During my first few weeks at my placement at St Anns, I worked with year 1 pupils and nursery pupils. My role at the nursery was to help the children with their school work and supervise them during lessons and breaks, as well as tidying the classroom. My time at St Anns improved my effectiveness as a career in three ways. It taught me how to behave around children. When I first started working at St Anns, I was still incredibly shy and was not sure how to interact with the children but through observing the permanent staff there. I learnt that you should always try to be happy around them, you cannot bring any personal issues to work with you if you are working around children as they are very intuitive and will quickly pick up on the fact that you are unhappy it will affect them and make them upset.
I took part in PE classes with the year one’s with at St Anns. The teacher gave the children instructions as how to move around the gym. For example, the teacher told them to walk or run slowly around the gym like an animal or try and make different shapes with their bodies. Whilst the children were taking part so did I and the teacher to make the activity enjoyable and to encourage the children. Unexpectedly the children became over excited and started to mess around, I had to help calm them down which was a little difficult as I was just a student in the class. This helped me learn how to be authoritative and command respect by telling them how to quieten down and tell them why they should calm down. Also I have learnt from this that you must always tell children why you are telling them off, as they will start to learn to look at things from a different viewpoint.
I learnt that you have to be firm and persistent with children if they are to take you seriously and learn to behave. Otherwise they will keep behaving badly and will not have any respect for authority. However my work experience at St Anns brought me to contact with various different types of pupils as every pupil is not the same, for example an autistic pupil. This taught me how to interact with them the correct way.
While at Rainbow Nursery, I worked with children aged 2-6 for a block week work placement. The experience complemented my time at St Anns, although I was exposed to different experiences such as helping the children with French lessons. During the lessons I taught and helped the children say and pronounce the words that were being taught.
At St Anns, the children do not learn languages until they leave the nursery and transfer to the junior part of the school. In this respect, although I preferred working at St Anns, Rainbow prevents their children having difficulty at learning languages in the future as I have heard that it is best to start languages at an early age.
Furthermore, whilst working at Rainbow, I encouraged the pupils as they practised and preformed ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ play. I helped them remember there little lines and commanded them to be quiet and focus when they started to lose interest. I also helped staff at Rainbow make the costumes of the characters for the play by helping them cut out the materials and sew them. This was a successful activity as the staff were thankful for my help and by working as a team we got the task done quickly and efficiently. This activity also helped me develop my social skills which helped me improve my self-esteem and confidence levels.
Working at both nurseries has also taught me how to care for children more efficiently. For example, I now talk and play with children at play time, comfort them when they are upset.
When I first started my work experience at Rainbow Nursery in the first year of my course I was very nervous as I have not really worked with young children before and I was not sure if I would be any good at teaching and helping them. I think this was because I was not sure if the children would like me as I was a new adult in their class, however, I got used to the environment and as the children got used to me, working with them helped me to come out of my shell and be more socially active. During my days there I would read them stories and play with them in the playground.
Although, I enjoyed working in Rainbow Nursery, I benefited more from working at St Anns Primary School. The staff at Rainbow were not as friendly and pleasant as the staff at St Anns and also the school environment at St Anns is much better and comfortable. The children are all very well behaved at St Anns unlike Rainbow. They also have a very strict ‘no bullying’ system which at Rainbow the staff did not seem to enforce properly.