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Working as a teacher in Children's Centres - let's share ideas!

(13 Posts)
Littlefish Thu 27-Aug-09 21:14:34

On another thread, Charliesweb and I were chatting about working in a Children's Centre. She's just about to start working in one and would welcome any information about it.

I worked in a children's centre for 2.5 years - is there anyone else on here who wants to come and compare notes?

Hi Charliesweb - will you be working in once centre, or spread across a few?

Have you seen your job description?
Is there an on-site nursery?
Are you part, or full time?
Are you employed through a school, or on the Soulbury scale through the LEA?
Who is your line manager? School or Children's Centre?

charliesweb Thu 27-Aug-09 21:22:29

Thanks for talking to me Littlefish. I tried on here to see if anyone had experience when I got my job in May, but no one seemed to know what I was talking about smile.

I start in September.

I willbe 0.4 in one centre, it is full time position so they will appoint someone for the other days by xmas. I am taking over from someone who was working in 2 but both have become full time positions so she chose the other (More glamorous?) centre.

There is an on-site nursery that has just switched from being sessional to offering daycare.

I am employed by the LEA (no idea what the Soulbury scale is).

My line manager is the Early Years Advisor for my area.

I was very excited about the thought of the job when I applied, but now I am worried that I don't actually know what I am talking about. We have a day for induction so I hope that will help.

Littlefish Thu 27-Aug-09 21:30:03

The actual role seems to vary from area to area. As far as I know, there is an expectation that all CCSTs will work 50% of the time directly with children. So, in your case, it would be one day in the nursery, or early years group, depending on where the need is.

The Soulbury scale is what the Early Years Advisor will be on - it is basically a non-term time contract, so you work all year round, with a certain number of holiday weeks.

I absolutely loved some parts of my job. I loved the whole multi-disciplinary nature of the job - being able to work with people from other agencies in a really positive family orientated way. Like a CAF (Common assessment framework) in action all the time.

The parts I found frustrating where the endless meetings and the fact that although my job description stated that my main role was to raise standards in Early Years Education principally in the nursery, I had no actual power to do anything! I could advise, model good practice, cajole, persuade, ask, remind etc. etc. etc. but if the nursery manager decided not to take any of my suggestions/ideas/practice on board, there was nothing I could do about it.

I think it's important to be really clear in your own mind that the role really is an advisory role. It will not be your nursery/early years group etc.

charliesweb Thu 27-Aug-09 21:40:05

Thanks Littlefish.

No one has said anything about working 50% directly with the children (although that would be great).

I have already been told about the nurseries and preschools I will be supporting and it is not all good news. There is one in particular which I'm told is like you described. Namely very difficult to convince to take on board any advice.

I am aware that I am coming in with Reception experience and will be supporting nurseries and preschools, of which my experience is limited. I have tried to read up and research, but I worry there are big gaps in my knowledge. I come across to others as quite confident but inside I really feel very shy and insecure and hope I am able overcome this as I will obviously be having to engage with lots of new people and the importance of establishing good relationships has been impressed upon me.

Gosh I am so lacking in knowledge I am just gabbling and don't even know what to ask you!!!

Littlefish Thu 27-Aug-09 21:49:23

Are you really up to date with your EYFS knowledge? Are they still running EYFS training in your area? It would be worth getting yourself on some training with the 0-3s kind of ages in mind.

Are the nurseries currently being supported by a support teacher from the LEA?

When you start the role, I would ask to shadow or at least meet a few other children's centre teachers in your area so that you can see what they are doing. One thing to remember is that working 2 days a week, your impact will be limited. Talk to your line manager about which settings you will be covering, and which your job-share partner will be covering. It is pointless you trying to cover all of them!

You might find that settings are quite wary of you to start with. They may feel quite "put-upon" and not think that they need your help!

One thing that a colleague of mine did was to set up a programme of Early language development support which was a 6 week programme (I think) which she went into the settings and delivered, with a member of the existing staff to a small group of children. It gave her the chance to get to know the children and the staff, and guage the level of need, without being seen as taking over.

The other thing to talk to your EY adviser about is whether the settings will have improvement plans in place already. Find out what their priorities are (and see whether you agree that those are really the priorities!)

Littlefish Thu 27-Aug-09 21:50:21

Are you able to say roughly which geographical area you're in. I'll understand if you don't want to.

charliesweb Thu 27-Aug-09 21:58:48

I've used the EYFS for the past year in my role as a Reception teacher. I actually have that as an advantage over the other CCSTs as they were nearly all appointed before the EYFS so have only known in their role as CCSTs.

I have visited the Children's Centre and met the current CCST (who will be at another children's centre in teh area) she will be supporting me as necessary whilst I settle in and I have already asked if I can shadow her. The area I am woking in has several Children's Centres (it's in the South) and it is a close team.

I need to try and faith in the fact that they chose to appoint me. I actually managed this despite not turning up to the interview as I got my dates wrong and thought it was the following day. The head of Early Years phoned me and allowed me to come at the end of the day and give my presentation and interview.

Littlefish Thu 27-Aug-09 22:07:44

I took the role on having worked for the previous term and a half in KS2! I'd had lots of previous Reception experience but had also had a year's maternity leave. I took the job on a bit of a whim as I was unhappy in KS2.

It really is a bit of a leap of faith going into Children's Centres. It's great in terms of flexibility, challenge, change of experience, holistic approach, etc. etc., but hard as you don't have your own class, and there aren't any other people in the children's centres who come from an education background.

It's good that you'll have the other CCST to support you. When I started, it was a new role, and very few other CCSTs in the city where I was working. In fact, within a few months, the new CCSTs were coming to see me to ask me for support - that felt really weird as I still didn't feel that I'd got to grips with it myself.

charliesweb Thu 27-Aug-09 22:16:24

Things that excite me about the job are that I think the educational theory surrounding current Early Years practise is spot on. I was getting frustrated at not having the time or support to implement it in my classroom. So I am excited about developing my knowledge and skills in this area, at the moment, with a view to returning to the classroom eventually to apply everything I've learnt to the Foundation Stage, but who knows!

Littlefish Thu 27-Aug-09 22:20:35

I returned to the classroom last September. I had exactly the same plan as you - to take all the good EY practice I had developed back into the classroom. In the end, I ended up in Y2, but in a really exciting (but challening school), who wanted an Early Years teacher for Y2 to try and bring EY principles higher up the school.

charliesweb Thu 27-Aug-09 22:35:02

Thanks for talking to me Littlefish.

It's good to talk to someone who has been there. And also to hear that it didn't close the door to classroom teaching.

I will just have to give it a go (no going back now I got my p45 yesterday). Hopefully, I will enjoy it, learn lots, maybe do some good and it will give me the flexibilty I meed with a young family.

Littlefish Fri 28-Aug-09 09:05:55

Sorry Charliesweb - I went to bed!

I'll keep this thread in my "threads I'm watching" list so that if you have any questions once you've started, you can just come back here!

Alternatively, if there's things you want to discuss away from the board, feel free to CAT me.

The flexibility was definitely a bonus, as was the fact that I worked shorter hours, and never brought any work home grin. I worked a regular day of 8.30 - 5.00, instead of "whatever it takes to get the job done". I know you'll know exactly what I mean!

Littlefish Sun 11-Oct-09 08:20:37

Charliesweb - how are you getting on? Is it starting to make sense yet?

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