Interview with: Tamsin Grimmer, Early Years Consultant & Trainer
24th June 2016
On 17th & 18th June, Childcare Expo had its premier event in Manchester at EventCity and what an event it was. Manchester was graced with many special guests, including Dave Benson Phillips who hosted the entertaining Makaton workshop along with Alistair Bryce-Clegg who attended for an exclusive book signing at the Bloomsbury Education stand. Whilst all that was happening, inspiring and education seminars were run across both days, including Tamsin Grimmers’ suitably titled, ‘Ready, Get Set, Go!’. Tamsin delved into how to support children and families as their children prepare to start school for the first time – a topic that is always hitting the headlines.
Here Tamsin discusses what children should learn and discover from their time in early years care as well as the one thing she would change…
What drew you to the early years sector Tamsin?
At school I did some work experience in a Primary School and with a parent as a teacher, I knew a little bit about teaching so I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. Once I started looking into early years specifically during my PGCE, it felt like I had come home. I have never looked back!
What makes you passionate about your job?
I am passionate about young children’s learning and development. Young children are so competent, resilient and can be very resourceful and learn so much through play. Sometimes it feels as though older children and adults lose this ability… There is something magical about young children.
What skills would you say are absolutely necessary for a childcare professional?
Ability to observe children and recognise learning and how to further develop this learning. Being reflective in their approach and wanting to improve on their current practice. Ability to work well as part of a team and to work in partnership with others (parents/carers, other agencies) Patience, a genuine love of children and ability to actively listen and respond to children.
In your opinion, what should children learn and discover from their time in early years care?
I think the characteristics of effective learning sum it all up for me – if children learn positive dispositions and attitudes to learning, they will go on to be lifelong learners and have the ability to problem solve, be resilient and resourceful throughout their lives which will stand them in good stead.
How do you think technology will influence the sector over the next 5 years?
Technology will influence the sector in many ways – for good and perhaps for ‘not so good’… Technology is fantastic when it allows us to do our jobs more efficiently and positive examples of this are related to record keeping, using photographs and digital media in learning journeys etc., however, my concern is over the amount of ‘screen – time’ children have in their lives. This could be to the detriment of other things e.g. outdoor play, hands on learning etc. There have been several pieces of research looking at the impact of technology on our children – and we also have reports that tell us that only 9 – 10% of children are meeting the physical activity guidelines in England! (BHF data) I believe that technology is part of the cause for this low number.
How do you think settings can be made more appealing to men in the childcare sector?
Increase rates of pay. Encourage every setting to employ an EY Teacher. Perhaps more targeted things in local areas, like work experience placements and grants to study etc.
If you could make one change in the early years’ sector, what would it be?
For Government policy to reflect the needs of the sector. (i.e. support with funding streams, child-centred policies, avoiding the formalisation of early years, increase profile of EY…)
What is the best professional advice you have been given during your career?
Enjoy your work – if you don’t enjoy it, you are in the wrong job!
What is your biggest fear?
Professionally? That my mind goes completely blank when I’m delivering a seminar or key note speech! Personally – that something happens to one of my children.
Which 3 people, famous or otherwise, would you invite to a dinner party?
- My dad – bless him, he’s now celebrating with the angels
- Michael McIntyre – presuming he’s also funny in real life…
- Justin Fletcher – so I could get his autograph for my children!
The feedback from both visitors and exhibitors has put a smile on the faces of the organisers and sights are now set for the next event returning to the Coventry at the end of September, where it will host an enlightening seminar programme from Di Chilvers and Dr Marion Nash.