Meet the Mentor - Jane
Jane has spent her whole career devoted to early years, initially, as an infant teacher and then as a childminder when her own children were very young. Once her children had all started school Jane began working at the local pre-school that they had attended, nineteen years on and she is still there! ‘I just loved it from the word go. I loved working in early years and realising the younger they got, the more interesting children were. I found it fascinating discovering how they learn, you’re starting right at the very beginning and as an adult you have to work out what’s actually going on in their head. I found that really interesting, having to watch, listen and take time and that’s still the thing I love most about it’. Jane now works at the pre-school, a few days a week, as a manager. Jane also works as a lead teacher and finds that the two roles balance each other well ‘The two roles complement each other a lot and I do feel that one informs the other’.
For many years Jane has been and still is involved with the Bristol Standard as a practitioner at the pre-school. This hands on experience of the Bristol Standard has proved invaluable now for Jane in her role of mentor. ‘I like the fact that I also do the Bristol Standard so I know what it is like. I think it’s great and love the way that it’s all about the children and bringing it back to how the children will benefit. I also recognise that it can be quite a challenge for a busy setting and really emphasise to people that they need to make it work for them and their setting, not taking on more than they can manage’. Having been involved in the Bristol Standard for so many years, Jane is able to offer settings reassurance and she describes the support she provides as ‘giving an authenticity, I feel like I can be honest. I think it’s a really good thing with amazing benefits but can be realistic about what it’s going to be like to do it on the ground.’
Jane is a great believer in the Bristol Standard and the many benefits it brings settings, enabling them to positively reflect on all that they do and how to move forward. Jane appreciates there are many responsibilities and accountabilities facing settings and this can seem overwhelming but explains that the Bristol Standard can help with this ‘it’s about reflecting on your practice and how it can benefit children and that’s such a good thing. If you can use it as a tool, something you’re constantly working on and that’s at the heart of everything you do, then it’s really enabling. It’s good for the whole team, everybody can be involved at every level and their contribution is just as valuable as somebody who is really experienced’. Jane explains how valuable and empowering the process of the Bristol Standard is for settings, enabling them to connect with and celebrate all that the setting does ‘it takes you back to your own setting and how you do things, the uniqueness of it and it’s not judging you. The Bristol Standard is very much shaped around your setting and if you can get hold of that it is really good and beneficial. It’s a great way of going back to basics and the values you have your setting’.
Jane sums up by explaining that ‘the Bristol Standard is very practical, very real and based in the practice of early years settings. I think it enables you to develop your passion for seeing young children flourish and thrive’.