This September, there will be a big change to early years training, with colleges and training centres offering the first of the brand new Level 3 Early Years Educator (EYE) qualifications. These come in a range of options, including work-based and full-time study routes, and a subsidiary option for students who need to take their Maths or English GCSE alongside the first year of their course. We will be adding resources to support EYE students and tutors to Planet Vocational over the coming months.
Whether you’re a new student or a seasoned practitioner, the EYFS requires you to commit to your own continued professional development. This means there will be times throughout our careers when all of us need to identify further learning opportunities beyond our initial training.
The current range of options includes:
• Distance learning via mail or the internet
• Work place learning
• Attending tutored courses
• Attending training workshops
• Attending seminars and conferences
• Research via books, articles (magazines such as Nursery World are invaluable), internet and training materials, including DVDs
• Observing or shadowing other practitioners
• Visiting other settings
You can find out about the options and access learning by:
• Enquiring about in-house learning opportunities at work, and ensuring the appropriate people at your workplace know the type of development opportunities you are looking for.
• Contacting your local authority. They may also have details of funding for learning.
• Requesting details of learning opportunities from colleges, other training organisations and membership associations. Specific enquiries can also be made to Learn Direct – advisers will help you to find appropriate local learning opportunities.
• Checking out the books in our Good Practice and Practical Guide series, covering key aspects of early years and playwork.
• Reading about and researching up-to-date developments and thinking in the field, making use of resources such as the internet, the public library and your workplace reference information. When undertaking web-based research, the sites of national organisations are often a good starting point (e.g. Ofsted, Foundation Years, NDNA, Pre-School Learning Alliance, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years).
It’s also important to dedicate time to reflecting on your practice. Reflective practitioners regularly:
• Think about their practice
• Analyse their actions
• Evaluate their personal effectiveness
• Record their reflections, perhaps in a journal
• Discuss their reflections with others
• Use feedback from others to improve their own evaluations.
This helps them to:
• Identify their strengths
• Identify their weaknesses
• Notice their achievements
• Identify their development needs
• Solve problems
• Improve practice
Reflection also helps you to see which of your practical strategies and techniques are successful, and where a fresh approach would be beneficial. With the benefit of hindsight you can take time to think through an event or an issue, gaining deeper insight or a clearer idea of the impact of your actions.
The key thing to remember about professional development? By simply doing nothing, you can soon find yourself left far behind.
I’ll be back next month!