As many of you know, I embarked on my learning journey with Portobello Institute many years ago and they helped me to achieve more than I could have ever imagined.
I enrolled on the FETAC Level 6 Early Childhood Care and Education programme thinking I would graduate at the end of the year and start working in the sector.
I had no ambition to continue my studies while working, but that quickly changed and here I am now just after graduating with an MA in Early Childhood Studies.
What a journey – it is definitely one that still surprises me today, but it is also something I am beyond proud of.
I recently moved to Perth in Australia with big dreams on my Working Holiday (417) Visa.
When I landed, all I had with me was two carry-on bags and a 30kg suitcase. I was so nervous that I was going to forget something, like a pair of shoes or a dress, but little did I know that the most valuable thing I arrived here with was all my qualifications, the certificates and transcripts.
I was really hoping that I would get to work in education, so that I could keep following my dream and learning more about the early years sector, especially gaining perspectives on a similar, but different framework and curriculum.
I am really lucky to have secured a job as an out-of-school-hours care (OSHC) Manager where I act as a support, guide and lead a team of fabulous educators to provide a fun and meaningful before and after school, while also organising and facilitating vacation care during the school holidays.
The before and after school is Montessori inspired so having a Montessori background really helped me with this.
I work closely with the Montessori School we are linked with also. This Montessori-inspired school is a long day care setting and has three rooms – a Nido room, a Pre-Montessori room and a Children’s House.
It is lovely to be a part of an environment and company that reflect my own beliefs and teaching style that I was used to back home in Ireland. I found the transition really smooth even though it was a completely new place!
My qualifications definitely played a huge part in securing my job and helping me to carry out my role as an OSHC manager effectively.
While it took some getting used to, I was really happy that I have a foundation of knowledge already there.
When starting off my studies, I was definitely a little caterpillar eager to learn and I can officially say that I feel like I have spread my wings and become a butterfly.
Without Portobello Institute, I would have never gotten this opportunity.
My advice to anyone out there is to work hard and do something that you love, because if you get that ‘piece of paper’, the world is your oyster and the opportunities out there are endless.
So, keep working, keep studying. It will all be worth it!
About the Author - Natasha Murphy - MA Early Childhood Studies Graduate from Portobello Institute
I come from a family of early years practitioners, Montessori teachers and secondary school teachers, so I have always had a passion for working with children. As I was growing up, I realised the importance of early childhood care and education, it is the first insight into learning for a child and that is how I decided to become an early years practitioner. I want to be part of each child’s early learning journey and support them to grow and learn in a fun and meaningful way.
While studying, I gained an interest in transitions. I implemented home visits prior to a child starting in my setting. I arranged an hour-long home visit with each child and their family. This helped me to build a respectful and reciprocal relationship with the child and family, which eased the settling-in process.
I was invited to travel to Sweden to talk about transitions with Early Childhood Ireland in March 2020, but due to COVID-19, it was cancelled. I have spent a summer in Spain teaching children aged 4-15 years old, and I travelled to Pune in India with Portobello Institute to volunteer in a number of orphanages and outreach community centres.
Working as an early years practitioner has allowed me to link theory to practice when giving a lecture. This has been very beneficial to students as they can relate and begin to see how their learning can be linked to their own settings too. As I completed my own studies through blended learning, I can understand how students feel trying to balance, work, home and study life.
Did You Know?
At Portobello Institute, we help you to follow your passion and fulfil your potential to achieve the career you want.
We have a range of courses commencing in Spring 2023 that will further your knowledge and career in the early years sector.
- BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies commences 7th February, information available here
- BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies commences 8th March, information available here
- BA (Hons) Inclusive Education Practice commences 7th February, information available here
- MA Early Childhood Studies, commences 11th February, information available here
- MA Inclusive Education & SEND, commences 11th February.
We also offer a comprehensive range of QQI level 5 and 6 early years and Montessori courses.
If you are interested in any of our early years and Montessori courses or have any questions you can book a consultation call with our expert advisor Jennifer Matteazzi here, email email@example.com or call 01 892 0031.
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