- Why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher as I was following in my mother’s footsteps, so a teaching background was already a big part of my family life. As a teacher, you are more than just an educator, you are a mentor, a confidant and a friend. I always want to make a difference in the lives of the students I teach. It’s important to give them the best start in life where possible.
- What are the best resources you consider when educating children?
Every day I sing and explore the musical instruments with the children. Music ignites all areas of child development and skills: intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words, which is why singing to the children and exploring the musical instruments is so important.
- How do you respond to difficult behaviour in the classroom?
As an early years educator, I have experienced many years dealing with children with all kinds of different behaviour traits. I am lucky to have been on many behavioural training courses to help me develop my knowledge and understanding in this area. Whether a child throws a tantrum, becomes aggressive or overly emotional, there are ways to assess and manage this difficult behaviour. When faced with a difficult situation, I find that the best approach is to try to be patient and work to find the right solution through to resolve the child’s issue. Though it may not seem like it at first, with time you will be able to find a method that works for each individual child. Begin by carefully observing the challenging behaviour, then act to rectify it.
- What do you think is changing in the Early Years Education?
There has been so much talk about future learning and ‘21st century skills’ emphasise the need for education to focus more on so-called ‘soft’ skills and character traits (such as creative thinking and curiosity), in addition to cognitive skills such as problem-solving, critical analysis, the attainment of core subject knowledge, and strong early literacy and numeracy. Early childhood education already includes a focus on these. The demand for people skills is growing faster than that for the science and mathematics skills which are so vital. Future learners will need an excellent start in early learning if they are to cope with mid- to late-21st-century challenges. It is vital that early education curricular emphasise the process and outcomes of both soft and hard skills to create the most competent learners.
- Share one piece of advice for our parents
The first day of nursery should be a fun and exciting time, and most often it is. However, there are challenges for the children and parents too. Separation anxiety may be experienced by some children especially if this is the first time away from mummy and daddy. It can be heart-breaking to see your child cry, but there are ways to help them cope with separation anxiety. It’s only natural for children to feel anxious when saying goodbye to their parents. In fact, separation anxiety is a normal part of child development. It can begin before the first birthday up until the age of four. Some children seem to be doing just fine with the transition only to experience separation anxiety a few weeks into the nursery year. Crying, tantrums and clinginess are all common symptoms of children struggling with separation anxiety.
At Hummingbird we introduce a transition phase, to slowly start to introduce your child to the nursery, teachers and peers. If a child is having a really hard time, we will call the parent. We’d rather have a shorter day, hoping that the next day we can go a bit longer.