Early Years Professional Status: the best of both
Returning to work is never easy as a new parent, even if you love your job, but it's harder still if you have to work to make ends meet.
The tug of leaving your precious bundle in someone else's arms can be a very tough start to the day.
But some enterprising parents have taken active steps to carefully balance the two sides of their lives.
Maria McAloon is one such mum, who found the perfect work-life balance combining motherhood and her passion for working with the under-fives.
She found out about Early Years Professional Status (EYPS), the graduate status which recognises excellent practice and leadership in the early years sector. It provides an ideal opportunity for mothers considering a new career, or for those who want to further their knowledge of child development.
"I've always had an interest in working with children. As soon as I completed my university degree I started working with the under fives at a Montessori nursery.
"When my sons were born, I had a short career break but during that time I missed my colleagues and the vibrancy of working in a nursery. I went back to work for four days a week and my children definitely benefited from meeting other toddlers at nursery.
• What is Early Years Professional Status?
It's a graduate status, which recognises excellent personal practice and the ability to lead and support the practice of others, when working with children from birth to five years
• Who can train towards Early Years Professional Status?
You don't necessarily need prior experience of working in early years but you must be a graduate or have a foundation degree. There are different training pathways available depending on your level of qualification and the amount of experience you have
• How long does it take to train?
EYPS training varies, depending on your existing qualifications and experience and can take four, six, 15 or 24 months part-time, or 12 months full-time. Places on training courses are fully funded for all eligible candidates
• Where can I train?
There are 35 EYPS Training Providers across the country. To find out where your nearest provider is and how to apply for EYPS, visit www.cwdcouncil.org.uk/eyps or call 0800 011 3612
"Soon after returning to work, I heard about EYPS through the DCSF and Oxfordshire County Council websites. The course was exactly what I was looking for – something that would build on my knowledge and help give me confidence in a leadership role."
Maria decided to enroll on the validation pathway to achieve EYPS at Oxford Brookes University which involved part-time study over four months. "It was hard work but was thoroughly enjoyable and I haven't looked back since."
She now heads up the early years team at a rural school in Oxfordshire with four reception classes and a nursery, managing 14 staff and over 80 children.
Good parenting and early years go hand in hand
"As a parent you have a great background for a career in early years - you'll have a wealth of understanding from your own children and a perspective on early years development.
"EYPS has widened my understanding of children which has helped me both in the workplace and as a mother. It has inspired me to ensure the children really take the lead in their own learning and development. It's so important that early years provision for the under fives is right because it lays the foundations for their later life.
"I encourage the children to get involved in role play and choose the activity themes. We've had some really fun ideas that the children thought of themselves from French outdoor cafes to building sites. I'm also really interested in getting the children involved in socio-dramatic play which is free play where they use their own creativity and imagination.
"Since EYPS I've seen the value in outdoor play for children and realised how they can investigate the environment through their own natural surroundings. I've just begun a really exiting project creating an outdoor forest classroom this year.
"I feel inspired to be working in such a dynamic environment where my home life and work life can so easily be combined and feed into each other. My children benefit from my experience of early years and I learn things from my boys that I can also apply to my working life. I also have the added benefit of my younger son attending the nursery so I'm able to see him during the day. I'd encourage anyone considering a career in early years to just go for it! It's really exciting and if you're passionate about children you'll never look back!"
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Last updated: almost 2 years ago