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Foundation Degree Early Childhood Studies
Did you have any work experience related to your area of study before starting your foundation degree?
J - Yes, I have twenty-eight years experience in the childcare field and took on the role of Deputy Manager at the same time as starting on the foundation degree.
R - Yes, I’d worked as a teaching assistant and learning mentor for four years in a primary school.
What qualifications did you have before starting your foundation degree?
J - I had A levels and an NNEB qualification (now known as the CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education).
R - I had a level 2 Teaching Assistant CACHE qualification and a level 3 CACHE Diploma in Special Educational Needs Teaching, both of which I did at Chippenham Campus as an evening course.
What do you feel you have gained from the course?
J - The tutors have been inspirational and working with like-minded colleagues on the course has been an amazing experience – it enables you to see things with different eyes. Each week in college I feel really fired up by what I’ve learnt on the course!
Every week I take things I’ve learnt back to the setting where I work and the ideas really do filter through to staff there.
Two years ago, I barely knew how to open a lap top – and now I find myself asking for particular software!
The biggest thing I’ve learnt is the need to be reflective and how everyone in the setting needs to do the same – that’s how to move things forward. For me, being on the course has helped to take the fear out of learning and that’s also something which affects the whole setting in a positive way.
Also, the course enables you to see bad practice so clearly! And it helps you to deal with it by making positive suggestions. Overall, I’d say that studying on the foundation degree has made me more assertive as a person.
R - I really got a lot out of learning about the theories underlying the field of childcare, especially those relating to psychology. Young children can’t always tell you what the important issues are for them so theories can help to understand.
I also found the theories about children’s creativity and motivation really interesting and useful in the classroom. For example, if a child isn’t listening well, you can think more about why that might be.
As well as that, learning about the laws and regulations around the area of child protection has been very useful, and this year I’ve learnt a lot about research methods which will help with future studying.
What advice would you give to a student about to begin a foundation degree?
J - Build good relationships with colleagues on the course – they will be a great source of support. Also, never be afraid to ask questions – that’s how you learn!