Continuing Professional Development

  • by Anonymous (not verified)

    Wednesday, 16 September, 2015 - 16:02

This approach weaves CPD and reflection for both musicians and early years practitioners into the fabric of the project through being co-researchers and developing a shared reflective practice. This shared reflection can happen on more than one level. If the project is taking place in a children’s centre this may mean sharing across the centre. If multiple settings are involved this may mean as a project group. When ideas are shared and discussed more widely, new learning, discoveries, directions, questions and clarity emerge. Making time for reflection is essential for the sustainability of the project or programme and will ensure learning is embedded.

Click on the dots for more information.

This page is part of the online resource pack: Tuning in to children.

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Waypointwaypoint/go-back-23Go back8.520.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/cpd-musiciansCPD for Musicians68.0357.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/cpd-musiciansCPD for Musicians68.0357.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/cpd-early-years-practitionersCPD for early years practitioners602.0233.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/cpd-early-years-practitionersCPD for early years practitioners602.0233.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/cpd-early-years-practitioners-and-musiciansCPD for early years practitioners and musicians279.0598.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/cpd-early-years-practitioners-and-musiciansCPD for early years practitioners and musicians279.0598.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/continuing-professional-development-0Continuing Professional Development619.050.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/continuing-professional-development-0Continuing Professional Development619.050.0""#0000002

This approach weaves CPD and reflection for both musicians and early years practitioners into the fabric of the project through being co-researchers and developing a shared reflective practice. This shared reflection can happen on more than one level. If the project is taking place in a children’s centre this may mean sharing across the centre. If multiple settings are involved this may mean as a project group. When ideas are shared and discussed more widely, new learning, discoveries, directions, questions and clarity emerge. Making time for reflection is essential for the sustainability of the project or programme and will ensure learning is embedded.

Click on the dots for more information.

This page is part of the online resource pack: Tuning in to children.


Click here for a text version of this visualisation

CPD for Musicians

Musicians are well disposed to work with very young children as they have been trained to be hypersensitive and empathetic to the music of other musicians. This is very important when working with children as reading children multi-modally and ‘listening with the whole body’ is very important. However, an ability to do this in a musical ensemble does not naturally lead to being able to do it with children. The training needs to build on the skills the musicians already have and move them into a new context. 

Also, the CPD with musicians needs to develop:

  • an understanding of the different types of settings
  • an understanding of the purposes, dynamics and structures of settings
  • an awareness of current early years practice, priorities and curricula
  • how they might use their musical instrument in sessions
  • an understanding of working with parents and carers.

‘My experience of teaching has always been at the top end. It’s always been university, conservatoire, and for me to be crawling around with the tuba is a fairly new experience, so the whole thing is brand new for me. What was interesting though for me was that it kind of reminded of what I already know, in a sense that I’m a father, and what I was doing there was actually not ever so different to what I have done with three children who are growing up okay, more or less. It reminded me of how stupid one can be as an adult.  Because after a time you can forget to listen and I found that fascinating just sitting back and doing hardly anything and then just watching, listening and quite often only finally joining in. I kept on being reminded of what I always felt was the case, that I had stupidly let my brain disengage and forget about so it was a salutary lesson for me, and I’m very grateful for it.’ 
Patrick, London Symphony Orchestra tuba player

CPD for early years practitioners

Training courses for early years practitioners can make them feel very aware of the specialist music skills they don’t have and fail to recognise the immense skills they do have. Early years practitioners have immense knowledge of children’s learning and development. They know the children very well as individuals and are trained to ‘tune in’ to, and support their learning through play. When a musician visits a nursery the early years practitioners’ own music practice can often be inhibited by the presence of the music specialist. Early years practitioners are ideally placed to create meaningful music experiences for children and to respond very well to children’s ideas in a very natural way. The idea of there being a ‘proper’ way to do it which requires a music specialist can also inhibit practitioners. This can lead to the practitioners doubting their own responses and underestimating their own skills. 
With this in mind, the training needs to:

  • allow the early years practitioners to discover their own musicality
  • respect and complement the knowledge and skills they already possess about childhood development and more specifically about the abilities and needs of their children
  • relate their existing skills to the context of responding to children’s music making
  • focus on listening and interpreting children’s spontaneous musical play.

‘I was really hesitant about coming on this course because I went on another early years music course a few weeks ago and came away feeling really negative. I was made to feel that I did not have the necessary skills. This course has given me confidence and I can see how I can plan really good progressive music sessions with the children’  Early years practitioner

CPD for early years practitioners and musicians

Knowledge

The CPD should include:

  • help develop a positive image of the child as individual, competent and rich in potential
  • help musicians and early years practitioners understand the differing musical abilities and skills of children from birth to 5 years old and how they progress
  • develop an awareness of the ways in which children from birth to 5 years old play musically and give value to it
  • change perceptions of and attitudes towards children and children’s sense of music or musicality
  • put children’s music-making within the context of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Skills

The CPD will help to develop:

  • skills for listening to children’s music-making
  • the ability to interact with children’s spontaneous musical play and be a sensitive and responsive play partner
  • the ability to ‘read’ children’s non-verbal communication
  • focussed attention on creative process as well as content
  • the ability to design musical experiences which allow children or children and their carers to participate fully
  • an understanding of what is appropriate vocabulary to use when talking with the children
  • the ability to design and deliver adult-framed activities which are sensitive to the abilities of children (or children and carers)
  • an understanding of what musical instruments/sound makers and other resources are appropriate
  • the ability to build a progressive programme which builds on what children already know and can do
  • an understanding of the value of documenting as a tool for reflection, planning and advocacy
  • tools for documenting and reflecting on children’s music-making both together and with the children.

The project

The CPD will allow:

  • space to share expectations of the project
  • time to understand each other’s roles and what people hope to get out of the project
  • time and space to share and reflect on experiences with others.

Continuing Professional Development

Working in early years is demanding and is a specialist area – experience of music activities with older children in schools or informal settings, will not necessarily transfer easily. There may be a need for CPD alongside work in the setting led by an experienced early years music practitioner.

Sometimes it may be better to train the early years practitioners and the musicians together and sometimes apart or a mixture of both. This depends on individual projects and differences in the levels of knowledge, skills and understanding of the different participants. It is important, with both groups, not to make assumptions or underestimate where this expertise lies. This may end up being decided by practical considerations, for example, musicians’ or early years practitioners’ schedules. 

CPD together at the start of the project:
• allows each group to recognise and respect each others expertise and skills
• allows partnerships and relationships to be built
• can break down preconceptions about each other
• starts the shared dialogue and information-sharing about the setting and the children
• starts the planning process away from distractions of the setting
• means that initial planning is done with the cultural, community, setting  and context in mind.

Problems might arise because:
• Elements of the CPD may need to be tailored to one of the groups. For example, the musicians might have training on using their musical instrument in the setting or the early years practitioners may need time to familiarise themselves with new musical instruments.
• The early years practitioners may feel inhibited by the musician’s musical skills.
• Musicians may feel disempowered by their lack of knowledge of this age group and unable ask basic questions.

Reflection

Reflection time is as important as developing skills and knowledge on training days.  It is very easy not to leave enough space for people to share in a rush to cover everything. Reflection time can sometimes be difficult to manage and can meander aimlessly if is not purposeful and rooted in real knowledge of children and their music-making. Sometimes this does not get past a ‘show and tell’, which may be fine at first as relationships need to be built, but which can be frustrating later if it lacks focus. Making it clear what is expected will help. 

Discussion and reflection can be focussed by:

• addressing a common question or questions (these may have been agreed by the group previously)
• focussing on the journey of one child or one group of children
• focussing on the journey of a particular idea
• limiting the feedback to one short but revealing video clip or sequence of photographs.

How CPD and reflection days for early years practitioners and musicians will depend on the length and aims of your project, the experience of those involved and on how much previous work has happened.  It is a good idea to have CPD and reflection days before, during and after your project. Make sure there is time for sharing and reflecting upon experiences and complement this by sharing videos, photographs and written observational notes (see documenting children’s musical play)

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