The 5th of October is World Teachers’ Day! A day to reflect upon all of the work that teachers put into educating and inspiring the young learners of today. We’ve marked the occasion by teaming up with Miss Dani Lynch to share an honest account of a day in the life of an Early Years teacher!
Hi, I’m Dani, a Nursery teacher and blogger from the West Midlands. I am entering into my 8th year of teaching and have predominantly spent most of my career in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Although nursery starts at 8.30am, I normally get to work between 7.30 and 8.00am as there is so much to set up before the children start. If I’m lucky there’s time for a cup of tea before the kiddies arrive!
Our first topic of the year is the very typical ‘Super Me!’; looking at ourselves and why we are special. The children love to discuss themselves and their families, so this is a really good topic to start the year off with. In the second half of the autumn term our topic is ‘celebrations’ where we celebrate Diwali, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Armistice and Christmas. This is my favourite topic by far! I love how fascinated the children are to learn about all different types of celebrations and completely embrace them! Later in the year we will cover topics such as; Out of the Egg, Dinosaurs, Pirates and Under the Sea.
When the children first arrive each morning, we do carpet activities to get them moving. We then take the register and have our morning meeting. We use our calendar to look at the date and see what exciting days we have coming up. The children love the morning meeting and are getting really good at recognising their numbers. We also look at the weather and discuss the seasons whilst singing our daily songs.
Each child has a carpet spot to stop them from wriggling all over the floor. Considering my learners are only three years old, they’re fantastic at sitting on the carpet during each morning meeting.
After carpet time, we learn through play before our quick 15-minute lessons! These lessons include dough disco, maths, writing, dancing and other exciting activities. Every nursery session finishes with story time and a speaking opportunity to develop the children’s language skills. Our morning session finishes at 11.30am; just in time to do it all again at 12.15pm with our afternoon children! My classroom is a place that I want children to feel comfortable. It is important that it is homely and things are easily accessible for them as after all, it is their learning environment!
Apart from my maths and literacy board which have to be backed in a certain colour, my other boards are backed in hessian to provide a neutral background that shows off the children’s work. I enjoy using lots of different textures around the room along with cute lights to provide a cosier atmosphere, especially on those dull winter days!
Our outdoor area has also been a big priority this year and has been given a makeover to provide plenty of learning opportunities for the children.
My favourite resources are open-ended that the children can use in a variety of ways.
“The children always surprise me by using the resources in ways that I had never even thought of.”
Messy play is definitely a favourite of mine and I think it is a fantastic way to support children’s language and physical development, which are two core areas of the EYFS. You can incorporate messy play into so many different areas of the curriculum. By using open-ended resources, it supports children’s imagination and doesn’t restrict their learning to one particular area.
Good classroom organisation makes my life, and the children’s, so much easier. If everything has a designated space then it’s easier for the children to access toys and put them away independently. I ensure that everything is labelled and I spend a lot of time at the start of the year reinforcing rules and routines through the use of social stories. If you get it right at the start of the year and model how to use the different areas of the classroom, then the rest of the year should be a breeze (in theory!!)
Teaching is by no means an easy job, of course there are days when you wonder why on earth you are still doing it! However, the children are by far the reason I do this.
“I love getting to know my children and their interests”
That moment where it all just falls in to place for a child who has been struggling to come into school without crying, or who has been trying so hard to form their initial letter in their name and eventually masters it, that’s what makes teaching worth it!
If you ask any teacher, not one would say that they do their job because enjoy paperwork- it’s all about the children!