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My Warwick Life: Elizabeth Smith

Elizabeth SmithThe My Warwick Life feature gives an insight into staff and students’ lives at Warwick, considering both their work and social life on campus. This week we hear from Elizabeth Smith, Early Years Practitioner at the University Nursery.

There is no such thing as a typical day but in an nutshell my job involves..

working as part of a team who care for the babies and young children of University staff and students. We keep the children safe and create a loving environment where they can learn and develop at their own pace. I change nappies, get covered in glue, paint, snot and sick! I am constantly 'performing' animal noises and nursery rhymes and racing around after active toddlers. On Wednesdays I lead the pre-schoolers at our Forest School where we get muddy and learn in the great outdoors.

I had a really useful meeting recently with..

Zoe James who put me in contact with Keir Mitchell. Keir runs a couple of Forest School sessions for the PGCE Students at the end of their training. I didn't know this and have since met with Keir to develop a collaborative partnership. Hopefully this summer the PGCE students will be able to come to the Nursery's Forest School and experience activities with real children!

It would be useful to work more closely with..

the Estates Department, Warwick Institute of Education (WIE) and Warwick Volunteers. Sean Bradnack and Phil Copeland, Grounds Staff for Warwick Conferences have been invaluable in helping to set up Forest School, but greater collaboration with the whole of Estates would be even better as we seek to develop the programme. I have invited students at WIE to consider final year projects in Outdoor Education and would love to see knowledgeable and willing volunteers helping us to develop out Forest School programme. I'm not very good at identifying flora and fauna!

I recently attended the Warwick Network conference where..

I met Zoe James for the first time, and led to our arranging our meeting (above).

At the moment I am really enjoying working on..

our Forest School. It has been a challenge to complete all the necessary policies and paperwork and I have learned that Warwick is a big machine, as I have had to find people who can give me permission to go ahead with certain activities. I am enjoying building enthusiasm within the staff team at the Nursery for all things outdoorsy and hope to see the Forest School Programme expanding from it's current one day a week. (It all comes down to money!)

Warwick is really unique because..

of its physical environment. There are such lovely vistas across the campus and the wonderful grounds provide a haven for humans, as well as so many birds.

The best thing about working at Warwick is..

the delightful children that University staff and students entrust into our care.

If I could change one thing about the University it would be..

another road in and out! Kirby Corner Road and Gibbet Hill Road make a journey of less than 3 miles take over 20 minutes some days. It's definitely quicker by bike.

I usually travel to campus by..

bike from Styvechale. It is a fairly easy ride, although the recent snow and ice made the roads on the business park an ice rink. I'd like to know if anyone is responsible for gritting those roads.


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