very first point that requires addressing to ensure that Joey transitions to a level where he can form and sustain relationships with other people is to change my image as well that of other members of staff and parents of the child and his relationships. The underlying reasoning according to Malaguzzi (1993) is that the image we create of the child, forms the basis for all our interactions with Joey. Besides, Malaguzzi (1993) goes ahead to assert that the same image influences the kind of environment we construct for Joey, and consequently the relationship with him. As such, I would endeavor to ensure that every person whose area of operation includes Joey, the parents included, to change their image of Joey and incline it towards a more positive posture. Rinaldi (2006) supports the claim of improving the image we have of Joey by asserting that the competent child (of which Joey is) is one wo has an adult who looks at him as such. Rinaldi (2006) goes further to explain that the level of expectations that adults have on Joey, are a determining factor. From this, I would urge everybody to adjust their expectations about Joey.
To ensure that Joey is able to transition to healthier relationships, I would urge every concerned party to focus on the kind of relationship they develop with Joey. Sims (2009) observe that if a child is accorded sensitive, warm and responsive attention, their levels of stress hormones reduce and as such, they are able to accommodate more extensive relationships. For all of us, especially after changing our image and expectations of Joey, would go ahead and transform the same into actions by being sensitive and warm to Joey, to ensure that his need for responsive attention is appealed to and thus make him more positive towards other people. Behaviors toward him need to be premeditated and gauged by all parties starting from his parents and then caregivers. Such actions include; according him the love he needs, avoiding the use of assertive power, and use of inductive discipline.
The development of a child the age of Zac is critical. Matters get more complicated when the parents of the child are not able to be there physically to cater for the needs of the child for the entire day. As such, outsourcing such services is inevitable. Getting the right caregivers is essential in ensuring that the child gets sufficient care which is in tandem with NQS and other requirements. This section will evaluate the various issues that the parents of Zac, Elise and Brad, should look for before enlisting their son for the required services.
The National Quality Standard (NQS) monitors the quality of care that is given to children in care environments. It provides methods or means that parents can use to establish the credibility and suitability of centers to take care of their children. The first metric that NQS provides is the assessments and ratings. On this Elise and Brad should check for the rating of any center that they consider appropriate for their son. The same ratings are available online. The second aspect that NQL calls for is the educator-to-child ratios. From the case, we learn that the recommended ratio for kids who are 18 months, like Zac is 1:4. As such, Elise and Brad should ensure that the center where they are considering for Zac meets these thresholds. The other aspect that NQL considers with equal seriousness is the educator qualifications. Elise and Brad should ensure that the educators handling their kid have prescribed ECEC qualifications (Diploma level) or having Certificate III level or actively pursuing one. When a child is enrolled in an approved institution, Elise and Brad should pursue government subsidies that come with such enrollment.
The other elements that Elise and Brad should consider is the relationships that are forged by the center of their choice. A center should have staff who work harmoniously to ensure that there is a constant good communication among its staff. Simple elements such as greetings during the receiving of a child or acknowledgement of a parent’s presence is important. It is an indication of how important relationships are to the institution. An institution needs to be known to uphold diversity and inclusivity. No one wants their kid in an environment where some kids are segregated or isolated. One might never know if their kid is the one who will be segregated. With these checks, Elise and Brad should be in a position to ascertain the right kind of environment that they prefer for their child.
DEEWR, (2009). Being belonging and becoming: The early years learning framework. Barton: Australian Government
Malaguzzi, L. (1998). PART I: HISTORY. The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach–advanced reflections, 49.
Shonkoff & Phillips, (2000) From neurons to neighbourhoods: The science of early childhood development. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
Sims, M. (2009) Neurobiology and child development: challenging current interpretation and policy implications. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34 (1), 36 – 42
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