At least 4 significant events have been critically analysed in a WIX website/10
An area of strong performance in teaching children from birth to 3 years has been identified and critiqued to identify why performance is strong in this area.
• An area that requires strengthening has been identified and has been analysed
• Current, academic literature is used to support the discussions
The Significance of Infant Growth and Development
The first few years of growth of infants or young children is very significant as they grow and develop gradually. The child develops in all areas like social, physical, cognitive, emotional and language. Young people generally learn from the people and world around them by seeing, tasting and smelling things. According to NCASS (2009), maintaining positive relationship and communication with the baby enhances their growth and development speed. During my ten days professional experience; I acknowledged that infants require more secure trust relationship with their primary educator. This helps them to become confident learner and creates a sense of identity and self development. When the baby feels secure and safe in their present environment they show positive growth signs.
As a pre service teacher during my two weeks training period, I had good opportunity to actively participate in the orientation process with the new children, their families and present staff members. I was able to find different creative areas of the orientation process organized between childcare centre and the kindergarten. Since this was the first time I was working around babies for long hours .This was also the first time I contributed my professional teaching practice and engaging orientation process with other educators. The seeds room had 27 new babies this year and 12 babies were enrolled per day. Second day of my placement I had opportunity to interview and conduct induction process with the room leader for the new parents. Orientation process was very flexible and went smoothly with the babies and their parents. On the first day at the centre the baby and the parents were allowed to stay together for two hours. On the second day, the parents were not allowed in the room.
According to the NQS (2017), standard 6.1 and elements 6.1.1 status there is an effective enrolment and orientation process for families. Furthermore, I learned effective orientation process is very important for the families, young children and to the educators. As quality care and best practice is provided for the all the stakeholders. During the orientation process the room leader introduced regular staff who worked there every day. Room routine, meals and snacks and child special diet requirements and needs were looked after. While filling the enrolment form the educators are informed if the child has allergies, any special medical condition (News You Can Use, 2010). They are informed about parent’s goals regarding their child, which needs to be fulfilled within certain period. The room reader asked parents to fill a form about their child’s interest. It included current development milestones, cultural background, and favourite foods. The food list consisted information’s like, foods that the baby has not tasted. For example, a parent informed that her baby can only eat vegetarian and dairy foods. Some parents mentioned no red meat were to be allowed in the meal for their baby. I sat with a few parents during their orientation days. I noticed all parents wanted to make sure that their baby is safe, secure and comfortable so that their child is healthy. Seeds room set up smooth orientation strategies based on individual child needs, respecting parent’s values and believes.
Importance of Maintaining Positive Relationship During Orientation Process
During my professional experience period I had huge opportunity to actively engage in babies’ regular routines .It was strategically set up for individual child according to their arrival time, meal times, preparing formula, nappy changing and sleeping and rest times etc. I observed how important smooth transition and routines affected the families, children and the educators. This helped to build positive relationship with each other and acknowledged each party’s values and respected their needs and interest. Especially when the baby is first time moved to the new care setting away from the home environment. ACECQA (2017), stated quality areas 2; children’s health and safety, element 2.1.2 each child comfort is provided for and there are appropriate opportunities to meet each child’s needs for rest, sleep and relaxation. The example is in the seeds room educator who works in early shift. Each child who is present is listed by the educator. The educator notes the child’s sleep schedule, meal and bottle times etc. It helps other educators to identify and provide best care according to the individual child needs. Each child has different sleeping patterns.
During my second week of placement we had an incident in which a mother came with her seven month old baby on the second day of her orientation. The mother explained how her baby needed to be put to sleep on the cot. She further mentioned about her baby’s habit to sleep on her tummy. According to the (NCAC, 2011) fact sheet elaborates safe sleeping guidelines of babies. Making babies sleep on their back is safe and provides better airway. Moreover, making them sleep on their tummy is not a safe sleeping pattern as the baby might choke or vomit. The centre coordinator asked how the baby sleeps and I explained the information provided by the child’s mother. I also read out the safe sleeping fact sheet in the baby’s sleeping room displayed already. After that coordinator had positive discussion with the mother, I explained centre sleeping practice and also provided the NCAC safe sleeping fact sheet copy.
Learning through routines (2012), described young children are allowed to navigate and continue challenge of learning and doing experiment with new things from the safe and comfort boundaries that are created by routines. Routines help young children to learn what to expect at different times in the day and children develop their confidence skills, social skills participating regular meal times, music and dance and group activity. It also decreases their anxiety level making them familiar with the new environment (Campbell and Jobing 2012).
Overview of the Orientation Process
I actively followed the room routine and sometimes I applied strategies that were best for the child. I supervised the baby all the times and made them comfortable. During the first few days with the young infants in the new setting and tried to build positive relationship. Learning activities about each and every child helped me in understanding their needs and interest. As an example, during the meal times I would try to talk to them and maintained eye contact while feeding them.
Natural resources are encouraging young children to explore and doing experiment by using all their senses. Providing safe natural materials such as leaves, pine corn, soft wood pieces, flowers, shell, rocks and feathers develops children’s curiosity. It also increases infant’s memory skills such as recognising colours, shapes and mass of the items. Discovery (2002). Coonans Hill early learning centre follow Reggio Emilia teaching approach and they provide wooden toys, soft fabric items, wooden musical instruments, wooden blocks and wooden push and pull toys and carts for young children. Quality areas (2016), described Reggio Emilia teaching practise identity and value the Environment “as a third teacher” for young children.
I carefully observed the infant’s interest, development and needs within the new environment. As most of the babies were on orientation process during that time. After my observation I planned and implemented treasure box experience. The activity enhanced children’s knowledge by exploring natural materials. I provided natural resources such as wooden pieces, soft fabric, fabric toys, cardboard box, and wooden shakers. After I received comments for my activity from the coordinator, I decided to make sure that next time while planning an activity for the infants I will be careful in choosing the equipment and materials, especially for toddlers. Initially, I added some fabric strings in the treasure box but the coordinator asked me to remove them. She explained to me that fabric strings is not safe for the infants and toddlers, because they might wrap it around their neck.
NQS (2017), stated quality areas 3, element 3.2.1 outdoor and indoor space are designed and organised to engage every child in quality experience in both built and natural environments. While contributing to the treasure box activity I noticed infants observed the texture of the objects and materials and they tried to play in various ways with the resources. DEEWR (2009), described children becoming familiar with the world and exploring around them. Playing with natural materials also helps the child to differentiate between living and non-living things. After implementing treasure box experience, I initiated sensory board experience to the infants. I displayed on the felt board 3D shaped animals and environmental objects. The experience encouraged children to feel the texture and increased the infant’s observation skills about manipulating various materials.
Importance of Smooth Transition and Routines for Infants
EYLF (2009) stated the children develop their senses respect to the natural environment and resources. The seed room indoor settings are safe for the infants as the furniture and equipments provided are appropriate and suitable for the child. Lorina (2015), described indoor setting environment is most important for child’s development. Physical environment should be welcoming, stimulating and create positive learning space for the young children and also their families. It helps the children to develop their future skills, interest and become confident learner.
The educator has provided well organised quality space for meal, separate sleeping area for the infants. Moreover, other facilities like, wooden car with road track, reading and relaxation area that had wide glass door to enable them to look outdoor while other children are playing. I recognised that some activity and position are not welcoming and inviting to the infant. As the young children can’t access or reach them easily. For an example, the jungle animal activity was set up in a corner of the room near the store room door. The activity was invisible to young children and the animal figures were too small to catch their attention. If the educators would make some improvement in the activity, like adding wooden pieces, some rocks, leaves and large size animals figure, it would be worthy. Further believe it would become a great activity for the infants as they can develop their imagination and memory skills by exploring in various way.
The centre policy forbids hanging any posters or displaying pictures on the wall. I felt that displaying large size pictures, posters and environmental images on the wall would help in creating attractive learning environment for the babies. Some of the infants learn to walk by holding chairs and wall. Displaying things can increase their knowledge and growth in various ways (Community Child Care Victoria 2011). Setting up appropriate environment is the part of the curriculum. As a pre-service teacher, I reflect my own teaching practice and share my ideas with the team every day by observing children’s interest and skills using different pedagogies. During my two weeks’ time I noticed the room set up indoor is not enough for meeting young children’s interest and developmental needs. Coonans Hills Early Learning Centre (2017), described the educator planning learning space and the activity for the young children as well as the educator needs assess environment aspect as a curriculum.
Safe Sleeping Guidelines for Infants
During my professional teaching period I learnt different teaching practices and engaged with the educators and the babies for the first time. I believe that I made good contribution with other educators while reflecting my own teaching practices. I applied best teaching strategies in various ways according to the situation. It helped me to build my confidence level and become a qualified person in childcare field for young children. Throughout my placement, I daily observed the infant’s conversation with the educators before I planned my learning experience. Each day I analysed my teaching practice and planned it accordingly before implementing my activities. I developed my knowledge and skills with the babies, made strategies to work well that might change or further improve forget best outcomes to the infants. I chose standards 1 and standards 7, according to the Australian graduate teacher’s standards levels linked with my teaching practice.
It was a great opportunity to engage with young babies while they were on orientation period. As a teacher, I improved my professional knowledge by researching documents (my time, my place), web sites, articles and EYLF documents. Like the infants and toddlers learn and responds to their needs including development domain. I observed the babies on a daily basis, like what captures their interest. Moreover, the cultural background, strengths, skills and needs also helped in ascertaining the parent goals that was set up for their children individually in the orientation process.
I performed well after choosing appropriate learning experience for the babies who get first hands on experience with the new environment setting from the home setting. I implemented six learning experience to make sure that the infants are able to meet the physical, social, language and intellectual development through the learning process (Gowrie Victoria 2013).
My teaching performance proved to be successful because I applied activities based on child interest and supported their learning and development. For example, I set up water play experience adding floating objects and fish. The infants and toddlers both had great times engaging with the water activity. I have strength and confidence to create safe stimulating indoor and outdoor environment. This was reflected by my daily basic practice through planning meeting with my colleague reviewing children’s interest, needs and capabilities. Extending my treasure box activity to the sensory board experience I further improved my knowledge. I understood the relevance of changing the resource and materials according to the age of the child for their safety.
Learning through Routines
To further enhance my teaching practice I would plan and implement play base learning program using intentional teaching methods for infants such as using natural age appropriate materials, resources based on child needs and interest. I would also like to research and read significant articles, websites, books and various documents. This would help me with ideas to create quality inclusive learning programme by knowing individual child growth.
I need be aware while choosing objects for infants for their learning experience. I would ensure that the materials are safe and of high quality. Because I learned good teaching practice when I implemented treasure box experience. The coordinator helped in showing the importance of the coordinators remove some little shakers from the box as the item was small and the shakers could easily break and injured the infants. She also removed long fabric strings and informed that the children might wrap it in their neck or they can easily put it into their mouth. Next time, if given a chance, I would provide better services and learning practices for the young children
Working along with the supervising coordinators and teachers help me in providing the sufficient feedback for my learning practices and assisted me in creating effective strategies for teaching. The family event organized by the kindergarten proved to be a golden opportunity for me by strengthening my ability to communicate effectively with the child parents. Moreover, it provided ability to engage professionally with the infant’s parents and extended family members. This approach helped me to take active participation in the curriculum development process within the child care centre. I learnt the practices to achieve the most effective learning outcome required for the children. Efficient development of child’s curriculum requires clear vision, clarity of purpose and ambitious goals. This requires adequately attending the outcomes, principles and practices for a better approved learning framework. The major role or ability of educational leader is being able to work efficiently with the educators by providing proper direction for the curriculum. Moreover, to ensure that the child achieve the desired outcome by practising the provided approved learning framework.
According to Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relation (2009), the previous childhood professionals that worked in partnership with the infant’s family were committed to build efficient links between the home and outdoor setting. This facilitates in providing greater growth and consistency opportunity for the child within the community. Moreover, Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (2017) suggested that the families can easily provide crucial information related with child’s strengths, interests and abilities besides giving proper feedback. This approach helps in supporting the nominated supervisors, coordinators and educators to create improvements plans. The plans are practical in nature as it focus in meeting all the needs required for the growth of children and their families. The childhood professionals work collaboratively by sharing vital information and their plans to enhance the child learning and development process. The groups understand each other’s skills, expertise and practise and provide referrals when it is required (Campbell and Jobing 2012). The professional helps in building the child’s prior experiences and learning to build the continuity process for their development and learning. The childhood professionals communicate and plan in partnership to achieve the best practise.
The Use of Natural Resources in Early Childhood Education
The childhood professionals should work together across settings to manage positive transitions for the infants. The previous childhood professionals needs to understand the significance of ensuring long term continuity for the child education and further they work together to build up child’s knowledge and experience. The professionals should be willing to gain knowledge and learn from each other. They can improve their skills by sharing their diverse area of expertise as well as experiences. The professionals should be committed to the ongoing professional learning. Moreover, they should look for both informal and formal opportunities by increasing their understanding for better practices in early childhood. To achieve efficient practise in the child’s advanced learning and development the professionals should engage in sharing a common goal. They should use practices that would enhance their working relationships by respecting and valuing each other’s expertise (KidsMatter 2014). Through successful partnership, the professional should be able to communicate effectively about the child’s experience. The importance of communication between the settings would involve mutual respect for each other. It would facilitate in maintaining challenging and safe learning environment. Maintaining a harmonious relationship with the educators creates a better environment that would promote mutual respect for each other. This would further enhance the learners to develop and reflect their own values.
Australian children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, 2017, Guide to the National Quality Stand red, Australian Children’s Education Care Authority, (ACECQA),www.acecqa.gov.au
Campbell, C, and Jobing, W, 2012, Science in Early Childhood, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Vic.
Community Child Care Victoria 2011, Inclusion & Professional Support program , Developing Responsive Routines and Transitions Self-Guided Learning Package, IPSP, retrieved 8 February 2018, https://gowrievictoria.org.au/app/uploads/2016/02/Developing-Responsive-Routines-and-Transitions-_Dec12.pdf.
Coonans Hills Early Learning Centre, 2017, Coonans Hills Philosophy,Coonans Road, Pascoe Vale South.www.coonanshills.com.au
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Early Childhood Strategy Division, DEECD 2009, Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework For all Children from Birth to Eight Years, State of Victoria (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development), Melbourne.
Gowrie Victoria 2013, National quality standards: Professional Learning program, Becoming culturally competent - Ideas that support practice, No. 65 , retrieved 8 February 2018, https://embracekindy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/NQS_PLP_E-Newsletter_No65.pdf
KidsMatter 2014, Australian Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative, Connections with the National Quality Framework: Developing children’s social and emotional skills, Commonwealth of Australia, retrieved 8 February 2018https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/sites/default/files/public/KM%20Linking%20resources%20C2%20Book_web_final.pdf
Lorina, F, 2015, Childcare Room Setup, Aussie Childcare Net Work.www.aussiechildcarenetwork.com.au
NCAC,2011, safe sleep and rest in childcare, childcare quality assurance. www.ncac.gov.au
News You Can Use,2010, Environment AS Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers, Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Centre(ECLKC), Infants and Toddler Resources. https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/environments-as-curriculum-pdf-july-2010.pdf
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