In this report the author discusses the importance of self-awareness, effective interpersonal skills and the rights of the child all within an ECCE setting.
It also outlines how important it is to communicate effectively with children, families of the children and work colleagues.
It gives examples of effective teamwork and how to maintain a quality ECCE environment that complies with the regulations and standards of Áistear.
Self-Awareness is important within an ECCE setting as it allows you as a childcare practitioner to know your weaknesses, strengths, personality, beliefs, and also allows you to reflect on different situations. You will be looked up to by children from all different age groups and you need to be a good role model and have the realisation of when to change the mood or maybe even your body language to suit the current environment.
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Through using self-awareness techniques it allows you to look at yourself through other people’s eyes and then to maybe make changes about yourself to suit your professional role within the ECCE setting. Self-awareness is crucial as how you handle yourself when dealing with children will slightly differ to how you represent yourself when dealing with their parents or colleagues.
Interpersonal Skills play a big factor within an ECCE setting as it is a key role of all childcare practitioners. To be able to communicate effectively with children, parents and colleagues makes the job in hand easier to achieve. Some valuable steps to having good interpersonal skills are:
- Always smile as this gives off good energy and makes people comfortable and happy to be in your company.
- Always try to be positive and encouraging with all people within the workplace i.e. with children and adults.
- Ensure to take time to listen and observe peoples behaviours or actions, this will enable you to get to know and understand people on a more personal level.
- Always try to inject a fun atmosphere within an ECCE setting as this gives an overall feel good factor and makes the environment a more enjoyable place.
The United Nations convention on the rights of the child legislation came about in recognition of the importance for children to be respected and valued. This piece of legislation helps us require a recommended standard within the ECCE setting.
The following will outline some examples:
- To maintain children’s right to privacy and dignity always ensure when changing a child’s nappy to do so within the private nappy changing area or if a child should have a toilet accident always make sure to cover them up be as discreet as possible to avoid embarrassment and maintain the child’s dignity. This links in with the UNCRC legislation article 16 which says that children have the right to privacy.
- Maintaining safety within the ECCE setting is a very crucial step and is carried out in many different ways through door buzzers, CCTV systems, following the recommended child to adult ratio and Garda vetting of all staff. This links in with article 19 within the UNCRC legislation which states all children should be properly cared for.
- Any disabled child joining an ECCE setting should have their needs catered for and be able to participate freely and independently within the setting. E.g. if a child is in a wheel chair the childcare setting should ensure everything is easy accessible and at the child’s level so he/she can use facilities and toys at their leisure. This links in with article 23 in the UNCRC legislation.
- Most childcare practitioners realise the importance of having a good relationship with a Childs parents. Working with, involving and informing parents in the daily activities of their children helps to stabilise a good relationship and partnership between both parties. We should always ensure to make parents feel welcome through having parent days and informing them of milestones and progression with their children we can implement this through parent teacher meetings to set down a specific allocated time to discuss the child’s development.
- Communication with the child/children within the ECCE setting is our number one priority as the child is our main concern so looking out for their health and safety, their happiness and over all well-being is crucial. To ensure a high quality level of communication is enforced it is up to us to always listen to a child with our ears as well as our eyes, to always come down to their level when speaking to them and most important to make sure they feel comfortable and safe in your presence.
- Communicating with your work colleagues is a must as everyone needs to know what everyone else is doing to ensure a smooth running of the centre. It is up to each childcare practitioner to have a good understanding of the workplace rules and polices so everyone is inflicting the same polices throughout. This can be done through filling out forms accurately and always ensuring to inform your colleagues of any major incidents like if a child falls or you have administered a child with medicine.
Administering Medication is one example where teamwork within the ECCE setting is essential as if you do not communicate with your team members that you have administered a child with their medication the dosage and the time you administered the medication it could lead to a child being over dosed or not getting the correct amount at the correct time.
Planning an outing within the ECCE setting involves a lot of teamwork and planning. Through teamwork everyone knows what is expected of them and their role throughout the outing to ensure all of the children’s safety and well-being needs are catered for. Team members will be involved in the issuing of permission slips, booking a bus, ensuring the correct child- adult ratio is enforced and maybe a bit of brainstorming on the events that will take place on the day.
Putting an End of Year Concert together also involves a lot of teamwork as everyone will work together to pick out roles, costumes, music and themes for the children. There will be informing of the concert to the families of the children involved. Then there will be ensuring that the concert runs according to plan in accordance with the concert programme. The team members will be on hand to help or reassure the children throughout the performance.
Child protection cases that may arise is one great advantage when it comes to teamwork. This allows you to gather information and relay it back to your team members where they in turn will give you their opinion or advice on the situation and then as a team ye will make a collective decision on what action if any is needed.
Here are a few examples of how to maintain a quality ECCE environment using Áistear regulations and standards:
By organising a simple activity by where a child uses sand to draw shapes, numbers and pictures allows the child to communicate through play and through the use of their imagination. Then to get the child thinking about what they drew get them to explain their picture while asking questions that will get them to think how their picture relates to life and how people can read and understand their picture through the use of visual senses as well as language. This links in with Áistear’s communicating theme aim 3 and learning goal 3 which states “children will broaden their understanding of the world by making sense of experiences through language.
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Another good and interesting activity to do with children that would make them aware of nature and also of well-being would be to make bird feeders with pieces of string allowing the child the tread through pieces of food e.g. blueberries, cheerio’s, etc. and allow the child to put the feeder out for the birds to eat. This creates great interest in animals and the need to look after them an also gives them a good example of why different foods especially fruit is good. This links with Áistear’s principle of learning and developing within a holistic need for children.
By getting the children to participate in a family wall chart or birthday chart links in with Áistear’s theme identity and belonging aim 2 which states “children will have a sense of identity, where links with their family and community are acknowledged and extended.
In this report the author states the importance of self-awareness and effective interpersonal skills along with the rights of the child within an ECCE setting.
Notes the importance of effective communication with children, families and colleagues.
Gives examples of effective team work and how to maintain a quality ECCE environment that complies with relevant regulations and standards of Áistear.
Early Education and Practice Handbook. (2015). Creative Training.
google. (2015, may 29). google books. Retrieved from www.googlebooks.ie: https://www.google.ie/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=google+books+on+selfawareness&=
NCCA. (2015, 06 4). NCCA. Retrieved from www.ncca.ie: http://www.ncca.ie/en/Curriculum_and_Assessment/Early_Childhood_and_Primary_Education/Early_Childhood_Education/Aistear_Toolkit/
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