I sat and considered my choices for work experience carefully after I had heard I was to spend two weeks doing it. I thought of letting the school choose for me but quickly decided against it as I didn’t think I could stand spending the time making tea. Many people mentioned vets to me as I have a love of animals however due to insurance policies I was forced to consider working with my parents. In fact it wasn’t that awful, my mum worked at Edwin Lambert Primary School and I was curious to discover what working with children was like. I soon had a meeting with the classroom assistant and teacher of the Edwin Lambert Nursery.
I was very surprised that it was the nursery that had agreed to take me on as I expected to be in different primary classes, however, I soon got over the shock. Having come straight from school in a rush I must have looked a scruffy bag of nerves! Well that’s certainly how I felt. They introduced themselves as Mrs Rusha and Mrs Bumford with a smile and a general pleasant attitude. The nerves I’d felt before slowly disintegrated as I realized I would be in safe hands in the nursery. The nursery itself was fairly large with a green carpet and various tables and games scattered around.
I was soon to discover that it was harder than it looked to find what you needed there! After I had been offered a tour and uncovered all the useful facts, I went home to wait out the last few days of school. On the morning of my first working day, I felt rather reluctant to leave the house! Although I wasn’t nervous, I had a slight sense of looming dread that I was going to somehow embarrass myself during the coming weeks. I dressed in a black outfit which made my mum feel important enough to make constant sarcastic remarks about the school not being a funeral.
However I rose above the immaturity and got to work to hear she had advised everyone to copy her jokes. Only an hour had gone since I’d woken up and I was already embarrassed! I still wasn’t sure what the routine was, so I was advised by Mrs Rusha to just communicate with the children and get to know them. When I heard this I imagined an easy and fun day playing with the children. How wrong could I have been? After a brief wait, the toddlers finally arrived and I was surprised to see how mature and organised they were.
They all entered one by one, took their Velcro names off the wall and onto a chart (to show their attendance) then sat down silently on the carpet while their parents waved goodbye. I was stunned because at my nursery I had come in with my parents and screamed my head off when they left! I was still standing with my mouth wide open when I was introduced to everyone. The children didn’t seem to notice I was even there but I was informed later on by another member of the nursery staff that so many people are involved in their lives that they don’t take much notice.
Although I was relieved, as I thought it would mean no emotional attachments, I was also quite disappointed because I knew my absence would not be missed by any of them at the end of my time there. After registration had been called it was official playtime for an hour. Playtime involved several tables set up with different activities that would help with certain subjects. For example on the maths table there could be plastic shapes for the children to play with or even simple counting games for them to do. Each table was changed every day to a set plan recorded the week before.
I found it almost impossible to keep up with the plan. In fact I don’t believe I actually managed to successfully change an activity on a table without annoying several teachers along the way! There was also a sand pit and water trough that was kept up everyday as they were extremely popular. Watching the children play was a great experience for me. The way they interacted with each other was like an alien language to me but it was very interesting and terribly sweet! I couldn’t help but find myself getting absorbed into their innocent minds by chatting randomly about anything that had happened to them the day before.
The time, however, did not seem to fly and I was more than happy when they were finally called to clean up and start their snack. Doing this was good for me as it gave me a job of cleaning all the sand from the floor and checking everyone was eating their fruit properly. This became a job I took on for myself everyday as I felt I wasn’t given enough to do elsewhere. After snack everyone had to clean up to get an hours play in the adjoining garden before being able to go home. That was the routine I followed twice a day for the two weeks, as there was a morning and afternoon group.