Becci is a CCPLD Level 5 apprentice, who manages a team in a Montessori accredited nursery. She discovered clear parallels between the course framework and her day-to-day role and has exciting new duties applying her newly discovered management skills to mentor her team.
Why did you sign up for the Level 5 CCPLD?
I graduated from Bristol University 10 years ago with a Childhood Studies degree, then I moved to Wales where I met my partner and started working. The end goal was to manage or run my own childcare setting.
One day, my managers mentioned to me that as I earned my degree in England, it technically meant that I was unqualified in Wales. If I had done the same degree in Wales, it would have been relevant. I was quite surprised and wanted to put it right.
The initial suggestion was that I start with Level 3, but it wouldn't have given me the progression I wanted. It would have been a repeat of what I had already done.
The Level 5 CCPLD is closer to the content covered in my degree, with additional management content. It's that aspect that's taking my abilities and understanding to the next level.
Does the CCPLD Level 5 help you to do your job?
Yes, and it's my training advisor's expertise and experience that has given me greater insight into how the syllabus applies to my duties and responsibilities at work.
The CCPLD Level 5 has given me new ways to manage, motivate and develop my team, as well as myself.
It's changed and developed my practice, in terms of supervision. I recently covered a unit about the induction process and I've used it to introduce my new starters to our Montessori environment.
They have found it really useful. And I really like that the things I'm learning are beneficial to multiple people, not just me.
If my team are improving their practice, that feeds back to the children. It's a win, win.
Have you had any feedback from the parents?
In normal circumstances, parents would be able to come into the room when they drop them off and we would be able to spend lots of time with them, getting to know them.
It's a very family orientated setting.
However, with COVID precautions, our face-to-face contact has been very limited.
The additional chat with them, beyond a quick handover, is more challenging, but we still get regular and lovely feedback from the parents about the things that we do and the changes they have noticed in their children.
That positive feedback definitely reflects the improvements in our practice.
How has the CCPLD qualification changed how you do your job?
The Level 5 qualification has greatly assisted in my professional development.
The criteria encouraged me to increasingly reflect on my practice as well as that of my team and promotes a deeper understanding of meeting the individual needs of all parties within the provision, including children, families and practitioners.
The qualification has broadened my knowledge and understanding of relevant legislation and guidelines and their effective implementation, in which to achieve best practice.
I feel confident that I have developed the appropriate knowledge and experience to fulfil a managerial role in early years settings and that I am able to support a team to develop professionally, as I have, and consequently achieve positive outcomes for all.
What is Montessori?
Montessori is a child-led educational approach, where independent and self-directed learning is encouraged. It was developed in the 1900s by Italian physician and educator, Dr. Maria Montessori.
Montessori nurseries give the children learning activities that are specific and engaging for their individual interests and ability level. It nurtures their motivation, supports attention, and encourages responsibility.
It lends itself to the CCPLD framework because the emphasis is on reflection and respect of people and value, in a calm, peaceful and positive environment.
Is the CCPLD Level 5 relevant in Montessori settings?
We don't follow the foundation phase curriculum because we are Montessori accredited.
However, the CCPLD Level 5 is relevant to the philosophy and values upheld by Montessori. The management and operational side of the nursery is the same as in any other setting, so the syllabus is still directly relevant to my role.
But obviously, there is so much more that interlinks and overlaps between the CCPLD Level 5, the foundation phase and Montessori. It's interesting to see how they work together.
What has the feedback from your managers been like?
Yes, they have been so supportive. I consistently get really good feedback about my performance in my appraisals.
Have they noticed improvements in your abilities and given you new responsibilities?
During the apprenticeship, I picked up duties in addition to my role, that allowed me to support and mentor our new apprentices, and develop their skills.
I manage their inductions and I look after them until they pass their probation.
Part of that role is making sure that the new starters understand our Montessori philosophy and how it applies in the setting. It can be a little unusual for new starters and not everyone who joins the team will be aware of the broader range of the Montessori philosophy.
It can take a bit of time to get used to the way things are done, but I am there to support and guide them.
How did you like working with your training advisor, Michelle David?
Michelle has provided an outstanding level of service throughout this qualification.
The support that I have received has been unwavering. Michelle has really helped me feel at ease in tackling the many challenges that we have faced, such as remote learning.
She has shown understanding of my personal circumstances and helped me in finding an appropriate and effective work/life balance.
Michelle clearly has a great deal of experience and expertise in the sector which she is able to constructively apply to the qualification in order to support my learning style and personal development objectives.
Going forward, the qualification will hopefully provide me with the opportunity to take the next step in my career and has reminded me of the importance of continuous learning and development.
Has the wider TSW team supported you?
Michelle has been my main point of contact for the duration of the apprenticeship, but that was my preference!
Otherwise, TSW has sent me lots of resources to support me and my learning. And there have been a few questionnaires designed to assess how I'm getting on with Michelle.
My managers are regularly in touch with TSW to talk about the administrative side, but I don't get involved with that. I just focus on the work and Michelle.
What have been your proudest achievements during the course of the apprenticeship?
I am very proud of my academic work, but I'm proud of both the personal and professional growth I've achieved.
During the course of my qualifications, I had a baby. He's two now, but I had some time out from work and studying while I gave birth and got to grips with being a mum.
When I got back to work, I restarted my qualifications. I worked hard to find a balance between working, being a mum and completing my apprenticeship.
It was a challenge and Michelle has been so supportive throughout the whole thing. I don't think I could have done it without her.
Now I'm coming to the end of my apprenticeship and I'm looking back, all I can think is: 'I've done it! I've put all the time and effort in, balanced everything, and I've done it!'
Would you recommend TSW Training Apprenticeships to other learners?
Yes, I would definitely recommend you.