Placement Profile: Breiana Thompson

Breiana Thompson is on placement at a nursery in Smethwick. She tells us about her experience and what she has learned so far, as well as how the placement has benefitted her studies and future career.

How did you find your placement? 

I had help from the Careers team at the University finding my placement.

What does a typical day on placement look like for you?

As we work with 2- to 4-year-olds, in the mornings we'll try to separate them out, as they are learning at different rates. The four-year-olds are usually focusing on transitioning to school, so we try to get them into a more structured routine, practising name writing, counting and other basic activities. For the rest of the day, we'll do a range of different activities, including role play, story time and singing; all of these engage the children while helping with cognitive development. We also have a lot of messy play for sensory stimulation! 

What have you learned from your placement?

I've learnt how to engage with the children more and I've built my confidence up a lot. Before I started my placement and my course, I was really quiet. I feel like I could never sit down and do what I'm doing today; things like reading a book aloud to the whole group, because I was just so shy. The more experience I've had, the more confident I am in this setting.

How has your course helped you with your placement?

I've found the theory side of the course really interesting and have found myself linking it to my placement work a lot. For example, I've learned about Montessori education in my theory lessons, which I've been able to see in practice when the children are outside. I really encourage them to get stuck into the environment and play with the nature around them. I've used different elements and theories throughout my placement, and it's nice to see face to face what you read about in text books.  

Do you have any standout memories from your placement?

Seeing the children grow, especially certain individuals. I've seen some of the children go from being non-verbal to now talking so much! That has been one of my favourite memories.

However, I think my favourite memory was a Christmas Fair that we did where all the parents came in. When that happened, I got to see what the children are like in front of their families! It was so much fun seeing them interact. 

What are your career aspirations?

I'm considering doing a PGCE and teaching early years or primary. I love early years and I've been doing it for so long; through my Level 1 qualification through to now being at university. So I definitely know I want to work within this setting, and I love working with children.

What made you apply for the Early Childhood Studies course?

When I was younger there was that one teacher that has stuck in my head and been such a positive influence on me, and I'd really love to be that person for someone else. That one teacher that you just don't forget and impacts you even as you get older.

Do you have any advice for someone starting a placement?

I would say try not to put too much pressure on yourself, because at the end of the day, it's new to you. You're going to find your feet and at first it might seem that you don't know what you're doing, or your kids aren't really engaged. Just keep on trying, keep on engaging, and try not to overthink situations. You'll be fine.

What should you do next?

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