To my younger self...
When you’re a few years into a role, you often think ‘I wish I’d known this when I started!’. With this in mind, we spoke to some experienced Early Years professionals to find out what, if they could time-travel to when they were just starting out, they’d tell themselves.
‘Take the child’s voice into account on all occasions, go with your gut feeling and don’t be nervous of challenging a situation.’
‘Never assume, always have high expectations and be prepared that it's never going to be a 9 to 5 job as it becomes embedded in all aspects of your life.’
LG, St. Helens
‘Try not to be so hard on yourself. I am my own worst critic and up until our first Ofsted inspection, which was 6 months after starting, I was second-guessing and scrutinising everything I was doing. From then, when we got rated outstanding, I knew to not be so hard on myself as I was doing okay!’
‘Work smarter, not harder! Be kind to yourself and don’t burn yourself out. And, if you can, plan a good summer holiday!’
”Focus on things other than English and Maths! Don’t just get caught up in getting the children 'ready' for Reception/ Year 1. Remember that all of the areas (for example, Physical Development, Communication & Language, PSED) are key in providing the children with a good foundation for school 'readiness'.”
Try to keep perspective and frequently put yourself in the children’s shoes. Doing this can be super helpful for almost any situation, whether diffusing a tantrum, leading activities or planning, just think of things through their eyes and instinctively you’ll know what is best to do. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Working in the early years can easily burn you out, and there are times when you might feel overwhelmed. Taking a quick break or talking to a fellow team member can really work wonders.