Holistic Week

Another amazing benefit to joining Edge Hill University and a fabulous feature of my course (Early Years Education with QTS) is a week called Holistic week. This week was designed by our course tutors to expand our knowledge and learning outside of our modules.

The week for my year entailed three days. The first held a collection of workshops which we could sign up for to fill the day. The first, was a Forrest School experience. Edge Hill has it’s own Forrest School as part for the Faculty of Education. Within this experience we were shown how we could develop a child’s learning through different activities outdoors. We learnt how to start a fire safely, roasted our own marshmallows and created a bird feeder with cheerios. We had to count out two lots of ten cheerios and place them equally on two pieces of string tied around a twig. This showed understanding of mathematics with every day problem solving.

The other workshop I signed up for was Musical Art. Within this session we listened to classical music and painted using the feelings the music created. It was interesting to see how everyone around our table had a different piece of art than my own. We then had to draw images of sections of music which told a story. This was really interesting to see how similar ours and the composers’ story was. I personally found this a very enjoyable experience as I love both music and art but it also allowed free expression whilst connecting key elements of the curriculum.

The second day was Mental Health day where we had talks from visiting lecturers and staff around the university. This brought awareness to how much the university and surrounding community gets involved and supports Mental Health charities. It was really positive to see how much Edge Hill helps to make a difference.

Finally, the last day of the week consisted of a trip to Chester Zoo. We visited the different animals and built understanding of the opportunities we would have as teachers to bring our students for additional learning. Also, it allowed us to build friendships with the people on our course and talk to people we might not usually and, of course, we all had a lot of fun, which is what university should be and is!

Overall, it was a really great week and another way in which the course allows us as students to build further knowledge and understanding. The activities were specifically modified for our year group and change every year in order for us, as students, to get the most out of our experience.

Thanks for reading!

Rowan

Christmas Mathematics Masterclass

One of my favourite things about Edge Hill University is the amazing opportunities provided by my course (Early Years Education with QTS) in order to further my knowledge and experience.

I was very lucky to be chosen to take part and help teach a Mathematics Masterclass for visiting children from Primary Years 2 & 4. The masterclass was put together by my course leader and featured some very fun and exciting Christmas activities which would better the children’s knowledge of maths and help them to link to real-life situations for future problem solving.

On the day, a beautiful Saturday morning, when the campus is lovely and peaceful, myself and a few other students from across the three years awaited the arrival of eager maths enthusiasts. They looked up at us in awe as most wouldn’t have visited a university campus before, especially not one like Edge Hill. Christmas music created a great fun atmosphere within the classroom.

As teachers, we were all given a separate activity to run whilst providing support for the children as they visited different activities. I was in charge of the Christmas Mocktail Making experience. This entailed the children actively recognising colours of juices, for example, apple, orange, blackcurrant and water. They had a sheet with an image of a cocktail glass separated into 10 sections. The idea; to be aware of ratio and proportion when selecting how much of each juice to add to their cocktail. This could then be written as fraction when discussing afterwards.

The children found it very exciting to be able to make their own cocktails, something which is considered only for grown-ups. They could also quickly see the correlation between this exercise and their mathematic problems they were taught in school.

I found the whole morning extremely rewarding and I felt truly blessed to be a part of it – a great feeling, helping me to know I am on the right course for my future career! I will also receive a certificate which can be placed within my Teaching Standards portfolio, helping me to achieve the Qualified Teaching Status at the end of my three year course.

Edge Hill is a great university for providing extra learning experiences outside your own course!

Thanks for Reading!

Rowan

Catalyst Building

One of the hardest things about living off campus is finding the motivation to study. Every little possible thing distracts me; whether it’s one of my four beautiful, fluff-ball cats climbing up the Christmas Tree and breaking yet another glass bauble, or its endless hours of Designated Survivor and Suits on Netflix. The thought of having to, all of a sudden, blend your gorgeous, comfortable, relaxed home space with assignment writing really isn’t for me!

So, I decided with my last assignment, to take advantage of the gorgeous Catalyst building within the Edge Hill Campus. This amazing brand new facility houses a state of the art library, student services and information and even a cute little café. Taking myself out of my own, personal, familiar setting pushed me to work even harder.

Within the library there are lots of different seated areas for you to read, write and take your own laptop to study. As well as, many different computer stations, a mac suite for media/graphics and hireable laptops (free of charge for students until 8am the following day – note: these cannot be taken off campus).

My personal favourite feature of the Catalyst, however, is the free of charge group study rooms situated on the ground floor. These contain up to 5 seats, with a whiteboard and large screen connected to a computer. These rooms can be booked for up to three hours at a time and two weeks in advance. My advice would be to do just that as they book up quite quickly.

The rooms are ideal if you want the piece and quiet to study alone, to work with a group on a presentation, or even if you just need someone to sound off ideas to whilst you work, but don’t want to disturb the whole library.

Another great thing about the Catalyst is that it is open 24/7 (except holidays – opening times here) so you can enjoy the beautiful facilities whenever it suits you; just remember to take your library card with you for access.

I will be taking advantage of the fabulous building all next week preparing to submit my first assignment of 2019!

Thanks for reading!

Rowan

It’s never too late…

There’s a constant pressure within society to follow the norms; first school, then college, university and then hopefully find the dream job. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that. However, we all have the chance to make our own path. I’ve just turned the beautiful age of 26, a sentence which is very scary to write. I’m that much closer to 30 with a desperate urge to hold onto my 20’s. Anyone else know the feeling? I wish I could stay young forever!

For my first blog I wanted to talk about the big decision I made this year, paving the first stones of my very own life path. I decided to FINALLY follow my dream and study BA (Hons) Early Years Education with QTS. There was no other university than Edge Hill, one of, if not the best establishments for teaching in the UK. 

Working within retail management for 5 years, I have been very fortunate to learn so much about myself and how I fit into the business world. I have loved working with people and built a lot of confidence professionally. However, there was always something missing. The dream of being a teacher was always at the forefront of my mind. I really felt I was destined to make a difference in someone’s life, especially in the very beginning of his or hers.

I strongly believe there aren’t enough male teachers in this world. In fact, in 2017, only 15% of Local Authority primary school teachers were male (Department of Education, 2018). That’s not enough. It’s increasingly important for younger children to be exposed to men in caring and nurturing roles. How amazing for a young boy to see a strong male role model belting out Humpty Dumpty?! If, by becoming a teacher, I can help to break the norm whilst enriching the lives of others… I’m Game!

In all honesty, I was petrified to restart my life again. Going back into education at the age of 26 scared me. I applied through clearing and within two weeks I was sat in my first lecture, and to this day I couldn’t be happier. The campus is absolutely stunning and the facilities are first rate, and constantly evolving and improving. Meeting new people also scared me. I was quite comfortable with the people I had in my life and thought there was no need for anymore.  I’ve never been more blind! I’ve met some amazing people in this short time who have enriched my life in ways I never imagined possible!

I think the main thing I want to say is; it’s never too late. Don’t be scared or put off by changing your life for the better. I had to keep telling myself that going to university for the second time wasn’t a set back, but a LEAP forward into bettering my future.

If you are wondering whether university or Edge Hill is for you? The answer simply must be yes! Here’s a little video of the beautiful campus to show you exactly why Edge Hill is for you!

Thanks for reading!

Rowan