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Early Years Education Foundations

  • Pedagogy & Theory
  • Emily Macfarlane
  • 1 Hour
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1830995406 9d1fc7c887c82a34aceaac949d05186db4550dccee82a725ad9e402c991d0693 d
Skill Level

Qualified Educators


1 Hour


1 Files

Streaming Content

7 Videos


Join Emily Macfarlane from The Early Years Network in an insightful online class dedicated to understanding and fostering independence in young children. This course delves into the intricate connections between brain development and the emergence of independence, offering practical strategies for educators and caregivers alike. Throughout the 7 different lessons participants will explore foundational principles for cultivating independence, including the role of daily routines and environmental design. Emily will guide discussions on scaffolding independence across various age groups, ensuring a tailored approach to support each child's developmental stage. Participants will gain valuable insights into overcoming common challenges in granting independence and discover empowering methods to instil self-reliance from an early age. Through a blend of theory and hands-on techniques, attendees will leave equipped with actionable strategies to promote independence in their educational practices and set the stage for lifelong success. Don't miss this opportunity to enrich your understanding of early childhood development and empower young learners to thrive independently.

Skills you'll learn

Lesson Content

1. The Link Between Brain Development & Independence


Welcome to the first lesson of "Empowering Little Learners Through Independence"! In this foundational session, we delve into the fascinating intersection of brain development and independence in early childhood. During the early years, children experience unparalleled growth in brain development. This period is characterized by neural plasticity, where the brain is exceptionally receptive to new information and experiences. As educators and caregivers, we have a unique opportunity to shape and mould these developing neural pathways through intentional interactions and environments. Through engaging activities, problem-solving tasks, and fostering decision-making skills, we lay the groundwork for future cognitive development. It's the consistent reinforcement of these experiences that strengthens neural connections, setting the stage for lifelong learning. Moreover, this heightened sensitivity and malleability of the brain present a prime opportunity to encourage independence in young learners. By providing opportunities for self-directed exploration and decision-making, we empower children to build strong neural connections while nurturing their burgeoning independence. In this lesson, we will explore the neuroscience behind early childhood development and how it intersects with fostering independence. By understanding the brain's remarkable capabilities during this critical period, we can tailor our practices to optimize learning and promote autonomy in our little learners. Outcome for Practice: - Gain a deeper understanding of the link between brain development and independence in early childhood. - Learn strategies for leveraging neural plasticity to support the development of independent skills. - Reflect on how to create environments and experiences that foster independence while maximising neurological growth.

2. Building Positive Relationships for Independence


In our journey to empower little learners through independence, we recognise that it all begins with positive relationships. In this lesson, we explore the pivotal role of cultivating strong connections, secure attachments, and attuned interactions with caregivers in fostering a child's pursuit of independence during the early years. Positive relationships serve as the cornerstone of a supportive environment where children feel safe and encouraged to explore their surroundings. Through secure attachments and synchrony with caregivers, children develop a sense of trust and confidence, laying the foundation for their autonomy. But how do we cultivate these vital connections? It starts with giving children the time and attention they need to acclimate to their environment. By providing a nurturing and responsive presence, caregivers create a sense of security that enables children to thrive. Parent partnership plays a crucial role in fostering positive relationships. When children are surrounded by supportive adults, they are more likely to feel valued and empowered to explore their independence. By collaborating with parents, educators can further strengthen the support system around the child, promoting a consistent and cohesive approach to nurturing independence. Furthermore, understanding each child as an individual is key to building meaningful relationships. By taking the time to get to know their unique needs, preferences, and comfort zones, caregivers can tailor their interactions to support each child's journey towards independence. This process begins even before the child enters the learning environment, through a positive induction process where information is shared and relationships are cultivated from the start. In this lesson, we will explore practical strategies for building positive relationships with children, caregivers, and families to create a nurturing environment where independence can flourish. Outcomes for Practice: - Understand the importance of positive relationships in fostering independence during early childhood. - Learn techniques for building secure attachments and attuned interactions with children. - Explore ways to collaborate with parents and caregivers to support children's development. - Develop strategies for getting to know each child as an individual and creating a supportive induction process.

3. Developing Autonomy in Early Childhood


In this next lesson, we delve into the essential concept of autonomy and its profound impact on children's development during the early years. Autonomy empowers children to manage their everyday tasks, make decisions, and gradually become more independent individuals. Providing choices is key to fostering autonomy, as it empowers children and gives them control over their environment. From selecting their clothes to choosing their favourite toys, offering opportunities for decision-making nurtures children's sense of agency and self-efficacy. Furthermore, autonomy contributes to the development of essential skills such as decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking. By engaging in meaningful choices within their learning environment, children develop intrinsic motivation and a genuine interest in activities, promoting cognitive growth and a positive self-image. As educators, we play a crucial role in supporting children's autonomy by providing meaningful roles within the learning space. By encouraging children to express their ideas, actively listening to their perspectives, and allowing them to make decisions for themselves, we foster a sense of ownership and empowerment. Incorporating choices into daily routines not only promotes autonomy but also enhances children's engagement in the learning process. Through tasks that are part of their daily routine, children develop independence gradually, supported by encouragement and guidance from adults. In this lesson, we will explore practical strategies for promoting autonomy in early childhood, from providing choices within the learning environment to supporting children in tasks slightly beyond their current capabilities. Outcomes for Practice: - Understand the importance of autonomy in early childhood development. - Learn techniques for providing meaningful choices and opportunities for decision-making. - Explore ways to support children's autonomy within daily routines. - Develop strategies for encouraging independence while providing appropriate support and guidance.

4. Nurturing Independence Within Daily Routines


In this lesson, we explore the profound impact of incorporating independence within daily routines in early childhood settings. Routines offer children a sense of security and stability, fostering confidence and anticipation as they engage in daily activities. As educators, we play a crucial role in supporting this process by integrating age-appropriate self-help tasks into the daily schedule. By providing opportunities for children to participate in routine tasks such as meal times, drink stations, and personal hygiene, we empower them to develop crucial self-regulation and organisational skills. Through consistent participation in these routines, children experience a sense of accomplishment and mastery, laying the groundwork for future learning and autonomy. Establishing routines in early childhood is essential for nurturing independence and promoting a sense of ownership over one's environment. To ensure the successful implementation of routines, it is imperative that everyone within the team is aware of the schedule and implements it confidently. Visual timetables can aid children in understanding and following the routines, promoting a sense of predictability and understanding. In addition to fostering independence within routine tasks, creating learning environments that support choices further enhances children's autonomy. By offering opportunities for children to make decisions within their environment, we empower them to take ownership of their learning journey. In this lesson, we will explore practical strategies for nurturing independence within daily routines, from meal times to personal hygiene, and creating supportive learning environments that promote autonomy. Outcomes for Practice: - Ensure team-wide understanding and confident implementation of daily routines. - Utilise visual timetables to aid children in understanding and following routines. - Incorporate opportunities for choice within the learning environment to enhance autonomy. - Implement age-appropriate self-help tasks within daily schedules to foster independence and self-regulation.

5. Scaffolding Independence in Early Childhood


In this lesson, we delve into the art of scaffolding independence, a dynamic process aimed at promoting the development of independence skills and self-efficacy in children. As educators, we can employ strategic teaching approaches to support children in navigating tasks at an appropriate level of difficulty, fostering a sense of competence and accomplishment. Scaffolding independence recognises and responds to individual learning needs, acknowledging that each child learns differently. By providing tailored support and guidance, we prevent children from becoming overwhelmed or disengaged, ensuring that they are challenged without feeling frustrated. Our ultimate objective is to empower children to become self-directed learners, equipped with the skills and confidence to tackle new challenges and approach learning with enthusiasm and resilience. By trusting in children's capabilities and providing opportunities for them to take ownership of their learning, we cultivate a culture of independence and self-reliance. Reflecting on our own practices is essential in scaffolding independence. We encourage educators to consider the extent to which they intervene in children's tasks throughout the day. Utilising reflection sheets can help identify tasks where children are allowed to work independently versus those where adults may take control, guiding educators towards a more balanced approach. Additionally, incorporating open-ended questions and prompts into interactions with children can foster independence by encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By reframing responses and empowering children to explore further, educators can nurture autonomy and self-confidence. In this lesson, we will explore practical strategies for scaffolding independence in early childhood, from providing tailored support to trusting in children's abilities to navigate challenges. Outcomes for Practice: - Reflect on personal practices regarding scaffolding independence in children. - Utilise reflection tools to identify opportunities for fostering independence throughout the day. - Incorporate open-ended questions and prompts to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving. - Trust in children's capabilities and provide opportunities for them to take ownership of their learning journey.

6. Designing Our Environments To Inspire Independence


In this lesson, we explore the crucial role of learning environments in promoting independence, exploration, and lifelong enthusiasm for learning. A well-designed environment not only supports independence but also empowers children to engage in self-care activities, take calculated risks, and participate actively in their own learning journey. A thoughtfully crafted environment serves as a canvas for children to navigate and explore independently, fostering a sense of autonomy and confidence. With accessible materials and age-appropriate tools, children are empowered to engage in self-care activities such as dressing themselves and managing personal belongings, promoting self-sufficiency and responsibility. Moreover, promoting risky play within reasonable safety parameters allows children to take calculated risks, fostering resilience, decision-making skills, and a healthy sense of adventure. By providing opportunities for exploration and discovery, the environment encourages children to embrace challenges and develop problem-solving abilities. As educators, it's essential to ensure that our learning environments inspire both us and the children. Reflecting on the layout and design of our spaces, we consider whether they encourage independence and autonomy. Are there ample opportunities for children to engage in self-directed exploration? Is the environment cluttered, or does everything have a designated home? Creating organised and accessible spaces enables children to feel empowered to access resources independently, fostering a sense of ownership and agency. In this lesson, we will explore practical strategies for creating environments that enhance independence, from promoting self-care activities to embracing risky play within safety parameters. Outcomes for Practice: - Reflect on the inspiration provided by your learning environment and its impact on children's independence. - Assess the ways in which your environment allows children to engage in independent activities. - Evaluate the organisation and accessibility of your learning spaces to promote independence and autonomy. - Implement strategies to enhance the environment to inspire independence and self-directed exploration in children.

7. Practical Strategies for Promoting Independence in Early Years Environments


In this lesson, we explore practical strategies for promoting independence in children across different age groups within early years environments. From babies to preschoolers, fostering autonomy is crucial for their development. We delve into age-appropriate approaches that empower children to take increasing responsibility for their self-care routines and decision-making. For babies, we introduce gentle practices like wiping noses and faces, allowing them to gradually become accustomed to self-care activities. Providing choices during playtime helps them exercise decision-making skills and autonomy. Toddlers are encouraged to further their self-care routines, such as face cleaning and handwashing, while also taking on responsibilities like managing their hydration through accessible drinks stations. We ensure the environment supports independent play and learning, with varied resources for exploration. Preschoolers are challenged with more responsibilities, such as putting on their own coats and organizing personal belongings. They are also encouraged to express their thoughts and opinions independently, fostering critical thinking and decision-making skills. Throughout the lesson, educators learn how to scaffold independence by providing support and guidance while gradually stepping back to allow children to take the lead in their own learning and self-care journey. By implementing these strategies, early years environments become nurturing spaces where children can develop independence, confidence, and a sense of agency.

Meet your teacher

Having worked in early years since the age of 16 early childhood learning means everything to me, which is why I'm so passionate about ensuring a platform dedicated to our communities learning exists. I've experienced first hand the lack of genuine and affordable learning opportunities that exist within early years and trying to provide my teams with high quality and flexible training on a non-existent budget is an impossible task. Its our mission to change this.

'We wouldn't be without The Early Years Network.'

Investing in meaningful and affordable training is always something we are looking to do. The Early Years Network puts all our in-house training under one roof and is extremely affordable compared to other avenues we've gone down in the past. Having inspired, motivated and passionate staff members is what drives us to be our best, The Earl Years Network has given us opportunities to provide meaningful training in a fun and informative way.

Class FAQ'S

Are all the Network Classes included in my monthly price?

Regardless if you are a standard user or a corporate user, your membership grants you access to our entire collection of Network Classes so you can begin your educational journey with us today without any limitations.

Are there quizzes on the platform?

The Early Years Network is all about meaningful learning that will transform the way you interact with and educate young children, not attempting to fill your head with information for the sake of a quick superficial quiz.

Are videos available in different languages?

Unfortunately for the time being videos are only available in English, but maybe one day...

Can I access The Early Years Network if I don't have an early years qualification?

YES! Content on The Early Years Network has been created for people interested in early years regardless of age, experience or academic background. We have something for everyone whether you are a childminder, parent/carer or an early years professional.

Can I download the videos?

No, all videos are only accessible to stream online and require an internet connection in order to access the platform and watch the content.

Can I only access The Early Years Network on a computer?

Absolutely not, The Early Years Network has been optimised to be used on any device from your mobile phone to your tablet! Our flexible approach to learning embraces any and all types of device so you can learn anytime, anywhere!

Is The Early Network an accredited institution?

Whilst The Early Years Network is not an accredited body we do offer skill-based learning helping people transform knowledge and theory into meaningful change and improvement to their practice, environments and curriculum. Our Network Courses are created and hosted by leading experts within their academic fields, and upon completion of each course learners will be provided with a certificate to evidence their achievement.

Is there a minimum subscription time?

Of course not! You're free to cancel your membership whenever you like.

What is The Early Years Network?

We are a learning and development platform dedicated to the magical world of early years! We cover a wide range of topics, from child brain development to the importance of safeguarding and child wellbeing, through high-quality and immersive video content.

What subjects are covered on The Early Years Network?

We cover everything Early Years from ‘Cognitive Development Theories’, to the science behind play and even how to build the best rocket ship out of cardboard (you won't want to miss that video!). If you can think of a topic in early years we've probably got a video on it!

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