Sarah Ash, Subject Advisor for Health and Social Care and Child Development
This blog was originally published in November 2023 and has now been updated with additional resources and links.
R059 is a unit of work that looks to develop a student’s understanding of the development norms for children from one to five years. This is done through an assignment that includes practical elements and research.
Set assignments are live for one academic year only and on 1 June each year, a new live assignment will be released. It is important to point out the set assignment does not follow the topic areas in a sequential order. We suggest however that you teach the content in the order that it is written in the specification before looking at the assignment as this helps to prevent any confusion when the assignment is begun.
You should consider the synoptic elements in your planning; these are knowledge, understanding and skills drawn from the examined unit R057. If you teach R059 before R057, make sure you build these synoptic elements into your teaching.
The unit consists of four topic areas that we look at in detail below linked to the sample assessment.
In this topic area students will be learning about the expected development norms of a child from one to five years old. They will understand the norms associated with the physical, intellectual and social development of a child in order to apply it to the specific scenario in the set assignment. This means they will understand at what age the development would ‘normally’ occur so they can make links between the child they observe in topic area 3 and the expected norms.
For example, physical development could include gross and fine motor skills such as walking, jumping and pincer grip. To support your teaching of this topic area you might find the Early Years Matter website helpful.
Topic area 2 focuses on three sections: the stage of play of a child from one to five years, the types of play they might engage in and the benefits that the play has on the child.
The four stages of play that need to be learnt are given in section 2.1 of the teaching content:
When undertaking research they might find reference to other stages, but they only need to focus on those given in the specification (see above), and show they understand what happens at each stage and the expected age for each stage of play. To support your teaching you might find the Brightest Beginnings website helpful.
Students should next learn the five types of play as given in the specification that children aged one to five engage with and the activities to promote each type. The different types of play are.
Your students might find some of these types of play are given other names. For example, imaginative play is sometimes known as pretend or fantasy play, examples of which could be dressing up. Manipulative play might be called investigative or exploratory play, this is when children manipulate materials to see what might happen, for example a very young child might put blocks in their mouths to taste them and then move on as they get older to stacking with them.
Students should know and understand the difference between stages and types of play, that stages of play should happen when a child reaches a specific age/age range, and that types of play are the types of activities they are involved in. An example could be that between the ages of one and five a child will engage in physical types of play, but at certain ages they are more likely to engage in these either alone (solitary play often associated with infants) or with others (cooperative play often associated with 4/5-year-olds). Finally, students should know and understand the benefits of play on a child’s physical and intellectual development and on their social creative skills.
Student should apply their knowledge of play to the scenario in the set assignment where they might be asked to focus on a given age and would have to select which stage of play might be the most suited to the child for the age, and the type of play that might be seen and the benefits they might have.
In topic area 3, students learn about the different methods of observing a child and recording their observations in preparation for the assessment as they must complete at least one observation of a child of the age stated in the set assignment. They should learn about the different methods of observation to ensure they select the most appropriate one for the observation they will undertake, selecting from the ones in the specification: charts, written records, photographs. As well as this student should understand the importance of confidentiality when observing a child and recording information.
Observations should be done under adult supervision and wherever possible, should be with a child in person, for example with a sibling, family friend or a child in a childcare setting. If it is not possible to observe a child in person, the observation could be completed remotely (for example, live or recorded). In exceptional circumstances, students could watch a publicly available video (such as The Secret Life of 4-year-olds) but you must make sure that the video is appropriate before the student completes the activity.
The total length of time spent observing a child should be appropriate to the method chosen. We would recommend that observations last no longer than approximately 20 minutes in total.
Students should be taught how to use observation findings to compare with the expected development norms and the stages and types of play. They should apply this knowledge to the task in the set assignment.
Students will use their observation findings to plan a suitable play activity for the child they observed. The play activity must be appropriate for the child and be specific for the development area given in the assignment (such as social development). In order to be able to complete this, students will need to know and understand:
Another key aspect that students should consider in their plan is safety. They need to make sure that both the area they would be working in and the activity they plan are safe. They might consider the risks of being inside or outside (such as traffic or gates), whether appropriate supervision is available, whether resources are child friendly (such as no sharp items), and whether materials and working area are clean.
Once planned, students will need to gather feedback on their planned play activity. There is no set way to gather feedback but students can decide a method that best suits them. Some suggested ideas from the assessment guidance include; 1-2-1 discussions, presenting the plan to whole groups and taking feedback ideas. Students will then use the feedback they have collected to help to complete an evaluation of their plan.
Note that students are not expected to carry out the play activity with a child as this task assesses students’ skills in planning, self-reflection and evaluation.
For more information see the R059 scheme of work and the candidate style work (Teach Cambridge log-in required).
If you have any questions, you can email us at OCRHealthandSocialCare@ocr.org.uk, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Health. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Sarah has been working at OCR nearly 6 years and before this was a teacher of Health and Social Care at KS4 and KS5, and Child Development at KS4. Like many teachers she also taught a variety of other subjects including GCSE RE, GCSE Psychology (short course), KS3 Geography (Year 7). She was a sixth form tutor and EPQ supervisor. At OCR Sarah has been involved with the redevelopment of Cambridge Nationals Child Development and Health and Social Care, and Cambridge Advanced Nationals (AAQ) Health and Social Care.