Monday, 28 February 2011

INDEPENDENT INDUSTRY ARTICLE

Building strong word of mouth

Childcare Sales Australia is proud to publish yet another article from Succeed Consultancy. This article is a one off article on the debate between Early Childhood Theories and parent expectations for their children in care.

By Tanya Clayson
Succeed Consultancy

www.succeedconsultancy.com.au

The Questions:

We all know that when families enquire or enrol at our services that one of the most frequently asked questions will be about the “school readiness programs” that are offered.

“What program do you implement?”
“Will my child learn to count?”
“Will my child be able to write their name?”

Does this sound familiar? Along with many other questions in relation to School Readiness programs?

As Early Childhood Educators we know that a child needs to be socially and emotionally ready to attend school. If they can count to ten, write their names and the say the whole alphabet that is great, but if they are not socially and emotionally ready to attend school this alone can affect their early years of schooling and children will find the transition to “Big School” challenging.

But the big question stands, “How do you educate families to understand this and as Early Childhood Educators how do we go against theory

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and curriculum practices that we have been trained and educated to implement with children in our care?”

“Will you ever change a parents mind set?”

We know that we should be implementing a curriculum with child choice and based on children’s interest not structuring our programs around a school readiness program.

How do you conquer this? Where can you find the balance?

Let me share with you my story, which gave me answers to these questions.

The Problem:

All my years of experience in Early Childhood both practically and through formal Tafe and University studies I have been taught about the Early Childhood Curriculum

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and how children learn best through having choice and experiences that are based on their interests. The many years of going through accreditation this is the practice that has always been in place.

After ten years of working with children in a Long Day Care Setting I decided that I would obtain my teaching number and become an Infants Primary Teacher. I was lucky to have the experience to work with children both in Kindergarten and Year Two. But coming from a very strong Early Childhood Background I was shocked at the vast difference of curriculums and teaching practices between Early Childhood

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and Primary School.

School was very outcome based, structured with set times for certain subjects and there was no free choice at all for children. For the children that had transitioned from a Preschool / Long Day Care setting they were very use to the free play, interest based learning and now had to adapt to the structured days of the Kindergarten Classroom. I began teaching towards the end of Term One so the children were slowly

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moving into this new routine but I could just imagine the first few weeks of school.

It is from here that I strongly believed that the different and vast variance between Early Childhood and Primary School most definitely needs to be bridged to provide the children with the opportunity to have a smoother transition. I guess overall it also opened my eye to why many families most often ask these questions especially if they have other children in a school setting.

The problem for me now was that I, being a very strong believer in providing children with free choice and experiences that are of interest to them for best learning, for the first time had seen the other side of school with learning experiences being very structured. I now believed that as an Early Childhood Educator there was a need to at least provide children with the opportunity to prepare them for the transition but without loosing the sight of the theories and philosophy of Early Childhood.

To make matters more complicated, another big key to Early Childhood is not only making the children happy but also the families of the children that are in our gambling online casinos care.

Looking at all of this and spending quite some time contemplating on how to get all aspects to come together was a difficult task. Considerations that I had to factor in were:

• Bridging the gap between Early Childhood and a School Setting
• Not loosing sight and the philosophy around Early Childhood
• Dictation of the NCAC quality practices guide
• Department of Community Services and theories for planning from here
• Staffing- How can I assist them in preparing children for school?
• Families- their wants, needs and beliefs around school readiness.

Yes, I can imagine what you are saying, “Wow so many questions to consider.”

It is from here that I developed my own school transition / readiness program, but with a twist and many careful considerations.

The Solution:

I surveyed families across various centres and asked for feedback on what they would like from the centre and teachers in relation to education and learning for their children the year before school. 99.9% of parents said they wanted some form of school readiness.

The school readiness program was developed to only be implemented into the Preschool Room for children attending school the following year for one hour every day of the week. It was based and set around the school weeks and terms.

I started with an overview of the school readiness program and clearly defined what was involved, how it would work and reasons for its development. This is available for each family to be given a copy.

The weekly programs are based around the New South Wales School Syllabus documents and one week may be Maths, the next English, then Science and Technology and so forth. Each day is a different experience, so for children that may come five days a week they will have a different experience to engage in daily. Each week the Educators are required to do an evaluation, as we do now with our programs but again this is not the main program for our room. It is only for one hour per day, with a teacher for children attending school the following year.

The Answer:

Compromise.

This is working well for both the educators and families as it is not taking away

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the Early Childhood philosophy that we all believe in but it is also catering for families mind sets and expectations of outcomes before their children attend school.

We still reinforce the importance of social and emotional readiness for school but we have accommodated this into the school readiness program. So as you can see, Educators are happy- we are meeting what we very strongly believe in and that is children need to be socially and emotionally ready for school

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AND Parents are happy – as they see a program enhancing their child’s education, even if it is based around our beliefs too!

Proudly brought to you by industry expert; Tanya Clayson from Succeed Consultancy.
Email: enquiries@succeedconsultancy.com.au , www.succeedconsultancy.com.au
Phone: 1300 077 248 Fax: (02) 4233 1568

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