#EYMatters 07.05.2020: Meeting the Needs of Pre-School Children in Lockdown in Preparation for Reception

Background – About our Co-host: Anna Mathieson
Anna’s Story
“I worked in the NHS for 10 years full time with adults and children. I trained in BSL to meet hospital requirements in 2004 and this was my first SEND experience which led me to self learn Deaf communication tactics and disability training via RAD and the RNID. I then had two children whilst working full time and relied heavily on childcare. However, it was a different time with surestarts and parents and childminders there was so much available to me as a young parent.

In 2009 my son was born and having had two children before, I knew his development was different. People used to comment on how plasid he was as a baby. As he developed it was different he didn’t speak or make a sound. He used to line things up and have a meltdown if the pattern wasn’t right or if something was moved. I had no knowledge really of ASD but this is what he was diagnosed with in 2011. I then decided working full time in the NHS would not work alongside currently being a single parent. So I started my own childminding business and this aided my son too.

I did as many courses as I could to learn as much as I could. This led me to meeting the community network of childminders run by the NCMA (PACEY). I quickly became a community childminder working with SEND and social work refered children. I then became one of the first CACHE carers working with children aged 10 to 16 24 hours a day in my own home for 28 days in combination with social services and youth workers as an intervention. I was very proud to get an NCMA award for aiming high for disabled children and youth work. However, one child I was unable to help. My knowledge just wasn’t enough so after completing my CACHE level 3 I applied to university.I attended the University of Nothampton in 2013 and studied Early childhood studies BA Hons.

I loved every minute if my course. In my first two years I was also an oncall domestic abuse crisis worker for a refuge as it fitted in around my studies. I learnt so much in the 3 years of the course and was inspired by all of my lecturers. I had a place in my heart still for SEND and trauma. I worked post finishing my degree as a Montessori pre school leader and deputy nursery manager taking my daughter to work with me. However, this led to my realisation that there was too much conflict between what I expected as good practice and what people choose to do and my daughter being involved in this.

So in 2017 I decided to work from home again and become a childminder again and use my adult health and social care skills as well to work with SEND adults on individual contracts. I enjoyed this however as my husbands job had taken us to Cambridgeshire the area had been hit by outsiders in the past and Soham had a history so it was very hard to get contracts in the first year. I was then approached by an agency as they had seen my CV and wanted to challenge me. So I took on the challenge and became a Milieu senior support worker in a theaputic home for 16 lads aged 15 to 18 who had commited sexual offences. I loved the work. I loved seeing therapy and everything I had learnt at university about trauma in practice. Unfortunately I am very maternal and I was very commiteed and hit burnout due to the high stress and nature of the setting for a period of time it was turbulant.

I then went to work as an assistant service manager for a home with 5 adults 3 of which had behaviour complications and medical needs. The home had no permenant staff at the time and was in a state of chaos which hadnt helped the clients at all. I worked really hard (achieving a good at my first CQC) however, my greatest achievement was teaching a gentleman to make his own cup of tea and stand and then swim. Yes I experienced the behaviour, bruises and broken fingers but nothing whould phase me from meeting the needs in order to aid behaviour complications. However, I found the long very long hours didn’t meet the needs of my husbands role in the army and it was becoming more complex with 4 children. Eventually he had to do more for the army which meant I had to have a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 job which I had never done before.

So I contacted the agency and they found me an awesome role with a special school where I am able to work in any area from early years to college. I enjoy this so much but normally end up within a unit for children whose emotional behaviours needs challenge to an extent that they can not be in the classrooms within the main school.

I love my work. I love the challenge and every day is so different. Before Coronavirus I was starting to teach one child how to cook which is a massive achievement and another child to use signs to understand emotion. I miss the students and the school and can not wait for lockdown to be over. I am even playing all the routine songs on you tube so as I don’t forget which order they go in for when we go back to school and refreshing my Makaton skills.”

Anna was searching for support with the following questions in relation to her daughter who is 3 years old daughter who was struggling at the last review with PSE and was only in the 22 month area; she is the youngest by 7 years with the older siblings so she struggles with the other children and group play sometimes and is very strong willed and head strong too. Anna reached out to EY Matters in order to find some answers; this was a break from the normal structure of our weekly Twitter Chat but we felt that it was important to support Anna and knew that our supportive network would do all they could to advise her. The transcript of the evening will follow, but if you have any information to share with Anna, please do reach out to her via Twitter: @c96a8b4111ec4c4

Twitter Chat Transcript: 

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