'Be fearless' suggest Holiday Childcare Scheme students

For six students at Royal Holloway University, they made plans for their summer placements that then fell through due to Covid-19. Looking around for a Summer placement, they landed on the Tower Hamlets holiday childcare scheme, the Ofsted registered childcare scheme for three to 13-year-olds that runs over school holidays.

Recently, they shared their experience, so far, of their four week ‘micro-placement’ which runs from 20 July to 14 August.

 Kehinde Ojo Maia Jarvis Oscar's Picture Arfa Choudhury - Student Olivia Anderson

(from left-to-right: placement students Kehinde Ojo, Maia Jarvis, Oscar Aminmansour, Arfa Choudhury, and Olivia Anderson)

Chatting to them it was quickly apparent that none of them imagined this was how they would spend their summer.

What followed however, was an overwhelming feeling that they were in fact doing exactly the right thing and enjoying every moment.

Twenty-year-old Oscar, dialling in from Windsor, explains what he likes about his first taste of childcare, “We have the freedom to solve problems in our own way, I actually have a lot of responsibility, which has been great.”

Chatting to others over Zoom, the students have formed a nice team, despite not having met before. “It’s been different to what I expected, I do actually feel part of the team,” explains Arfa from her home in Hertfordshire.

Kehinde, 31, from London echoes the sentiment that this placement is offering real value, saying: “I’m learning skills that I can take anywhere. I’ve really enjoyed working with children, who are your harshest critics.” The group laughs as she adds, “They just tell you how it is, no filter.”

Working remotely has its challenges, including keeping children engaged and focused. With support staff in the room, our students are leading one-hour long workshops with groups of children that they have planned themselves.

“The key is participation,” says 20-year-old Olivia, from Sussex. “You maintain focus by involving the children in the lesson, it shouldn’t be a lecture, that’s what I’ve learned.”

Twenty-year-old Maia from Surrey shares her biggest challenge, a problem that is familiar to most of us we continue with the so called ‘new normal’: “Technology has been our biggest challenge, but on the flip-side we’ve also been taught about the importance of accessibility for our users who access information using a computer. I’ve found this really interesting as it’s such an important issue.”

Finally, offering advice to others who will be looking to fill their shoes in future, this summer’s cohort advise future applicants and students to be ‘fearless, ask questions and to be proactive’.

Like so much of life, they believe that they are getting out of their placement what they are putting in to it. All in an environment where they they feel supported and empowered by the childcare team to do their best work.

Some are even considering it as a career now… and they all plan to meet up when universities return.

About holiday childcare scheme placements

The holiday childcare scheme has been hosting student and volunteer placements since February 2020, offering either an admin or childcare placement, or a blended placement, involving both. All students and volunteers go through a thorough induction process which includes safeguarding, GDPR and accessibility training.  

To date those on placements have organised and delivered workshops to children both face-to-face and more recently, remotely. Highlights include supporting the team in planning an exciting Playday event, and much more, including: producing a comprehensive training programme, collating evidence portfolios for accreditation and marketing the scheme to the wider community.

Lance Lathino, Holiday Childcare Team Manager said: “Our experience of hosting placement students has been hugely positive. We provide transferable skills which support students and volunteers in preparing for employment. We grately value their fresh perspective and new ideas, which help us to improve our service to children and families.”   

Interested students and volunteers from Tower Hamlets shouldcontact Lance Lathino, Holiday Childcare Team Manager via lance.lathino@towerhamlets.gov.uk to learn more about applying.

Find out more about the Holiday Childcare Scheme here.

Posted on Tuesday 11th August 2020