Simona is the Nursery Teacher at Woodstar School. She’s been with us over 10 years. We ask her why?
When did you join CPotential?
I started work here in January 2005. Before I came to CPotential I had worked as a nanny in the UK, USA and Ireland with babies and young children. I worked for three years as an Early Years Teaching Assistant at The English International School in Prague. I then trained as a Montessori teacher in Dublin. As a nanny I worked with a child with speech delay and I realised this was the way I wanted to go professionally. I looked for work in special needs education and CPotential was a perfect place to start. And I’ve been here ever since!
How has your career progressed at CPotential?
I started as a Teaching Assistant in our nursery. I then moved to our Early Intervention sessions, then the school group, when I was promoted to senior TA. Since September 2017 I’ve been the Nursery Teacher in charge of our new nursery class.
What do you do with the children?
We currently have four children aged 2½ – 4 in the class, which runs on weekday mornings with a 1:1 ratio. I work alongside Conductors, Teaching Assistants, our Music Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Speech and Language Therapist.
Every child is unique, with different physical and cognitive needs and abilities. So I tailor our sessions to make sure the activities meet their individual needs and help them achieve their potential.
Throughout our morning in nursery we sing lots of songs to use as a rhythmical intention and it also helps with settling down and engaging the children. This term our topic was ‘Celebration’. We were very busy making art for World Cerebral Palsy Day, Diwali, Halloween and Christmas.
We set targets for each child. For instance, one little boy could only cry when he wanted something when he first came. We helped him to be able to ask for help if he needed something. Now, we are taking his target further, encouraging him to ask for specific help. It’s fantastic to see each child progress and achieve their targets.
What training have you had?
I have all the training needed for my job covering epilepsy management, first aid, FGM, gastro tube feeding, safeguarding and manual handling. I like to keep my skills up to date and keep learning new things. Recently, CPotential arranged for me to have training in Soundbeam and as a Halliwick swimming instructor. I also had training in Confident Parenting, which is very useful in my liaison with the children’s parents.
We all got training in Rebound Therapy this year and, after seeing it demonstrated when we went to the TES SEN Show in October, I’m very interested in sensory massage and I plan to take a course soon. I’m always looking for new ideas and ways to improve my skills.
What skills do you need for the job?
First of all, you need to love this type of work; without love you are only half way there. Love for the children and vision how to help them enjoy and access a variety of activities, find ways to communicate, to engage and to interact with the people around them.
Of course, you need the usual teaching knowledge and expertise – strong communication skills, being a good team player and being open to learn from your colleagues are essential.
You need to be able to think outside of the box. Every child is unique so every child will have different ways of learning. I’m always looking for ideas to bring to my classes, thinking how I can make all activities accessible for the children to help them gain the most from their time here.
Above all, you need to have understanding for the children. They need to be able to trust you 100%. You must always ask yourself is this approach working for this child? If not, what can I do to make it work better for them?
What do you like about the job?
I feel really supported by my colleagues and the Head of School. The thing I enjoy most is the feeling I get when the children achieve something we’ve been working on. That feeling is what’s kept me at CPotential. I just love working with the children and building a strong bond with each one.
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