Learning Outcome 1: ‘Children have a strong sense of identity’ is often used when children first start in a service or move into a new room but it is happening all around us all the time. Here’s 5 tips to support children with learning outcome 1.
- Advocate for the rights of the child: Consider whether the program (including routine, environment, experiences, interactions) is being done to the children or with the children. The more children feel like they matter and can trust those around them, the more they will feel secure and start to explore and challenge themselves. Therefore it is our role to consider whether we are allowing this to happen, by providing consistency and certainty, or whether we have constant changes and ignore the needs of the child.
- Provide opportunities for children to fail: Children of all ages learn by doing, so if things are done for the children because it is quicker/easier/cleaner then children don’t learn how to use their agency. They also are less likely to fail and therefore learn new ways around the problem or resilience as they keep trying until they succeed. Obviously we, as educators, need to offer support so a task is not so challenging a child becomes angry or upset, however we need to allow children the space to make mistakes and learn from these.
- Recognise children as capable and confident: If you assume that a child is an empty vessel that we must fill with our knowledge then you are going to limit their opportunities to show us what they know and can do. However if you think of children as capable and confident you will provide opportunities for them to show us what they are capable of. We cannot always control how resources are used and engaged with, instead if we sit back and watch how the children use them we can not only assess where their knowledge is but also learn from their creative uses.
- Play alongside the children: By simply relaxing and enjoying being with the children we can not only learn where they are at developmentally but also build meaningful relationships based around what is, and not what we expect something to be. The more confident and at ease a child is the more they will explore and engage with their surroundings.
- Nurture interactions and relationships: Creating spaces that allow for interactions and the establishment of relationships between children, and with the children, allows for an understanding of respect and empathy. It is also important to recognise the developmental level of the children and how a simple look from an infant could be as communicative as a 20 minute conversation with a 4 year old.
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