Placement 1 – Learning skills for nursery teaching

As my first experience of teaching nursery ages kids, I thought the session went pretty well- the kids seemed engaged, able to participate and to be enjoying themselves, and I had a lot of fun too! The children were split into 3 groups of 10-12 and we spent about 30 mins with each group teaching them the same series of songs and games, with each one of us leading one (most of these songs are on the wiki – link at the side)

1.       Hello Song (Fiona)

2.       Hickety Tickety Name Song (Fiona)

3.       Have you brought… (Mary)

4.       Clap your hands (me)

5.       Chop chop choppity chop (Fiona)

6.       Horsey Horsey (me)

7.       Goodbye song (Fiona)

It was initially quite daunting for me to lead these 2 songs, but I took my cues from Mary, Bernadette and especially Fiona, who has an amazing way of bringing everything down to the kids’ level. It took me a few goes to get comfortable with singing in front of the children and being totally confident in what I was doing, but that was ok as we did the session 3 times and by the end I was much more comfortable with it. A few things that I picked up along the way were:

  • Speak loudly, slowly and clearly so that all the children can hear and follow you (there were a lot of ethnic minority children there, especially Chinese, and I wasn’t sure how good their English was)
  • Smile a lot and be totally confident in what you are doing, even if secretly you are not!
  • Try and lead by example, showing the children what to do or getting them to repeat after you
  • If you can, invent a story to go with the song or activity, and props and visual aids definitely helped engage the children in our sessions
  • Ask them questions related to the activity to keep their interest going
  • If some of the quieter ones don’t want to join in, don’t force them to but still include them in what’s going on and they might participate slowly – this happened several times in our sessions and it was lovely to watch

I found it very interesting to notice the range of the childrens’ shyness or excitability- some were very eager to sit next to you and would chatter constantly and demand your attention, while others would sit quietly watching and not joining in. The head teacher said that the children would be much less shy the following week – it was because we were new and ‘scary’ to them.

I will eventually upload a recording of some of the session when I find out how to edit it – I bought myself a digital Dictaphone which is perfect for this sort of thing, and very unobtrusive. But for now, here is me singing my arrangement of the nursery rhyme ‘Horsey horsey’, which I taught the kids, complete with horse finger puppet and claves to make the sound of the hooves!

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