Our second year Children's Play, Learning and Development students have been hard at work completing their Extended Diploma qualification alongside exciting and engaging work placements. This time in the workplace alongside their college studies gives the students professional practice skills and knowledge preparing them for taking on employment at the end of the course or moving on to further education or training. Here is what the students had to say about their experiences over the two year course.
Through my work placements I have had a variety of experiences in many different settings in many different areas. I have noticed that the style of the teaching depends significantly on the age of the children, environment and personalities of the staff. I have significantly improved my understanding of what children are able to do and learn from my time in a real work environment. Even though I have found some settings to be more helpful and supportive than others, the children are just as amazing in each and every case.
I have had the chance to work with a range of different ability children and children with disabilities ensuring that I am meeting their every need to be able to give them every opportunity to be able to succeed and achieve like every other student. This has also made me realise just how amazing each and every child is regardless of their abilities and needs. This has developed my skills to understand that some children need extra support than others. From everything I have experienced, I would be confident to tackle more situations with children who need that extra support than I thought that I ever would. This course has definitely made me realise that there are happy and sad times, and difficult and easy times, but, at the end of it all, realising just how rewarding it is to be part of a child’s development and to see them succeed at something they never though they could do. Through the support of my tutor at college and colleagues from placements I have been able to develop my confidence to conduct activities and work with groups of children by myself.
At college the tutors give me time in class for support with assignments and advice during independent study times or by email when we are not in college when needed, especially if it is a placement day. This helps us keep up-to-date and continue to work on our assignments and understand what we need to do. We are also encouraged to have a group Facebook page to share thoughts or ideas we have been through in class or if we are not sure on anything while at home.
As part of the Children’s Play, Learning and Development I have had the opportunity to have experience in a number of different placements, which has allowed me to work with and support different children from birth up until eight years. All of my placements have been very different but so enjoyable. From having the experience in the different placements it has expanded my knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities. All practitioners in the placements which I have experienced have given me all of the support I could have asked for, allowing me to complete the work which I need to in my Portfolio. I felt comfortable, accepted and as part as the team in all of the placements which has supported me in being the best that I can be in setting.
Both my placements and my course together has helped me develop different skills academically linking to my assignments, the work which I have completed has been completed through skills, knowledge and understanding which I have developed through placement such as my knowledge on different policies; safeguarding and managing medicines and first aid for example. What I have experienced in setting and been taught as part as my course goes into all of my assignments and strengthens my understanding leading to me being the best practitioner that I can be, meeting children’s needs and supporting their development.
I have been given support for my work in the way of one to one meetings as well as regular communication with the teachers both in lessons or independent study times where necessary. I am able to email my tutors for help and this will give me more understanding to get on with my work. I feel I can approach my tutors at any time.
During the 2 years Children’s Play, Learning and Development course, I have been able to go on many different placements. The course has prepared me for the different placements I have attended and both has provided me with lots of different skills that I can use in my future career. The course itself has taught me about the different approaches to teaching and all the important information that I would need to use in order to care for children effectively. The placements has given the opportunity to put into practice the information I already know and have learnt throughout the last 2 years. I have received support from my mentors from setting, assessors from the college and being able to work from the activities outlined in my Practice Evidence Portfolio (PEP). These have all given me guidance on work to do and reflective practice. Placements has been through 3 different age ranges, 0-2 years, 2-5 years and 5-8 years old, meaning I have been given a wide range of experience so I could get a clear idea of which age range I would prefer to work with later on.
While the course is very coursework-heavy, there has been plenty of support that has been given and offered to help with the workload. 1:1s have been offered in order to make myself more confident with the work I produced and the teachers talk through the assignments clearly, to make sure they are understood.
During my 2 year course of Children’s Play Learning and Development, I have had the chance to work in a range of different placements supporting children of different ages. This includes the 0-2 years (baby rooms), 2-5 years (nursery) and 5-8 years (primary). Through this experience I have gained more confidence and learnt skills which I never thought I would learn, such as planning and making, preparing activities, observing the children and working with the children in small groups and 1:1 support. I have seen first-hand how the practitioners and teachers deal with certain situations and learnt strategies which will support me in my further career as a teacher. Both using the Early Years Foundation Stage 2017 and the National Curriculum as well as following policies and different methods of teaching the children. I feel that placement has been the best part of this course as you can put your own knowledge that you have learnt in class and link theory into practice giving understanding to what we do and why.
We are given support during formative lessons in class either all together in the class, in small groups or individual if necessary. This means we are happy to ask whenever needed if we are unsure of something or don’t understand.
If you are interested in child development and would like to work with young children on a daily basis then this may be the perfect course for you. Check out more details of the Children's Play, Learning and Development course and apply now.