Self-reflection Essay. For TMA 01 I had to look at myself and my setting. As I was in a senior position. I found this task very interesting as I learnt many things that come with a senior role within a Nursery
Since starting the E100 course in October 2010, I have learnt a lot from all areas of children’s care, learning and development but also a lot about myself and how I deal with each situation. This course has also taught me a lot about my setting and also other settings such as Sure Start Children’s Centres (SSCC), childminders, schools and nurseries. Each assignment has helped me learn new things about working with children, if I haven’t learnt anything new; the assignment has helped me have a new outlook on how I approach the situation or task which has developed my knowledge and understanding. I have shown below throughout this assignment what I have learnt during the course and each TMA.
Myself, my setting and my learning
For TMA 01 I had to look at myself and my setting. As I was in a senior position. I found this task very interesting as I learnt many things that come with a senior role within a Nursery, as I had just been appointed to the role I was still learning. This TMA definitely helped me learn what was important for my role. Especially managing staff, I wrote in TMA 01 about my role in keeping teamwork and healthy relationships in the work place, I referred to this comment back in my TMA and I feel this perfectly sums up how staff within the Nursery should behave, ‘Successful teamwork requires a group of individuals to share the daily working experience in a positive and proactive manner. Over time the members of a team develop ways of working with each other, responding to the needs and idiosyncrasies of colleagues, recognising strengths and weaknesses, and valuing the complementary contributions that each makes to the team effort.’ (2010, page 47, Cable, Miller and Goodliff.) I have continued to manage staff by encouraging management to do Employee of the Month, this has proved successful as staffs are keen to keep busy and see who has worked hardest throughout the month, and staffs are rewarded with different gifts. This definitely keeps moral up! (KU8)
I now feel very confident in managing staff, I know that because I have respected them during my time as ‘third in command’ they respect me back and we work co-operatively as a team to make the environment a happy place for children to thrive and learn as all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are met to encourage this learning. ‘Children really do thrive when their physical and emotional needs are met.’ (http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk)
I’ve had to think about the way in which we plan, although it’s easy for me to do on a day to day basis, I had to think about how I would explain to another member of staff or through the TMA like I had to in TMA 01, this has made me think of how I can make the planning easier so more time is spent with the children helping them to learn rather than at the side of the room completing paperwork. To do this we had a Nursery meeting to see if any other staff members had ideas or had previous experiences of easier ways to plan, unfortunately this proved to be unsuccessful. After many discussions about how we could deal with this situation, the management agreed to give each member of staff two hours out of the room to complete such work and any other paperwork such as rotas, development records. This has worked out really well and this is still continuing and staffs are always up-to-date with paperwork.
I also had to think about which part of the community the Nursery serves and how we make sure we are always being diverse. Whilst doing this part of my TMA I realised the Nursery wasn’t advertised in the local area, I took it upon myself to make sure the Nursery was part of the community by advertising the nursery at the local SSCC, putting leaflets in other places in the community such as the library and the museum, making sure they were in all parts of the community so parents and carers from different backgrounds were seeing the adverts and aware of our services. Since this has been done, we’ve had a few enquiries saying where they’ve seen our advertising – This proved to be successful!
This is a preview of the whole essay
Looking at children’s learning
I found watching the DVD very informative, not only for my assignment but for ideas to bring into the workplace. After analysing my findings of the selected DVD sequence ‘Larks Children’s Centre’. I decided to bring the idea of increased play based learning into the setting. The staff that I have been managing have been keen to accept this change. The children seem much happier and more secure, choosing their own activities to have in the open plan layout of the room.
In my TMA02, I mentioned that each of the rooms in the children’s centre had various levels of structure. Where I thought the babies, the room with no structure at all was good. I have since changed my mind. As head of the baby room, I have given the routine alot more structure which is suitable for the age of the babies. I have seen a vast improvement in the development and security of the babies, due to this new routine.
In turn the babies have enjoyed lots more creative and sensory activities, which the staff were hesitant to do with the babies, as they felt the babies work did not look like anything in particular.
Where I mentioned that staff should be trained in safeguarding children, in order to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse, in order to do our best to protect children, I have recently been on a course ’Designated Person for Safeguarding’. I have also been made aware recently how much safeguarding is paramount during OfSTED inspections and investigations.
I am now very confident in managing staff in my room to help develop children’s learning and looking at supporting children’s individual learning within the setting. We have tried to make the environment as enabling as possible, so that children learn the most they possibly can out of selected activities. ‘A rich and varied environment supports children’s learning and development. It gives them the confidence to explore and learning secure and safe yet challenging, indoor and outdoor spaces’ EYFS, 2008, Principle Cards 3.3)
I particularly enjoyed researching theorists, although I had briefly researched Maria Montessori, In previous courses. I enjoyed looking at Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories in more detail and also learning about new theorists that before I was unaware of.
The children I support: observing and assessing
I found this assignment particularly useful as I was learning new ways of observing children ‘Practitioners are encouraged to see the importance of the learning environment and the educational value of observation, assessment and planning.’ (Study Topic 11, 118); obviously, this is a necessity in caring for children to be able to record their development. We record a child’s development so we know how to plan for the child to encourage development in the areas they need the most help, we also make sure we plan activities to interest them so they will hopefully stay involved in the activities. As well as being aware of child development, it’s very important to remember all the information you record or information passed onto you by their parents/carers is confidential and should stay between only the members of staff necessary, this is part of safeguarding children.
For my assignment I focused on transitions, as discussed in TMA 03, I wrote about John Bowlby’s theories on separation, ‘John Bowlby believed in ‘Attachment Theory’ he thought the stronger the bond with carers/parents the more impact it has on the child’s life’ (Young, 2010, 1) during this I realised, even more, how important a ‘Key Worker’ system is in the nursery ‘Bowlby highlighted the significance of young children establishing a strong emotional attachment to a particular adult and the influence it can have on them as they develop relationships later in life.’ (Study Topic 7, 19) Because of the key work M was able to settle easily into the new room but also comforting for his parents to realise that there was an adult in the room for M to be comforted by ‘Parents, too, are often concerned when there is a change. A parent might ask, ‘Will this be easily accomplished by my child?’’ (Study Topic 7, 17) Since finishing this assignment I have really tried to reinforce the Key Worker system in the Nursery by encouraging staff to make sure there is a strong bond between them and their key children. We can encourage this by the Key Worker welcoming the child in the morning, having healthy relationships with children’s parents (being good role models – the unintended curriculum), the Key Worker doing their key child’s nappy and other intimate thing which could create a stronger bond. To encourage these strong bonds in the Nursery, we as staff and carers have had to make sure our relationships with parents are strong and healthy, too. ‘Today, practitioners are expected to engage with parents, share information with other agencies and participate in partnership working.’ (Study Topic 11,118.) This means we have to communicate with parents as much as possible about their child and their home life so we are able to care of the child as best we can. This way, we can also make sure the parents are sharing information about the child’s development so we can plan as best as we can. As well as information being passed on both ways about the child’s routines and similar information, it’s important to keep these relationships strong so we feel comfortable to advise parents, this could be simple such as a baby moving from purred food to lumpy food. Sometimes it’s not so easy, for example if their child has speech difficulties or we’ve noticed their child’s gross motor skills are lacking.
Supporting children’s learning through the curriculum
I enjoyed writing TMA 04; although I look at each child’s development on a daily basis I never have chance to look at it in too much detail as I have ten development records to complete monthly. So it was really nice to explore one child’s development thoroughly. I found this especially useful as Child R started school January 2011 so it was nice for her parents to know her exact stage of development but also useful for the school so they have a basis to start with. This TMA helped me understand more about child development and how to record it, I now feel much more confident in doing this again for all my Key Children in the Nursery and also explaining to other members of staff. I also noticed in our previous Ofsted inspection, we have two recommendations, one was concerning recording children’s development, ‘review observation, planning and assessment systems to ensure children's individual developmental needs are identified and planned for more effectively’ (http://www.ofsted.gov.uk), (KU6) I feel looking at TMA 04 it shows clearly we have made ourselves aware of this recommendation by Ofsted and have adapted our planning to meet the children’s needs, we do this by recording observations and other pieces of information about the child’s interests, we then plan around the child’s interests to make sure they are learning in all areas of the EYFS but with activities that interest them.
Since completing this assignment I have thought a lot about what Ofsted expect from us as a Nursery, I have spent a lot of time researching their requirements recently and looked at how I can implement them within the Nursery. As a senior member of staff I feel its part of my role to make sure the rest of the team are following the right requirements as well to help the Nursery achieve a GOOD in their upcoming inspection. (PS2)
Not only has this TMA encouraged me to reflect on how I look and record children’s development, I have also reflected back to before I started this course to see if the way I a support child’s learning has changed. I have looked through development records and other pieces of information I have recorded from the children, I have realised I now have more of an understanding of the EYFS and feel more competent to use it, I feel I have shown through this assignment and previous ones as I have referred back to it often and it relates to what I am writing about. I feel I support this well by this information I have taken from my TMA 04 ‘a group floor puzzle where the children need to discuss with each other who’s having what piece and where they all go. ‘A rich and varied environment supports children’s learning and development. It gives them the confidence to explore and learn in secure and safe, yet challenging, indoor and outdoor spaces. (EYFS)’ (Weston, 2010, 1) (CS2)
I have learnt a lot throughout this course and I feel it shows in the assignment above. An area I especially enjoyed was learning about the theorists as it’s something I think about on a daily basis at work, I reflect on my activities and think about which theorist style I was following. After spending some time researching, I realised I don’t just follow one theorist, I follow many of them in my daily routine, for example I follow Rudolph Steiner’s thinking of free ‘unstructured play’, like him I believe it produces children who are able to think for themselves and use initiative. As well as Steiner theory there is Loris Malaguzzi. (KU4) He believes in the curriculum, we now have the EYFS, we follow the curriculum so we can record and monitor the children’s development through their free play and structured activities. Chris Athey developed the thinking of Schemas, not all children will follow this pattern but after researching it I’ve realised many of the children in my Nursery do follow a schema, I was unaware to this theory before I started the course so I found it very interesting looking at the different schemas and watching the children to see which pattern they do follow. The most common ones in my Nursery are Transporting and Trajectory.
Since starting this course I have been promoted to Deputy Manager of my Nursery, I feel doing this course has definitely helped me through this role as it’s made me think of many things I wouldn’t normally think of, such as advertising the nursery, having time out the room to complete planning and other paperwork and exploring activities in new places such as the outside area to name a few but if you look through my assignment you’ll see many more that I’ve spoke about.
In the future I would like a Nanny job, it is much more intimate and I get to spend time with just the two children I will be a Nanny for rather than a big group of children when I would be with one other member of staff. Another perk would be I do not have to follow paperwork as much as I would have to in the nursery. As I will be Ofsted registered I do need to make sure I am following the EYFS but not to the same standard as it would in the Nursery.
I plan to follow this course on and in October 2011 I plan to complete the E105 and courses thereafter, too. I have made a table below to show my short/medium and long term goals. (Appendix One)
I have used this website to refer back to the EYFS.
Book: EYFS, 2008, Principle cards, 3.3
I have referred to the EYFS Principle Cards to support my discussion.
Book: Weston, 2010
I have referred back to my previous assignments to support my writing.
Book: EYFS Practice Guidance, 2008
I used EYFS links to show how I disagree with Maria Montessori’s statement about imaginative/role-play.
I linked my assignment to my Nursery’s previous Ofsted report to show how I’ve developed.
|My goal and why these are important to me...... |How I will achieve them..... |
|Short-term goals: |Hopefully after finishing this assignment I will achieve my |
|To achieve my Certificate from E100 as well as the E105 |certificate. |
| |Unfortunately I didn’t know the E105 was only doing one intake per year|
| |in October, so I have to wait until October 2011 to enrol on this part |
| |of the degree. |
|Medium-term goals: |I plan to complete each course to finish the Foundation Degree, |
|To complete the Early Years foundation degree |hopefully this will work out well and I will pass each part of the |
| |degree. |
|Long-term goals: |I am doing this course because I’d like to become a primary school |
|To see how I can achieve the full Early Years degree, this will |teacher, I’m not sure exactly how to finish the degree to the standard |
|hopefully help me in my journey to becoming a primary school teacher. |to become a teacher but I now have plenty of time to research this and |
| |complete it. |