How the Building on Success training program helped me navigate change
Hayley Woods, Decor Manager at St Margaret’s Pre-School, Swindon
Thursday, June 16, 2022
The government’s Early Childhood Professional Development Program was launched in 2019 to improve the quality of outcomes for all children. Nursery headmistress Hayley Woods explains how her Phase Two programme, run by the Education Trust, is helping her meet new challenges.
Ninety-seven percent of people who participated in the early stages of the Education Development Trust’s Building on Success program for early childhood practitioners said it was either “effective” or “very effective” to improve their daily practice.
It seems remarkable, even unbelievable.
But having done the course myself, I can attest to that.
It’s hard work, but so is being an early childhood educator. I’ve been in the industry for 23 years, so I know how difficult it can be. But, like working in the early years, the program is also rewarding.
The program has been adapted and revised in light of all the disruptions the sector has faced in recent months and years. Some of the behavioral changes due to Covid are only becoming clear now. For example, we find that the children in our environment seem much more eager to be outside, and this may be related to the confinement restrictions that some of them have experienced all their lives.
The training was flexible which suited me well. I know I have a few hours of peace and quiet on a Friday night when my kids are at scouts, so I chose to do the online learning, before attending the linked webinar the following week.
Initially, I found the webinars difficult as I’m not an overconfident person and I hate being put on the spot for an answer. But because we were put in the same group for the different modules, we got to know each other, and I felt really supported and much more confident to speak.
There were eight of us in our webinar group – all from different parts of the country and different kinds of settings. This feeling of being part of a larger community that has all gone through the same difficulties and is also committed to professional development, to dealing with the upheaval as best we can and, above all, to improving the lives of children, was priceless. (It was also invaluable in the sense that there was no price, as the course is fully funded by the Department of Education for pre-reception practitioners from all eligible backgrounds).
When I saw what the program covered, I was very drawn to the math section, as I always thought math was my weak point. I learned a lot from the math modules, even little things like spatial awareness and how a child sits for lunch. It was an eye opener, and I have yet to find a math class that I have enjoyed as much as this one.
We’ve also covered speech, language and communication with some very useful content from Elklan Training. We learned how and why communication is crucial for children’s development, but also practical skills such as how to integrate language skills into children’s play and how to identify children at risk for speech, language and Communication. We are seeing an increase in challenging behaviors and delays in communication and language, so this unit was really valuable.
For me the course was well designed and even included modules on personal, social and emotional development, written by the mental health charity, How the B the Anna Freud Centre. This seemed particularly relevant as we are all still coming to grips with the fallout of the pandemic and mental health issues for everyone, even the youngest children, which is why it is important to apply best practices wherever possible. possible. Having myself gone through the program as head of the nursery school, I think it would be beneficial for all staff.
The entire Building on Success program was produced in response to the changes created by the pandemic. We are all still figuring out how this has changed us, the children in our care, and our daily practice in the early years settings in which we work. Having the Building on Success program to help me navigate this process has been invaluable.
About the Early Childhood Professional Development Program
This is a two-year program offering evidence-based, fully-funded CPD to pre-reception practitioners from schools and private, voluntary and independent (PVI) institutions, who meet the qualification criteria. It is funded by the Department for Education and implemented by Education Development Trust in partnership with Elklan.
Launched in September 2019, the training began in December 2019.
Learn more here