Friday, 15 December 2017 01:40

Involvement, Rights, Competence & Time

Initial Resources used to start conversations Initial Resources used to start conversations

Over the last couple of months I have been encouraging our educators to reflect on high level involvement and what it looks like in their rooms. I spent time recording video footage of a sample group of children in the Jacaranda Room and analysed it in correlation with the Respect, Reflect, Relate involvement observation scale. I have engaged in open discussions with individual educators and the staff team about the video footage and shared pivotal moments of high level child involvement and identified possible factors for any loss of engagement.

As a result I have been supporting the Jacaranda team to delve into their lunch routine and as a centre we have been discussing the concept of ‘TIME’. We see children as citizens from birth, with the rights of the child and the child being viewed as competent stemming from a Reggio Emilia influence. It is a concept that applies in all of our rooms with a belief in shared power and a child’s right to decide and act for themselves.

We have become even more conscious of offering children in all rooms adequate time and opportunities to practice and master skills. At lunch times this includes roles and responsibilities like; cleaning and setting tables, serving themselves and their peers, pouring water, choosing cutlery, deciding who they dine with and cleaning up after themselves. Time is something that can impact on all of these precious moments. As a Centre we have purchased more cups, bowls and utensils so there is no need to rush lunch trolleys back to the kitchen. This concept also opened up conversations about transitioning children, reaffirming that even though younger children will soon be moving up into each room, it doesn’t mean they are any less competent... their rights are still the same.

Looking into the involvement scale enabled us to explore silence as being a key skill for active listening and observation. It is our job as educators to know when to be silent and let children explore their own theories and when they are in that zone of proximal development to benefit from scaffolding, interactions and teachable moments. The art of silence is also about understanding the impact simple words and actions can have on a child who is engaged in an experience, once interrupted it can take a child a long time to re-engage in that experience again, if they even choose to. We are all aware of the power of learning through play and we encourage children to become real world problem solvers. You take precious learning opportunities away when you do things for children instead of with them and this is where that concept of ‘time’ is so important in all aspects of a child’s life. Stop and think about the importance of time and if you really need to rush.

I am looking forward to continuing these conversations with staff and providing them with reading materials to support and question our thinking process. We will continue the Respect, Reflect, Relate journey in the Bottlebrush Room and Coral Room as we further explore what high level involvement looks like. We are also keen to ask our MICCC children to share ideas about their own rights in relation to the world around them.



Initial Resources used to start conversations:
Respect, Reflect, Relate - Government of South Australia, Department of Education and Children’s Services. 2008

A Journey Into The Rights Of Children - Reggio Children. 1995

The child as a Citizen: the competent child, the child as a possessor of rights, from Reimagining Childhood - Carla Rinaldi. 2013

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