Task 1 (P1)
At Ballard School Kindergarten 1
It is vital a practitioner builds relationships with the children they’re interacting with and is of great importance the carer encourages the children themselves to build positive relationships. Ways I try to do this is by making myself seem approachable. The first day on placement, without any children knowing who I was or where I was from, I came in the room smiling. Even further down the line in placement, I still try to do this through-out the day. It is important to seem cheerful and warm, even on days when you don’t feel up to it. This can be shown through two ways, verbally and non-verbally. For example, in the mornings I make sure I come slightly earlier than the children arrive, to make myself available to welcome each child into the early year’s environment. I try to do this enthusiastically making sure I seem genuinely happy to see them. This will help the children feel at ease and happy to come into this environment. Some children find it quite upsetting leaving their parents as they get dropped off in the mornings. Therefore, simply welcoming them isn’t enough for some individuals, as they need more love and attention. So, I adapt for to the emotions of each child depending on their reactions and perhaps if they’re looking upset, I try to give them one to one attention, and side track their attention onto another activity. I like to pick activities which are rather calm and personal such as reading a book which will not only help the situation but also build a relationship between the young one and I.
However, it is also important to seem approachable non-verbally. You may have the most enthusiastic voice, but children can sense whether you really mean what you say, simply through appearance. That is why smiling, as stated above, is vital as gentle facial expressions reinforce the spoken word and convey feelings. Other areas this can be shown, is though eye contact. Whenever I communicate with a child, I make sure I use correct eye contact, making sure it is not a continual intense stare but without avoidance. In some African cultures, continual eye contact is a sign of insolence, however, in other areas such as western cultures, a lack of eye contact is seen as suspicious. This shows the importance to know each child’s different backgrounds, when taking them into your care. Such areas as intense staring, could alarm a child and cause myself to seem unapproachable, which could lead onto negative relationships. During placement, I also understand, body posture is vital to developing connections with individuals. Therefore, I avoid slouching or hunching my back as I make my way around the setting. Instead, I try to demonstrate content facial expressions and have a relaxed posture so as not to seem tense of edgy as a person. This in turn, allows children to believe I am a friendly character who has the best intentions for them, this will allow them to feel comfortable around me and be able to develop a relationship with me.
Following on from the point of using correct body posture to help build relationships, I find it is crucial I do not seem to be towering over the children when communicating with them. This could give the impression I think I am more important than, which will certainly not help build relationships with the children and could perhaps cause them to feel intimidated by me. Rather, it would be wise to make the children feel special about themselves and that they’re just as important as me. I do this by getting down to their level as I interact with them. Doing so allows me to show the child I respect them and am willing to listen to what they have to say, “sharing” in conversation on an equal footing rather than ‘an adult talking to the child.” Furthermore, I do make sure I listen to what they have to say, showing a genuine interest in their likes and dislikes as they