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Children's Centre Teacher


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I have been working as a CCT at a Children's centre since the beginning of September. I am on secondment for 18 months, having previously worked as a Foundation stage teacher for the last 8 years. I am finding it so different (as I knew it would be!!) but also finding it quite hard to adjust to such a different role. Have been into my school a couple of times and was having withdrawl symptoms!! (lots of children, 'teaching'...)

I work 2.5 days and run stay and play and messy play sessions. I am also running support groups for childminders and support groups for parents/carers of children with learning difficulties. The things I am finding hard are the fact that there are not many people attending the sessions, the messy play and stay and play have on average about 4/5 families, and the other groups I support have no one!!

I have realised since I have started that there have been some issues in the past with the centre with regards to staff conflict and relationship with onsite school and pre school. I think this is part of the reason why it is not busier. The centre is not situated in an ideal place. It is right on the edge of our reach area and covers several estates, some of which it can take nearly an hour on the bus to get to!

I just feel at the moment like I am wondering what I have come into. I was very happy at school and had a great team of people. This opportunity came up and I though it would be really good experience and give me the chance to work more closely with parents and other agencies.

Was just wondering if anyone else is new to the role and finding it hard or anyone who has been in the role for a while and could offer some advice! I feel quite disheartened at the moment and am beginning to doubt my abilities. I know I was a really good foundation stage teacher, but I feel so unsure about what i am doing in this role.

I was so excited when i got the secondment, but just feel like I don't know what i'm doing!!

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hello hollyp

I work in cc as a childrens centre worker but I work very closely with our CC teacher. I run our messy play session and when i took over the group there were about 6-7 children attending.This week I had 42!!!! I promote the session by posters, but I find word of mouth the best way! Anyone who comes through our door is told about messy play and I ask the parents/carers to pass the word round.Do you not have any CCW? a big part of my role is to promote the centre and to get out in the community (even just walking the streets of our reach area and chatting to the community telling them what is happening in the centre and trying to get them to access the groups/sessions)I feel this is the best way to get people through the door because if they already know a friendly face its less daughting to come into unfamilar surroundings.We are also trying to build up a relationship with local childminders which is proving quite challenging! We had a social evening one evening this week for them and we are also doing a sensory session just for childminders and their children.

Our teacher as been in post for a while now but she often says she is unsure of her role and it changes quite often!!

She does however have myself and 2 other centre workers to support her in various ways.Hope I have helped in any way and if you want me to ask our teacher anything just let me know.Good luck

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Thanks for you reply unsworth.

i have one family support worker who has been there for 18 months, one has just left and we have someone from an agency who is temporary for 12 weeks who has not worked in a CC before. We are going to be getting another Senior family support worker hopefully by the end of november. I don't think there has actually been a consistent team in place since the centre opened, which i think has had something to do with how successful the centre has been. I think maybe I am just expecting too much and need to give myself time to settle into the role and for the centre to develop itself.

have been to a couple of the other CC near us to see how they work, but we are a very small centre compared to others around and I think each CC is different in the way they work. I will maybe try to visit some that are a similar set up to ours and try to speak to some of the other CC teachers in my area. Thanks for your reply it has helped

Holly

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I think maybe I am just expecting too much and need to give myself time to settle into the role and for the centre to develop itself

From what you have said I think you have hit the proverbial nail, especially regarding giving the centre time to develop. It sounds as if the changes have perhaps not given a very positive message to the community and it is as if you are starting from scratch again - and possibly having to correct some bad feeling too.

I was a CC teacher too and the Centre I was in had a bad reputation. We spent time as unsworth has also said, walking the streets, visiting the local market etc etc giving out leaflets and talking to people with young children. Once a few parents started to come, word clearly spread and we started to worry about our groups being too big.

It also took me time to 'find my way' in my new role, to really 'hear' what parents wanted and then to find a way to address those things.

I hope it works out for you

gruffalo2 :o

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Hi there Holly.

I also stepped into the CC teacher role as a secondment but then stayed. It is for many of us when we start out of your comfort zone, it isn't the same as being a classroom teacher and as you say the role for all of us is very different. It may be helpful to you to sit down with your manager, and work though what your priorities are and take them one step at a time. There were many times where I felt I ran round like a headless chicken not doing anything properly and seriously doubted my ability, but when our stay and play expanded from once a week to 6 times a week, we knew we were on the right track.

 

As unsworth and Gruffalo2 have said, when we started as a new centre we had to do an awful of of leg work.. we went into shops, health centres, libraries, the mosque, schools, pre schools, in fact pretty much anywhere you would find people with children. I also worked very closely with our family worker and we took services out to the community (for example we would take play sessions out to families). This had the effect of building the community's trust in us which would then enable them to come to us.

We also looked at what we thought would bring in the families and found that adult classes in English and ICT were big winners. A women only exercise class was also very popular. Of course we provided creche for their children whilst they attended classes and slowly they would then attend other events.

 

Good luck with the next few weeks, as you develop into the role you will get a sense of whether or not its the right role for you, and the good thing for you is that if it isn't for you, you can still go back to your school.

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