As part of National Apprenticeship Week, some of our current apprentices took part in a Q&A to share their experiences of studying with Aspire Training Team, at Tops Day Nurseries.
Ellie-May Gamble is a Room Manager at our Newport Nursery. Read Ellie-May’s story below…
My name is Ellie-may Gamble, I am now 20 years old and have been with Tops Day Nurseries since the age of 16. At 16 I joined Tops after just finishing As levels confused as to where to go within my career, just merely knowing that I had an interest in child care and special educational needs, as my sister has many additional needs and medical needs herself. From the moment of meeting Hannah
Jennings, The Nursery Manager I always felt welcomed and that I had defiantly made the right choice coming to Tops and joining Aspire.
Through my level 2 apprenticeship through Sandra Boxall at Aspire, I learned copious amounts about children and the different ways that they learn and grow, I also found that Tops always provided them with the best possible quality of learning using provocation to provoke their own thoughts and inspire the child’s learning further and further. I made my way through all 3 rooms however really found my feet in the Preschool room. When in preschool I found so much interest in watching how the children play and grow which is highly influenced by the environment around them and the setups they can be provided with. This then made me interested in researching my own setups and begin to make my own setups to inspire children’s learning within the room, making setups as interesting as I possibly could be thinking of different ways that I could extend on a child’s learning experience and make it extend to all areas of the curriculum.
During my level 2, I gained 3 of my own key children, which was again another learning opportunity for me. Learning how to write observations, take part in parent meetings, plan activities and next steps, caring for the child and forming good positive relationships with them and their parents, summative reports, school reports, meetings with other professionals. Hannah Jennings was always a huge part of my learning journey constantly giving encouragement and praise and mentoring me in the right direction to provide me with all the information I needed and teaching me about the ways of learning and life that Tops follow and from that point on I knew that Tops was the best place for me to stay and focus on my career.
When passing my level 2 apprenticeship, my manager then gave me an amazing opportunity that I will always be eternally grateful for, a position for 1-2-1 jobs landing me with a 20-hour contract, as this was my passion and defiantly a route that I had grown more and more interested in. Having this role as 1-2-1 set me more time again in the preschool room however but to focus on something that and more interested in. Having this role as 1-2-1 set me more time again in the preschool room, but to focus on something that was my passion. Through this role, I was consistently supported by Hannah Jennings and Sandra Boxall who constantly provided the materials and expert help that they always could.
Through these roles I learnt how to take part in creating and filling out ISP’s and IEP’s
as well as taking part in meetings with outside professionals to benefit the child’s learning journey. This was a huge addition to my learning as it also meant that now I am confident to fill these sheets out appropriately and to a high standard and to the Tops way.
When enrolling onto my level 3 with encouragement and support of Sandra Boxall, there was a position for a key person role come up in the preschool room for 35 hours, again Hannah was quick to let me apply for this role and giving me this opportunity in the company which helped to shape me as a person. Through completing my level 3 I learnt a lot about the different way a child learns and develops
and a lot of the theories. But again I think the way that Tops centre learning around the child deciding their own learning experience like Reggio Emilio’s response is best.
Tops constantly empower children with knowledge about the environment and the world around them also encouraging parents to take these steps to help change the world for the best, making Tops not just a workplace for me but a family.
Whilst completing my Level 3 I gained key children taking myself up to 16 key children, I enjoyed this role and creating an amazing equally individual bond with each child and their family helping them to meet there learning goals not just academically but personally, social wise and emotionally.
An opportunity arose for a Senior Practitioner Role in Preschool. Once again Hannah Jennings And Sandra Boxall was so supportive putting their faith and trust in me and gave me this role, which I again am so thankful for. Tops and Hannah constantly gave me opportunities to grow and develop further with not just my carer but with my confidence as a practitioner. In this role, I was beginning to make more crucial changes in the room. I was beginning to change areas around in the room to suit the children and the way they were learning following their interests and how we could be scaffold there learning and get them ready for school, I then began to help make changes in routines for the day and do my own circle times and letters and sounds activities making new resources to benefit the children’s learning and help engage them in play. I think that these small activities are such a good time to bond with the children and to get them again school ready.
During this time My room leader Jadine Webb, left on Maternity leave and another member of staff
took over and left without much notice. Within the 2 week change over between room leaders, I stepped up and ran the room to the best of my abilities. The room ran really well and everything went well. from this, I again reaffirmed my decision Tops was the place for me and that this is where I wanted to be to constantly grow and prosper in my career. Hannah and Sandra and tops constantly push the staff
to be the best practitioners they can be by developing such good bonds and relationships with each and every staff member and getting us to take extra courses and qualifications to better ourselves as practitioners.
One of my highlights of being at Tops was this year as a senior I also was nominated for the nursery’s ABCD award and won this. This was a huge high point for me in my career at Tops as it shows a good working relationship I have with my colleagues and gave me so much confidence that the job I was doing was a good one recognised by others.
Now my room leader is back I now step up as room manager in the absence of the room leader a few days a week, meaning I am still able to competently run the room efficiently keeping up with all guidelines and regulations for tops. Another high point of my career at tops was being a part of the Ofsted inspection where we recently gained an Outstanding in all areas.
Recently I have started my Level 5 childcare with Aspire in leadership and management, during this, we had an internal inspection done by Paula. In this inspection, she did a side by side observation on me watching my practice and she commented on how impeccable my practice was and my communication with the children was outstanding. This gave me a huge amount of confidence and reassurance.
I have worked my way right from the very bottom as a student through to senior this gives me experience in every position in the nursery so I can give help and guidance to my work colleagues and room members. I am now a Preschool manager and as I have worked so hard to get to where I am today.
I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone! 100% take the opportunity if given to you… it has defiantly made a huge impact in my life and gave me a kickstart to my carer as I am now a preschool manager from starting at the company with no childcare qualifications at all now I’m studying level 5… all with Aspire.