Have an open mind. The course is very broad and gives you lots of opportunities to learn and experience different aspects of the Early Years sector.
More about Ellie
What inspired you to study BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies?
"I have a passion for working with children. I knew from the beginning when deciding on careers that I wanted to work in an environment with children that could enable me to help each unique child reach their full developmental potential. I see it as an honour to be part of a young child’s learning journey and help them grow into their own person."
Why did you choose your course and NTU?
"The course offers three years of very in-depth learning, leaving no stone unturned within Early Years.
One thing that drew me to this course was the placement. Six weeks of placement within each academic year means you are able to experience different environments with children. This helps with those essential practical skills that come hand-in-hand with a career in Early Years. Also, by having more work experience and gaining those skills gives you an advantage when looking for jobs.
The Early childhood studies course offers the Graduate Practitioner Competencies (GPCs). This can put you at a higher advantage because it pitches the skills and attributes that you have accumulated over the duration of the course to future employers."
What’s your experience been like of your course so far?
"I am enjoying the course so far. The lessons are jam-packed full of interesting content and the teaching style is great with lots of practical lessons. For example, we have spent lessons outside making use of the ‘forest school’ area by doing lots of fun activities and discussing the important topic of outdoor play."
Have you completed any work placements on your course?
"Within the first year, they tend to send you to a setting such as a nursery/day-care/Playcentre so that every student can have a feel of what the basics of the Early Years consist of.
So far, I have completed five weeks of placement at the University of Nottingham Playcentre. I helped with the daily routine, conducted activities, took care of the children, and spoke directly to parents.
Working there has been extremely helpful in developing and broadening my knowledge and understanding of an early years setting.
At home, I work at a day nursery, so experiencing the Playcentre has really highlighted the differences regarding routine, legislation, and types of play opportunities.
It is also interesting to see and understand what form of ‘play’ the setting prefers and why they believe it works best for the development of the children they cater for."
Do you have any memorable moments from your placement?
"As part of an assessment, we must plan and complete observations from our time on placement. I planned three observations using my own activities that I believed the children would love to take part in and stay interested in.
After completing this I was congratulated by a co-worker who stated that my management of the activities and the children were very successful, well thought out, and clearly demonstrated my professional development. This made me feel very proud as this feedback was from a highly qualified practitioner."
What do you think of the support available from tutors and staff at NTU?
"Tutors and lecturers are very helpful and offer one-to-one help over teams or in person. They offer you a range of resources to aid your studies and direct you. They make it clear that they want what is best for you and your academic journey."
Outside of the Lecture Theatre
Did you find it easy to make friends and settle in at NTU?
"My experience of making friends and settling in at University was relatively easy. I currently live in halls for the first year, so I was able to make friends quickly at the start of the academic year. The halls I live in are very welcoming and friendly, so I had no problem feeling at home when I first moved in."
The Next Steps
What’s next for you after NTU?
"Ideally, I want to au pair in Australia after finishing my course at University for a year or two, and then afterwards complete a master’s degree when I have fully decided what particular path within the Early Years I want to go down. At the moment I have play therapy, early years speech and language therapy and working with child protection within the police force in mind. I have yet to decide!"
How is NTU helping you to achieve your career goals?
"The library of Clifton Campus is full of extremely useful resources and master classes. It is also a pleasant place to go to when studying as they order their floors by noise levels. As I work best in silence, I tend to go to the quiet floor to complete my studies."
What top tips would you give anyone thinking about studying your course at NTU?
"Have an open mind. The course is very broad and gives you lots of opportunities to learn and experience different aspects of the Early Years sector. You could start the course believing you want to go down one particular pathway working with younger children but may finish wanting to do something completely different!"