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FayeName: Faye
Course: BA Early Childhood (top-up)

"When I began my studies at Warwick, I genuinely had no clue as to where it would or could take me. I undertook the course as a personal challenge having just finished my Level 3 diploma. I had been working as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school for about six years at that point and had decided that finally, at the age of 46, I had found something that I was good at and enjoyed – something I could now proudly call a career.

Being a student at any stage of life has its challenges – whether that is academically or practically. Luckily, Warwick has an amazing body of staff who are always ready and willing to answer any questions you might have. From day one of the induction evening, expectations were clearly set out and we were signposted to any resources we might need and although the campus was a little intimidating at first, I think we all soon began to feel confident in our surroundings.

For me, the second year as a whole was probably the most enjoyable and rewarding time. Although the workload increased, it was during this period that I began to find my own style of studying and writing. As a cohort, we were more comfortable to discuss our opinions which lead to interesting and meaningful seminars – and we were more familiar with our tutors, so we knew what was expected of us, both in terms of participation and assignments.

The most surprising thing about the course is the opportunity for personal and professional development. When I enrolled, the aim was to try to muddle through the best I could. However, it soon became evident that this was to be a personal journey on which I would discover that I know and understand more about supporting children than I give myself credit for, and I am capable of completing university standard assignment whilst working full-time and looking after my family. I also discovered that my particular area of interest lies in children's emotional health and this is where I would like to focus my career.

As a mature learner and someone who works in a school environment, I really appreciated all the hard work and preparation that the tutors in particular put in to make the course engaging and relevant. I think that anyone returning to education after a lengthy break realises that if you are prepared to work hard, you will be rewarded – you only get out what you put in.

To anyone considering studying the Early Childhood degree I would say that if you have a passion for working with or supporting children in any capacity, this is a fantastic opportunity to extend and reinforce your knowledge, whilst exploring and discussing many aspects of child development and care.

One thing I will take away and use to make an impact in my sector....

The most important thing that I have learned from the course is that as practitioners, my colleagues, classmates, and I play a vital role in the lives of the children in our care. It is our duty to deliver quality provision and trust our professional instincts – we know our children and we owe it to them and ourselves to be their voice where necessary. Studying at Warwick gave me the confidence to find my voice and I hope to use it to make an impact on my sector."