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Secondment To A Children's Centre


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I have just got a job starting in September as a 0.5 teacher in a children's centre. This is initially a secondment until April 2011. Have been to meet the other staff and to have a look round and i think its going to be good. Am really excited but also quite anxious as not entirely sure what my role is going to involve. xD Am going to be running stay and play, messy play and story sessions...which I am sure will be fine. but I was wondering what other sorts of things people are doing. There is no childcare offered within the centre, it is based on the school site where there is also a pre school. Have spoken to the centre co-ordinator, who has only been there 2 weeks herself, and she has said that it's a bit of an issue with quite of few of the centre's as to what else the teacher should be doing to enhance the EY provision for the community. Would appreciate any advice ideas -:o

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Where to start........


Notices about the planned activities in the groups, to show what children may be learning

Leaflets on play activities parents can do at home with everyday materials

Developing playsacks

Information leaflets on EYFS

Play diaries (similar to development journals but developed with parents so they can begin to understand what their children are learning through play)

Displays on the importance of listening to environmental sounds (linked to Letters and Sounds - but parent friendly)

Talking to parents at the groups drawing attention to what the children are doing

Information about local childcare, schools etc

Giving parents details of when and how to apply for school places

Going with parents to visit schools when they are not comfortable to go by themselves, completing forms, etc.


Once you start, you'll get very busy, I have no doubt - I did!!


Gruffalo2 :o

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I am very sorry but I am going to be very controversial - so here goes. .....

I also wonder what you will be doing. There is going to be an equivalent of a full time teacher in a child centre that already has a pre school up and running? You will organise stay and play and story times and.... I m beginning to question the duplication of services and the assumption that a qualified teacher will do such a better job than existing services. Stay and pay and story times are things that have been happening via other deliverers for a while. The early years spending has increased hugely over the last few years and yet there are staff working long hours on the minimum wage. Training is demanded and yet training budgets have been cut with some NVQ's not being funded in our area and yet childrens centres are blossoming with very expensive staff not sure what they should be doing or running with wonderful provision and no children!!!! Is this really the best way for money to be spent and how many more teachers will more into early years with no experience and actually less knowledge than many already working in the sector.

I am truly sorry if I upset anyone but I do feel that somehow the plot has been lost and as always early years workers are still carrying on with good will and lack of recognition.

Once again sorry!

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Thanks Gruffalo2 for your responses. I was glad to read what you had put as had started to write down things I wanted to do and a lot of them were covered on your list! (makes me feel like i know more than i thought!) I have read some of the other posts and most of them seemed to be offering childcare and not just drop in and regular sessions for parents, whcih was why i wanted to hear from centres like the one i am going to.

Chill - the pre school is in a separate building on the school site with the actual children's centre being based on a different part of the site. I understand that the pre school has recently moved from other premises. I am not going to be full time and am only working 2 and a half days a week. Also realised in my first post I didn't put that I have 8 years of experience in Early years and have good knowledge and expertise but have not worked in a children's centre.

You clearly feel quite passionate about this and there are obviously a few issues regarding children's centres that I am not aware of!!!! I am quite interested in what you say as what I understand of the centre I am going to is that it has not been partuculary well promoted and that some sessions are not well subscribed. Although i know of other centres in the authority that are extremely popular. It is an area where parents are in need of support and as part of my role i assume I will be trying to get more parents to access the centre and use all of its services.

I really appreciate your responses and opnions -thanks.

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I think there is occasionally some confusion about the role of Children's Centres and the Children's Centre Teacher??? I am sure many many of you have a full understanding, but occasionally the role has not been made clear - so please do not feel I am belittling anyone's knowledge.


Children's Centres usually, but not always, have a dual role. First to be a one stop shop for families to access any information, support, encouragement etc that will help them. Secondly, ONLY where there is not sufficient childcare already, to provide that.


My interpretation of hollyp's post was that she would be working in the aspect of the Centre that supports families i.e. to help them understand how to support their child's development, to show them the importance of play, point them in the direction of other services that they would like support from, etc. Whilst some EY settings have been working closely with their parents and have helped them to begin to understand these things, the time for this is normally very limited. The Children's Centre should be able to work more in depth with families.


I would also say that (although there may be some unfortunate exceptions) the principles of CCs is that they should not duplicate where these services for families already existed, but that they should work in partnership with them. i.e. where a parent and toddler group already exists, the CC can come alongside them and work with them, not to take over, but to help as the group wishes. As with EYT settings, they all need to be constantly reflecting on their practice, and the CC teacher can help them to do this in a support role. If the group is running well, it should be 'light touch', but the best of groups sometimes need a fresh pair of eyes to suggest areas that could be reviewed and developed.



Thanks hollyp for your reply, and I am glad to have confirmed that you are already thinking of some of the things you could do.

A couple of other thoughts are:

Rhyme times and Bumps and Babes, oh yes, teenage parents groups.


Gruffalo2 :o

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  • 2 weeks later...


I am CC QT too at 0.6. I have been working a year at the job and love it. I dont see any duplication of jobs. I support the Pre-Schools and Day Care in our area a bit like an advisor, some need or want more help than others so i don't go in to the 'others' much. There is an EYC in our area to whom I feed back, she doesn't have to go in unless I request it. I do a lot with childminders-set up a group for them, run network, organise training for them. We have been asked by our county to focus on transitions-A BIG subject-from birth. I have to organise the networks for Maintained EY settings too, taking a load off them. I also coordinate planning for all groups that are run by the CC-none of which are duplicated elsewhere-such as Under One's, First Time Mums, Positive beginnings, Toy Library etc., fun sessions in holidays, and I attend /help run some of these when I can..

There is loads to do!

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As someone said all CC .5 teacher roles are different. The teacher in my setting runs parenting classes, goes to some of the settings that could be other stay and plays, parent toddler groups in the area to support them with anything they might want but only in an advisory role, they might look at planning and monitoring of children who use the centre and start learning journies for them as evidence for the SEF and performance management. They might create programmes for parents with particular issues. It really depends how the centre is set up. Together 4 Children have issued a CC teachers job role if you want to look at it, but it is only guidance. As a matter of interest who does your supervision? The teacher where I work has supervision from the head of one of the local nursery schools in our area.

It's a really good job and I think the best thing is to be flexible - you never know what each day will bring - its certainly never boring that's for sure. Good luck


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