Confidentiality And Ethics
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Principles of ethics and confidentiality are major components of participation within the ASCDL. These principles are drawn from the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Code of Ethics for professionals who are involved in the education and care of children and their families.
Below is a top ten list of items to practice when working or observing children in the classroom or when viewing children from the observation room.
- Families with young children are incredibly intense and wonderful all at the same time. If you do not have children, think about how busy you are being a student (as most of the parents are at this center) and having a child or children that need feeding, dressing, emotional support, regulating routines such as sleeping, and managing a household. Our families here do these things in magnificent fashion. They deserve our respect and support in every way.
- One of the most important principles in our code of ethics is to do no harm to children and their families. We must respect the dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each child. These families have entrusted the health and safety of their children in our responsibility. They have given you a gift in terms of sharing their children and their development to increase your learning. The point is to appreciate this gift by honoring their privacy.
- Treat the time in the observation room and on floor with staff as a privilege. Children are truly wonderfully spontaneous, funny, honest, and sometimes difficult, cranky, and confusing. This is all developmentally appropriate. Abide by our procedures and policies; it is a way to show respect.
- The next point is that it is imperative that there be no discussion about the behavior or appearance of children or staff while you are working on your assignments in the observation room. Parents frequently visit the room to watch their children and will be sensitive to your comments. Staff or their colleagues may be present there also. You really have no idea who else is sharing the room with you, don’t assume they are students who are doing the same assignment as you are or that they are students.
- You are witnessing development in its "raw" form. Children often say things that you may find amusing, alarming, or puzzling. Remember you do not have the context or know what happened at school the day before or at home in the last few weeks. I remember my own daughter who attended this school, said very loudly one day that "there is no food in my house" and insisted that she should eat an extra large helping of some snack that was being served. I happened to be in the observation room and was flabbergasted. It turns out that I had made an off-handed comment about needing to go to the grocery school since our refrigerator was getting "pretty empty." That’s all it was but I wondered if folks in the observation room thought she/we did not have enough food for her.
- You may not discuss your assignment or observation with your friends or family outside of the observation room. Remember, we need to honor these children and families; there is no need for you to share information about what you see or hear with anyone but your professor and classmates in a classroom where these ethical rules are followed.
- The needs of the children and families may be superseded by those of the observers. We realize that your assignments are important, but our code of ethics makes it clear that we should not engage in behaviors that are intrusive or exploitive to children and their families.
- Your adherence to our code of ethics means that you will avoid situations that might damage the trust between the staff and the families. A high quality child care center relies on the good will and trust between staff and families. Any behaviors (on your part) that might damage that relationship are never acceptable.
- If you hear anyone engaging in any of these behaviors, please go to Modoc 216 or Modoc 102 (Dr. Cindy Ratekin’s office) and report what you have witnessed. This is very important to the integrity of our program and the continued use of the observation for you and your classmates.
- Finally, sit back, listen, watch, and enjoy. Children, individually and in groups, are marvelous magical beings. They can teach you many valuable things about development, group care settings, and yourself.