What’s your brain like? (hwb)

Suzanne Zeedyk- ‘Pre-birth to three: Importance of early years’ 

The 8 minute video on the importance of early years was short but very impactful. It made me think of what environment children come from and that each child is unique in their own way. Cultures in every aspect of the world are different which creates such a diverse humanity from languages to learning techniques and styles.

What does this mean for primary practitioners? – My thoughts on how the importance of early years will affect primary practitioners is a great deal. Each child within your care is entitled to a safe, nurturing environment in which they can learn and succeed. Some cases in Home life (which the video highlighted) children are subject to abuse, malnutrition and lack of their needs being met. From a young age they are looking for where their next threat may come from instead of exploring new environments such as the way a ball moves or developing gross motor skills. This can affect how they may be in a school environment, they will be cautious and unsure on how to interact with others. They may have a lot going on in their mind on deciding whether or not a child or adult is a threat, and in turn will be affecting their learning, as their concentration will be on the threat being made (or not). Due to their home environment children will have different expierences and emotion towards subjects, such as a child may have extremely out going parents and has been around the world and expierenced different cultures in societies, giving them a different expectation and view on what the world will be like, compared to a child who has only had the opportunity to explore their back garden and surrounding areas. As spoken about in the video by Suzanne, this develops each child’s characteristics and how they develop and learn further, in turn creating who they will be in adolesence and even in full developed adulthood. As practitioners we should be encouraging children to risk take and try new expierences (bearing in mind age and stage appropriate) giving the children a development of their five senses and how it can impact them in a world. What might they think of a smell? What might they see differently to everyone else in class? How might they react to tasting something from a different culture. As practitioners we need to remember that if a child is going through a tough time at home, their concentration and sitting skills may not be there as their brain is focusing on something different, and stress levels may still be high from morning expierences at home. It’s about looking at how to help that child develop and grow in their own way, helping them in a safe, nurturing environment which a classroom should be, in where they can develop and grow further, and have expierences in which they may not receive at home.

What impact will the importance of early years have on professional practice? – Early Years will have a significant impact on professional practice as a child is still developing until the age of 20. The brain is able to react in different situations from a young age, and expierences help development and growth. Stimulating and challenging exercises within school from different parts of the curriculum help children reach their full potential in a safe and secure environment where they are surrounded by friends and children their age. From a young age children’s expierences are important and within the school setting we should developing them further and helping them become the best person they can be in the future giving them the tools to succeed. It is important to remember each child is different and their brains will react differently to situations given to them. Creating a positive working ethos and finding out within the classroom environment on the different styles children learn and adapting lessons to help meet their needs. As each child is brought up differently, and as practitioners we should be encouraging them to succeed, but also be mindful and respectful of their needs, and come up with lessons to meet their needs.

“What kind of brain are we asking children to develop?” – Suzanne Zeedyk

Working Together Visit 29.10.18 (rough summary)

Baldragon Academy- Dundee

Welcomed by Yvonne and Elaine, very busy, a lot of staff absences, including a depute head teacher. Very busy school, everyone is mucking in and getting the job done. No matter of specific job titles or roles, if a job needs to be done, it gets sorted and done then and there. Both Yvonne and Elaine have been there for 14 & 15 years respectively. Lots of experience between them, no plans or wishes to be elsewhere in another job, both would miss it. Previously social work and CLD backgrounds, but fancied a change of job and different working hours. Mainly term time/school time. Gregor does all year round to help the children, examples being outdoor play, organising days out and general outdoor activities. He helps link up with communities.

Currently, have a student helping out, the student has built up her experience, alongside her responsibilities, often does outdoor education activities too.

Pupil support in ‘toast room’, deal with anything and everything. children can pop in and out. Some children not in mainstream education. Children who do well in class (children who may have struggled at the beginning of term paying attention, concentration difficulties or even holding a pencil) are recognised in their progress and can get rewards, e.g xbox, games, wii. Working hard gets rewarded, reward periods in school. Children are referred to by guidance teachers, a meeting is held, works in conjunction with the guidance team. For a child, they can receive support from 6 weeks up to a term. They can be referred for anything, little or small. They help meet the needs of the school, toast room is busy.  Taken a few years to get to the way it is, old barriers have been chipped down. Teachers are aware of the work they do, they are often invited down, new teachers are encouraged to see the work the pupil support team do, helps with stereotypes and stigma. Helps build use of Elaine, Yvonne and Gregor.

‘Toast Room’, as children get toast, due to the number of children in the school who were not having breakfast. Was a gradual build-up to the ‘toast room’. Ladies are often referred to as the ‘toast wifeys’, and have served over half a million slices of toast. They have a huge sense of pride in what they have helped achieve. Only have £500 budget for the whole year. Fundraising is fundamental in what they need to achieve to help the children. Sponsorship from Yvonne and Elaine’s dads, they play off each other and see it as if he’s doing it then I’m doing it for the term after. Every Friday they have no toast club, but instead cook bacon rolls to sell for £1.50 for all staff members, highly popular and successful. They have a positive working relationship with teachers. Seen improvements in concentration, rapour with teachers. There is no, them/us problem, the school is seen as one big team, all on the same page. It works well for everyone.

Partnerships work well, princes trust mentioned. A lot of effort and work has gone into it, has evolved through the years. Everyone can knock on each other’s doors. Parents lounge, can teach basic skills for parents such as cooking, reading, writing. in the past, Yvonne has taken children to the dentist or doctors, due to parents being unable or too scared to take the child involved. If she hadn’t done it, then nobody would have. Children’s needs are being met. Washed hair in the sink. Spare clothes and washing machine on hand. KeyCo has 32 vulnerable kids, if the school had that, they would struggle. It’s about building relationships and making yourself available. Very positive school support, great communication with kids, asking how they are, keeping up the conversation, being interested. The kids don’t care about your qualification, it’s about being you and not your job title, they want to speak to you. If they want to speak to you, they will. It is about being approachable.

You want what is best for the child, and what makes life easier for the child. Yvonne and Elaine are one of the only schools in Dundee to have their original pupil support workers. Done a presentation to a board of education members, and was such a success that all pupil support workers in schools were offered permanent jobs. Pupil support is open to every child in the school, they are approachable and well known in the school, well publicised and welcoming in the school building. All in one corridor.

Enhanced Transition: primary into secondary. helps flag up children that may need some TLC and encouragement and would benefit from their help. Takes the pressure off of guidance teachers. Gives children the opportunity to have a flavour of classes. Early Transition programme. Also on a seperate note, some children who are not in mainstream education have their own classes and teacher, after time they are gradually introduced into mainstream classes.

Challenges: depends on other partners, is the only way forward. Expectations. ‘not my job’ stigma. staff turnover and absences can affect children involved. Children matter, the child trumps everything. if you don’t get on with someone you just get on with it and focus on the child and the job involved. Different personalities. Looking at what Baldragon can provide. Technology- nothing works better than communicating face to face, the job gets done quicker. Always go with the solution. Parents phoned up due to not liking the name of the group, this was taken on board and name was changed. parents use social media nowadays and google things, sometimes get the wrong impression. Word gets around quickly.

GIRFEC- Child protection, buddies (support), working with children in different ways. No limits of age and stage have to be in the school to receive the support. Not means tested.

Monday – 1st years. Tuesday- 2nd Years… (toast) its there for everyone who needs it, even staff. Staff always popping in, the presence of not just pupil support using the area, like a community. No one is singled out. There are some expectations for the kids e.g- no swearing. Pupil support is like a layer in between, often have a voice for young people. Defusing situations. Looking at children’s circumstances, putting yourself in their shoes.


Derek says: Reflect

Thinking back on the lecture we just had, I feel it was honest and raw. I was engrossed the whole time and hanging on every word. It really took me back to Higher History, which I loved, but the lecture was so much more in depth and uncensored, looking at things in a sociological way, which really did capture my attention from the get go.

The different aspects of coffee really helped me understand the different layers and depths of what sociology can be, with it taking my own interpretation and looking at things in a different aspect. Four main points I learnt from the text (with the coffee reference) and with the lecture include:

  • Coffee is a key piece and often a necessity in peoples morning routines, and often lunchtimes too
  • It is a socially acceptable drug
  • Coffee can link the rich with the poor, as it is a valuable trade (connecting globally)
  • Over time, it has become branded and politicalised.

Even though the example given was coffee, I feel anything can really be substituted in, and after the lecture I was thinking more and more of social media and the way it has adapted and grown in our society. Could we really live without it now?

During the lecture, learning more of Emmet Till, I was engrossed as to why society back then thought the way they did, along with lynching. As I have always thought of everyone as equal, I am shocked to have been enlightened more as to how back in the day people were so horrible, and I can not think of what life would be like now if this to were happen. I would like to think there would be a fair trial and that times have indeed improved for the better for African Americans. I find it interesting the juxtaposition of how back then, African Americans were separated from white people, but the popularity of music from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald.

I feel, if I was alive during and after World War Two, that I myself, would be a suffragette. I find woman fighting to get the vote, and winning, is such an interesting and fascinating subject, as it was the women before us who done this. If there is a chance to vote nowadays, I make sure my the women around me use it, even if they do not know who to vote for, using the vote is better than not, as women in the past fought and died for it. The UK as a country has come such a long way from the sexualised, degrading advertising. The lecture this showed how far our country has come, as if this was publicised now, there would be an out cry. I found the lecture empowering because as time goes on women are becoming more equal to men, whether it be in sport or politics, we have more and more of a say. Society is changing as even though coffee shops may be on every corner, the women in our society are gradually becoming less known as ‘someones wife’.

I feel as a future teacher, it is important to encourage children to follow their own paths even if it isn’t the social norm. Everyone is unique and this should be celebrated. Children should be reminded that everyone is equal, no matter the colour of their skin, the background they come from, the clothes they wear, or who has the latest game and who doesn’t. I feel this should be important within the classroom as they are the future social societies.


Oh! To be a Teacher…

Why would I like to be a teacher? I would love to become a teacher to change and inspire young lives, no matter the age and stage of development. When I was in Primary 5 and Primary 7 myself, I had a teacher who I looked up to, who I knew I could trust and was approachable whenever needed within the classroom. I remember being very shy, and I remember being brought out of my shell and having confidence shone into me. Thus, ever since, giving me the inspiration and drive to become a teacher myself.  With lots of questions, I asked my teacher endless amounts and at no point was she impatient or unwilling. She listened to me, and helped me develop my own knowledge and skills which I’m sure will help me still, when I become a teacher myself. She was one of the first people to tell me that no questions can be considered as ‘silly’, and that someone else in the classroom might well be thinking the same as me.

I feel with my teaching degree, I can also give children the confidence and guidance that they need to reach and become their full potential that was once given to me. I feel that everyday in the classroom would be different, and that each day would bring a new opportunity to encourage, and inspire children to be the best they can be. Children are young and vulnerable and I feel that when in a safe and positive environment, such as the classroom, they can strive to reach their goals with the support they need. I think it is important to remember that each child is their own individual who, in turn, has their on unique experiences and background, which means each child will have different needs. This in turn, makes me excited and looking forward to creating, developing and carrying out lessons to cater to the classrooms different needs. I feel that as a person, I am creative and I look forward to having my creative streak and love of colours inputed within my lessons and throughout my classroom, which I hope creates a fun learning environment for everyone.

Aged 23, I feel now is the right time to embark on this new adventure and journey (plus it being third time lucky getting on this course), with the goal of having my own classroom to enrich and inspire future generations to become the best they can be and that if they put their mind to something, have a goal, and work hard that they can achieve and become anything they would like in their wildest dreams. Whilst at college and on placements, I witnessed children grow and build their confidence, and when conquering a task the satisfaction and glee on their faces. No matter the age and stage of children, at each development stage they are at, they need a positive and enthusiastic teacher, and I do believe that I can be the one to guide, help and encourage them to become the most optimal person they can be. I am determined and driven to be the best teacher I can possibly be, to help motivate and fuel children’s desire to reach for the stars.