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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Getting to know our children

    Early Days at School by Margaret M Hutchinson - Child Education 1957 part 2 Getting to know our children from the parents, child and teachers perspective

     

    Following on from the first part in this article, encouraging us to reflect on the road we would like to travel with the children, the author then asks us to think about the transition to school from the point of view of each of the V.I.P.s involved; the parents, the child and the teacher.

     

    The Parents

    Our partnership with parents/carers in Early Years is central to ensuring effective practice so taking time to reflect on parents expectations and hopes for their child as they start school will help us to understand their perspective.

    In this article Margaret Hutchinson comments:

    "Parents inevitably regard education as a mastering of those basic subjects which will make the child into a literate person, able to hold his own eventually in the competiion for jobs in the adult world. Many parents see education as something more than this, of course, but find it difficult to put the 'something more' into words. I always think that the parents' conception of education grows and develops as the children themselves grow and develop at school."

    Reflection:

    What do the parents of the children you work with hope for their children? How do you know? How can you build a shared understanding of education?

    The Child

    " Parents may be thinking of education in terms of where it will lead the child eventually, but the child knows nothing of such words as 'education' and 'the future' All life, here and now, is to him an education and everything he does is done in the light of experiment."

    The child's curiosity and willingness to explore the wider world comes alongside growing independence and starting school is the next step in a child's learning.

    Reflection:

    What is the child's perspective on starting school? How can we support them through the transition? Do we offer children the opportunity to explore and learn through experimentation? Can they create their own theories and communicate their thinking through a wide range of media? 

     

    The Teacher

    " Perhaps the most important point for us to realise as the child walks into school is that here is someone with five conscious years of growth and experience behind him...he is anything but a 'clean slate' upon which we may write his future. His future is inexorably tied up with the past and the present."

    Reflection:

    Do we value those years of experience before the child starts school? How do you get to know each child as an individual? Do you listen to each child - using all your senses and to their verbal and non-verbal cues? How do you ensure each child is being offered appropriate learning experiences to interest, motivate and challenge their thinking?

    I think what was important then is still important now...do you?

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