Choosing childcare as a career…
Whatever your age or experience, childcare especially early years is one of if not the most rewarding jobs- shaping little humans into the future and helping them form a memorable learning journey.
Whether you choose to go to college full time or complete the qualifications whilst on the “shop floor” there are certain things you will need to be prepared for, lets get the first most important thing out of the way… its not all play for us practitioners… so lets look closely and get our prospective practitioners on the road…
Introducing you to communication within young children’s settings…
When you think of the word “communicate” what springs to mind? speaking… very true but there are a number of ways people and children communicate and for many different reasons.
To have a conversation, to respond to someone, to share an idea, express a view- maybe in words, gestures, a list, pictures or these days email/text.
So why is communication important?
Communication is essential, how otherwise are you able to express your wants, needs, likes or dislikes- effective communication means you are able to send and receive information to another person with a clear message.
A key input is to always be aware of how others may feel comfortable, some people want to know you are fully listening to them and to do this remember your body language, the responsive nod of the head and where possible eye contact, personally I like to see a person is listening rather than just hearing me so I will always ask “is that ok?” or “does that make sense?”.
Remember for some, verbal words are not the best form of communication- think of someone who has hearing difficulties- they rely on you to be facing them to enable them to read your lips as you talk, some may find simple signs helpful or picture prompts.
It is essential you are fully aware of some communication strategies to support all people including your fellow staff team, parents/carers and children.
Our youngest children are indeed non verbal at the very beginning and will take responses from your facial expressions, even the shyest of people will respond and notice a smile!
Within Early Years there are a number of people you will come into contact with where you will need to relay information… lets take a snap shot look and how you can do this…
Collegues, team members and management:
There will be numerous messages, tasks and day to day jobs you need to do and ways to communicate these will include… message boards, dairies, verbal discussions and rotas to enable everyone to see what needs and has been done.
Parents and carers:
There will be lots of varied information you may need to share regarding their childs day…
Daily diaries, newsletters, handover discussions, online learning journals of their childs day, photographs, posters, social media updates.
Other professionals and visitors:
There will be numerous professionals in and out of the setting and prospective parents so how do we communicate with them too making them feel welcomed into the setting?
Visitors diary, welcome boards, tours of the setting and a simple hello with a wave!
Think of the youngest to the pre school they have milestones in communication- they learn first by watching, then copying, repeating and eventually having their very own conversation with you!
Think about the environment in play rooms, the photographs, the single words, the pictures, the way you speak, the tone of voice…
You must always be prepared to look at the differing ways to relay a message across to everyone, reduce the barriers and understand the importance of ensuring that what you need to share or indeed what some one else needs to may come to you in many different ways.
And if you don’t fully understand ask… whether this be verbally, leaving a note or looking around at various prompts the answer will find you.