user
user

Kathy Brodie: Free CPD for Early Years Professionals

Kathy Brodie is an author, Early Years Professional and Trainer specialising in online training and courses. She is the founder and host of the Early Years Summit and Early Years TV, weekly Professional Development for Early Years practitioners and educators.


Navigation
CategoryViewpoint
Featured

Viewpoint

A Teacher by Any Other Name

Posted on June 22, 2011.

I’ve just seen the most marvellous quote tweeted:

“All adults who come in to contact with children contribute to children’s education and are teachers whether or not they are called by that name.” Tweeted by Linda R at Beyondplaydough.

Coincidentally, I commented today on a forum about Teachers and Early Years Professional Status (EYPS), so this was already on my mind. The discussion had meandered into the treacherous waters of EYPS versus teachers. Teacher status is well recognised by parents and carers. They understand that teachers have usually gone to University and have had specialist training in effective teaching. Few parents and carers understand that the EYP Status is also post graduate and covers the full age range Birth to 5 years.

The reason for this could be that the EYP Status is still new, particularly compared to teaching.

It could be that EYPS hasn’t been advertised well enough by the government and CWDC.

It could be that parents and carers just want their young child to be happy and cared for by someone who loves and cherishes their child, as they would do themselves, whatever their qualification or Status.

And really that is the reason why the tweet made me smile. From the child’s point of view, they don’t care. Children are natural learners, investigators, scientists and explorers. That’s why babies love peek-a-boo games, why toddlers love to hear the same story over and over again and why pre-schoolers are fascinated with mini-beasts. Children just enjoy having adults who are interested in them, who are willing to engage whole heartedly in their play and have new experiences to share with enthusiasm.

The important thing for the adults is that they are aware that they are being teachers – like it or not! When a practitioner refuses to touch a worm, when the adults wont go out in the rain, when the children aren’t allowed to choose their favourite story – what is that ‘teaching’ the children?

On the other hand, there are those adults who will spend hours picking up the toy and putting it back on baby’s high chair, crawl into a den to read the story or spend time hearing both sides of the dispute between friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big, big advocate of EYPS and a graduate led early years workforce, whether that is called Teacher, Pedagogue or Directoress.

However, I’m also a big fan of young children being surrounded by interested, loving, caring, enthusiastic ‘teachers’, whatever their name is.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to share your view.
———-
Image by Pinkstock photos

Featured

Viewpoint

Where’s Wally? And Why it’s Important

Posted on March 8, 2011.

Yesterday I was at the most amazing training session. It was the last session on a course which I have thoroughly enjoyed leading and am proud to be a part of – the Early Years SENCO, run by Stockport Local Authority and certified by Manchester Metropolitan University.

All ten sessions have been really informative and very enjoyable. However, the reason for particularly singling out yesterday’s session is that I now know why my husband can’t find Wally!

Click here for more »

Featured

Viewpoint

Frank Fields’ Poverty Review

Posted on October 15, 2010.

The consultation date has passed for getting your views to Frank Fields regarding poverty and life chances. The findings are not expected to be reported to the Prime Minister until ‘the end of the year’ [2010] (http://povertyreview.independent.gov.uk/)

Unfortunately this initiative has been somewhat overshadowed by the proposal to remove the child benefit payments from households where at least one partner pays higher rate tax (income exceeds £43,875 per annum). This ideological shift was done without any public consultation or debate.

So is the independent Review on Poverty and Life Chances just a sop? A chance to make the public think they will be listened to? Would Frank Fields’ findings conclude that all households need the child benefit?

My concern is that major decisions are being made before public consultations are completed. I’m hoping that the consultation findings on the EYFS will be listened to and considered, before a knee jerk reaction throws the Early Years sector back into the chaos of change.

Featured

Viewpoint

Reflective Practice and the EYP

Posted on September 7, 2010.

EYPS, reflective practice and how this can improve outcomes for children at a setting
Reflective practice is one of the tools which can be used by Early Years Professionals to fulfil their role as ‘change agent’, which is at the heart of the Early Years Professional Status (CWDC, 2008). By structured reflection on current practice the EYP can identify what change is valuable, worthwhile and improving.

Methods vary from setting to setting. Practitioners may have personal reflective log books which are then reviewed regularly. Reflection can be done as a team in staff meetings. Documents such as the Self Evaluation Form (SEF) and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are valuable starting points.

Click here for more »

Featured

Viewpoint

EYPs – what’s next for Continued Professional Development?

Posted on September 4, 2010.

CPD Beyond the EYP: What are the Options?

I achieved my EYP status in 2008 and since then the nature of my work has changed completely. I am now much more focused on training and coaching other practitioners and so recently I was prompted to think about the next steps in my continued professional development. From talking with other EYPs and from discussions at our Cheshire EYP network, it seems I’m not the only one doing so.

Most people fall into one of two camps: those who have an interest in broadening and deepening their knowledge and those who now find their new job roles as EYPs are calling for new skills.

New Skills for a New Role

Depending on their role and the size and organisation of their setting, EYPs may need a variety of new skills.

Leadership and management. These courses are particularly relevant for EYPs who have taken on management responsibilities within their setting as part of the EYP role.

Train the trainer and Presentation skills. Many EYPs are now finding that they are taking a training and development role for their staff, having never been taught to train adults. In house training can be a particularly valuable and cost effective tool for raising the standard of practice within a setting.

Recruitment and selection. Some EYPS will already be familiar with recruitment of other staff, but others, particularly those who have been employed for the first time as an EYP, may find this a particularly daunting part of the job.

Innovation, change, creativity and reflective practice. This is a core set of skills for the EYP who is a leading change agent in their setting. Reflective practice is a good place to start innovation and change. It is also vital that new ideas and practice needs to be coupled with sustainability.

Mentoring and coaching skills. The best settings will always be encouraging practitioners with their own CPD. By involving the EYP as mentor and/or coach within the setting there are mutual benefits. It’s great CPD for the EYP and the practitioners being mentored will benefit.

Assessing, mentoring and moderating. Some Universities approach their EYPs to come back and assess on the EYP course. This has the benefit of the assessor having firsthand experience of the amount of time and work which goes into achieving the Status.

Broadening and Deepening Your Knowledge

Some EYPs may want to become an expert on specific subjects such as schemas or see a future career as trainers, lecturers or researchers. For them, more advanced qualifications, such as the DTLLS, may be appropriate.

Masters degree. Some EYPs find that they have developed specific interests and would like to pursue these in more depth. The setting will benefit from having a highly knowledgeable practitioner who can lead practice in that area.

Research. Research studies are invaluable to moving our knowledge forward about children’s learning and development. Universities and institutes such as the Max Planck institute may have research opportunities for EYPs to investigate an area of interest or particular relevance to their work.

How to Decide What to do Next

But how do you decide your CPD route?

First you have to consider the needs of your current role. Are there any skills gaps, what are you being expected to do? If you find that your role has changed, but you have received no training, then the skills route would be most suitable.

Next you need should consider how your future career may develop and how your CPD could lay the foundations for this. Would you like to move into a management role or possibly become a mentor and coach for other EYPs? This may need a combination of skills updating as well as some more academic qualifications.

Finally you should have an interest in the subject area. We all know that children learn best when they are doing something they are interested in and in my experience, it’s even more true of adults.

Note

There have been a number of updates to the Standards, requirements and Government policy.  The Early Years Professional Status has been replaced with a new Status – Early Years Teacher Status – which still has 8 Standards, but you now have to hold GCSE maths, English and science to do the course.

In addition, you have to pass the professional skills tests. You can find out more information from the Government website here

* Image courtesy of Lumax Art

 

Featured

Viewpoint

Speech and Language and TV – What is the Evidence?

Posted on January 10, 2010.

Jean Gross, Communication Champion, has announced information which seems to show that having the TV on for a significant proportion of the day is having an effect on the speech and language of our youngest children (up to 7 years of age).

This would seem to make sense. Distinguishing between two conversations can be difficult. As adults we know how hard it is to have a phone conversation and have someone else talking to us at the same time.

Click here for more »

Featured

Viewpoint

Sustained Shared Thinking – How Important is It?

Posted on February 2, 2009. Sustained Shared Thinking

My online course on Sustained Shared Thinking is available here now…
>> The Sustained Shared Thinking Online Course <<

Sustained shared thinking has been defined as

” an episode in which two or more individuals ‘work together’ in an intellectual way to solve a problem, clarify a concept, evaluate activities, extend a narrative etc. Both parties must contribute to the thinking and it must develop and extend” Siraj-Blatchford et al (2002) Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY), Dfes.

This is not a new concept, just a new name. Most early years theorist value the adult/child interaction, from Vygotsky’s social interaction and more knowledgeable other; Bruner’s discovery learning; Piaget constructivism right through to Lave’s situated learning. Continue Reading

Featured

Viewpoint

Are you a Sparkly Thinker?

Posted on December 5, 2008.

At a recent conference about children’s thinking the presenter, the acclaimed author Marion Dowling, made a comment about why it is so important that we should understand children’s thinking processes and how we can then use this in our work. As she stated – “we can’t compel children to engage”. I’m sure every practitioner can empathise with this, having sat in front of a group of children with a book and knowing that not every child is listening!

Marion then went on to describe a situation she had observed in a reception class, who had been learning about Goldilocks and the three bears. When it was time to review their learning the teacher didn’t fire questions at the children but chose to dress up as ‘Mrs Locks’ who had lost her daughter ‘Goldie’.

Click here for more »

Featured

Viewpoint

What is the Purpose of an EYP Network?

Posted on November 2, 2008.

As more and more practitioners achieve Early Years Professional (EYP) Status it will be essential for newly registered EYPs to continue to expand professional expertise. The EYP network can be an excellent way to achieve this.

In Cheshire there is a thriving and growing network, led by Alex Sefton and Kim Kellock, where EYPs have already reaped the benefits of meeting and discussing issues with other professionals. The monthly, full day meetings are held at children’s centres around Cheshire and are normally organised around specific training requirements, suggested by members of the group. These have included schema, learning journeys, Masters degrees and the Early Years Foundation Stage. The day is concludes with a guided tour around the children’s centre.

Click here for more »

Featured

Viewpoint

Letters and Sounds

Posted on October 12, 2008.

Are you able to fit ‘Letters and Sounds’ into your daily routine?

The Rose review of early reading was completed in 2006 by Sir Jim Rose and one of the recommendations was for high quality phonics work. ‘Letters and sounds’ is part of the government’s response to this. Essentially it is a series of activities which meet the criteria identified in the review as being essential to reading phonically as opposed to other methods – picture clues, for example.

The myth is that nurseries have to use ‘Letters and Sounds’. The DFES standards website is categorically clear about this – you do not have to use it if you already have a high quality phonics programme operating successfully. The question then becomes – what would Ofsted call a high quality phonics programme in lieu of Letters and Sounds?

Click here for more »