Early years students get creative 29/06/2021

After a difficult year, the Early Years staff decided that our year one level 3 students needed to refocus on the practical side of working with children and just have fun. Students were set the task of creating a resource that they could use, in practice with children, to support literacy, numeracy and/or emotional well-being for children. Part of their course requires students are observed in practice, so we wanted students to really think about what they could create to support these areas of development for children after a year where Covid has impacted on young children, as well as our students’ training to work with young children.

Initially, the students were tentative as they had little experience in Early Years settings due to Covid, but very quickly they started talking and pairing up in self-chosen teams to create resources. Students quickly became engaged and involved planning the resources they would need, and the rationale behind their resources, as well as the age range to use them. It was good to see students engaged and enjoying the activity, so staff decided to add a competitive element and carry out a ‘Dragons Den’ exercise to acknowledge the learners’ hard work.

Harriet, Ike and Joanna were invited to judge the most effective winning resource. All students presented their resources and the rationale behind them. The judges asked learners to bring their resources so they could look and ask any further question. A variety of matching activities for maths or literacy, story books and props were made, and even painted stones to represent animals that could be used in a variety of activities. The judges felt that three prizes should be awarded, due to the high quality of the resources, and the panel praised all the students for the thought and work that went into the resources. As the owner of a nursery herself, Harriet told the students that she could see most of the resources being used in the nursery and that children would enjoy them.

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The third place was awarded to Reece, who created a sensory activity where children searched for numbers or letters and explained the benefits of sensory activities for children with SEN, making maths and literacy a fun activity for children.

Second place was given to Jess and Ledina, who created “The number tree”, an interactive activity where children worked out a maths problem, found the answer and stuck it in the right place; they said this could easily be used for literacy as well.

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Ruquayah and Aisha were the winners, creating two glove puppets: one was the happy hand where children could talk about what made them happy; and the other was the emotionless puppet with eyes but no mouth. The girls explained that sometimes children do not always know how they feel, but the puppets could be used to talk about what makes them sad, scared or happy, showing we do not always need to know how we feel.