Understand why effective communication is important in the work setting
Identify the different reasons people communicate. In order to indentify the reasons that people communicate it is important to understand what is meant by communication. According to the Oxford dictionary the definition is ” The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium” We exchange information with each other in order to establish and develop relationships. Through communication we can give and receive instructions, advice or warnings. We can share experiences, ideas and knowledge and learn from each other.
Communication is a channel to express feelings and emotions, our requirements and needs. Even before they can speak, babies and young children use communication to alert their carer to their wants, needs, and feelings. E. g. crying to alert someone that their nappy is dirty, putting their arms out to signal that they want to be picked up, or pointing at something that they would like. Good communication is a key requirement of my job as I interact with children and their parents/carers and other members of staff on a daily basis.
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In communicating and sharing with other members of staff we can ensure a continuity of care for the children and develop best working practices. In exchanging information with parents we can ensure that the needs of the children are met and we are kept informed of any changes in their home life. If a child has been unwell and brings in medicine to preschool, it is of upmost importance that details on medicine dosage are communicated effectively as incorrect administering of this could have serious consequences.
Regular staff meetings allow a communication exchange where ideas about activities and displays can be discussed, important information about policies and procedures for the setting can be shared, and the needs particular children can be reviewed. We are constantly communicating both verbally and non verbally. We exchange information through spoken word, email, text message, letters, drawings, songs and music. We also have to remember that we also communicate via our body language, eye contact, facial expressions and gestures so it is not just a case of what we say but how we say it.
Explain how communication affects relationships in the work setting. Good communication is essential within an Early years setting as our job relies on day to day contact with a diverse range people. These include work colleagues, parents, children and other professional agencies. Good communication allows these diverse groups to develop positive relationships where they can work together effectively and efficiently.
Poor communication has a negative impact on working relationships and can lead to misunderstandings, mistrust, low morale and can lead to feelings of anxiety, alienation or isolation and high staff turnover. In extreme circumstances it could even lead to anger and conflict. In order for me to develop within my role, it is key that there is effective communication between my manager, key workers and me. Positive relationships at work will allow me to share and gain information, support a child’s learning and work effectively as part of a team.
As an example, When asked to lead an activity with the children, having clear instructions communicated to me before I begin allows me to feel confident and equipped to run with it. Having the opportunity to express any concerns not only helps me to learn, but is an important part of a two way communication process. It is important to have good communication in place with parents so that a positive relationship is maintained and parents have confidence that their child is being well looked after.
When working with young children there is lot of information that needs to be exchanged between the parent/carer and their key worker. Information is routinely exchanged about how the child is feeling, their current likes and dislikes, updates on their development and changes in routine. At my setting there are lots of ways that we communicate with parents. A weekly email is sent out to which contains important information such as key dates when events are happening, details on parents consultation evenings, ways that parents can support their children, and the focus areas of the week.
Each child has a communication book and this is a valuable way to ensure that any pertinent information about the child is recorded. This could be the parents writing in the book to advise that they will be on holiday next week or the child’s key worker writing a note about a key observation that happened with that child that day. Good communication between the Early Years Practitioner and a child is key to developing a positive relationship and ensuring that the child is happy and settled and making the most from their preschool experience.
Showing an interest in the child helps to build their confidence, and understanding their likes and dislikes helps us to support them with their development and learning. The settling in period is a key time that can affect a child’s experience of school. Being friendly and welcoming and engaging them in activities that they are interested in will have a positive impact on them adjusting to preschool In some circumstances, the practioner may need to work with outside agencies from professional backgrounds such as social work, health & education.
Effective communication with these agencies to work together to achieve targets that will benefit the child. This communication may be on a more formal basis, and is important that information shared is accurate, clear, concise and non-judgmental. We must remember that communication is a two-way process; it is not just about sending the right message, but ensuring that this message is being correctly received and understood by the other person. There can be barriers to effective communication so it is important that we are aware of our differences and other constraints such as time pressures.
We need to be aware of individuals needs, wishes, values, culture and their belief system. Therefore a key skill in effective communication is being able to adapt to the needs of other people – eg speaking slowly and clearly to someone where English is not their first language and avoiding long words and jargon in non professional situations. Whether we mean to or not, we give messages to other people by the way we say things so we need to be conscious of the tone of our voice, our facial expression and our body language.
For example turning your back to someone can be rude so in order to build good relationships we need to be aware how we position ourselves. In conclusion, developing good communication skills is a key factor to be a good practioner in an early years setting. At work we come into contact with a broad spectrum of people from young children to professional agencies so we need to be able to adapt our communication style to suit the level of the individual we are engaging with.