I have been pondering the question ‘What is my ethos?’ for months – no for years – really ever since I first started thinking about ‘theorists’ for my level 3 qualification – way back in the mists of time – to be honest in the last century! (so before the year 2000 in case you are thinking that I am very old).
However, before I return to the subject of theories and how they fit in with my ethos – I think I will start with my own personal ethos that governs not only my working life but my personal life as well.
I am a very honest person – and being honest is important to me. I cannot cope with lies or withholding information or with using information creatively to benefit self or even the organisation that you work for.
I accept that sometimes what I might call a white lie or withholding information to benefit another person or prevent them from being upset or hurt – can have a place.
Being so honest does not always ‘sit well’ with others – including family members. Sometimes I have ‘dug myself a hole’ by refusing to sit back and allow others to do or say things which I know to be wrong and I know have the potential to hurt others – little things like keeping things found without even trying to return to the owner, like dropping litter, like driving when on the phone and so on .
Within my childminding practice I say it as it is – my weekly parents newsletters are full of apologies for not doing things that I should have done – like not being up to date with learning journeys, like not having the draft of a policy review completed when I said I would. If I have a day where my personal reflection is that – I could have done better – I say so. If I have one of those days when to be honest I wish I could throw myself on the floor and kick and scream in frustration – I say so (have not yet thrown myself on the floor – but if I ever do – I will say so)
So it is easy to see how this personal ethos fits in with my views on childminding – things should be ‘above board’, registration requirements should be met at all times, the children should always come first and must always be safeguarded. This does not mean I am perfect – far from it – but it does mean that I constantly reflect on my own practice, that I also constantly adapt and change my practice, the environment – and yes the paperwork to ensure that on that day, at that moment in time – it is the most appropriate and effective practice (however it is only for that moment in time)
It may also be easy to see why I am not comfortable with the things I see, I hear and I read about about the practice of a minority of other childminders – and why if I think a child is at risk – I will phone the safeguarding board or in extreme circumstances the police.
I hasten to add that I expect parents of minded children, family, friends, colleagues and neighbours to report me if they think the children in my care are at risk of harm.
Ok so I have now defined my personal ethos – what about the ethos of my childcare practice? Back to those theorists.
After all those years of reflection about which theory I have been influenced by – I have come to the conclusion – all of them but none of them in their entirety and some of them just a very small aspect.
SO, my ethos and my ‘values and practice’ are based on the – Webb Theory!
Of course I don’t expect anyone else to believe in this theory or to follow it – after all I think we all have our own ‘theories’ that have been influence by other theorists – and by the others in our lives such as parents or foster careers, teachers, church leaders and so on – and of course our own life experiences.
And it should be remembered that the more modern theories have also been influenced by previous theorists and bits added and taken away until a ‘new’ theory evolves.
In brief – my theory (please note by ‘children’ I mean children 0 – ??)
- Children are a lot cleverer than they are often given credit for
- Children learn through play and the best ‘play thing’ is an adult who is in tune with the child’s needs and who has time to interact with the child
- The next best ‘play thing’ is the natural outside environment – closely followed by natural items brought inside
- Children learn through their senses and by ‘doing’ and through experimenting and their own mistakes
- Children like routines and boundaries but also can cope with change – provided a ‘key person’ is there to support them through the changes
- Children need sleep – tired children cannot function fully and so cannot develop as quickly as they could if rested and refreshed
- Children need unconditional love and someone who will ‘be there for them’ no matter what has happened or is happening
- Children do not need to experience all aspects of life or a curriculum before the age of 5 – they need to be allowed to be children, to become secure in the foundations of learning – all those social and emotional skills, those self-management skills like dressing, feeding self and toileting. Once they are secure in these areas – they will be ready for more formal learning, to flourish and to in due course reach their full potential
- Testing and labelling of children is wrong -all children learn at their own pace – reading and writing at 5 does not mean the child will do well in later life nor does not reading or writing until 9 or 10 mean a children will fail to achieve their full potential
- Children will continue to surprise and amaze me – and I think they always will – they are all unique
So there we have it – they Webb Theory – It may not be very academic – it is very likely that others will not agree – but it is my theory – and on which, together with my personal ethos, I based my values and practice.