By Helen Voss
My day begins with greeting the Reception children and their parents at the entrance to our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) base. After registration, the children separate into phonics groups. I lead a daily session with 11 boys who find sitting still a challenge! They enjoy fun, interactive games, are eager to learn new words and write on whiteboards.
We have a structured and detailed timetable covering all areas of the EYFS curriculum, including small guided literacy and maths groups, child-initiated topic-based activities and an outside area with a real caravan for imaginative role play. We have three guinea pigs and two rabbits that live at school; the children are involved in handling them under close supervision.
I spend my time hearing children read, leading activities, small group work, creative art for displays and encouraging purposeful play where all children feel included. As the children become involved in their day, this provides opportunities to observe and assess their knowledge and abilities to record in learning journeys. A suitable coat is always needed as this happens outside as well in all weathers.
As a qualified nursery nurse working as a TA in early years, the need for flexibility is crucial as unexpected events occur, such as changing a child who has wet their pants, providing first aid or looking after a child who is unwell or upset.
Just when I’m in the middle of a task, there can be a little pair of hands tapping me for attention – thus covering me in paint or glue!
There are many moments to make me smile:
- walking around the classroom to find a boy in a Spiderman costume reading in the book corner;
- children happily engaged in constructing models with their friends; and
- witnessing children using the writing areas during free choice time and hearing them say to each other: ‘I will help you’.
The joy of working at my school in Leicestershire comes from watching the children grow and develop in self-confidence and from working as part of an outstanding team where the dedication and hard work of all staff to provide a rich, exciting, creative curriculum brings fantastic results and achievement for all children.
No two days are the same and it can be exhausting working with four-year-olds, but so rewarding and a privilege.
At the end of the school day, it’s time to tidy up, wishing I was Mary Poppins – able to click my fingers to return the classroom to how it looked before the children arrived! There are admin tasks to do like photocopying, laminating, children’s work to file and preparation of resources/activities, before heading home for a much needed cup of tea!