Early Years Experiences - EYITT case study - Patricia Conceicao

Patricia Conceicao lives in North London. She holds an Honours degree in Human Resource Management and worked in HR before starting a career in the Early Years sector. In the summer of 2015 she was awarded Early Years Teacher Status having successfully completed the Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) programme on the part-time Graduate Employment Based Route. Patricia trained with Best Practice Network through School Centred Initial Teacher Training for East London School (SCITTELS).

How long have been working in an early years setting?

I have been working in early years since 2012.

What was it that made you want to gain Early Years Teacher Status?

In 2012 I gave birth to my second child who was born with the Sickle Cell Anaemia disease. I had the opportunity to volunteer in the nursery setting and jumped at this opportunity immediately, as subconsciously I felt that this would be the only way that I could be reassured that the nursery setting would be robust in its health and safety/safeguarding procedures to meet his needs.

My passion for working with children expanded as I watched each child grow and develop alongside the targets that we had set them to achieve. I took pride in the children’s ability to learn the different Portuguese nursery rhymes that I taught them and the look on their parents faces when they saw and heard their children singing in a different language. I received a lot of praise from my colleagues about my ability to build a rapport with each child and extend their learning through participation in role play activities, which has always been a particular pleasure of mine.

The more my passion for childcare grew as did the need for me to extend my knowledge base. As a parent and a member of staff I witnessed at first hand areas of practice which my instinct told me needed to be improved. From my career in Human Resources I had developed expertise in training people, upskilling them in ways that provide them with the skills and knowledge base to do their jobs to a high standard.

And as one of the mature members of staff, I knew that the only way I could upskill myself and those around me, was to complete a postgraduate qualification which could encompass both of my passions - to work with children and deliver training.

All of this came together in the opportunity to join the EYITT programme with Best Practice Network/SCITTELS during 2014/15.

Can you give us an overview of the training/ how you are juggling both working and studying?

The training is well designed, ensuring trainees focus on different age groups when working in the settings and schools. The online support from the VLE is outstanding. We met regularly as a group of trainee Early Years Teachers, had excellent support from our own personal tutors who visited us at work and on placement and were there for all our questions, ideas and any concerns about fitting everything in. My employer was also very supportive and made me feel that the training, placements and study was of benefit not only to me but to everyone in the setting.

We had to submit assignments during the year at the end of each term. This was really good as we received detailed and helpful feedback after term 1 which helped with the next set of assignments. We also had regular reviews of progress that fed into our individual action plans.

My tutors were pleased with my achievements during EYITT and have invited me to become a tutor myself this year on the Best Practice Network/eQualitas EYITT programme. In my role as tutor, I can see the suggestions we put forward last year have been taken on board and implemented in this academic year.

Juggling training and studying requires a lot of dedication, commitment and most important of all, the ability to manage time and priorities effectively. I used my evenings and weekends to study and I also make use of my journey to and from work to hit the books. I often have to take my partner’s advice and tell myself that Rome was not built in a day and am now breaking things into smaller chunks and being pleased with myself when I complete small tasks.

What support have you received through the training process?

The Best Practice Network Team is like a family to me. There’s always someone at the end of the line. I can call or email any member of staff and I will always get the same response, warmth, support and a fountain of knowledge and experience to rely on. The way all the guidance for trainees has been written is so clear and the way the information is delivered really suits my learning style. It means we can all read it before any meeting or talking to people. The online support is outstanding and all my expectations have been met throughout my time as a trainee and I am confident that the support will continue to be there as a personal tutor.

Can you take us through the day-to-day life of an Early Years Teacher?

The day-to-day life of an Early Years Teacher involves multi-tasking and a lot of it. Planning is paramount and most importantly planning activities that are led by the children in a safe and stimulating environment. Understanding that everything you see is an observation, evaluating this and planning the next steps is so vital in this work. My life as a teacher must be shared with children’s first educators, the parents and carers. It is my responsibility to ensure parents are involved in all that we do, so that we continue to achieve our goals even when children are not with us. I very much enjoy this part of the job.

What sort of impact do you think you have on children’s education and lives?

Children are building positive relationships, growing into secure, resilient beings, eager to explore. I ensure children have the right tools to thrive, are exposed to rich learning opportunities around supportive adults - all to ensure they are happy and ready to do well in life.

How rewarding is it working as an Early Years Teacher?

As an Early Years Teacher I am in a privileged position to contribute to positive outcomes for each child I come into contact with, whether I’m in their life for a short or long period of time, I understand that experiences in the early years provide the foundation on which children will thrive and flourish and have a smooth transition into both school and adult life. I feel extremely honoured to have such influence on the next generation. 

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