East Lothian services recognise the importance of early years at a strategic level. However, finding practical ways to make this commitment more than a paper statement – particularly if your main focus isn’t early years - isn’t easy. High schools in East Lothian have come up with innovative practise that use their key main assets – the young people attending the schools.
Tots & Teens is one great example of this where play groups have been set up in High schools that offer quality play and childcare experience for toddlers at the same time as practical learning experiences for pupils. See following aarticle for more info http://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/news/article/962/new_playgroup_provides_training_opportunities_for_teens
Another example of good practise is from Musselburgh Grammar. The ‘Working with Children’ elective course for S5, was developed by Jane Cummings community learning and development officer. The course had the following aims :-
A basic knowledge of child development
Increased skills and confidence in delivering or supporting play activities
Increased knowledge of food hygiene and promoting good food habits in children
Increased awareness of different professional roles involving work with children
More informed decision making about future career options involving work with children
The following are some of the comments made by young people who chose the working with children programme which was conducted at Burgh primary school
I found the story telling was really good when we went to the Burgh, I have learned to be more confident about reading in front of people
I learned what ages children can do things at
I have learned that children love getting told stories and they also like to join in.
I learned how to make gloop and playdough and how you would help children to do it
The story telling I didn’t enjoy, it was embarrassing but is good as it boosts confidence and is a good way to interact with everyone.
I learned that children develop a lot quicker than I thought and that they would develop so much when they are in the first few years… what age certain important stepping stones are.
The experience was very positive for the Burgh Primary school giving an opportunity for the primary children to work with positive young role models
An evaluation report has been written and can be accessed here