I’m currently in my second year of college studying Early Years Educator and sometimes when I tell people the field I am planning to go into they act like they’re slightly disappointed, well this is in my experience anyways. Early Years is such an underrated sector, people don’t know or appreciate how important it is. I am here to tell you what people think the Early Years sector is like and what it actually is like.
“I would love your job, it must be so easy. All you do is play with the kids all day”
First of all, I do more than play with the kids all day: I change their nappies, wipe their tears, give them their lunch, I make them laugh, I teach them important parts of life and I become an important figure in their lives. Second of all, play is actually a really important aspect of a child’s learning. The child will absorb so much information from play, that we incorporate their learning into it. What people don’t realise is that what they play with is also part of their learning, when a child is playing in the sand they are working out and estimating the measurements of the sand. When a child is singing nursery rhymes with numbers in they are learning maths. As long as the activity is fun they will interact and engage with it, and therefore take in all the information. That is also how we do observations and reports on the child’s learning, we incorporate their targets and next steps into their play activities so we can monitor what the children can and can’t do.
“Your course must be so easy considering it’s just childcare”
My job and my course takes an insane amount of patience, resilience and hard work. Do you know why? Because you are training to teach the basics of life to a child who had very minimal knowledge of anything, it’s like starting to paint on a blank canvas. You have to follow a very strict curriculum to teach children the information they need to be able to function in school and in everyday life. We are teaching them reading, writing, numbers, how to use a knife and fork, how to use the toilet and also how to socially interact. This is such an important time in a child’s life and if you have any person off the street able to do it the job wouldn’t get done properly. We provide an enabling environment which helps build the foundations of a child’s life to then help provide the means of skills in later life. ALSO DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TRAINING WE HAVE TO DO?! SAFEGUARDING, HEALTH AND SAFETY, FOOD HYGIENE, INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY TRAINING AND TRAINING ON HOW TO USE CHEMICALS!
“If you don’t know what to do with your life you just go into hair and beauty or childcare”
Thank you Jack for this one! Funnily enough an Early Years (childcare) course isn’t that easy to get onto these days, I had to go for an interview with certain grades to even get considered to be on this course. It also is a lot of hard work, you’re expected to be in placement 2/3 days a week and in college 2 days and we have to pack in 4 days worth of work into 2 days because it is still such a assignment based course as well as placement based. A result of this is that many people will drop out before the end of the course, on my course for example 11 people have dropped out already and it is only the third week of the second year. I can’t speak for hair and beauty but Early Years is not a drop out option because it can be a damn hard course and your job can not be done by just any person.
“So you’re basically an over paid babysitter?”
Woah okay no I am going to stop you right there. Yes we provide a care service for your children whilst you work, and yes that child’s care and safety is our number one priority however we are doing more than that. We are creating an environment which allows the children to absorb as much knowledge as possible, where they can learn how to socially interact and form positive relationships and to make sure that all children in our care are receiving the support and help they need so that they can reach their full potential in their lifetime. So no we are NOT babysitters and honey I will tell you now we’re not overpaid. Let’s just say people working full time at a supermarket are getting paid more than working full time in a private nursery. No that’s not me shading supermarket staff, it’s just me highlighting how you don’t go into this job for the money. You go into this job for the passion you have to educate and to care for children and help sculpt the generations of the future.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope it gave you a little insight into the work/education side of my life. I also hope it gave you something to think about when it comes to Early Years settings and the job practitioners actually do.