A Foundation Degree in Early Years is a two-year course offered in the United Kingdom and Ireland, designed to provide a holistic approach to the learning and development of young children It has been designed to strengthen the foundation knowledge and understanding of all aspects of early childhood, from theories and philosophies to the practical application of best practice in a variety of settings.
Reflection upon the first year of such a course can be a valuable tool to assess progress made, what has been learned and how that knowledge can be applied in the future.
1. Understanding Theories and Philosophies of Early Childhood: During the first year of the degree students will explore and reflect upon the theories and philosophies of leading early childhood professionals. Reflection can help students to assess how their own views on early childhood have changed and evolved in response to their studies, as well as considering which particular theories and philosophies have made the most impact upon their practice.
2. Understanding the Physical, Cognitive and Social Developments of Children: An important part of the first year will involve exploring the physical, cognitive and social development of children, and considering the implications of these developments upon a child’s development. Reflection can help students to ascertain how they are understanding and applying the theories learned, and ensure that they are assimilating the knowledge in the most beneficial and effective way.
3. Observation and Recording: As part of the course, students will be expected to observe and record the behaviour of children in their care. Through reflective practice, students can consider their own practice and how they can be more effective in understanding the needs of children and the impact their own behaviour and interactions can have.
4. Reflective Practice: Reflection upon the practice of reflective practice itself is key to the first year of the foundation degree course. Students will gain a fundamental understanding of the concept of reflective practice and its impact upon the learning and development of young children.
5. Professional Development: Students will be expected to reflect upon their own professional development and the progress they have made during the first year of the course. It is important to consider the goals which have been achieved, the areas which require further development and considering the next steps required to continue progressing and developing as a practitioner.
Through reflective practice, students can gain a deep understanding of the different aspects of the foundation degree course and ensure that they are deriving the most benefit from their studies. Reflection can help them to access their own practice, consider their development and ensure that they are making the most of the opportunities open to them.