Archive for January, 2011

27 Jan 2011

The Importance of Social Development

No Comments ELECT, Infants, Social
Infants (0-24 months)

Social

1.1 Social Interest

  • preferring human faces to inanimate objects or animals
  • smiling at an adult
  • returning the gaze of an adult
  • seeking adults for play, stretching arms to be picked up
  • examining objects with others as a means of forming relationships
  • observing peers

Play with the infant on her physical level.

This tells her that you are available as a respectful partner in play.

First of all I have to say that I love the order in which the developmental domains are presented in the ELECT continuum. Social is first, followed by Emotional, then Communication/Language, Cognitive and Physical. I like that the Social and Emotional domains aren’t lumped together as they often are and I really appreciate that they come first in the continuum. I don’t know how the order of domains was decided but I like to believe that Social and Emotional were put first to remind us of their importance.

The relationships that we develop with young children are so important. One of the most significant tasks that we have as caregivers is to support infants and young children in developing healthy relationships. This isn’t something that we can plan for on a weekly programming sheet but developing secure and supportive relationships with the children in our care is what takes up most of our time and will form the basis for other learning experiences. Infants thrive when they feel safe and supported to explore and learn and develop at their own pace.

It is my hope that this part of the continuum will support caregivers in making the children’s learning visible to parents in these “harder to observe” domains. Also that caregivers will be able to take the words from the ELECT and use them in their conversations with parents to share their observations of the children’s development.

19 Jan 2011

Early Learning For Every Child Today

1 Comment ELECT

it’s a great document and could be effectively used as a framework for early childhood practices

Early Learning for Every Child Today or ELECT, as it is better known, is a document that was created a few years back by the Best Start Expert Panel on Early Learning, through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services here in Ontario. It is meant to be a framework for Early Childhood Settings within the province. Not all Early Childhood Educators (ECE) have had the opportunity to become familiar with the document, however, it is being passed around and professional development opportunities that center around the ELECT are starting to occur. I facilitated one such event this evening. It was a make and take workshop geared towards infant educators, however, it was enhanced in that we also included information on the ELECT and how to incorporate it’s framework into our practices.

Here’s the thing about the ELECT. It’s long, it’s about 110 pages and it’s not exactly light reading. However, I think it’s a great document and could be effectively used as a framework for early childhood practices. Still, my favorite part of the ELECT is tucked right in the middle. It’s a continuum of development. It’s broken down by age groups (which very smartly, overlap) and into the typically identified domains of development, Social, Emotional, Communication (Language and Literacy), Cognitive and Physical. What I’m really happy about is the way that they put this together, it’s written in simple to understand language, it’s easy to read and user friendly, it includes both indicators of the skills as well as sample interactions that would relate to the skill. The whole continuum is put together in a really open and inclusive way. Some skills, such as turn-taking are found in more than one domain, and none of the domains get more attention than the others. I also like that more specific ages weren’t applied to each of the skills, which I think recognizes the path that development follows, without so much emphasis on the “rat race” of development. I think it really values the interconnectedness of children’s development and definitely highlights the importance of supportive interactions and relationships between children and their caregivers.

Anyway, I said all of this to say, firstly, that if you’re in Ontario, or Canada, or anywhere really, you should check out the ELECT, because it’s great. And secondly, that I’m going to let the Elect motivate me on this blog. For the next little while anyway, I’m going to spend some time reflecting on the continuum within the ELECT and share my thoughts and ideas here. In this way, I hope that the ELECT can reach out and motivate or inspire other individuals who work with young children.