Unit 5-The principles underpinning the role of the Practitioner working with children

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Natalie Jones


Wirral Metropolitan College


Unit 5-The principles underpinning the role of the

Practitioner working with children

Section 1


Practitioners have the responsibility to maintain a professional relationship with children, families, colleagues and other professionals in a range of settings. When working in early years setting you will be expected to work with other professionals that may be on the same site as yourself or from the community where they will be required to come into your setting. For example if a practitioner is working in a children’s centre  a speech therapist may work on the same site but is you work on a small rural nursery the therapist may visit your setting regularly when required.

When working as an early year’s practitioner there will be codes of practice that underpin your practice. These will state how you as a professional are expected to conduct yourself within your role. Codes of practice are not the law but are set out by the employer for all employees to comply with within the setting, and will be relevant to pieces of legislation. Your employer will guide you through the codes of practice set out and they will also be available in your staff handbook. Codes of practice should be referred to and reflected upon frequently as a matter of good practice and to improve your own learning and performance. For example working in childcare you will find codes of practice related to, special needs, safeguarding children, managing behaviour, data protection, health and safety, confidentiality and many more. The main responsibilities of an adult working with children are, work part of a team, encourage parent’s active involvement and participation, meet the learning needs of each individual child and work according to the principles. As an adult working with children it is important that you are reliable and accountable for your own actions. Form the children’s point of view, reliability equates to security. If an adult is inconsistent in their approach, children will fell unsecure and may react with negative behaviour. As a early year’s practitioner you have to be self-awareness.

Working with parents is an essential part of your role as an early year’s practitioner. You will need to be able to listen to parents’ recommendations and wishes regarding their child and keep a relationship of mutual trust and respect. For children of all ages to obtain effective care and education, parents must be accredited as their children’s main carers and first educators. When working with parents it is really important to consider their wishes and to offer them high standards for their child. One of the most important principles when working with parents is to build relationships based on trust. As a practitioner you should not only be supporting the children but also the parents. For example, some parents may lack confidence with their children so always support them as much as you can but remembering to keep a professional relationship, they may feel de-skilled by your expertise, always ask parents views and ideas and get them more involved, share information with inexperienced parents and offer advice with care, and acknowledge what children learn at home. Communicating with parents is not easy for a practitioner and they may not feel confident enough, practitioners should seek advice from their line manager. When talking to parents you need to be really careful in what you say and how you say it because parents can be sensitive which could cause a unnecessary worried distressed parent, if that happens it is best to stay calm and be reassuring as you possibly can. As a practitioner you share information of events and exciting development immediately.

Communication with children effectively, you need to be aware of their level of development.  Whatever the age of the child you should always do the following, make good eye contact, check you have the child’s attention, don’t change the subject, avoid interrupting, don’t dismiss ideas or laugh at them, be aware of their stage of development, take an interest-they know when you don’t mean it and don’t allow others to interrupt.

Communicating with colleagues is really important like sharing important information with your colleague about a child can prevent something serious for example if a child suffers with asthma attacks you would make sure all the practitioners know about the child in case they have an asthma attack and the practitioner doesn’t know about it. Also communicating with your colleague could be willingness to share ideas or to change /develop and try new things in the setting to see if things work better. Levels of knowledge and experience you could talk to your colleague and find out what level and how experienced they are and work together.


Maintaining a professional relationship with adults and children is an important part of being a practitioner in childcare. Keeping information about children and their families confidential is essential in maintaining professional relationships because any information that is disclosed to the practitioner about the child or their family will be given to the practitioner in confidence so therefore as a practitioner you are obliged to store this information in the correct place and act upon this and respect the family’s wishes. Any information that is disclosed will be to protect the child. Disclosure of personal information is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The provisions of the DPA ensure that personal information held about any child’s cannot be used for purposes other than those for which it was originally supplied without the child parent/guardian’s consent. This prevents unauthorised disclosure of a wide range of information. For example if you put up lists to remind you of medications, new words or skills a child is practicing, do not out the child’s name or any other identifying information on the lists. In addition to records and other written information, it is important that you maintain confidentiality when it comes to talking about children and their families. It is natural to want to share events of the day, progress a child has mad, or concerns you may have. Whenever you begin to describe a child to someone other than the child’s parents. Confidentiality is being jeopardized. For a variety of reasons, a few parents may be reluctant to allow the release of records or information to you. They may be unsure about how the information will be used for example, or fear that if you know everything about child’s disability, you will treat the child differently. That is their right and many parents feel obligated to protect their child’s records. As you develop a collaborative partnership, it is likely that parents will eventually recognize your need for more information about their child. If not, this is a decision you as a practitioner must respect and accept without judgement.

Also working in partnership with parents contributes to maintaining a professional relationship. This is by communicating with the parents and always tells the parents what the child has done in their day something so simple is vital information about the child. Communicating doesn’t just mean by talking you could also tell the parent what the child has done in different many ways. For example parents evening, open days, meetings, sports day, festivals, school trips, school helpers, homework diaries, parents notice boards, PTA’s parent teacher association, reply slips, arrival and departure and many more. All of these are getting the parents involved in their children’s learning development and helping them progress and improve. This also builds the parent’s confidence and makes them feel content when their child is in the setting and they know where their child is up to on the individual education plans. Also this gives the parent and practitioner a chance to get to know each other professionally and the parent will feel comfortable disclosing any important information about the child to the practitioner.


Multi professional approach is importance of sharing information with other professionals through the multi-agency approach. Multi-agency approach is beneficial as the whole child is being considered. It may be that records are shared or that the records of the setting contribute to further assessments of the child. It is important to record activities so that the child’s success can be evaluated and progression can be made. This way changes can be made to improve the child’s development.  When observing the child in a setting the practitioners may be involved with a wide range of people for example ofsted, co-workers, parents, educational psychologists, mentors, social workers, health visitors and many more. The role of a professional/practitioner in a multi-disciplinary team is to share their expertise for the child’s sake. This approach is central to the success of the government framework Every Child Matters. This will mean none of the children that you care for will be excluded or disadvantaged because of ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, special educational needs, disability or ability. Whatever the circumstances you will only be able to respond fully to the needs of the children. There are also a range of multi-disciplinary teams who work with children including, behaviour support teams, sure start teams, health awareness teams, and family centres. The advantages of working part of a multi-disciplinary team are, each professional has a different role and different expertise, and a range of expertise is needed to meet the varying needs of the children. In order to be an effective part of any multi-disciplinary team working for children are, feel valued, welcome and respect colleagues views and points, attend regular meetings, attend training as needed, be prepared to adapt practice for the child’s benefit, and ensure members are welcome whatever their status, for example part-time or from another service or agency. Everyone who is working part of a multi-agency approach must come together and it is essential that everyone communicates well and understands their roles and responsibilities. When child abuse is suspected, a multi-agency team come together to investigate and take any necessary steps to protect the child and support the family. The team usually comprises child protection specialists from social services, the police and health professionals. You as a practitioner may be asked to attend this meeting. It is important that when giving information to others you are giving the right information and accurate as you can and keep everything confidential.

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Reflection is an important part of working with children in any setting. It is a circular process whereby you think about what you have done and how well it went, get feedback from others and consider what you will do differently next time. As an early year’s practitioner, reflection gives you the ability to develop and improve your working practice. It is important to reflect on practice, reflection gives you the ability to develop and improve your working practice for next time. If children didn’t enjoy the activity given to them then it’s not a good activity ...

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This is a very good essay with a considerable amount of information about the factors that affect practice in a child care setting. It is accurate and detailed throughout. There are areas that could be expanded but it is perfectly adequate to stand as it is. *****