Children and their environment <ul><li>T he motivation to interact with the environment is in all children as an intrinsic property of life, but the quality of the interactions is dependent upon the possibilities for engagement that the environment provides. A child's development is directly linked to their ability to interact with their environment. Children develop an understanding of themselves through their interactions with events and materials outside themselves. </li></ul>
Childcare Environments <ul><li>Q uality child care environments have: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>• an age-appropriate, child centred curriculum; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• a variety of inviting equipment and play materials accessible to children; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• sufficient and uncluttered space for active play with an additional cosy space set aside for individual and quiet play; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• many colourful photographs and pictures including the children’s own art work displayed at their eye level; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• windows that provide natural light. </li></ul></ul>
The Play Space <ul><li>A quality program must provide meet the three basic needs all children have: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>• Protecting their health & safety; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• Developing positive relationships; and, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>• Creating learning opportunities </li></ul></ul>
Environments and behaviour <ul><li>T he arrangement of the environment plays a key role in guiding the behaviour of young children. A poorly arranged physical setting actually sends messages which may trigger behaviour such as aggressive play, running, or superficial interactions with toys and materials. Altering the physical space and layout of the room can eliminate such challenging behaviours. </li></ul><ul><li>For example : Include cosy and well-defined play spaces to discourage running indoors. Wide-open areas tend to encourage children to use the space for rowdy, high-speed play. </li></ul>
Arranging space <ul><li>U se the physical arrangement of space to suggest play activities and give children cues that define the play you expect in that space. For example, if blocks are stored in a box without a clearly defined space for block play, it is likely that children will not see how to use these materials appropriately. </li></ul>
Types of challenging environments <ul><li>Physical risk and challenge </li></ul><ul><li>learning how to negotiate natural hazards such as ice, tree -roots, rocks or slippery leaves </li></ul><ul><li>developing skill in negotiating the physical environments of home and early years setting </li></ul><ul><li>learning how to use tools and equipment safely and purposefully </li></ul><ul><li>developing control and coordination of their bodies. </li></ul><ul><li>Social and moral risk and challenge </li></ul><ul><li>developing an understanding of the expectations and rules within different social settings </li></ul><ul><li>developing reasoning skills </li></ul><ul><li>learning to negotiate with others, including learning to say ‘no’ to others. </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual risk and challenge </li></ul><ul><li>trying out new ideas and being willing to ‘have a go’ </li></ul><ul><li>solving problems </li></ul><ul><li>being resourceful, inventive and creative. </li></ul>
Risk Assessment <ul><li>What do practitioners need to do? Effective risk assessment and management requires practitioners to address the following issues: </li></ul><ul><li>Distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable risks and remove any hazards </li></ul><ul><li>When carrying out any risk assessment it is essential to balance the benefits of an activity (or of using a piece of equipment) with the likelihood of coming to harm and the severity of that harm. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a systematic maintenance programme </li></ul><ul><li>Obviously in group settings the wear and tear on equipment is considerable and each team needs to have a planned programme of inspection and maintenance. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish and display expectations for behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>The most dangerous settings for young children are ones where there is no clear behaviour policy and where the staff are inconsistent in their management of the environment and the children. Ensure all adults understand their responsibilities and are supervising effectively both indoors and outside. </li></ul><ul><li>Actively encourage children to assess risks and consequences </li></ul><ul><li>An important aspect of teaching children about risk is to encourage them to make their own risk assessments and think about the possible consequences of their actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate about risk and challenge with parents and other members of the community </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioners have a responsibility to share their knowledge with colleagues, governors, parents, students and visitors. Only through regularly sharing knowledge, experience and strategies with others, will we reach a point of mutual understanding and trust. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to parents/carers about their child’s learning </li></ul>
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