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Thriving Language Code of Conduct

Thriving Language are advocates of the early years profession and we strongly believe that there should be a code of conduct/practice for every professional body of people and early years is no exception. We have recorded a podcast about this, if you would like to know more head to Apple, Spotify or Buzzsprouts and search Thriving Language podcasts or pop on our website and click podcasts.

Here is ours and our fab colleague Cherie Keenan’s version of a Code Practice/Conduct to start with. We would love you to use it, develop it and add to it.

Please have a think about the following:

Practitioner/EY professionals refers to all adults working or volunteering with children.

Shaming creates low self-esteem, feeling overly guilty, an atmosphere of negativity.

Shaming creates a blame culture.

Setting the atmosphere for positive, communication rich environments is your individual duty and every adults role.

Your Environment:

What does your environment and atmosphere feel like to you? What would it feel like to a visitor?

How do your colleagues and team members contribute to a positive environment?

Most of all what do the children experience, can they express themselves and be honest with everyone, can they be playful, can they show you and the other adults if they are sad or angry? Importantly can they be themselves?

Observation and understanding the child and their journey are key to building positive relationships and a love of life-long learning.

Autonomy is crucial to deep engagement in play and critical thinking, giving someone the space they need to progress and think. Children and adults all need to be given freedom, time and be trusted to develop their own ideas.

Adults learn as much from the children as children learn from them.

Adults can add provocation to children’s ideas and enable deep engagement in play.

Adults are not with children to tell or teach them how and what to play.

Distributed Leadership

We try out new ideas, they do not always work but we will not know this if we do not try. This is also the approach to the children's learning. They have ideas and we follow and facilitate these. Honesty and reflection are the key to successful working life. We would expect all practitioners to reflect on how they can be better and grow in their work. You could use Gibbs reflective cycle for this. There are some great reflective models and research around the importance of this: Mentoring and Coaching in Early Childhood Education (Gasper and Walker). You could research Schon Reflection in action: Reflective practice is the ability to reflect on your actions and the process of continuous learning. Being honest about how things happened and what you might do differently next time allows growth in our practice. Please question and discuss as this is how we all learn.

Encourage all the EY team you work with to think differently and embrace differences: the people you work with will have different ideas to you. This is a good thing. For further research please look at team dynamics 'forming, storming, norming cycle' Gillian Rodd.

Thriving Language Template Code of conduct in practice

Here is a template you might want to look at, you and your colleagues are very welcome to discuss, use and adapt it...

All Early Years professionals at ……….. have agreed to adhere to the following guidelines. Please note these are the minimum standards that are expected from all adults working in our early years provision.

  1. Use kind, gentle, low volume and calming voices.

  2. Respect the views and wishes of others, however professionally challenge discriminatory language or behaviours.

  3. Understand that all families and children are unique and discover what this means for each child.

  4. We will avoid discussions that are not related to the children's care, learning and development.

  5. We will ensure that all vocabulary used promotes the children's learning, development and confidence.

  6. All practitioners will avoid shaming children, other practitioners, parents or other professionals.

  7. All adults will role model kind behaviours and empathy with children and other adults.

  8. Children will not be put under any pressure to say sorry, please or thank you – we understand that this will come in time, through modelled behaviours from adults and when it is developmentally appropriate for the child.

  9. Children will never be shouted at or discouraged from communicating.

  10. All adults will allow children time and space to play and will ensure that play is not routinely interrupted or led. This will enable deep levels of engagement.

  11. All adults will use their knowledge of the Early Years Curriculum, child development and the individual child's provocations and interests to enhance children's learning and development.

  12. We will all use open ended questions and comments to encourage sustained shared thinking amongst the children (1 question to 4 comments ECAT).

  13. All adults will respect the views of other practitioners, allowing them space to practice and develop as professionals.

  14. Reflective practitioners - reflect on your own practice daily to enhance and develop the way you work with children. Reflect with your colleagues for at least 10 minutes a day together to enable moving forward.

  15. Free flow of inside and outside environments to be on offer for all children, if this is not possible (due to logistics) practitioners to ensure there is a choice of environments on offer throughout the day and at least and option of 2 hours outside would be offered to children.

  16. Listen to the voice of the child. Listening includes tuning into their non-verbal cues and respecting the child's views and wishes. Listening also means being heard, what ways are the children communicating with you?

  17. Use positive body language and create an environment of valuing body language and gestures. Sit with children, laugh, play and interact with them at their level.

  18. Ensure that you understand the policies and procedures and what they really mean for you and the children in practice.

  19. Ensure the children's safety is paramount and that children are included in the risk assessments.

  20. Ensure confidentiality is maintained and safeguarding is understood and actioned.

  21. No personal mobile devices within the practice, no cameras linked to the internet. Always ask children’s permission to use a photo, and only take photographs of them in action and not their faces. Children have their own rights and can make informed decisions. Children’s identifiable images should not be put on social media.

  22. The Environment is the third teacher, keeping the environment engaging and stimulating throughout the sessions enables children to engage deeply. This does not mean setting up activities, it really means having intrigue and resources that extend children’s interest.

Observe children (enjoy, stand back and watch) and respect children's autonomy. And think; where next with learning? What will you do to help children gain more knowledge about what they already know and about what interests them?

Sign to say……………………………………………….. You agree and will do your best to create environments where all children are understood and valued.

NB we suggest all adults who work with children sign and understand the importance of their role with babies and young children. Thank you for creating brighter futures with Thriving Language.


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