Level II CHildrens Care, Learning and Development
Level III NVQ Early Years Educator
Early Years Educator

Lauren Podesta

My Journey...

I applied to Our Monkey Club for an Apprenticeship while I was preparing to take my GCSE’s at school as I had always known I wanted to work with children. I knew people who worked at the centre and talked about how the company worked and their role. I had always cared for children through groups and babysitting work and knew how rewarding it could be. I secured the apprenticeship and started in the June after my exams all finished. I completed my induction training with Nicole, and we spent weeks learning about child development and the theories that underpinned the Our Monkey Club approach.
I started working at the Church Gresley centre in the role play and library spaces and loved my role but it was so much harder than I thought it would be. I learnt so much in the first few months and started to work as a key person and support children on their learning journeys. I loved working with the children and worked hard to understand the way children learn and develop the skills I needed to support them effectively.
Once I had completed my Level 3 Diploma as an Early Years Educator, I moved to the Art Room where I began to lead the room development and the practice, supporting other practitioners and overseeing the expressive arts and design curriculum. I have always loved watching children’s imaginations and creativity and took what I had learnt from the role play and story areas and watched how children explored all of these ideas in their mark making. I loved doing large scale projects with the children and watching them extend and elaborate on their ideas and they became able to think about the world in a more complex and critical way. Whilst undertaking this role I also became the Lead Practitioner within the OOS provision, supporting the children that came in before and after school and also in the holidays. Whilst doing this I worked with children with additional needs and was able to use my existing knowledge and further research to underpin strategies to fully support them in the centre.
Whilst working at Our Monkey Club it came apparent to me that I wanted to further my knowledge around Psychology and decided to leave to study at the University of Derby. I went on to study Child and Family Health and Wellbeing with Psychology as a joint honours, but after a year of studying came to the realisation that my heart was set on Psychology so decided to change on to the full Psychology degree. I am now in my second year of my degree and loving learning about how Psychology underpins everyday life but still with particular interest in the role this has in children’s development. Whilst still studying I decided I wanted to return to Our Monkey Club and I am now at the Donisthorpe Setting working two days a week around my studies. I hope to return to full time when I have completed by degree and enter the Leadership Training Program, using new knowledge learnt at University and existing skills to begin to work with practitioners and families in more depth.