13 Dec Why I Love Working In The EYFS
The most common remark I get when I tell people that I am a Reception teacher is “I don’t know how you do it”; but the reality is, I can’t imagine how I would do anything else! After years of moving through different jobs and careers and never really feeling quite satisfied, teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), has given me a vocation I can feel proud of. It is a privilege to be a part of such a special time in a child’s development and be an influential part of a child’s growing sense of self; it is a responsibility I do not take lightly.
Children at this age are naturally curious. Their minds are like sponges, absorbing new information all the time. They are constantly seeking out new experiences and want to overcome challenges in order to learn more about the wider world they are emerging into. As a teacher in EYFS, it’s my role to support and nurture this curiosity whilst also ensuring that children feel safe enough to make mistakes and take risks.
Being surrounded daily by all this curiosity and passion for learning has positively impacted me too. Since becoming a teacher, I have learnt a lot about myself and how I learn. I can see the areas of my own education that maybe didn’t benefit me or provide me with the best starting blocks in life – I always endeavour to change this for the new generation and ensure that every child starts life feeling safe, secure and seen for who they are.
I love how free the EYFS is to explore each child’s interest; we have the freedom as teachers to go off on tangents depending on where the questions and imaginations of the children take us. You never know where the day will take you in the EYFS: you can start the day learning about ‘1 more, 1 less’ in maths and end the day building a giant train station out of chairs and wooden blocks in the classroom complete with tickets, maps, café and 30 children shouting out ‘1 more, 1 less’ when they get on and off the train!
I also love how the EYFS is rooted in child development; we assess and plan based on what are the appropriate milestones for children of this stage in their development. The statutory requirements that we must assess children by at the end of the year are called ‘Early Learning Goals’ and this informs us if children have met the ELD (Expected Level of Development). There has been a huge shift nationally in the EYFS over the last few years which have seen the national requirements changed to take a holistic and child centred approach, not a one size fits all or tick list way of teaching and assessing. Coleridge was at the forefront of this approach and I am very proud to have been a part of shaping it. I am always so happy to see this being adopted by more and more schools when I visit them in my capacity as an EYFS lead.
So many industries and career paths now see an academic qualification as not enough, companies want people who can think for themselves, be resilient, be creative. We have the privilege of living in a city that is diverse, creative and vibrant; I want to equip children with the tools to thrive in this environment. It is vital that all children see themselves and their families reflected at school, we celebrate all the wonderful differences that make us who we are as a school community through our books, curriculum and resources. Equally important is that children are given a window into the lives of others; empathy and understanding are integral to everything we do in the EYFS
The EYFS at Coleridge provides me with a team that is diverse, enthusiastic and who support each other through thick and thin. I would be lying if I didn’t say that this is a very demanding job; the emotional and physical strain can take its toll and the external pressures placed upon teachers is widely known. Having a team around you that works together for the benefit of every child is fundamental… whilst also being able to have a good laugh (or cry!) at the end of the day together.
The world around us is changing, as adults it sometimes feels like the wider societal challenges of the past few years have been spinning us around faster and faster. However, every morning, year in year out, the children come in with a big smile on their faces full of optimism for the day ahead. In EYFS, every day feels like a celebration, there is so much love and joy. It’s contagious and has really helped me through many difficult times knowing that between the hours of 9-3:10 we are singing, dancing, being kind and welcoming, supporting and furthering our knowledge of each other, placing value on learning and expressing how we feel. The adults out there in the wider world could learn a thing or two from the EYFS, I just feel so lucky to say that I get to be a part of it.