Explain the role of the Early Years practitioner in supporting the needs of children during transition and significant life events

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.4: Promote children’s emotional well-being
Learning outcome: Understand the needs of children during transition and significant events
Assessment criteria: Explain the role of the Early Years practitioner in supporting the needs of children during transition and significant life events

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We have already explored how an Early Years practitioner can support a child to prepare for a planned transition. In this section, we will examine how a practitioner can support the needs of children during other transitions and significant life events, for which prior planning may not be possible, such as a bereavement, the hospitalisation of a primary carer or an intervention by social services.

Practitioners should work closely with parents, carers and professionals that are involved with the child. Professionals could include social workers, medical experts and speech and language therapists. The practitioner may recommend professional intervention to a child’s parents/carers. Of course, information should only be shared between professionals with permission from the child’s parents/carers. For example, if the child or their parents/carers are going through a particularly difficult time, the practitioner could consider signposting them to a counsellor or other support service.

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The child should be supported to express their feelings about the event/transition. The practitioner could encourage the child to draw pictures, make models or write stories about how they are feeling. The practitioner should also provide opportunities for the child to discuss the event/transition with their peers.

It is important that the practitioner remains calm and reassuring during these times, as the child will take their cues from the adults around them. It is also worth bearing in mind that different children will react differently to these events/transitions – some may withdraw and become quiet, while others may become more clingy or aggressive.

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The practitioner should continue to observe the child closely during these times and record any changes in behaviour. They should also keep a close eye on the child’s physical health, as some children may become unwell due to stress. If the practitioner has any concerns, they should seek advice from their manager or another professional.

The practitioner should continue to offer support to the child after the event/transition has passed and should be available to talk to the child (and their parents/carers) if they need to.

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