As individuals, children should be given opportunities to learn:
Children develop knowledge, concepts and skills that build on their personal experiences, and equip them for a role in society through a learning environment that reflects each culture appropriately and provides activities that are suitably planned and resourced.
As children progress they will be able to contribute to a variety of groups for different purposes and will be able to undertake roles within those groups, for example re-enacting the parts of characters in a story, or carrying out a mathematical investigation.
- Initially children’s social development and learning occur within the home as they form relationships with members of their family group.
- Learning experiences in the home will be extended when children start to attend settings/schools but they will continue to spend some of their time in solitary activities, acquiring new skills.
- When engaged in small group activities, children should have the opportunity to interact with and be supported by a practitioner and should be encouraged to seek help if they need it.
- As children progress more challenging topics can be introduced in response to the children’s interests and growing understanding; for example, ‘Folk tales and fables’, ‘Being good friends’, ‘Patterns and colours’.
- The transition from home to a setting/school will be eased by opportunities for role play in the home corner or other familiar surroundings, such as a book corner, that are suitably furnished with adult- as well as child-sized furniture.
- Gradually children build up their vocabulary and develop confidence in talking with other children and practitioners about themselves and what they are doing, as well as becoming aware of and respecting the needs of others.
- In group settings children may play alone or alongside others, gradually interacting more with their peer group as their language and communication skills and their friendships develop.
- When children play happily together in small groups and have acquired relevant communication skills, activities can be planned that require them to solve problems or play games together.
- Children also need to develop awareness of the consequences of their actions, for example that it is wrong to hit others because they will be hurt.
- Opportunities should be made to involve children in devising a set of simple rules for behaviour in their group.
- Children also need to develop respect for rules and property.
- The support of a practitioner will still be required until children develop skills in taking turns and observing the rules of a game.
- support in developing attention skills. Some children will require a range of stimuli and routines to gain and maintain their attention, such as gestures, sounds or visual aids.
Children should have opportunities for undertaking collaborative work on large-scale projects that involve considerable interpersonal skills such as cooperative learning, decision making, and undertaking different roles and responsibilities.
- As children progress they will be able to recognise issues that are of common concern to themselves and to others, such as what is fair and unfair.
- Children can provide mutual support for each other. They learn to establish and maintain friendships and how to participate in a variety of groups in the wider community.
- Children will benefit from opportunities to develop their understanding of different members of the community by learning about their roles, the different workplaces in the locality.
- Children should become aware of how they can help to care for their environment.
- The concept of cultural diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is different and unique. By providing a safe, positive and nurturing environment children will have opportunities to share and explore these differences.
- The Curriculum Cymreig should enable all children who live in Wales to gain a sense of belonging to Wales, and provide them with an understanding of the Welsh heritage, literature, arts and religious background, as well as the language.
- Children will become aware of their own cultural identity and that of others through a range of planned, and incidental, practical educational experiences.
- Children will learn to appreciate cultural diversity by sharing and celebrating familiar and new cultural experiences, including some of the festivals and traditions contained in local and denominational agreed syllabuses.
Differences should be acknowledged, discussed, respected and valued. There will also be similarities, for example most cultures have rituals (such as family mealtimes and birthdays) with which children are able to identify, although they may celebrate them differently.
- Topics such as ‘Families’, ‘Homes’, ‘Foods’, ‘Toys and games’ and ‘Celebrations’ all enable cultural diversity to be developed as they relate to every child’s experiences in some way. However, focusing solely on spectacular or colourful events such as this may lead to stereotyping .
- Knowledge of different aspects of culture can be developed including dress, language, diet and food, ways of eating, discipline, courtesy, traditions and customs, music, art, dance and literature.
- Over time children will learn about different backgrounds and lifestyles, to respect them equally and appreciate the varied contributions that different cultures make to communities in Wales.
- Celebrating some of the festivals of major religions provides positive opportunities for learning about different beliefs and customs. There may be aspects of culture associated with religions, for example writings, art, music, symbols and architecture.
- In order to be able to empathise with others children will need to explore their own personal and cultural identities and feelings, and express their views through play and talk, drawing, painting and other forms of representation.
- Issues of fairness, justice, rights and responsibilities can be introduced when children are able to appreciate the feelings of others.
- In predominantly mono-ethnic settings/schools children’s understanding of different cultures can be extended by communicating (e.g. via e-mail) with children in other settings with different cultural contexts
Moral and spiritual development
- Children discover some of the boundaries for behaviour (what they are/are not allowed to do) and what is acceptable by observing positive behaviour and attitudes of others.
- Sometimes expectations in a setting/school may not be consistent with those at home but children need to learn the reasons for particular conduct.
- Ultimately, the aim is that children will be able to communicate about what is good and bad, right and wrong, fair and unfair, caring and inconsiderate themselves and exercise self-control. It is important when praising or reprimanding behaviour that the approval or disapproval is clearly directed at the act and not the child.
- Learning to empathise with others firstly necessitates the ability to recognise their own feelings and reflect on them.
- The practitioner provides an important role model for the kind of behaviour expected in different situations.
- Spiritual development is less easily defined than moral development, as the innermost thoughts are involved.
- Children can be provided with opportunities to experience and respond to quiet and still times. They should be encouraged to observe and reflect on natural phenomena (such as autumn colours, or shadows), close their eyes and listen to sounds around them (such as birdsong or classical music), or just be very quiet and think of something they think is beautiful. All responses should be respected and valued.
- Values can be developed by giving children opportunities to share their ideas about things that are important to them or something they are pleased about in a piece of work they have done.
- Circle time is an ideal way of enabling children to take turns at speaking in a group situation and to listen to each other’s ideas. Collective worship is another opportunity for sharing beliefs and ideas.
- Special times such as birthdays and religious occasions can be celebrated by creating a special atmosphere to make the event memorable, for example by using candles and music.
- In order to feel happy about who they are and how they fit into groups, children need to develop self-awareness as individuals and as part of wider society. This will include self-esteem, self-knowledge, confidence, feeling valued and accepted by others, an ability to express their views and feelings and make sense of them, and an ability to relate to others and work with them.
- Circle time is a familiar way of introducing into discussion matters related to feelings and reactions, beliefs and personal views. Children can be encouraged to respond to photographs, puppets, dolls and story characters. They should have opportunities to explore aspects of their own and others’ personal and cultural identity and begin to question stereotyping.
- Young children need to acquire positive attitudes and so it is important to convey positive messages that show that every child is valued and respected.
- Children will begin to develop a sense of identity if they can see themselves in mirrors and photographs in a variety of activities.
- Children will begin to develop a sense of belonging as they interact with others in their family, their friends and members of the local community. This includes developing awareness of the cultural heritage of Wales and beginning to speak Welsh.
- Topics such as ‘All about me’ or ‘Myself’ enable children to explore identity, similarities and differences, as well as to discuss likes and dislikes, favourite foods, customs, etc. They can learn about different names, observe visual differences by producing and comparing self-portraits, paying attention to detail, individuality, what is special about each of them.
- If children feel safe and secure, without fear of failure or criticism, they will be able to benefit from the learning experiences provided for them by venturing into new activities, making decisions, taking necessary risks and developing increasing control over their own lives.
- Children should know about the importance of food and water to their bodies, how to make healthy food choices and the importance of exercise.
Physical well-being focuses on children’s increasing awareness of their own bodies and their personal health development, including nutrition and personal safety.
Children will need to learn how to keep themselves physically safe and healthy. Their learning programme should include information about:
- what to do or to whom they should go if they feel unsafe or need assistance
- the importance of food and water to their bodies
- the importance of healthy eating and how to make healthy food choices that include the foods that should feature in a balanced diet
- the importance of exercise
- road safety, water safety and hazards in the home
- the different parts of the male and female body and the distinction between appropriate and inappropriate touching
- medicines that are taken to make them feel better, and the dangers of drugs, smoking, alcohol and other dangerous substances.