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Early Years Practitioners are able to meet the children’s educational needs and care needs as they must allow the children in the Early Years Setting to discover and explore independently with the areas and objects around them, to allow them to find out what they enjoy learning and playing in. All settings in Early Years must follow the criteria of the Early Years Foundation Stage, this being Development Matters and the Statutory Framework. Child-Centred play is “used to refer to ways of teaching and treating children in which the child’s needs and wishes are the most important thing” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2018).
In Development Matters, the practitioners role is that they must support the Prime and Specific Areas, the Prime Areas being; Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Communication and Language. Specific Areas include; Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. The role of the practitioner is supporting the children’s options, for example, in my current private nursery placement the practitioners always allow children choose which area they would like to play in and go to that area to encourage and support them in the prime and specific areas, such as, if a child goes to the home corner to play the EYP will go into that area to work specifically with them children to help build their confidence as well as promoting sustained shared thinking, this being asking the child or children open ended questions that they can answer with their own imagination and thoughts, these questions are usually “what are you making today?” or “who are you dressing up as today?”. This allows children to decide for themselves and encourages child-centred practice and play.
Early Years Practitioners must take knowledge and know what their key children as well as other children in their setting are capable of, what they enjoy and who they are. In this they must identify the child’s individual needs and interests. Practitioners should recognise an opportunities when children are in play, for example, if your key child is playing with something they usually don’t the practitioner should see this as an opportunity to take note of what they are doing. An example of this could be, in my setting there was a child that usually only plays in the home corner but this day went to the small world area to play with the people and cars, their key person recognised this and sat in the area with the child, asking them to describe what they were doing and observing what they were doing with the cars and people. The practitioner is there to support the child and put the child in the centre of play and learning.
Children enjoy doing what they want, this could be always being in the construction area playing with the blocks or in the reading area, reading or looking through books. The practitioner must know that individual children will want to do different things, every child is a Unique Child.
Cambridge Dictionary (2018). Child-centred. [Internet]. Available at: < https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/child-centred > [Accessed: 23/01/2018].
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