Monday, 29 October 2012

Japanese Students Visit

Thursday 4 October 
Today students studying childcare at Seitoku University in Japan visited the college for a day of cultural exchange and to find out a little bit about childcare training at Norland.  

Before they arrived we were all a little nervous about what to expect - although the second year students had re-assured us it was a fun day.

We set up activities throughout the college that groups of the Japanese students would rotate around. Each activity is something we would do with children – mainly messy activities including shaving foam play, corn flour (or gloop), marble paintings and sand play. The students seemed to really enjoy getting stuck in and hadn’t really done any of the activities before.

All of the students were really enthusiastic and translated our names into Japanese for us and told us what the sounds of our names mean in Japanese.

Part of the visit included a cultural exchange where we performed We’re going on a bear hunt for the Japanese Students – with actions and everything! It was a lot of fun and they really enjoyed it. Here is a video of our performance. 

In return they performed the Japanese version of It’s a Small World; sang a song that they sing when they graduate - which was really good and performed a dance.

The day was really good fun, all the Japanese students were lovely and so enthusiastic about everything we were showing them. They took hundreds of photos and were really sad to leave. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

First week of lectures - academic and practical

It seemed like ages since we were in college when we arrived on Monday but it was really nice to all be together again as a Set. 2 weeks in placement meant we had a lot to catch up on with each other. We jumped straight into lectures on Monday morning, the modules we are doing this term are Child Development and Early Years Principles, policies and Practice. The prospect of the assignments we have to do on this subject is a bit daunting but we are actually quite excited to make a start.

This week was also the first week of all of our practical sessions. These are Home Economics, Creative Skills and Practical Skills.

Home Economics is taught at a local school called St Marks, about a 10 minute walk from the college. We spent a whole afternoon there and got an introduction to the space and what we will be covering in these sessions. Then we got to cook a crumble! Some of us were unsure as to how we would get on with Home Economics but after tasting our first ever crumble we have a feeling this is going to become one of our favourite lessons at Norland. 

(Photo of Lydia and Jo's crumble, before and after taste test! YUM)

Creative Skills was also a bit daunting, some of us have never sewn a thing while others seemed to be pros. But we all started at the basic hand sewing techniques and will be working up to using a sewing machine, phew. We are now getting quite excited about all of the things we will get to make.

Practical skills again was mainly an introduction session – this subject seems to cover so much! We'll learn about everything from basic hygiene, changing nappies, bathing babies and feeding, to travelling with children, managing behaviour and health and safety. 
It is going to be really interesting and helpful.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

First two weeks on placement

Day one on placement after just 2 weeks in college and we were all feeling apprehensive about what it would be like.  The first challenge was finding our different settings - we are all in different placements across Bath, some of us in nurseries and some in primary / prep schools. In most places there are a couple of us but one or two had to face this first day alone. Worried about finding the settings and arriving late, we all turned up at least 45 minutes early(!), both eager and nervous about what our first day would be like; would the staff be nice? Would we know what we had to do? Would the children like me?

When we arrived, all of the staff were really friendly and welcoming and happy that we had arrived early. It all felt a bit daunting, but we really wanted to live up to the high expectations of the staff – they really believe in Norland and trusted us. They were willing to let us get on with activities and get involved with the children which was such a great feeling.

By the end of the first week we had really started to get to know the children and run activities on our own.  Some highlights included a Norland hat being used by a year 1 assembly as a farmers hat (!); making flapjacks with the children (who were munching away before they even went in the oven). Some of us got to lead circle time activities – talking about feelings, singing songs and reading books with the children. In one setting some of the children made crowns to turn Georgie (from set 36) into their princess and asked her to read them a story – she aptly chose the Princess and the Frog. 

We all seemed to be having really different experiences and were surprised by just how different some of the settings are to the experiences we have had before. Some settings are more structured than others, some quieter that we thought, some noisier - it has been really interesting to compare stories and experiences with the rest of our Set.

We have all been amazed at just how much planning goes into the learning at the nursery settings - there is a lot more structure and curriculum focussed work than a lot of us realised there was. We were surprised at just how much planning goes into caring for and educating all children, even the tiniest of babies.

It was great to have two whole weeks to get to really know the children and understand the routines of the placement - the time just flew by!. Although all of our experiences were very different, there is one thing we can all agree on – we can’t wait to go back!!