We are delighted to share this piece demonstrating the significance of the core modules in the level 8 degree in preparing students on how to implement effective practice with both children and their families within an early years setting.

Natasha Murphy is currently studying the BA (Hons) Early Years Degree with Portobello Institute in conjunction with London Metropolitan University. Natasha chose to complete her degree through blended learning as she currently works on a full-time basis in a city centre Montessori school. Natasha gives us an insight into her role and the daily advantages now available to her from studying a degree in early childhood studies. The Montessori school in which Natasha works is an extremely diverse setting with 15 different nationalities within the school.

Prior to her studies Natasha felt somewhat unequipped to fully embrace diversity surrounding her. Having completed ‘Challenging Inequalities in Early Childhood’ and ‘Communicating in Multilingual Contexts’ modules enabled her to reflect and improve on everyday practice.

“Knowledge gained from the degree allowed me to partner with parents to aid the development and learning of each child. Now looking back, I feel that this was previously tokenistic rather than a solid relationship built on a sharing of knowledge, which is vitally important if the home and the language within it are to be reflected in a setting”.

One key example of the importance of understanding diversity is shared where families of Muslims faith do not visit farms as they cannot see, touch or eat a pig. At this time Natasha had already booked the school tour to a pet farm so upon her discovery through reading met with the parents and discussed their thoughts and feeling on this ahead of the excursion. 

Building on such relations really opened Natasha’s eyes on some things we can naturally take for granted. 19 parents accompanied them on the tour, some of whom had not been to the countryside before and others having not seen some of the animals before. Working in such a diverse setting has taught Natasha so much and allowed her to fully embrace all the different cultures. “Families have invited me to eat with them, as they wish to share their culture. They said they felt honoured that I would come and eat with them”.

“Furthermore, we are taking this partnership with parents a step further in the coming year, as we are undertaking home visits during the month of August to allow us to know, understand and plan for the children and families in our setting”. This will ultimately be the basis of nurturing wellbeing and a sense of identity and belonging which allows children to gain a positive self-image which leads to confidence and independence. This also allows each child to explore, create and think for themselves. Natasha shares one of her favourite quotes which represents its sheer importance, ‘In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength’ - Maya Angelou

The Blended learning degree at Portobello Institute gives learners the opportunity to study relevant modules with the greatest flexibility while working full-time. Our blended approach has been well thought-out and is an innovative approach to learning allowing students to enjoy a mixture of distance learning plus tutorials, online group discussions plus skype calls with dedicated tutors.

For course details please contact Jennifer on 01 8920040 or jennifer.matteazzi@portobelloinstitute.ie or come along to one of our upcoming scheduled open days.