Professional Learning: Developing children s social and emotional skills Participant Workbook

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1 2 component Professional Learning: Developing children s social and emotional skills

2 Acknowledgement KidsMatter Australian Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative has been developed in collaboration with beyondblue, the Australian Psychological Society, Early Childhood Australia and, with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and beyondblue. Disclaimer While every care has been taken in preparing this publication, Beyond Blue Ltd, The Australian Psychological Society Limited, Early Childhood Australia Inc. and the Commonwealth of Australia do not, to the extent permitted by law, accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage suffered by any person arising from the use of, or reliance upon, the content of this publication. Important notice KidsMatter Australian Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative and any other KidsMatter mental health initiatives are not to be confused with other businesses, programs or services which may also use the name Kidsmatter. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2013 This work is copyright. Provided acknowledgment is made to the sources, early childhood education and care services are permitted to copy material freely for communication with teachers, staff, parents, carers or community members. You may reproduce the whole or part of this work in unaltered form for your own personal use or, if you are part of an organisation, for internal use within your organisation, but only if you or your organisation do not use the reproduction for any commercial purpose and retain this copyright notice and all disclaimer notices as part of that reproduction. Apart from rights to use as permitted by the Copyright Act 1968 or allowed by this copyright notice, all other rights are reserved and you are not allowed to reproduce the whole or any part of this work in any way (electronic or otherwise) without first being given the specific written permission from the Commonwealth to do so. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights are to be sent to : Communications Branch Department of Health and Ageing GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601 or via to: While the resources are available freely for these purposes, to realise the full potential of KidsMatter Early Childhood, it is recommended that the resources be used with the appropriate training and support under the KidsMatter Initiative.

3 Contents Introduction Recommended reading Professional Learning module map Guiding Principles of KidsMatter Early Childhood The four components of KidsMatter Early Childhood Target Areas of Component 2 Self care Module 1: Introduction to KidsMatter Early Childhood Component 2 Professional Learning Module 2: Social and emotional learning in early childhood Module 3: Relationships and children s mental health Module 4: Relationships as a foundation for social and emotional learning Module 5: Curriculum decisions and social and emotional learning Module 6: Putting it all together Module 7: A community of learners Wrapping up Notes References

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5 Introduction Welcome to KidsMatter Early Childhood Component 2 Professional Learning Component 2 focuses on developing children s social and emotional skills. This builds on the work your team has undertaken during Component 1: Creating a sense of community. This workbook contains a section for each of the seven modules, which will guide you through discussion, activities and reflection. This Professional Learning is supported by a range of videos that include early childhood and mental health professionals, as well as children. There is space for you to record ideas and reflections. We encourage you to use this manual to support your ongoing learning and professional development. KidsMatter Early Childhood would like to thank the following professionals and early childhood education and care services who contributed to this Professional Learning. Nichola Coombs Glenda Grummet Catharine Hydon Judy Kynaston Dr Nicole Milburn Professor Louise Newman Anne Stonehouse Dalaigur PreSchool Dorothy Wade Centre for Early Learning Early Learning Centre Eltham College Glen Eira Family Day Care Scheme (Janani Nathan) UWS Early Learning Penrith Child Care Centre YMCA Early Learning Centre Belconnen YMCA Early Learning Centre Jamison Janet Williams-Smith 03

6 Recommended reading Recommended reading for Component 2 Professional Learning KidsMatter Early Childhood: A framework for improving children s mental health and wellbeing, Component 2: pp Other resources that may assist with this Professional Learning Social and emotional learning: Talking about practice series, Early Childhood Australia Information for families and early childhood staff: Component 2 Developing children s social and emotional skills, KidsMatter Early Childhood Helping children manage their emotions Getting along: friendships and empathy Developing positive separations Helping children learn to make decisions Curiosity and confidence: developing motivation Children and play Managing life s ups and downs resources-support-childrens-mental-health/ information-sheet-index-0 04 Response Ability Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia Guide to the National Quality Standard In this three part video, Judy Kynaston talks to six educators about how social and emotional learning opportunities occur throughout the whole curriculum in all aspects of the children s experience. It also reminds educators of the importance of planning for these opportunities and using the lens of social and emotional learning to interpret and analyse their observations of and interactions with children. e-learning-videos/talking-about-practice/socialand-emotional-learning The Response Ability project provides free resources and support for universities and teacher educators. All resources are evidence-based, Australian-made and provided free of charge. The resources use a Problem Based Learning approach to explore the roles of teachers in promoting resilience and wellbeing and in responding to students who may have particular needs in regard to their mental health, feelings or behaviour.

7 Component 2 Professional Learning module map 1 Module Introduction to KidsMatter Early Childhood Component 2 Professional Learning Outcomes Understand how to use the online learning modules. Have an overview of Component 2 concepts. Celebrate successes related to Component 1 implementation Social and emotional learning in early childhood Relationships and children s mental health Relationships as a foundation for social and emotional learning Curriculum decisions and social and emotional learning Putting it all together Be informed of the social and emotional learning that takes place in the first five years. Be informed of the link between social and emotional wellbeing and mental health. Identify signs of children s social and emotional learning and development. Be aware of how relationships affect children s social and emotional learning and development. Develop a shared understanding of warm, responsive and respectful relationships. Understand the value of knowing children well. Identify practices that help build and maintain positive relationships with children. Understand the links between relationships and children s mental health. Understand the curriculum decisions that impact on children s social and emotional learning. Identify the features of an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service that support children s social and emotional learning. Recognise the concepts covered in Modules 2 to 6. Understand how service policies and practices influence children s social and emotional learning opportunities. 7 A community of learners 05 Understand the role of professional development and support in working with children. Identify the professional development and support currently available at an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service. Recognise the value of having professional conversations.

8 Guiding Principles of KidsMatter Early Childhood The Guiding Principles explain the beliefs and assumptions that underpin the KidsMatter Early Childhood initiative. These principles are designed to assist early childhood education and care (ECEC) services focus on the importance of children s mental health, to reflect on their service and orient them throughout the implementation process. The early years are critical to development and wellbeing throughout life. Children develop mental health within sensitive, nurturing and responsive relationships. KidsMatter Early Childhood Guiding Principles Reflective practice supports educators to understand and respond to children s emotional needs. Families are recognised as the most important people in children s lives. Play is essential to help optimise children s wellbeing, development and learning. Parenting and child development occurs within a diverse range of family systems, values and beliefs. 06

9 The four components of KidsMatter Early Childhood KidsMatter Early Childhood is divided into four components to ensure that the effort early childhood education and care (ECEC) services put into this initiative is focused across all relevant contexts and involves all the significant people influencing children s mental health. Each component concentrates on Target Areas that help ECEC services promote children s mental health and wellbeing. Component 1: Creating a sense of community Component 4: Helping children experiencing mental health difficulties Component 2: Developing children s social and emotional skills Component 3: Working with parents and carers The four components are: Component 1: Creating a sense of community This promotes feelings of belonging and connection for all children, families and staff and has been shown to have a positive effect on everyone s mental health. Component 2: Developing children s social and emotional skills Component 3: Working with parents and carers to improve children s social and emotional wellbeing and mental health ECEC services can share important information about the lives of the children in their care, including their experiences and preferences; and link parents and carers with appropriate information and education about parenting, child development and children s mental health. This is fundamental to children s mental health and affects their ability to learn. Skills include self-regulation, relating to others, resolving conflict, and feeling positive about themselves and the world around them. 07 Component 4: Helping children who are experiencing mental health difficulties ECEC services are well placed to identify when young children may be experiencing difficulties, to implement strategies to assist children, and to support families to seek additional help.

10 Target Areas of Component 2 TARGET AREAS GOALS Target Area 1 Relationships between children and educators Warm, responsive and trusting relationships between children and educators provide a foundation that allows children to learn and develop social and emotional skills. Service policies and practices are in place so that the opportunities for children and educators to form these relationships are maximised. Educators are able to help children deal effectively with a variety of feelings and behaviours. Educators have an understanding of the core social and emotional skills that are developing from birth to five years. Target Area 2 Children s social and emotional skill development Social and emotional learning is systematically considered in all experiences provided for children. The service creates opportunities for children to develop and practise social and emotional skills in their daily interactions with educators and peers. Educators intentionally teach core social and emotional skills. Educators make the most of spontaneous interactions that arise in children s everyday experiences as skill development and practice opportunities. Services provide information to families about the service s social and emotional curriculum and work collaboratively with families to assist children s development of social and emotional skills. Target Area 3 Staff development and support Educators knowledge, skills and capacity to foster children s developing social and emotional skills are enhanced at the service. The service has a systematic approach to staff development and support. Educators share knowledge and develop their skills through mentoring, professional conversations and reflective practice. 08

11 Self care Talking about topics that relate to mental health may trigger thoughts or concerns for our own mental health, or someone we know. Here are some useful contacts for individuals who would like to seek out support for mental health difficulties. beyondblue Tel: Information line Lifeline Tel: hour telephone counselling SANE Australia Tel: Information line: 9am-5pm weekdays Online helpline, factsheets, resources Australian Psychological Society FindaPsychologist Find a Psychologist service 09

12 Module 1 Introduction to KidsMatter Early Childhood Component 2 Professional Learning Module 1 provides an overview of the Professional Learning. The format is flexible, so it can be shaped to meet your needs, understanding and current knowledge of children s social and emotional learning and development and mental health. This is also an opportunity to share your learnings and successes from your experiences of Component 1: Creating a sense of community. Connections to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard The EYLF lists ongoing learning and reflective practice as one of the seven Principles that underpin educators work. Educators need opportunities to affirm, challenge, support and learn from each other (NQS Element 4.2.2) to assess their individual and collective strengths and needs and plan for improvement (NQS Element 7.2.3). These professional learning modules offer such an opportunity. Early childhood mental health and wellbeing is seen in the capacity of a young child within the context of their development, family, environment and culture to: participate in the physical and social environment; form healthy and secure relationships; experience, regulate, understand and express emotions; understand and regulate their behaviour; interact appropriately with others, including peers; and develop a secure sense of self. Early childhood mental health and wellbeing is related to healthy physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. Early childhood development and life experiences contribute strongly to a person s mental health and wellbeing during childhood and later in life. (HIMH & CSHISC, p.13) 10

13 Video 1.1 How to prepare for KidsMatter Professional Learning This video provides an overview of the resources and information you will need to complete KidsMatter Professional Learning. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. 11

14 Discussion Putting KidsMatter into practice How can our team work together through this Professional Learning package? What questions do I have about this Professional Learning? Who can help answer my questions? What do we want to tell families about our participation in KidsMatter Component 2? 12

15 Video 1.2 Introduction to Component 2 This video provides an introduction to Component 2: Developing children s social and emotional skills. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. 13

16 Discussion Preparing for Component 2 Professional Learning What have we learned throughout Component 1? What did we achieve in Component 1? What changes did we notice or make to our practice? How can we apply what we have learned in Component 1 Professional Learning to Component 2? 14

17 Activity Moving forward What is one thing I could do to prepare for Component 2 Professional Learning over the next week? What can we do as a service to prepare for Component 2 Professional Learning over the next week? Component 2 of KidsMatter Early Childhood is about developing children s social and emotional skills. When we think about mental health in early childhood we re really looking at children s social skills, their emotional skills, and their sense of self. Children being able to express themselves, experience a range of emotions and to regulate their emotions; being able to form close and satisfying relationships with others; and to feel positive about themselves is fundamental to their mental health and wellbeing. Glenda Grummet, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning 15

18 Reflections What am I hoping to learn throughout this Professional Learning? What would help me to make the most of this Professional Learning? 16

19 Making a difference This activity has been designed for you to take away and do before you move onto the next module. It will help integrate what you have learned during this session. Work towards putting in place the goals you set for yourself in Moving forward. You might also be interested in... 1 Donohue, C., Fox, S., & Torrence, D. (2007). Early childhood educators as elearners. Young Children on the web. Retrieved from org/files/yc/file/200707/donohue.pdf 2 Government of South Australia. Getting started with Professional Learning Communities Support pack. Department of Education and Children s Services. Retrieved from dlb.sa.edu.au/ac/ pluginfile.php/48/mod_resource/content/1/ PLC_Support_Pack.pdf 3 Hinkin, B. (2005). Confessions of a recovering knower. The Systems Thinker, 16(7), 2-6. Retrieved from 2012-leadership-forum.iste. wikispaces.net/file/view/system_thinker_ article.pdf 4 National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (Video) Building adult capabilities to improve child outcomes: A theory of change. Retrieved from developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/ multimedia/videos/theory_of_change/ 5 Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework. Evidence Paper Practice Principle 2: Partnerships with professionals. Retrieved from childhood/providers/edcare/pracpartner.pdf Module 2 is scheduled for: Date: Time: Venue: 17

20 Module 2 Social and emotional learning in early childhood Children s social and emotional development occurs within the context of their relationships with others. Children can be supported by providing repeated, consistent opportunities for the development, practise and integration of new learning. Social and emotional learning in early childhood lays the foundations for future learning, mental health and wellbeing. Connections to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard Social and emotional learning feature throughout the EYLF, particularly in the concepts of belonging, being and becoming and in the five learning outcomes. An educator s ability to support children s social and emotional learning is enhanced when they recognise social and emotional learning and development across the age range (NQS Element 1.1.2) and then use this information to plan and implement a curriculum that supports each child s learning and builds on their strengths and interests. The NQS also requires educators to engage in ongoing assessment of children s learning, including social and emotional learning (NQS Element 1.2.1). We re not born knowing how to manage our feelings; we learn how to manage our feelings. This is a job of infancy and early childhood, to learn how to manage one s own feelings. These skills develop in relationships with primary caregivers, like Mum and Dad, and with others, and this is where early childhood educators can come in to play very important role. Dr Nicole Milburn, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning Video

21 Activity Which social and emotional skills develop in early childhood? Social skills Emotional skills Educators play a very big role in promoting children s social and emotional development and learning. The first thing that comes to mind is through the relationships that they develop with children, that start from the very first encounter they have with families and children. Anne Stonehouse, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning Video

22 Video 2.1 Social and emotional learning and mental health Children develop socially and emotionally at their own pace, depending on a range of factors. Children learn in both areas at the same time each complements the other and supports children s mental health and wellbeing. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. Prosocial behaviours really mean socially effective and socially attuned interactions. So we re trying to help children develop a sense of how to live with others; and to help them to understand how relationships operate and what their values are in terms of those relationships. Professor Louise Newman, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning Video

23 Activity Linking social and emotional learning and development with mental health A number of factors can impact on children s mental health and wellbeing. Risk factors increase the likelihood that a child will experience mental health difficulties, while protective factors decrease this likelihood. The interaction between risk and protective factors is complicated, so even though a child might experience many risk factors in their life, it doesn t necessarily mean they will experience mental health difficulties. The risk and protective factors diagram on page 22 will help you complete this activity. Risk factors related to social and emotional learning Can an ECEC service have an influence on this risk factor? (Yes, no, maybe) Why do you think this is the case? 21

24 Risk and protective factors Risk factors Difficult temperament Low self-esteem Impaired cognitive development Poor physical health Poor language skills Child Protective factors Easy temperament Good social and emotional skills Well developed cognitive skills Good physical health Good language skills Family disharmony or break up Any form of child abuse or neglect Harsh or inconsistent parenting Carer with mental illness or substance abuse Family Stable home environment Warm and supportive parenting Secure attachments with significant carers Bullying Poor relationships at school Limited experiences of social interaction with peers Service High quality education and care services Service climate enhances belonging and connectedness Warm and supportive relationships with carers Stressful life events Death of a family member Experience of trauma Life Events Warm and supportive relationships with carers Secure attachments with significant carers Discrimination Isolation Socioeconomic isolation Lack of access to support services Societal Inclusion Access to support services Economic security 22

25 Activity Key evidence of social and emotional learning and development in early childhood What would you observe that shows children are developing social skills, emotional skills and a sense of self? (Think about children of different ages.) Social skills Emotional skills Sense of self 23

26 Reflections Think about the early childhood social and emotional learning and development topics you discussed today. Were there any surprises or new ideas? Is there anything you would like to consider further? What role does cultural and language background play in shaping children s social and emotional learning and development? Educators can make a major contribution to children s developing identity or sense of self. Anne Stonehouse, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning What do we do in our ECEC service to find out about each child s social and emotional learning and development? Do you have a clearer picture of where some children are at than others? Why do you think that is? 24

27 Making a difference This activity has been designed for you to take away and do before you move onto the next module. It will help integrate what you have learned during this session. Think of a child you consider to be mentally healthy. What evidence of this do you see in their social and emotional learning and development? You might also be interested in... 1 Denham, S. A., (2005). The emotional basis of learning and development in early childhood education. In Spodek, B., & Saracho, O. (Eds.), Handbook of research on the education of young children (pp ). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum. Retrieved from denhamlab.gmu.edu/ Publications%20PDFs/Denham% pdf 2 Denham, S. A., & Weissberg, R. P., (2004). Social-emotional learning in early childhood: What we know and where to go from here. In Cheesebrough, E., King, P., Gullotta, T. P., & Bloom, M. (Eds.). A blueprint for the promotion of prosocial behavior in early childhood (pp.13-50). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. Retrieved from casel.org/wp-content/uploads/ selearlychildhood.pdf 3 National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2012). Establishing a level foundation for life: Mental health begins in early childhood: Working Paper 6. Cambridge: The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Retrieved from developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/ resources/reports_and_working_papers/ working_papers/wp6/ 4 Stonehouse, A. (2011). The more you know, the more you see: Babies and toddlers learning and the EYLF. Research and Practice Series, 18(3), Retrieved from RIP1103_Sample.pdf Module 3 is scheduled for: Date: Time: Venue: 25

28 Module 3 Relationships and children s mental health Relationships have an effect on children s social and emotional learning and mental health now and into the future. Warm, responsive and respectful relationships allow children to learn: about themselves about their feelings how to relate to others how to negotiate and problem-solve. Without being in a relationship in which you feel someone is going to protect you, that someone loves you, someone s available to you, you can t possibly be available to learn and explore and develop any of the other skills one needs for life. Nichola Coombs, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning Connections to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard The EYLF describes relationships as the foundation for educators practice. Children s sense of belonging develops from their relationships. Principle 1 (Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships) highlights the critical importance of educators in building strong, positive relationships with children in order to support their sense of wellbeing and their learning. The NQS (Quality Area 5: Relationships with Children) focuses on educators relationships with children and how educators support children to build and maintain relationships with other children and adults. 26

29 Video 3.1 Why relationships are important to children s mental health Warm, responsive and trusting relationships between children and educators provide a foundation that allows children to learn and develop social and emotional skills. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. The development of warm, responsive and trusting relationships between children and educators provides a secure base from which children can explore and learn about their world and other people in it. This secure base is the foundation from which children learn and develop social and emotional skills. Positive relationships with educators help to build children s resilience that is, their ability to handle life s ups and downs. Within their relationships with educators and other staff in ECEC services, children can experience and learn key social and emotional skills to help them develop close and meaningful relationships with others. (KidsMatter Early Childhood: A framework for improving children s mental health and wellbeing, 2012, p.40) 27

30 Activity What do positive relationships look like between children and educators? Think of a positive relationship you have. Reflect on this relationship as you work through the following questions. What are the characteristics of this relationship? Which of these characteristics apply to the relationships you have with the children in your care and which ones don t? Of those that don t apply, why don t they apply in this case? Which characteristics are easier to achieve in your relationships with children and which are more difficult? How do you understand these differences? 28

31 Video 3.2 and Activity Relationships in action The video for this activity shows some footage of an educator comforting a child who is upset at an ECEC service. Keep the questions below in mind while watching. What did you see? What does the educator do to support the child during this interaction? Think about physical, verbal and non-verbal actions. 29

32 Video 3.2 and Activity Relationships in action What do you think this experience might have been like for the child? How does this experience, and the educator s response, support the child s social and emotional learning and development? How did the educator support the child s sense of agency? 30

33 Video 3.3 What positive relationships can look like in practice Children learn through relationships. Positive relationships between educators and children are warm, affectionate and responsive. Children are able to communicate their needs, while educators can read their cues and respond. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. Relationships are important to each Component in the KidsMatter framework. Component 1 highlights the importance of building a sense of belonging and connectedness for children, families and early childhood educators. Component 2 focuses on how relationships are established and maintained to support children to learn social and emotional skills and have a sense of wellbeing. Component 3 explores the critical importance of working with parents and carers and forming relationships with families. Component 4 looks at helping children who are experiencing mental health difficulties through the ECEC service forming relationships with external community supports. 31

34 Activity Moving forward What is one thing I could do to support the development of positive relationships with children? Over the next week? Over the next 12 months? What is one thing we could do as a service to support the development of positive relationships with children? Over the next week? Over the next 12 months? 32

35 Reflections What approaches do you currently use to build positive relationships with children? Think about a colleague you feel has developed positive relationships with children in their care. What do these relationships look like? Think about a child you have a strong relationship with. What words best describe this relationship? Why is this relationship so strong? Think about a child with whom you don t have such a strong connection. Why do you think you don t have a strong relationship with that child? What would help you to build a stronger, more positive relationship with them? 33

36 Making a difference This activity has been designed for you to take away and do before you move onto the next module. It will help integrate what you have learned during this session. Notice a more challenging interaction you had with a child (e.g., you had to stop or redirect a child). What happened in this interaction that may have strengthened your relationship with that child? What made the interaction significant to you as an educator? How did the relationship you have with the child influence the way you responded in that particular moment? Working with a colleague, observe an interaction with a child and identify the aspects that support the development or maintenance of a warm, positive relationship. 34

37 Each child needs very different things, we know that each child is an individual and every relationship we have with every child is very different. Janet Williams-Smith, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning Video 4.3 You might also be interested in... 1 Gable, S., & Hunting, M. (2001). Nature, nurture and early brain development. Missouri: MU Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia. Retrieved from extension.missouri.edu/ publications/displayprinterfriendlypub. aspx?p=gh Sara, H. (2009). Optimistic carers and children: pathways to confidence and wellbeing, Research in Practice series. Canberra: Early Childhood Australia Inc. Relationships are central to KidsMatter, the National Quality Standard and the Early Years Learning Framework. Module 4 is scheduled for: Date: Time: Venue: 35

38 Module 4 Relationships as a foundation for social and emotional learning Knowing a child well allows an educator to interact with the child based on their unique characteristics. This kind of relationship is the foundation for positive social and emotional learning and development, and mental health. Connections to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard The EYLF acknowledges that strong, respectful relationships enable educators to support children s learning more effectively. The relationship itself provides a secure base for children to form new relationships with children and other adults (Learning Outcome 2) and to play, explore and experiment confidently. NQS Quality Area 5 (Relationships with Children) highlights the importance of educator-child relationships being respectful and equitable. When educators know each child well, they can be intentional in their practice and use their relationships to support each child. In planning the program, educators have social and emotional learning in mind (NQS Quality Area 1). The second Principle in the EYLF (Partnerships) highlights that having strong relationships with families helps build strong relationships with children. The NQS identifies that collaborative relationships with families are fundamental to achieve quality outcomes for children (NQS Quality Area 6). Educators are responsive to all children s strengths, abilities and interests. They value and build on the children s strengths, skills and knowledge to ensure their motivation and engagement in learning. They respond to children s expertise, cultural traditions and ways of knowing, the multiple languages spoken by some children, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and the strategies used by children with additional needs to negotiate their everyday lives. (Early Years Learning Framework, p.14) 36

39 Video 4.1 Why is it important to know a child well? Knowing a child well means knowing them in the context of their family, the service and the community. It allows you to teach intentionally and make decisions to support their social and emotional learning and development. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. 37

40 Activity How well do we know the children in our service? Think of a child you know really well and work through these questions: What do you know about the child? How did you gain this knowledge? Who are the significant people in the child s life? What do you know about the child s family, such as culture, shared interests, family activities? What do you know about the family s child rearing practices? Are there significant past experiences you are aware of in the child s life? How does the child prefer to be comforted when they are upset? What signals indicate the child is tired? How does the child prefer to settle to sleep? How much physical contact do they prefer? What events trigger strong emotions? What challenges them? What is the child s usual level of physical activity? How does the child adjust to change? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their strengths? What interests them? How do you build on the child s interests for further learning? Do you feel you know when to intervene and when to leave the child to persevere at a task? 38

41 Discussion Developing relationships What arrangements does our service have in place to establish and maintain relationships with children and their families? What do I do to build warm, positive relationships with the children in my group and their families? How do I maintain these relationships? Educators practices and the relationships they form with children and families have a significant effect on children s involvement and success in learning. Children thrive when families and educators work together in partnership to support young children s learning. (Early Years Learning Framework, p.9) 39

42 Video 4.2 How do we get to know the children well? Knowing a child well helps us to form and maintain relationships with them. Being predictable, consistent and in tune with a child allows these relationships to develop and flourish. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. As I watch early childhood educators getting to know children, it s not about what you do necessarily...it s not about the activities you set up or the things you think that maybe children might like to do, like the train set or the play dough or washing the babies, whatever it is. It s more about being with them in the things that they chose to do. And it is in those encounters that we have with children that we can really get to know them. Catharine Hydon, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning Video

43 Activity In and out of tune Being in tune is the ability to engage in coordinated interactions with another. It s about responding in a way that is a fit with a particular person. Being out of tune is like being out of step with someone missing each other s cues and stepping on toes. In this scenario there are three roles: a child, an adult and an observer. If you are the child, put yourself in their shoes. If you are the adult, imagine you are out of step with the child. You could be distracted, unavailable or misunderstand what the other person wants. Scenario 1: Child-Adult Scenario 2: Child-Adult Child is having difficulties tying his shoe laces and needs some assistance Adult is typing on the computer Child is feeling hungry and wants something to eat Adult is setting the table Scenario 3: Child-Adult Child wants a book read to her Adult is looking for her reading glasses Scenario 4: Child-Adult Child is crying after hurting his finger Adult is washing the dishes Scenario 5: Child-Adult Child broke his toy and wants it fixed Adult is on the phone Both periods of being in tune and out of tune provide learning opportunities for children s social understanding and developing sense of self. (Tronick, 1989) 41

44 Video 4.3 Relationships as the foundation for children s mental health When children feel safe and secure in their relationships, they become confident to explore and discover their world, providing them with the tools to support their mental health and wellbeing. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. Educators who are attuned to children s thoughts and feelings, support the development of a strong sense of wellbeing. They positively interact with the young child in their learning. (Early Years Learning Framework, p.12) 42

45 Reflections What are the first steps you take in building relationships with children? How do you get to know a child in the beginning of their participation in the service? How do you continue to build on your relationships with children and their families as they participate in the service? How do you model consistent and predictable behaviour for children throughout the day? What would support you to respond in this manner? How do you include your relationships with children in your observations or reflections? How does, or could, this support the development or maintenance of these relationships? 43

46 Making a difference This activity has been designed for you to take away and do before you move onto the next module. It will help integrate what you have learned during this session. Think about how the relationship you share with a child allows you to intentionally support their social and emotional learning. Write down some examples of when you feel you are able to intentionally support a child s learning as a result of knowing the child well. If there is a child who is new to the group or who you don t know very well, how does that affect your capacity to support that child s learning? 44

47 You might also be interested in... 1 Umass Boston. (2009, November 30). Still Face Experiment: Dr Edward Tronick. Retrieved 22 May 2013 from watch?v=apzxgebzht0 2 National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2004). Young children develop in an environment of relationships: Working paper 1. Cambridge: The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Retrieved from developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/ resources/reports_and_working_papers/ working_papers/wp1/ 3 Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2012). Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework: Practice Principle Guide 1: Family-Centred Practice. Retrieved from Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/ practiceguide1.pdf 4 Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2012). Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework: Practice Principle Guide 5: Respectful Relationships and Responsive Engagement. Retrieved from www. education.vic.gov.au/documents/childhood/ providers/edcare/practiceguide5.pdf 5 Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2012). Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework: Evidence Paper Practice Principle 5: Respectful relationships and responsive engagement. Retrieved from Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/ respectrelns.pdf Module 5 is scheduled for: Date: Time: Venue: 45

48 Module 5 Curriculum decisions and social and emotional learning The curriculum decisions that ECEC services and educators make can have a great influence on children s social and emotional learning opportunities. Reviewing and modifying ECEC service policies and practices with social and emotional learning in mind can support children s mental health and wellbeing. In the early childhood setting curriculum means all interactions, experiences, activities, routines and events, planned and unplanned, that occur in an environment designed to foster children s learning and development. (Te Whariki, as cited in Early Years Learning Framework, p.9) Connections to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard The Principles and Practices in the EYLF outline the important considerations that educators make in planning and implementing the program for children, with an emphasis on supporting children s learning in the five Learning Outcome areas. The NQS encourages educators to think about how each curriculum decision impacts on children s learning and development. For example, Quality Area 1 (Educational Program and Practice) acknowledges the importance of considering social and emotional learning opportunities that support children s progress. Quality Area 2 (Children s Health and Safety) sets out requirements to ensure children s safety and attention to physical wellbeing. Quality Area 3 (Physical Environment) includes environmental considerations that promote desirable social and emotional learning. Quality Area 4 (Staffing Arrangements) acknowledges the importance of educator-child relationships and social and emotional learning. Quality Area 5 (Relationships with Children) prioritises relationships with children. Quality Area 6 (Collaborative Relationships with Families and Communities) highlights the importance of relationships with families for children s outcomes. 46

49 Video 5.1 Impact of curriculum decisions on children s social and emotional learning Educators have many opportunities throughout the day to support children s social and emotional learning, both incidental and planned. Policies and practices at the service level also have an effect on children s social and emotional learning. Record any observations or questions you may have in the space below. The Early Years Learning Framework has a very broad definition of curriculum. It says that the curriculum is the whole experience of the child, from the time that they walk in the door to the time they leave. Anne Stonehouse, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning Video

50 Activity The decisions we make: how curriculum decisions influence children s social and emotional learning How do decisions we currently make in these areas impact on children s social and emotional learning opportunities? How might we modify decisions in these areas to enhance children s social and emotional learning opportunities? Partnerships with families Consider: Welcoming families Enrolment processes Sharing information Programming decisions Structuring the day Consider: Staffing arrangements Time alone versus group time One-on-one opportunities Flexibility Involving children in decision making Active and quiet times Transitions and routines The physical environment (indoors and outdoors) Consider: Arrangement of environment Reflection of families Availability of quiet areas Spaces for alone time Areas for different noise levels Use of the outdoors Level of stimulation How the space looks Spaces for families and children of different ages 48

51 Routines Consider: Arrivals and departures Rest and sleep Meal and snack times Toilet and nappy changing Transitions Planned learning experiences Consider: Books and stories Dramatic play Sensory play Involving children in setting limits Respect for diversity and difference Policies Consider: Service statement of philosophy Code of conduct for staff Policy decisions regarding staffing arrangements, rosters and professional development Policy decisions regarding how children move from one room to the next, family grouping and meal time arrangements Service guides and handbooks for staff, educators and families We have to remember that children learn an awful lot from an experience; they re active contributors to their own learning. They don t always need adult to step in to teach them something, but they do need an educator to set up a lot of experiences to help them learn these skills. Anne Stonehouse, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning 49

52 Activity Moving forward What is one thing I could do to support children s social and emotional learning through curriculum decisions I make? Over the next week? Over the next 12 months? What is one thing we could do as a service to support children s social and emotional learning through curriculum decisions we make? Over the next week? Over the next 12 months? 50

53 Reflections What social and emotional learning opportunities does a routine experience, such as lunchtime, offer children in your service? What changes would improve or increase the learning opportunities? Consider a recent planned experience you provided for children at your service. What was the intention and purpose you had in mind? What do you think they learned about themselves, their relationships and how others see them? Consider an experience that occurred more spontaneously or where a planned experience changed in response to children s initiative. What opportunities did this present for social and emotional learning? 51

54 Making a difference This activity has been designed for you to take away and do before you move onto the next module. It will help integrate what you have learned during this session. Decide on one change that you would like to make in the curriculum areas discussed. What are your aims in making the change? Can you make this change individually? If not, who will you need to consult with? (e.g., educators in your room, Director, Educational Leader, families, children) What will be the first step in making the change? How might this change influence children s mental health and wellbeing? 52

55 You might also be interested in... 1 Lally, J. R. (1995). The impact of child care policies and practices on infant/toddler identity formation. Young Children, 51(1), Retrieved from res/5/the_impact_of_child_care_policies_ Article_WEB_ONLY_Version.pdf?x-r=pcfile_d 2 Lally, J. R. (1997). Curriculum and lesson planning: A responsive approach. The Program for Infant/Toddler Care. Retrieved from Curriculum%20and%20Lesson%20Planning. pdf?x-r=pcfile_d 3 Patterson, C., & Fleet, A. (2003). Meaningful planning: Rethinking teaching and learning relationships. Early Childhood Australia Research in Practice Series, 10(1), Patterson, C., & Fleet, A. (2011). Planning in the context of the EYLF: Powerful, practical and pedagogically sound. Early Childhood Australia Research in Practice Series, 18(2), Module 6 is scheduled for: Date: Time: Venue: 53

56 Module 6 Putting it all together Social and emotional learning is embedded within the curriculum an ECEC service provides for children. Module 6 presents an opportunity to bring together the ideas covered in Modules 1-5, including developing our relationships with children, curriculum decision making and considering how these can be applied to children s social and emotional learning and development. Connections to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard This Professional Learning has explored links to the EYLF and NQS across each module. This module illustrates how everyday interactions and learning opportunities can be connected to children s mental health and wellbeing, and to these overarching frameworks. Educators call on a range of knowledge and skills in their daily practice, including the concepts of belonging, being and becoming and the Principles, Practices and Learning Outcomes in the EYLF, together with the concepts within the Quality Areas of the NQS. 54

57 Activity Looking at children through social and emotional lenses The following questions are to be applied to each of the videos your group chooses to watch. How does the experience portrayed in this video support children s mental health? What social and emotional skills are the children likely to be learning? How does the educator support this learning? What might the educator s intentions be? 55

58 Video 6.1 Hakin and Liam Hakin and Liam are babies playing with rattan balls. What keeps the interaction going? What shows you the babies are learning from each other? What tells you the babies are relaxed and feel secure? What evidence is there that the educator has a strong, positive relationship with these two children? In what ways is the educator supporting their social and emotional learning? What evidence is there that she is in tune with them? How does the physical space support the children s play and learning? Is it the educator, the child or both directing the experience? What is the evidence of this? What role does pleasure play in the children s learning? How does it contribute? 56

59 Video 6.2 Lauren, Aysha, Isabella and Lucas Lauren, Aysha, Isabella, Lucas and their educator, Jenani, are setting the table and sitting together at lunchtime. What is the evidence that these children feel comfortable, secure and empowered in this environment? What supports the children in their discussions with each other and with their educator? How does the educator connect children with their families, their lives outside the service, and other families who are part of this ECEC service community? What is the evidence of the educator encouraging children s sense of agency? Holistic approaches to teaching and learning recognises the connectedness of mind, body and spirit. When early childhood educators take a holistic approach they pay attention to children s physical, personal, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as cognitive aspects of learning. (Early Years Learning Framework, p.14) 57

60 Video 6.3 Zac Zac is a preschooler going about his day at his ECEC service. What is the evidence that Zac feels comfortable and secure in this environment? How does the educator support the connections between Zac, his family and his life outside the ECEC service? What learning opportunities are provided to support Zac s social and emotional development? How would you describe the relationship between Zac and the educator? 58

61 Activity How our Statement of Philosophy reflects social and emotional learning How does our Statement of Philosophy reflect the importance of social and emotional learning, mental health and wellbeing? How can we build on this? An educator s job, I think, is to support children to think about what they re feeling and experiencing and put some frame around it that helps to make meaning for them and builds up a sense of their connection with what s happened. Catherine Hydon, KidsMatter Component 2 Professional Learning 59

62 Reflections Consider an experience you have provided to children recently. What was the intention of providing this experience? What curriculum decisions informed it? How did the experience contribute to the children s social and emotional development? 60

63 Making a difference This activity has been designed for you to take away and do before you move onto the next module. It will help integrate what you have learned during this session. Think about what you have learned in Component 2 Professional Learning so far. What is one thing that you will apply to your practice... As an individual? As a service? What supports do you have to help you take this action? What additional supports do you need? Why have you identified this as significant? How will you know if you have been successful? 61

64 You might also be interested in... 1 Early Childhood Australia. (2013). Social and emotional learning as basis for curriculum. Retrieved from org.au/every_child_magazine/every_child_ index/social_and_emotional_learning_as_a_ basis_for_curriculum.html 2 Early Childhood Australia. (2013). Talking about Practice: Social and emotional learning. NQS PLP enewsletter, 53, 1-7. Retrieved from wp-content/uploads/2013/04/nqs_plp_e- Newsletter_No53.pdf 3 KidsMatter Early Childhood.(2010).Component 2: Developing children s social and emotional skills. Retrieved from early-childhood/about-social-development/ about-social-skills/developing-childrenssocial-and Module 7 is scheduled for: Date: Time: Venue: 62

65 Module 7 A community of learners Professional development and support plays a valuable role in equipping educators to develop relationships with children. Sharing knowledge, having professional conversations, undertaking reflective practice and participating in formal professional learning opportunities supports the work of educators. Connections to the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Standard The EYLF highlights the importance of ongoing learning and reflective practice (Principle 5) where professionals can engage in ongoing learning, enquiry and collaboration. This contributes to a culture of ongoing teaching and learning for all educators. Quality Area 4 of the NQS highlights the importance of educators working collaboratively and applying professional standards to their practice. The NQS asks educators to make a commitment to continuous improvement (Standard 7.2), including the implementation of an effective self-assessment and quality improvement planning process (element 7.2.3). Effective engagement in this module will support this outcome. 63

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