My role of a Teaching Assistant begins at 7.45 am where my colleague and I begin preparation for the school Breakfast Club. This includes setting out table top activities such as jigsaws, colouring and ipads. Breakfast Club also has a pool table so I write a weekly rota for this to ensure fair play. During breakfast club I encourage the children to sit together and eat a healthy breakfast of cereal, toast and choice of fruit juice.
I have time to sit, chat and take part in the activities the children are doing which enables me to form good relationships with the children there. Breakfast Club is new to the school in Sept 2013 so we are currently putting together a display board which shows examples of the breakfasts, posters designed by the children and pictures of the staff that work there.
Then I have 10 minutes in the nursery unit to help the teacher do some preparation for the day, for example this maybe hiding arrows around the playing field for the children to take part in a treasure hunt or preparing pots of paint. We then welcome the children into class and help them with hanging up coats and bags, comforting any that maybe distressed as their carer has left. Once they are settled the teacher will begin the register and my role is to help the children take part and sit quietly on the carpet and listen.
We then begin our morning activity. I will be asked to take a small group with me for example to draw an apple tree and have to complete a short assessment on them. For example ask them to draw a tree; are they using brown for the trunk? Green for the leaves? Can they follow a simple instructions? Whilst taking part in this activity I bring as much of the welsh language as possible e.g.
I will ask them the welsh words for the colours we are using. We then head back to the class for ‘tidy up time’ and snack. Two mornings I prepare the snack of toast and milk. Then 3 mornings I supervise the Reception children on the yard. I ensure the children are playing happily with one another and no one is left on their own. Often I bring out bikes so I have a timer to make sure each child has the same amount of time on a bike. Some children may need the toilet and I assist in any personal care needs required or if they have had an accident then I will put gloves on and change the child.
Then it’s back to Nursery class for the second part of the morning which could be songs or story on the carpet where I encourage ‘good sitting and listening’ for the teacher. At 11.30 most of the nursery children are getting collected so I again help with bags and sing our welsh going home song.
I then make sure the classroom is tidy and take the Reception children over to the main dinner hall for them to have a cooked lunch. Whilst there I make sure each child has a meal, desert and drink. I encourage them to eat as much as they feel they can. If the leave something, for example carrots and will ask that they eat as many as they can.
Once the dinner hall is empty and the tables wiped down I supervise on the main yard with Years 1-6. There the children will ask me if they want to go inside the School for the toilet or a drink. I will discipline any children that are not acting appropriately; I make sure no one is left on their own. Then I take part in encouraging happy play by blowing bubbles for the younger children and help with skipping and taking part in any fun games they want to do. If we have any injuries then I take them to the school secretary and write in accident book and call the parents if I feel it is necessary.
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For all Teaching Assistant roles there is a set of National Occupational Standards (NOS) set out by each individual school. These NOS offer guidance on wider aspects for competent performance (Burnham 2010 pg 118). They were
set up to realise the potential of all teaching support staff whatever their role. (http://www.napta.org.uk/)
The standards are statements about how tasks should be carried out and the minimum acceptable quality of practice that should be delivered. I have looked closely through the standards and looked at the most important ones to me in my role and given an explanation on each one as follows –
301.3 Understand legislation, policies and procedures for confidentiality and sharing information including data protection
The Data Protection Act of 1998 is designed to ensure that confidential information cannot be passed to others without the individual consent. In my role I am exposed to a great volume of confidential information and I understand I cannot pass this to anyone. My sons attend the same school so I am often approached by parents at birthday parties asking me how their child is getting on. I understand the schools confidentiality policy so say sorry I can’t discuss this outside of school, please come and see the teacher and discuss on Monday.
302.3 Understand school ethos, mission, aims and values
The school ethos –“St David’s Roman Catholic Primary School is part of the living presence of Christ in the modern world. Part of our purpose is, by the education, care and protection of our children, to present a model of Christian living that is clear to all.” (https://swansea-edunet.gov.uk/en/schools/StDavids/Pages/Mission_Statement.aspx)
I am employed in a Catholic primary school but I am not a Catholic. However daily I embrace the catholic ethos and take part in Mass, Prayers and Religious Education activities. For example October is the month of the Rosary Bead. This week we have been learning about the letter ‘b’ so to tie in religion I have asked the children to bring in any Rosary Beads they have to ‘show and tell’ to the class. This builds confidence talking in front of
the class and brings in the school ethos.
303.2 Be able to prepare for learning activities
Before the children arrive in the morning the teacher will inform me of what activity I will be doing with them. For example when we were learning about the letter ‘a’ Mrs Jones asked me to take the children to the field in small groups and draw the apple tree. Preparation is vital for this to ensure it runs smoothly. As once the children are with me on the field if I have forgotten something for safety reasons I cannot run back to the class leaving the children. Frustratingly they would have to come back with me which would cut down the activity time.
First I gather the resources I need for the activity, chairs, clipboards, paper, and pencils. Then once my 5 children are ready I make sure if it has been wet they are wearing Wellington boots and coats and hold on to the handrail as they exit the classroom. I make sure they walk carefully in a straight line down the path, closing the nursery door behind me which has a safety code so no outsider can gain access.
Once we have arrived at the field I make sure our immediate environment is safe for example by checking for things the children could trip over. Depending on the children I may need to adapt some of the resources for example some children find it difficult to press hard with a pencil so I make sure I have other things with me like crayons and felt tip pens.
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304.2 Be able to promote positive behaviour
It is imperative in any school for children to have guidelines in school so they have a clear understanding of how to behave in school. Children need to be aware of the boundaries within which to manage their behaviour, so that they understand what is expected of them. (Burnham 2010 pg 58)
In our nursery unit we encourage positive behaviour with stars on their jumpers to go home and show their parents. If a child has done something positive like sat well and listened to a story we will tell the whole class how happy we are with that child and give them a bigger reward like make them the ‘helpwr y dydd’ – helper of the day.
306.2 Understand the impact of prejudice and discrimination on children and young people
Children can experience prejudice and discrimination in several ways, religion, ethnicity, sex, body image, disabilities. It will affect their self esteem and their learning will almost defiantly be affected. They could be come withdrawn and may not want to attend school. You must ensure your own inbuilt ideas do not affect how you treat children. I have not come across it yet but understand I must always challenge discrimination. It can be promoted in a positive way by posters in school and bringing in guest speakers to talk about their own experiences in a positive way.
331.2 Understand the factors that influence children and young people’s development and how these affect practice
There are personal factors that could influence a child’s development for example their health. We have a child in Year 4 that has a heart problem and has missed a lot of school for operations. This could also affect his social activities for example on the playground. A child’s emotional development may also be affected depending on their awareness of their needs and the extent to which they are affected. It is important that the adults in school are aware of how pupils may be affected by these kinds of conditions so we can support them by ensuring they are included as far as possible. (Burnham 2010 pg 155)
External factors can also have a massive affect. Families can go through significant changes through the school years for example separation, bereavement, new partners, house move or changing country. This can affect their ability to learn. Statistics show that children that suffer from
poverty and deprivation are less lightly to thrive and achieve well in school.
Some children make personal choices on friendship groups and extra curricular activities, they may need advice and support from adults to make sure the choices were right for them. Some children may come from a very alternative background such as a home schooling environment. These children may need some additional support until they become settled. (Burnham 2010 pg 156)
There have been a number of theories of development. Many physiologists have different ideas about how children learn. Some think it is innate and others feel it depends on the opportunities a child has been given, often referred to the nature nurture debate.
One of the physiologists Watson believed that we are all born with the same abilities and anyone can be taught anything and that it does not depend on innate ability but on watching others. His idea of ‘classical conditioning’ was born out of Ivan Pavlov’s research using dogs. He noted his subjects would salivate before the delivery of food. In a series of experiments he presented a variety of stimuli before the presentation of food, eventually finding that, after repeated association, a dog would salivate to the presence of a stimulus other than food. He termed this response a conditional reflex. (psychology.about.com)
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Children that come into nursery are treated the same and assumed at first to have the same abilities. As it becomes apparent some children need more support than others then the level is identified. Appropriate bodies are brought in to observe and correct support is implemented.
333.4 Understand how to respond to evidence or concerns that a child or young person has been abused or harmed Possible signs or symptoms that may be cause for concern are – Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
Becoming unusually secretive
Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting
Outburst of anger
New adult words for body parts
Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person (http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/warning_signs.htm#)
If a child tells me something I should listen and try as best I can to write down word for word what the child is telling me and not question anything they are saying just let them speak. I will then explain to them that I am not able to keep it a secret and I must tell Mrs Jones the teacher. Mrs Jones will then take the relevant action.
The UK Government ratified the Convention on 16 December 1991. This means that the Government must make sure that every child in the UK has the rights that are listed in the Convention. The Government can do this by passing laws or by taking other action, including making sure that the rights in the Convention is widely known in the UK.
One of these points is as follows –
Protection from violence, exploitation, abuse, neglect and maltreatment: The Government must make sure you are protected from any type of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse or exploitation, while you are living with your parents or in the care of anyone else. Special procedures must be set up to help you if you have been the victim of abuse. (http://www.lawstuff.org.uk/the-facts/what-are-childrens-rights)
www.gov.uk/government/publications/nos-for-supporting-teaching-learning Oct 2010 Burnham, L (2010) “Support Teaching & Learning in Schools”. Published by Heinemann
Burnham, L (2010) “Support Teaching & Learning in Schools”. Published by Heinemann www.psychology.about.com/od/profilesofmajorthinkers/p/pavlov.htm (accessed on 05/10/2013) http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/warning_signs.htm# (accessed on 05/10/2013) http://www.lawstuff.org.uk/the-facts/what-are-childrens-rights (accessed on 05/10/13) https://swansea-edunet.gov.uk/en/schools/StDavids/Pages/Mission_Statement.aspx (accessed 05/10/13) http://www.napta.org.uk/ (accessed 05/10/13)