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Why childminders must allow children to fail

active-learning-for-childmindersFailure doesn’t sound like it should be a childminding best practice topic, but actually it is vitally important that young children be allowed to fail. We all know parents who never allow their children to fail. At the first sign of difficulty as the child tries to do up his shoes, they jump in there and tie them for him. If the child gets bored half way through the art project they are making, they finish the task for them. At the first sign of difficulty they lift their child up onto the climbing frame so that she can feel she made it. Many parents are afraid to let their child ‘fail’ or ‘fall’ and in doing so, continually give their child the message that they can’t really be expected to do things by themselves and that any failure is a terrible thing instead of a normal and positive part of growing up.

Unfortunately, this sort of parenting doesn’t ultimately help children because it doesn’t help them to develop the characteristics of effective learning. Children have to learn to do things by themselves. They have to learn that in order to succeed at tasks they have to keep trying at them. They have to learn that if something doesn’t work first time, to try a different approach. They have to learn to concentrate on tasks they set for themselves, and that the harder they work at a task the more likely they are to succeed at it. Parents who do everything for their children ultimately do not help their child to learn to succeed in school.

As their childminder you can help children enormously to prepare them for school by encouraging children in the Early Years to persist at tasks they find difficult and to keep trying at challenging tasks. If you can help to teach the children resilience in the face of failure then you will be equipping them well for school, even if their parents don’t. It is part of your job to help children to develop the characteristics that will make them into effective learners once they start school.

For tools, activities, CPD and ideas to put the COEL into practice in your childminding setting check out my new Characteristics of Effective Learning Pack.

Promoting the Characteristics of Effective Learning Poster

For tools, activities, CPD and ideas to put the COEL into practice in your childminding setting check out my new Characteristics of Effective Learning Pack.

 

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