Child centred approach
Reflect on the importance of a child centered approach in early years setting A child-centred curriculum offers children the opportunity to make choices about what, how and who they want to play with. It enables children to progress and develop at their own pace. Good practice in an early setting will consider the child’s needs, likes and dislikes and adapt the planning of learning. It enhances the child’s growth and development and also makes them feel valued. It gives the child the right to freedom as well as learning alongside play.
Practitioners need to make sure they put the child central as it encourages the child to progress. Practitioners need to make sure that they recognise the child’s voice and capture their ideas so they can achieve. To make sure that they are putting the child first, they shouldn’t use ideas from craft books or anything that may interest the practitioner, for example rabbits, not all children like rabbits so practitioners should put the child’s interest first. It is important that practitioners let the children be creative because it helps ‘children express and cope with their feelings’, (http://www.pbs. org/wholechild/parents/play. html, 23/11/12) for example if a child is angry then they will express their feelings through painting or drawing. The child-centered approach is important so that the children have positive attitudes towards learning, for example, if a teacher didn’t listen to the child and never planned around their interests, then the child would have a negative attitude towards learning whereas if the teacher put them central, then the child will be more positive as they have been valued.
Children concentrate better if they are interested in something and children that have been listened to gain high self-esteem. Observing children in the setting is important to understand the child’s progression and understanding, it also shows what their likes and dislikes are and the EYFS supports this- ‘observe children to find out about their needs, what they are interested in and what they can do’ (principle into practice, enabling environments, observation, assessment and planning, 3.1) so that the practitioners can adapt their planning towards the needs of the child. At Bracebridge Heath Pre-school, practitioners will always carry around with them a jotter to write down their key child’s learning progression. Observations are there to identify their next steps. For example, child A at the setting didn’t like to touch the play dough, she would observe others but encouragement meant that she sat down and started to feel it. One way in which the setting doesn’t use the child centred approach is by using themes.
The setting has created an autumn board for the children to decorate, but child B doesn’t like paint therefore he can’t engage in the activity. If a child centred approach was used this would benefit the child because the child would be interested in the activity, and if a child is interested, there is more opportunity for the child to learn something new. A negative aspect of the child centred approach is that the setting may not have enough resources or space for every child’s interests to be put forward and there may not be enough money to provide lots of resources.
High Scope always get ‘children to plan their own activities (planning is “choosing with intention”)’(http://www. highscope. org/Content. asp? ContentId=410) meaning that they tell a practitioner what they want to do and they go and do it. Then afterwards the children then reflect on their planning, what they have done, what went well and what didn’t go so well. More nurseries are introducing High Scope as well as EYFS as they believe children learn and gain experiences better.
This is important as children will learn to understand the differences from what went wrong in an activity and what was successful. If a practitioner explains to a child what they have done well, then the child is more likely to do the same thing again, this is called positive reinforcement. Vygotsky’s theory of a child’s development is completely different to the EYFS and High Scope. Vygotsky believed that children needed input from a ‘more knowledgeable other’ (http://psychohawks.wordpress. com/2010/11/03/theories-of-cognitive-development-lev-vygotsky/, 23/11/2012) such as a teacher or a parent. This means that children are going to learn more through the input of an adult rather than learning by themselves. Other theories believe that children learn at their best through play, whereas Vygotsky believed that children ‘learn from instruction’ (http://psychohawks. wordpress. com/2010/11/03/theories-of-cognitive-development-lev-vygotsky/, 23/11/12). Word Count – 660