Ashleigh staff spotlight

Ashleigh finds her calling as an early years lecturer

Early Years lecturer Ashleigh is among a growing band of former Weston College learners who have returned to join the teaching staff. Here, Ashleigh describes how she progressed from studying a Level 3 course to a curriculum co-ordinator role and offers some advice to potential Weston College learners.

I always wanted to work in the early years sector and started by studying the Level 3 Children’s Play, Learning and Development course at Weston College. This gave me the skills, knowledge and self-belief I needed to become a teacher and laid the foundation for my career. I had placements in a nursery, pre-school, primary school and a child-minders – it was great to work and learn skills in these different settings.

After leaving university, I went to work in a nursery as the special educational needs co-ordinator, which gave me the skills and determination to help support all children and students in education.

While I’d always wanted to work within early years, I wasn’t sure what age I wanted to work with. But when I was working at the nursery I supported a Weston College learner who was on a work placement. It was this role that made me realise I wanted to teach others how to work with children, and I began my journey in teaching.

As part of my PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) I did some voluntary work in the very supportive teaching team at Weston College which allowed me to get to know the students and be ‘on the other side of the classroom’.

Since joining the team full-time, I’ve taught on the Level 3 programme but am now the Level 2 course co-ordinator and deliver the Level 1 programme.

When planning lessons, I try to include a variety of activities and tasks – incorporating videos, journals, books, music and news articles – to ensure they’re interesting and engaging.

If you’re thinking of studying an early years course, my advice is to stay organised and on top of your workloads. And if you’re struggling, ask for support – it’s always available at Weston College.

… and enjoy it, because it’ll be over before know it!

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