Teacher Feature – Miss Emma
Briefly describe your journey as a teacher.
I started my journey as a teacher as a very young child. My mum was deputy head at a beautiful child-centred Primary School in the North East of England. I spent my days painting, woodworking, playing inside caravans parked in the school playground, and being an avid reader of Enid Blighton. At this time I had no idea I wanted to be a teacher, but I had such a wonderful experience in Primary School that it has definitely set me up for the way I want to teach and the way I want children to learn. Fast forward to leaving 6th Form College I decided to study my BEd in Education and specialising in age 3-7. My first job was in Bradford as a KS2 teacher, where I worked closely on an initiative to support community cohesion across local schools. From this, I spent time working for Education Bradford to further roll out this initiative in Bradford and across England. My husband and I decided to try International Teaching and we left for Bangkok in 2009. I spent time at a Reggio Emilia School in Bangkok teaching Early Years and KS1. It was there in Bangkok where I could fully immerse myself in a child-centred school for the first time as a teacher. After that, in 2013 we moved to Budapest for 10 years. During this time, I took on the leadership of Early Years and decided to research Early Years pedagogy around the world as part of my Masters Degree in International Education. During this research I came across Anji Play in China and decided to visit their Kindergartens. Over the course of three years I re-visited China to see these Kindergartens in action ,and these experiences in China have become my main influence as an educator.
Why did you decide to specialise in your chosen area?
Based on my childhood experiences and the opportunities I have had as a teacher, I believe child-centred learning is for every age group. I have worked across Primary School, however, I will always have a love for Early Years ,and this is where I have spent most of my teaching time. I have chosen to specialise in Teaching and Learning to ensure all children, whatever their age, have opportunities to really take a lead in their learning.
What makes Nadeen such a unique place to work?
As soon as I heard about Nadeen’s child-centred approach, I felt it was a place I could thrive as an educator and also a place where children can really thrive as learners. The whole community of Nadeen has given such a warm welcome to new staff! As I walk the corridors I can feel the excitement of learning happening everywhere. Nadeen feels different to other schools. It feels like my own childhood. The energy around school is very much about the children. In the design of the new school, all children’s needs have been considered so carefully. Nadeen has an open door feel where everyone is working together to make the best possible educational experiences for the children.
How would you describe a typical day at Nadeen?
Children arrive to such a warm welcome at the entrances. They transition to inviting learning spaces and classrooms where they are greeted by teachers excited to see them. Music is playing in classrooms and children can make choices about how to start their day such as collaborating with peers or relaxing with a book. I am in Early Years so you can feel the excitement as soon as the children arrive and greet each other. For me, there is no typical day. The day is about the children taking a lead so it can really go in any direction. We have times where we sit as a class group to talk and learn from each other and times we join other classes in shared spaces indoor and outdoor. Play is at the heart of what we do and so much learning happens when children play in the carefully created environments in Early Years at Nadeen School. As a member of the Upper Leadership Team, I also spend time seeing all the excitement of learning in the rest of Primary and Secondary. It feels such a privilege to spend my days at Nadeen School.