Name: Helen Jones
Job: The Firs School Kindergarten leader
Education: BA Hons in Early Years Practice and Early Years Professional Status at Edge Hill University
Family: Married to husband Dave with two daughters
Mornings are the most chaotic part of the day for me at preschool.
On arrival it’s straight into class, checking emails and preparing for the day ahead. Typically this can be sorting and organising activities to stimulate and guide learning, preparing key groups and understanding what the children’s needs are.
But almost immediately after arriving, you’re likely to be greeting children and welcoming them to school in a way that makes them feel excited to be there. This time of the day can be quite intense for the children too, as they have left the warm embrace of their parents and they find themselves in an environment full of competitors for toys and attention.
To help the children settle and get to know each other we start each day with Carpet Time discussions. I love this time and really enjoy the children’s company while listening to their exciting news. It’s pretty much impossible not to feel happy when you look around the room and see the children bursting to talk about their news; ranging from sibling squabbles, what they ate for supper the night before, or just things they liked to do.
Recently we looked at scarecrows as one of the children thought it was “a funny word” and wasn’t too sure what one was. We sang songs, made pictures, and built our very own scarecrow for our outdoor mud kitchen area.
We also have the opportunity during the day to take advantage of all the primary school facilities so the children will have music lessons in the main school and we often visit Reception and use the larger playground facilities.
Out of teaching hours we also have to prepare reports and there is quite a lot of paperwork.
We were recently nominated as finalists in the National Independent School’s Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Early Years. We will find out if we win in November which is very exciting.
I am also helping with the introduction of the new ‘Fir Cones’ class which will be for two-year-olds and located in the same building as the pre-school. This will be opening in February next year and will offer wrap around care so we are carefully coordinating various activities.
What do you wear to do your job? Always a smile.
What is the favourite part of your job? Watching the children flourish and grow throughout the year. The ages three and four are magical years and it’s a time when a child’s world will be dominated by fantasy, endless drama and vivid imagination. I feel privileged to be able to provide them with valuable life skills through a play based curriculum.
What is the least favourite part of your job? Probably the additional hours I put in outside of the school day. My own children will often tell me to put the computer away! Although I say that as a least favourite but when I’m not doing the job, I am thinking about it. As when I’m out with the family or friends I might spot something prompting a thought trigger for the next adventure or topic in the classroom.
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now? I would love to be an astronaut and have the opportunity to visit the moon, as the moon has always been a fascination to me. I keenly followed Tim Peake’s journey into space and I was delighted when he mentioned The Firs School on Twitter. I think I was more excited than the children!
How do you relax when you are not working? Walking my dog Sky. She is a beautiful black and tan King Charles Cavalier, with a personality to match. I also enjoy the theatre and cinema and walks along Llandudno sea front.
What is your favourite film? Dirty Dancing, This is a great film and it’s one I watch again and again.
What is your favourite book? I enjoy reading Sophie Kinsella books as a way to escape. She is a good author and her stories makes me laugh.
What is your favourite song? Mumford & Sons – The Cave.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? Kate Winslet.
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