A group of early years students from Walsall College have completed a work placement with a difference at two nursery schools in Florence.
The eight students spent two weeks working in childcare and education settings that follow the Montessori method of education. This approach allows the child to take the lead on their learning as opposed to having this managed by carers and parents.
Vicki Armstrong, Curriculum Manager for Early Years at the college said: “This industry experience introduced the students to a whole new way of supporting the development of the babies and children in their care. They used their communication, observation and problem-solving skills differently. Instead of taking the lead, they had to respond to the natural behaviours and actions of the children.”
She added: “The students were commended for their professionalism and enthusiasm throughout their placements. They adapted quickly and fully engaged with the children, using both English and the basic Italian they had learned beforehand.”
The work placements were arranged through Gecko Programmes Ltd, part of the European Union’s Erasmus Plus Programme.
The placements aim to add value to work-related training by immersing the participants in a different culture and language, which tests their social and personal skills and opens their eyes to the potential of the European labour market. The programme aims to provide an enriched range of skills and a confident approach to job seeking.
Lecturer, Bal Chima who escorted the students to Florence added: “The placement encouraged the students to show off skills they didn’t realise they had.
“They were able to adjust as early years and education professionals while living as independent young adults. This included getting used to their shared living arrangements and navigating their way around the city.
“I’m proud of them all.”