PROMOTING AUTONOMY IN THE EARLY YEARS
Very often adults will do things for children, maybe to hurry things up or because they think that the child is not able to accomplish it alone.
Yet, young children can learn how to (and are very capable) to do many simple tasks by themselves on a daily basis. By helping a young child to develop autonomy will in turn develop their self-confidence and self-esteem; these are important aspects of a child’s personal and emotional development as outlined in ‘Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS) 2012.
At AHI, practitioners in the Early Years class gain knowledge about children ‘through observation and interaction in a range of daily activities and events’ and ‘learning is identified by assessing what a child can do consistently and independently in a range of everyday situations’ (Acorn House EYFS Observation and Formative Assessment Policy).
In Early Years children are encouraged and supported to become autonomous in many ways throughout the day:
-learning to eat independently with a spoon/fork and drink independently from a cup;
-learning to go to the toilet; washing and drying their hands;
-learning to get dressed and undressed;
-learning to select resources in class;
-learning to tidy up in class;
-helping to pass out napkins and cups at snack time and pouring water from a jug.
Even children at 2 years old can start to carry out these tasks with help and encouragement from their Key Person. It is important to celebrate and praise each child for their achievements and at AHI we like to record these significant moments of learning and development through photos and videos of the children. In addition, we keep a weekly diary for each child, making notes of daily activities and experiences which we send home with parents for the weekend.
Children have an innate drive to be independent and do things by themselves and so it is important to give them age-appropriate tasks and to provide the necessary support which will help them succeed. Adults are important role-models and children can learn a lot from just watching us and then trying for themselves. It is our responsibility to provide opportunities so children can learn many new skills, all of which will help them to become more and more independent.
Hi, I'm Catriona and I'm a Preschool teacher working with the 3-4 year old children.