Last month we introduced you to Amy, a former primary school teacher from Essex who's currently training with tiney to open her own home nursery. Here she talks about how she's been juggling training with her busy life - and how learning more about young children is enhancing her own parenting...
tiney have asked me to write an update on how I’m finding my training so far. The short answer is, although it’s tricky dedicating the time needed, I’m loving my training.
Before I talk about all my favourite parts, I’ll be very honest and talk about the struggle of the juggle! Finding time at the moment is tough, there isn’t much to go around. I’m sure most parents can relate, after a year of lockdowns, it is becoming harder and harder to keep our little ones entertained all day, every day. Add a house move to the mix and there’s very little, if any time left for tiney training.
Luckily for me, tiney’s training is created to fit around our busy lives. All the training is accessed through tiney’s app. There are 13 courses to complete which are broken down into several units. Each unit gives you a rough time guide and this helps me organise my time. If I’ve managed to set aside a few hours, I will start with a longer unit. If I only have 20 minutes left of my son’s nap time, I’ll choose a shorter task. Sometimes I’ll complete the task and other times I just have to save my work and finish it next time. I love that no matter how much time I can spend on the training, I’m always making progress.
Tiney’s flexibility was one of the main reasons I decided to train with them. While I was researching tiney, I watched an interview with a home leader who just seemed to love tiney. She was a former teacher and also wanted to spend more time with her son and spoke about tiney’s flexibility. I really related to her and found her interview very inspiring. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re considering training with tiney! Without tiney’s flexibility, there’s no way I could manage the training, it would be so unrealistic. Luckily for me it’s realistic, achievable and world class training that I feel privileged to have access to!
So that’s enough about my juggle, I’ll get to the good part and talk about the training now. I genuinely feel very lucky to have stumbled across tiney. The training is supporting my professional development, parenting and also allows me to get a little bit of me back since becoming a mum.
I am so impressed at how tiney manages to provide such clear, concise and inspiring training on a topic which can sometimes feel incredibly overwhelming and complicated. I wish I had this training when transitioning from a Year 1 Teacher to a Reception Teacher. In fact, I wish all parents and teachers could have access to this training! It really captures the true magic of Early Years and learning through play. I love that it emphasises the importance of the Prime Areas of Learning over Reading, Writing and Maths.
I often noticed as a teacher, that lots of parents and school staff were so excited to teach children to count and write their name in preparation for school. They may not have been aware of the core areas, Physical Development, Communication & Language and Personal, Social & Emotional Development. Although it’s brilliant if children start school with the ability to write their name and count to 10, what teachers are really looking for, is signs of being ‘school ready’. This can mean lots of things but some examples are, can they share toys and play alongside other children? Can they put their coat on independently? Can they listen to simple instructions? If we focus on the Prime Areas first, the other Areas of Learning will come naturally when they start school. So it was great to see tiney making this very clear to their trainees.
Throughout the training, we are asked to observe videos of children playing and relate back to the EYFS Development Matters. This is such a simple but powerful exercise that really helps us tune in to all the learning taking place. I have really enjoyed these tasks and as suggested, I often re-watch the videos and notice additional areas of learning that I might have missed the first time. I also found it refreshing to see ‘real life’ examples of play, that can happen anywhere - not just in the beautiful Pinterest set-ups that I’ve become so used to seeing!
As I mentioned earlier, the training is also complimenting my parenting. I had the most magical experience with my son while he played with snow for the first time. I was really excited and had lots of snow activities prepared but all he wanted to do was move the snow from one place to another. Having just completed a unit on sustained shared thinking, I knew the importance of letting him lead his play and not interrupting. He was so engaged, he only stopped when it became too dark to play outside. So we bought some snow indoors and carried on the fun. He then decided to collect snow, put it in my hands and close them. He waited until water dripped out the bottom and then opened my hands to see the ice had gone. He repeated this over and over again and I realised he had created his own science experiment on melting ice. My little scientist at 16 months old! I often wonder would that have happened without my tiney training or would I have accidentally interrupted his play by joining in and giving my ideas?
I can’t finish this blog without mentioning the tiney community I have joined since starting my training. tiney takes its community seriously, there’s a whole tab dedicated to it on their app! I love love love tiney’s ‘weekly round up’ and ‘meet the community’ on their Instagram account. I have also found so many inspiring Instagram accounts of tiney home leaders showing their amazing home nurseries! But perhaps my favourite part of it all, is the wonderful webinars tiney provide for our professional development. Laura, tiney’s Education Lead is so friendly and welcoming and I always leave the webinars feeling totally motivated and inspired.