Hiya, what you have sounds good and as you say explaining what you do is about finding the right words - a thesaurus and search for synonyms can help with this - if you have ms word right click on the word and then select synonyms from the menu box.
Telling someone you are proud of them can be to praise. Telling them how well you thought the task was done can help everyone to look back/to reflect and to evaluate what happened, seeing if it was a positive experience or negative / good or bad, it also provides the opportunity to give your personal opinion and for the Children to know what you think - this can help to support confidence and to some extent may promote respect.
Confidence and self esteem can be damaged when negative input is recieved - this could be comments by adults, other children, the child's own high perception of what a finished product should look like, anothers expectation, or maybe something going wrong - breaking, not sticking together, falling off .. supporting these occasions to make sure / ensure feelings are protected/safeguarded can involve making sure only good encouraging comments are given, that you commiserate over problems together, work together and give suggestions on how it may be possible to correct/overcome the problems - achieving successful outcomes. Support self esteem and confidence again by allowing the child to lead any new ideas, seeing if these ones work or not ..
Ways to support confidence and self esteem
- Use positive language.
- Take an interest in what's happening
- Listen to the Children. Respond as necessary
- Use body and facial language to smile, reassure, encourage, gesture.
- Recognise efforts genuinely - if something surprises you, raises a question .. ask about it. Congratulate, say how you feel.
- Support the work being done and work through problems together.
- Be available
- Do not judge or pick fault.
- Plan new experiences and activities
- Suggest and where appropriate offer alternative / different ideas.
- Value work by finding ways to use and display it.
Emphasising a process helps to look closely at how something is done - the step by step procedure. By focusing on this part rather than the finished product children can enjoy activities freely, taking the time they need to find out about techniques, materials, tools, problem solving and later learning to know what's involved in individual finished products, what may be needed and how to go about organising this - without feeling a pressure to finish and produce an end product.
Can you use a reflective account & maybe look at a play activity involving the sand tray, where buckets, spades, shells & flags have been added/tipped into the tray.
Does play result in a sandcastle having been built - a finished product.
What parts of the whole process/activity were/are the most enjoyable: looking at, complimenting or praising the finished sandcastle or parts of the process that made the sandcastle possible - some of these elements could be - finding spades, finding a bucket, picking and standing it up, deciding which is the right way up, choosing a prefered colour, compromise or negotiate with another to share or swap buckets/resources, digging - applying pressure, pushing down, shifting direction to, discovering 'left and 'right handed use, lift, steady, balance sand, position the spade over the bucket, use hand and eye coordination, tilt, pour, tip, fill the bucket, maybe counting spadefuls in/out, patting the sand, checking if it's compact, turning the bucket upside down
always a tentative moment
lol lifting the bucket off.. using other items to decorate or role play ..
Would the activity be as equal in: participation/Children wanting to take part, time spent at the activity, success & enjoyment of it, if the only objective given was to have a finished sandcastle - how much play and learning might be 'lost due to the focus being placed solely on the final product.
Using a request/asking for a finished product as an aim or goal eg: 'Can you make a sandcastle' is one way to extend or challenge an activity/Child or children - this can support motivation, competition, a desire to suceed / attain the goal - another way to challenge, is to know when interest in the original activity has diminished and to provide alternative items/resources, giving it new direction eg: changing the spades, buckets, shells and flags for - sieves, laminated/plastic facial parts - nose, eyes, ears, mouth ... wool/hair, play sunglasses, basin/bowls - finished product could potentially be a face - but what would be involved in making one ..
I hope all this helps a little