Grayrigg CE School - Start Small Think Big

The trials and tribulations of an Early Years Teacher – part 1

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a child discovering something for the first time and we fully support children doing this themselves, through an engaging interactive environment. But what about all the other stuff, as teachers, we need to get them to achieve? Quite often you’ll find learning that focuses on everything children can’t do, rather than strengthening what they can do and encouraging children’s engagement in learning through following the children’s interests. I’m sure everyone has been challenged on formal based aspects - “Can they read?” “Can they write?” “Can they count?” But what about all the things that matter to them? I fully recognise that children need to meet certain expectations but if children aren’t ready, then how can this really instil a long term love for learning?

We set up our environment at the start of each term with the current cohort of children in mind. This means looking at the resources we have and tailoring them to the needs of the group. Not only this, but there has to be meaning behind it. For example, our role play is definitely what you would call deconstructed: It consists of loose parts; boxes, tubes, reels and fabric. However, at times we include hats, bags and when necessary dolls and home corner style resources that children are already familiar with. It isn’t often we have these resources out but some children settle easier with familiarity and babies or home resources can sometimes bring about that familiarity that we don’t initially have. Many a time we have happily seen a new child pretending to ring their mum or dad on the pretend phone!

One of the things I’ve found when planning my environment is that it’s not just about using a particular approach, but about discovering your own approach which works for your children, and this will often change year by year as every group of children is different and in reality every child is different. By celebrating every child’s individuality we can create the perfect environment that reflects every child; supports their needs and attainment and is a place where they feel loved and ready to be the creative, inspiring, amazing children they all are!

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