I believe infants and toddlers are unique, possess diverse potential with different challenges that can be overcome when they are given opportunities to live their lives and have fun. Children can live in their imagination world and it is amazing, something most adults have sadly lost. Working with young children makes you feel privileged to be a part of their world as well with special moments such as when you feel you have shown them something exciting, or how to do something they haven’t mastered yet, or often they show you something you haven’t seen before and it is enlightening. It is not always happy times but when comfort or warmth is required young children do not hesitate to respond without question and it is wonderful to see that you can have a part to play with walking beside them, helping in some ways while you learn together.
I believe children learn from trying to do something themselves the same as many adults do. If they require assistance, they will generally seek it from their peers or a trusted carer/ educator or older child. Unlike adults who will concern themselves with possible opinions of others, maybe deterring asking for required help, children will be more likely to seek help if they feel they are in a safe environment.
The physical environment must be inviting, safe as well as organised and suitable for all to be included and able to choose their preferred activity themselves. There needs to be enough resources for all the children to be able to use with consideration of special requirements or extra needs of any children. Time spent in areas to allow all children access to their preferred activity or area is important so they can feel comfortable with their choice.
As a parent I feel I have an advantage in one aspect as I can identify with some of the concerns contemplated by other parents with their children in care. I am more aware of the need to be open-minded and consider my own personal bias and realise that I will have to compromise to follow the parent’s view within moral, ethical and safe guidelines as set out in centre philosophy. It is vital to form stable, lasting partnerships with parents/carers and to ensure that communication is open and relevant to really understand each child and their uniqueness.
It is necessary to have insight into each child’s interests, preferred learning style, previous knowledge and any challenges to be overcome or special requirements needed to make the activity/ experience accessible and set up for success. Consideration of diverse abilities requires understanding the child and how they best deal with any challenges they may have. Making the experiences within their realm of challenge is vital so they can experience success and realise that they can do what they wish too. Sometimes it would require moving equipment for access to a play area for instance, different resources or equipment measured to fit the child’s requirements. At times, maybe needing to change the activity all together so everyone can be involved.
I believe having background knowledge of theories and ideals from experts helps form a foundation with my stance towards learning. I relate to Vygotsky’s promotion of learning through play and children developing their maximum potential with his teachings of the “zone of proximal development”. Using social play with role playing ideas children can use their imaginations and make sense of their world while taking on roles in a safe environment. Malaguzzi’s “Reggio Emelia approach” is particularly interesting to me and I am researching the ideals associated with it to put it into my practise. I strongly believe the social aspect and play based curriculum is appealing. Other sections of critical theory are applicable to my beliefs including showing both sides of a discussion. It is a continual dynamic process.
Thanks Rayleen. Working Towards Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood)