Early Childhood Studies helps Juliet realise her vocation

Published: 3 November 2009 at 13:41

Juliet formalises her work role with a first degree focusing on young children and their families.

Juliet Porter had a vision to succeed in her career and so after working in the early years sector for over 20 years, as a childminder, in day care nurseries and, most recently, as manager of a 60-place, sessional pre-school, she decided to take a degree to consolidate her skills and knowledge.

Explains Juliet from Soham, Ely,

"I've always enjoyed my work with young children and their families, and have continued to train and qualify in child care throughout that time. However, although I had a good understanding of the practical side of Early Years Education, I felt I lacked knowledge of the theoretical side of it. I had always wanted to go to university and felt the time was right for me to take on a new challenge."

"I selected Anglia Ruskin University as its Faculty of Education had a solid reputation for its  BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies programme which is now available from both its Chelmsford and Cambridge-based campuses. Anglia Ruskin also has a higher proportion of mature students than most universities, and was it was important to me that the course was  available close to home. Anglia Ruskin was also highly flexible about the path I took into higher education. I was able to start my course in Year 2 of a 3 Year course with prior accreditation for the other Early Years courses I had recently completed."

"Naturally I was very nervous when I started, but all the staff and other students were really welcoming and helpful. The course was very hard work, with a huge amount of reading and independent research, and my written academic and IT skills needed a fair amount of work:  I found the course, and particularly the seminars with group discussions, really stimulating."

"Exploring how historical, legislative and socio-economic factors have impacted on Early Childhood over the years has changed how I now view early education and care.  As an  Early Years professional I've always felt that early education and care deserve a higher professional and social status than is currently available.  Academic courses such as the one I have now completed, and the Early Years Professional status courses that are now available, can only help to raise standards and professionalise the industry for the benefit of all who use it."

"I enjoyed my overall experience at Anglia Ruskin hugely, and found my time there incredibly challenging and rewarding. I believe the general academic and life skills I gained during the course have expanded my career options and will make me much more employable. I am still looking at my employment options, and am considering such diverse careers as lecturing in Early Years, writing or researching academically, or going onto postgraduate studies."

"Doing a degree is a huge commitment, of time, money and energy but for me the experience has been worthwhile and enjoyable so I would definitely recommend it to others who are debating what to do to enhance their career in the future."

Commenting on the format of the programme, Pathway Leader for BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, Christine Such said:

"The course helps early years practitioners with a  way of furthering their understanding and developing knowledge and skills to make the link between theory and practice. We have students who take the course with a view to  working  with children but have an open view about their choice of career. Graduates may choose to take further vocational training eg PGCE in Early Years or Primary Teaching, Social Work or Early Years Professional Status."

"We have close links to early years providers and with advisors in Essex and are developing similar links with providers in Cambridge.  Lecturers are active members of the Early Childhood research group at Anglia Ruskin.  Staff have particular expertise in the use of outdoor play, early years curriculum, child observation and the application of visual research methods to capture children’s voice and children’s perceptions".

Juliet has achieved a first in her degree and is applying to Anglia Ruskin to do a Masters Degree in Social Work to further enhance her career prospects.