Hello! Some of you may already know me and for others I may be a relatively new face. I have recently just returned from maternity leave and thought I would introduce myself to all of our fab Falkirk folk!
I am Ashley Cupples and I am one of the Early Years Pedagogues within Falkirk Council. I am based at Nethermains ELC and at present we are one of the settings currently being extended as part of the Scottish Governments ELC 1140 expansion. I think I can say on behalf of myself and all of the fantastic educators here, we are looking forward to transforming our new spacious environment into a wonderful place for our wee people to play, laugh and learn together.
On Wednesday the 24th of March 2021 I returned from maternity leave after being off for the past year. Like any first-time mother I had big plans for my maternity leave, however only six weeks after having my daughter we went into lockdown and we spent most of it in lockdown. We even appeared in the daily record which was our claim to fame!
I thought I would take a wee bit of time and express “What Matters to me?” as a practitioner and as a Mum, who has recently gone through a Home-ELC transition. I have worked in Education for fifteen years now and I honestly could never imagine doing anything else. I have always been passionate about early years and truly believe as early educators, we have one of the most privileged and important jobs. To know that the first five years of a child’s life determines and influences their life chances is just so powerful. And to think that myself and my lovely colleagues have the power to really make a difference, makes me so proud every day. Building positive relationships with our wee people and their families matters to me. Family involvement is so important.
My family are my world. I love spending time with my husband and my baby. I am such a proud mum and often ask myself how did I get so lucky? My little girl is my greatest achievement in life. However, I think it is important to say that even with all my early years’ experience, every day is a learning day as a parent and that is ok! On my days off and at the weekends, myself and my family love exploring the outdoors, going long walks and to be honest I think we have just about visited every swing park in North Lanarkshire.
I love studying and have always been an avid learner. After returning from Maternity leave, I now work part time (Wednesday, Thursday & Friday) and this is the perfect work life balance for me. However, in the future when my daughter is a little bit older, I would like to further my studies and undertake a master’s degree.
My own transition experience…
My little girl has just recently started nursery and as a parent it is a daunting process during normal circumstances, but the restraints of the pandemic have made it even harder. Luckily my daughter has settled so well but this might not always be the case and as an Early Years Pedagogue part of my remit is to support families too. So, with this in mind after spending my first day back getting to know all our wonderful wee people, I made a point of going out to the ELC gates to introduce myself to all families.
I have been able to reflect on my own transition experience and urge our practitioners to consider the following points:
1.Have you introduced the whole staff team to existing and new families?
Before the pandemic families would have been able to come into the ELC setting to speak/interact/meet/chat with educators.
- Is there a way new families can see the nursery environment before their child starts?
Again previously families would have been able to come in to visit, walk around the playroom and see the ELC environment.
(Such as virtual walk round)
- Due to the fact verbal daily communication is limited, are families still kept up to date with their child’s learning?
Think about how you communicate with families… Some examples used are twitter, seesaw, sway and online learning journals. These are great methods of communication but one thing to keep in mind is not all families have internet access.
‘Parents and families must have access to information that allows them to form a clear understanding of how their child is progressing, and the information they need to help them play a key role in their child’s education’. (National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education, 2016)
By Ashley Cupples