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Reflective Practice and Professional Development E124 ECA

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Introduction

ECA - Reflective practice and professional development. My Setting. The nursery school in which I work is a multi-cultural nursery which provides a wide and balanced learning environment for children between the ages of three and five. The nursery ensures that the children are happy, and in a secure and stimulating setting. The nursery follows the guidelines set by the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage. The nursery offers morning and afternoon places for the needs of 58 children from the local community. Which covers a wide range of cultures; Afro-Caribbean, Asian, White and a variety of other ethnic groups. The nursery offers a broad variety of resources divided between three adjoining rooms. The creative room houses the painting table, craft table, sticky table alongside the play-dough, science table and sand and water tables. The second room is the imaginative room, which consists of a home corner, small world toys, construction, puzzles and the music area. The final room is utilised for the computer, library and book corner, the writing and mathematics area, within in this room there is a sensory area and a TV, DVD and listening devices. All the children who attend learn through a combination of adult-led activities, play and child-initiated activities. All the practitioners at the nursery are professionals dedicated to the development and well being of children, who all have the shared view that children learn best either through play or initiating learning themselves. The staff ratio is one to eight. All the practitioners are experienced and well trained in all areas of the Foundation Stage Curriculum. There are three qualified teachers and another four members of staff who are BTEC or NVQ 3 qualified and who all have experience of working within this age group. The nursery aims and objectives are: To encourage the development of independence, caring for others, social skills and pride in their achievements: To help develop children's self-esteem and to ensure each child is able to integrate and be able to contribute to society with confidence: To be able to achieve their best in learning. ...read more.

Middle

I consider this activity to be supporting inclusive practice as I provided support to a child with a difficulty with fine motor coordination. When assisting this child to cut a potato, I placed my hand over her hand and guided the child then gradually reduced the amount of guidance until she was cutting the potato independently. Effective practice. We evaluate our provision by the use of regular audits in which we check all equipment is suitable and that there is enough provision for all children. We have regular staff meetings to discuss children's development, to discuss roles and responsibilities within the setting and where we can improve and how we can improve our designated learning area or change the routine for the children so all needs are being met. We do regular observations of children not only to asses their learning but also to find what equipment is being used and which is not. We then discuss our findings and come up with creative solutions to use the equipment. Also we send out questionnaires to parents every 6 months to see if they can see any areas they would like to see improved. We evaluate children's learning through the use of careful observations. We observe them in activities that are set by the practitioners and also when the children initiate learning themselves; usually through play. From these observations we are able to see what they are achieving and what they are not. For example a child had initiated a drawing and writing activity in the quiet room. The child had drawn a picture of all his family. The drawing paid good attention to details especially with colours and he had shown good pencil control as the drawing was very neat. He is 4years and 5 months old and he, was trying to write his name and his family members names, but I noticed that he was having great difficulty in doing this. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would help to clarify that children of all abilities regardless of special educational needs are welcome at the nursery. I will also discuss the findings of the resource audit and make staff aware of all the resources available. We should also discuss the possibility of selling the unused items to raise money for more inclusive materials and also, maybe, a fund raising day or activity, to help raise money for the more expensive sensory items and the replacement of the left handed scissors. Another area that needs to be discussed is the time allocated for talking to parents. I will suggest that there needs to be more time allocated for practitioners and parents to be able to talk. This could involve giving each member of staff an allocated day when they take their lunch a little later than usual, giving more flexibility for parents to talk to the staff who look after their children. For example a child attends morning nursery, five days a week. The member of staff has lunch normally around 11:40am, but on this allocated day lunch could be at 12:00, allowing the parent time to talk to a practitioner. I am aware that the role of practitioner is still evolving and that there are now many opportunities for professional development in the early years educational field. Study Topic 14 states that "practitioners need to reflect on professional development on a continuous basis in order to embrace new opportunities and challenges". (The Open University, 2004, Study topic 14, pg.33). My short term goal is to achieve a certificate in Early Years Education (Level 4) by December 2006. This will be an interim qualification as I am aiming to achieve a BA(hons) in Childhood and Youth Studies; with the long term objective of eventually becoming a SEN co-ordinator. I hope to fulfil this long term objective, and so help make a difference to the lives of children who have learning disabilities and other related disabilities. ...read more.

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