Beth Spaul lives in Suffolk and works in a Montessori nursery. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and French and last year 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. Beth 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?
What was it that made you want to gain Early Years Teacher Status?
I have been working with children for many years, in a number of different roles and with different age groups, in England and overseas. I set up and ran my own school in India and worked there for many years. EYITT presented a great opportunity to advance my professional and career development now that I was back in England working as a deputy manager in early years.
Can you give us an overview of the training/ how you juggling both working and studying?
It was demanding in that the deadlines were intense towards the end. However using evidence collected at the setting on a regular basis helped me with my eportfolio. My manager offered time out of the classroom to do assignments but I did not take it as I felt that my priority was with the children and staff.
What support have you received through the training process?
My personal tutor was very supportive via phone and email. My manager was also very interested and supportive. My tutor and manager worked well together too.
Can you take us through the day-to-day life of an Early Years Teacher?
It is different every day. The setting I work at has some children who attend every day and some only once a week. Every week is different as we explore new topics. The only thing that remains the same are feeding and changing, but even that changes of course as the children become more independent and we respond to these changes.
What sort of impact do you think you have on children’s education and lives?
I think as Early Years Teachers we have a huge impact. We are a daily part of many children’s lives as a secondary carer - sometimes spending more awake time with children than their parents. We open their eyes to the excitement of the world around them too. At our nursery we are outside for much of the day - this is particularly important at this time of the year (Autumn/Winter) as the weather does not permit outside play. I am undertaking Action Research to improve our practice to get our children outside during this time. Recently I have begun to use music workshops outside to engage and focus children in their outdoor play. This week we made a music cave under our parachute - it was freezing outside but toasty in our cave where we swam with the rainbow fish and sang fishy songs. I will also be focusing on supporting children’s schemas outside and supporting staff to have good before and after strategies to support the transitions to in and out.
How rewarding is it working as an Early Years Teacher?
It is very rewarding to be a part of our children’s foundation years. We are supporting them in their first steps on their learning journey, the first toddling, wobbling steps where they are unsure and can be worried. It is amazing to be a part of this and help them to find their way. Recently I have been invited to join the Best Practice Network team of personal Tutors supporting EYITT trainees on their path to Early Years Teachers. It is great to share and support colleagues knowing that they will raise standards in their settings to improve outcomes for even more children.