What do you need to prepare for your first placement at nursery or school?
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
During my illustrious teaching career, I had many students who would stress about not knowing the expectations of a nursery or the school environment they would be placed in.
My topmost priority being, guiding my students to a point where they gain confidence that where ever they are placed, in a real work environment, they will be able to strive and shine through the challenges faced.
I would like to do the same for existing and future learners who are facing the same fears. This article will help you to understand your role and responsibilities when working in a nursery and school environment during your studies.
What are Early Years centers responsibilities?
Many training placements have a wealth of experience in helping their students on several courses and may have a designated person to liaise with the study center. They welcome well-motivated students and will afford time and advice for those willing and keen to accept. They understand there are course requirements which you need to implement but they will also expect you to carry out tasks they have planned and arranged. And also, to follow policies and procedures laid down in their setting. Take advantage of any extra opportunities thrown at you, like having to attend special events or outings, as these provide valuable experience and insight into children in a range of situations and environments.
Responsibilities of a Student?
Make sure you have coordinated with your supervisor in regards to your starting time, break, lunchtime, and closing time. There is flexibility if you have limited transport choices or have unavoidable appointments. Always make up for the missed classes and be prepared to stay longer when necessary, if possible, to help complete a job and prepare for the following day; for example, when displays are being changed, it’s much easier to do it without children being around. Reliability and punctuality in terms of attendance are very important and poor performances in these aspects can lead to tensions and they in turn will be less likely to be trusting you with extra responsibilities and other tasks. If in case due to some valid inconvenience, you should be able to contact your placement and inform as soon as possible (preferably before the children arrive at the setting) so alternative arrangements can be made, indicating whether you are likely to be able to attend on the next scheduled date. You should also inform your training center to avoid a visiting tutor to make an unnecessary journey. Whenever possible missed days should be made up.
Your study center should provide you with guidance for appearance, particularly if there is a uniform. However, choose to clothe carefully, bearing in mind the types of activities you will be involved in. Footwear should be comfortable, avoid heels. You should avoid long fingernails and nail varnish- flakes chipping off into the snack you are preparing is not at all appetizing or hygienic. Similarly, avoid jewellery other than a watch- small children pull on chains, earrings, heavy rings, and bracelets are inappropriate when dealing with play dough, paint, and changing nappies.
This is something which you will gain with experience, perhaps the most important one to engage in is
You will be entrusted with personal information about children, parents, and staff, either directly (being given written information or being told) or indirectly (hearing staff room discussions, parental comments, or children's conversations) and you mustn't repeat this outside the workplace. In small communities such as schools and nurseries, it is easy for a parent to overhear confidential information relating to daily events for example an incident of aggressive behavior or a child's and family's difficulties affecting the child. These incidents can be discussed in your teaching groups without mentioning the setting name or the child's name and an agreement within the teaching group should be made, that no one talks outside the group. The next important aspect of professionalism is that of being a good
Children are likely to treat you like any other adult on the staff -assuming that you can help them and are there to care for them as well as discipline them. This means by your behavior, language, and attitudes you set an example for the children you are caring for- showing consideration for others, taking care over hygiene and appearance, using appropriate language (you must address adults and children politely and using the correct terms – avoid referring to children as kids!), supporting other staff and parents and following the settings policies and procedures.
Although time is always precious, try to identify a time each week or fortnight when you can sit down with your supervisor and discuss your progress- what competencies you feel you have achieved, how you might achieve those which do not occur during the normal daily routine, what activities you have planned and need to carry out – and forthcoming plans and events which involve you. Keep a log or diary, these will help you to recall events that you can later match to your competencies. It is your responsibility to do this, not your supervisors. Try to become familiar with the requirements and make a pencil mark next to those you believe you have carried out completely. If you can show a date or dates and refer it to your log your supervisor is more likely to remember the event and may sign it off. As well as log or diary keep a personal attendance sheet which your supervisor can sign off, which should have clear logged information of date and time of placement.