Tomorrow I will be starting my 3rd professional experience (ECP2001) and then after, the 4th professional experience (ECP2002) at this C&K centre with a 4-5 year old pre-school group.
The last couple of weeks since I had my post-ECP1002 interview, I was reflecting on some thoughts that my lecturer, Alice was telling me about. My lecturer noted to me that I have a pretty strong personality in which, on reflection, may not be suitable for certain contexts in which, should I engage at.
As it is too recently, a previous communication with my friend, Annie, reminded me about the strengths that I have, and on reflection on that communication with Annie, reminded myself that I should take ownership of it and expand upon it.
Recently, as stated in my past entries, I have just completed in total, an 18-day "internship"(as I would define it) in a private based long day childcare centre located in the midst of town. At the same time, I was in the midst of doing my research in community based C&K centre. To which, I had attended and stayed a few hours in the morning for a couple of weeks to collect my data research. When I was there, I observed some things that was I thought was pretty uncharacteristic.
Saying that, it must be noted that this is my 2nd experience at "another" early childhood centre, and one, where the context of the environment is in total contrast to that of the first. I was pretty surprised at the way things were run there, because I had the impression that centres were to be as "structured" as the first one I attended. In fact, apart from the documentation that took place, everything else was done in a totally different manner. One which I kept on reflecting on.
The things that I had observed was that:
- the children had the flexibilty to go in and out of the shed to take the outdoor play equipment as they wished to.
- the children could paint on the pavements and run anywhere on the outdoor grounds without being reprimanded.
- the children could stay indoors in they didn't feel like going out outdoors to play (provided there was a staff supervising indoors).
- the children did not have to pack away their manipulatives and "work" just because they were going for lunch. There was no emphasis on that.
- the children did not all have to sleep "at the same time". Only those who wanted to sleep will sleep. The rest could just work with the equipment or do their own work.
- the staff did not emphasize on following routines anally, but was flexible on following the children's interests and how their play went like.
The imposition of rules & regulations reminds me of something I read in my ECE2112 (Managing Young Children) readings about following the children's interest, instead of imposing rules and regulations on them. It says that staff who follow the children's leads and interest, end up having a better time at work, because they are not always stressing out and expending too much energy in "policing" children to follow the rules and regulations of the centre all the time.
Last week, one of my lecturers, Michelle, took my Literacies course group to visit two different centres. One of which is another C&K centre in another part of town, and the other, which was a pre-school and kindergarten group in a school based setting.
There was a total difference between both the C&K setting and the school based setting in context to the ones I visited. I brought it up with one of my lecturers, Gillian during discussion about my research project today.
The characteristics of that C&K centre was:
- The C&K had a really home based "feel" to it. It's like you get the feeling like you are entering someone's "home" instead of a school.
- There was no dress code in place for the children
- As it is, one of the notable things of the C&K setting is that, the learning experiences are "individualised" to the children's interest, more flexible
- Very elaborately decorated.
- Vey much less structured!
At the school setting, it was exactly that.
- There was a dress code in place.
- Less elaborately decorated.
- More structured "feel" to the environment.
- More of a "group" rather than "individualized" planning to it.
In reflection on it, after the students brought up the differences on both the centres to our lecturer, Michelle, she said that both her children were attending two different centres. One which had individualized programming, and the other which was the school based centre we attended. She said that both of the centres had its pros and cons, but it also depended as well on the children's personality too.
Michelle said that she opted to send her children to the two different centres, as she felt that her son could cope better in an individualized program class as his personality was suited to that kind of environment, whereas, her daughter benefitted and coped better in a more structured environment.
Of which, after reflecting on my thoughts on both the centres above, it helped me put in perspective my internship experience on the centres where I had done my internship. I should say that I should not "generalize" how centres are run, but individualize the way I respond to it according to how the centre's ethos and philosophy is run.