Diary of a trainee Early Years Teacher

Emma Davis
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Part 9: In the final instalment of her diary, newly qualified EYT Emma Davis jumps the final hurdles to achieve her qualification

It seems incredible that I am writing this final diary entry of my experiences as I train to be an Early Years Teacher.  Although at the start of the course, I was feeling unsure about spending another year studying, the time has flown by.  The impact on my time has been considerable as compiling my file of evidence was no mean feat.  Perhaps I had not fully appreciated the change in my role at my setting either.  As the manager, I do not get to spend as much time with the children as I would like due to administrative tasks and meetings.  This had to change in order to gain the necessary evidence and complete the required observations of my practice by my mentor and tutor. 

Since my last diary entry, I completed my placement with babies at my local children’s centre.  A particularly inspiring session was an antenatal class led by a health visitor with a focus on baby brains.  Having covered brain development at university, I was keen to extend my learning in this area so was fascinated to discover how early brain connections are made and the influence of caregivers. After the session, I had a lengthy discussion with the health visitor, reflecting on my own thoughts and how the information I had learned was transferable to my setting.  It is important to consider children’s early experiences and attachments when reflecting on their development and progress.  I wrote up a reflection on this session and also asked the health visitor to write a witness testimony and used both as evidence of my experience with babies.

Also during my time at the children’s centre, I led a second treasure basket session for babies and toddlers aged up to two years.  It was well attended, offering opportunities for me to engage with parents, promoting the benefits of treasure baskets and loose parts play.  In order to provide evidence for standard 8 - fulfil wider professional responsibilities – I produced a leaflet for parents which outlined the purpose of treasure basket play, what to use, how to extend learning and development as well as safety considerations. 

During the baby placement, I was required to complete an observation with my tutor.  Unfortunately, the baby session planned was cancelled at the last minute meaning that I had to change the focus of my observation.  After a discussion with my tutor, it was decided that I could use evidence from a professional discussion with the local services coordinator at the centre.  This was scheduled for the second week of my placement and required me to plan the discussion, reflecting on my placement and evidence how I had met the standards focused on babies.  The local services coordinator was very helpful, prompting me for more information and asking questions such as how I had demonstrated leadership and what I had learned which was transferable to my setting.  My tutor was impressed with the section of our discussion focussed on multi-agency working, evidencing how the placement had enabled my setting and the centre to look at opportunities for strengthening our provision, particularly for vulnerable families.

By the end of the second week of my placement, my completed file of evidence was due to be submitted to the university.  It was a difficult task to compile all of the witness testimonies and write up my final pieces in such a short time frame.  This made me wish that I had arranged this baby placement earlier on in the year!

Before the external moderation of my file which was taking place mid-July, I was required to complete the final part of my training – an interview with my tutor which would be witnessed and documented by another tutor from the university.  This was a great opportunity for reflection, contemplating my own learning and development.  It seemed fitting to use our outstanding Ofsted inspection as a focus for this interview.  However, I was aware that my Tutor could question me on any aspect of the course.  Surprisingly, I did not feel nervous before my interview but rather saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate how I had grown as a teacher over the year.  The conversation flowed as I hoped it would as I was questioned on how I had extended learning and development in my baby placement, my role as a leader, how I promote partnerships with parents and multi-agency working and the impact of this. 

After my interview, there was a nervous three week wait while my file of evidence was moderated.  Finally, on the last day of term, I was delighted to receive an email from the course administrator congratulating me on completing my training and qualifying as an EYT.  Although it has been a very demanding year, it has also been a rewarding experience and I look forward to putting my training to good use from the Autumn term. 

If you have any questions about training to be an Early Years Teacher, please email news.nw@markallengroup.com and I will be happy to reply.




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