Diary of a trainee Early Years Teacher

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Part 4: Trainee EYT Emma Davis gives wrapping paper a maths focus and has to contend with an observation on her first day back


It can be difficult to switch off from work - I usually remain in 'work mode' during the holidays, but this year I managed a proper break. It was fantastic to spend this much-needed time with my family …and relax. Perhaps it was because the last few weeks of term were so hectic.

At the end of last term, I had to complete two final observations with my mentor and decided to use a Christmas theme, which followed the children’s interests and tied in with our focus. We had accumulated a huge amount of wrapping paper from our Santa’s Workshop role play area, so I chose to use this for a present wrapping activity.  There was a maths focus for this so I modelled language including ‘big’, ‘small’, ‘long’ and ‘tall’ as well as measuring lengths of tape and wrapping paper, thinking about the size and shape of boxes and counting how many presents we had.  Although the activity was successful, the children were not as confident with the scissors as I had expected so this is something I have planned to address this half term.

On the first day of term, my tutor from the university came out to visit me at work.  I was quite apprehensive about this, especially as it was the first day back after Christmas!  My tutor was coming to observe me with my mentor so I had to pre-plan an activity to carry out with a small group of children.  After much deliberation, I chose an ice exploration activity as I thought this would really engage the children’s interest and allow for investigation and predictions.  I spent time freezing water in cups and trays at home, hiding something in each one such as a car, sequins, coins and blocks.  To complement this, I also used artificial snow to add texture, ‘ice’ words printed and laminated from the Twinkl website and various resources for transporting water including pipettes, basters, funnels and cups.

To my delight, the children were enthralled by the activity, asking questions, developing their thinking skills and using mathematical language.  We thought about what had happened to the toys, how we could get them out of the ice and why the warm water became cold when the children have put ice blocks in there. The children were totally engaged for over 45 minutes which earned me praise from my tutor, particularly for how I engaged in sustained shared thinking and developed the children’s interests.

The activity was the confidence boost I needed ahead of going back to university the following day.  Although I was looking forward to getting back, there was a sense of apprehension as I had not been in since the end of September.  There was no need to worry though as we all settled straight back in, learning about communication and collaboration with parents, multiagency working and safeguarding.  I now have some reading and tasks to complete ready for next week but I’m feeling confident with this module as it’s so relevant to my role as the manager of my setting.  This week at university, I have also submitted my file of evidence ready for moderation over the next couple of weeks.  I’m looking forward to getting this back, having a clearer picture of how I am progressing and areas I need to particularly focus on.

adcvNext week, I return to university on a Wednesday and Thursday again, and also the following week.  There will be a break then until after Easter but during this time, I am in my main placement which is my place of work and also spending two weeks in a primary school after February half term.  By the time I write my next entry, I will have planned for the evidence I hope to gather from my two weeks in a key stage 1 class.  I will also have been observed in practice by my mentor, be well on my way to submitting my first masters assignment and have received my moderated file back.  The workload is quite considerable but a good observation or praise from a Tutor is enough to make it all seem worthwhile.

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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