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Plenary: Just Listen: tuning into children Plenary: Just Listen: tuning into children Dr Hannah Mortimer Educational Psychologist.

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Presentation on theme: "Plenary: Just Listen: tuning into children Plenary: Just Listen: tuning into children Dr Hannah Mortimer Educational Psychologist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Plenary: Just Listen: tuning into children Plenary: Just Listen: tuning into children Dr Hannah Mortimer Educational Psychologist

2 Where we are going … Let’s think about our visions and values when listening to young children. Communication is a two-way process – so how can we communicate effectively with even very young children? How can we use this to ensure that each and every child can participate and belong? And how can we consult young children on choices and decisions that affect them?

3 It’s good to be listened to! Think of a time during the last week or so when you simply weren’t listened to. Share this with your neighbour What did it feel like? What did it make you want to do? (2 mins)

4 How we listen to young children By letting the child lead By tuning into their voices and behaviours By observing their body language Through our use of eye contact By mirroring what they say and do

5 Listening involves … Observation – practical ways for tuning in Offering choices – and acting on children’s preferences Communicating effectively – how we listen and how we feed back Ensuring participation – gathering evidence that every child has been listened to and that we have reflected on what they have to tell us.

6 Why is it important? UN Rights of the Child Article 12: Every child has a right to be heard in the development of policy and practice that affects them Backed up by Children’s Act 2004, Childcare Act 2006: 3 (5), Every Child Matters: Change for Children (2004) and the new policy initiatives for Early Years and Childcare.

7 Why IS it important? Listening as an approach to life – a culture … Meet Molly! Molly and the ‘ditch the dodie’ project

8 Observing and listening to children An active process of receiving, interpreting and responding to communication. It includes all the senses and emotions and is not limited to the spoken word. An ongoing part of tuning in to all children as individuals in their everyday lives ‘Listening’ is necessary stage in ensuring the participation of all children. Sometimes part of a specific consultation about a particular environment, activity, event or opportunity

9 Simple methods for observing and listening Individual and small group talking time Using cameras Child conferencing Observations – open ended and open minded Using puppets/stories/small world play/role play Using displays –self selected Circle time and musical interaction Watch, wait, wonder

10 Tuning In Get to know children as individuals ‘All about Me’ Welcome profiles Child passports Establishing likes/dislikes Observations ‘My treasure box’ Children’s prospectuses

11 Listening to Babies How can you ‘listen’ to babies who cannot talk to you? Listen to the story of ‘Ellie’s Day’ Could this approach be adapted for you?

12 Offering real choices When finding resources When deciding who to play with When encouraging creativity When ensuring physical access When adapting the session to fit the interests and needs of the children When including children with SEN

13 Sharing the menu Swings and roundabouts Don’t expect direct answers! The Mosaic Approach (Alison Clark): observations/child conferencing / cameras/tours/mapping/role play/parents’ and practitioners’ perspectives ….. Pieced together to create a living picture of what is important to the child

14 What might you consult on? Room layout Activities Area/resource usage in the setting Outdoor play spaces What I want to do next Who I like to play/work with Anything else?

15 Friendship Matters Listening to children with PMLD: -Carefully managed meetings and greetings -Know when to stand back -Friends are children we play with -Encouraging turn-taking and reciprocal play

16 Friendship Matters Inclusive therapy sessions Photo books - ‘Meet Harry’ Persona dolls Visual helpers and timetables PSA as ‘child magnet’! Time to be solitary – My Space, nurture corners

17 Showing that we listen Record when, where, who and the issue concerned How did you listen? What did you do as a result? How did the children give feedback? What did they think about it?

18 The resource ‘Listening to Children in their Early Years’ By Dr Hannah Mortimer with SureStart Stockton-on-Tees Available from:


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