Carina Machovicz, Vanessa Krainz and Denise Lienhard are three enthusiastic child care students who came to London with the Internship Programme in the beginning of this year. Here they recount their two week-long work experience period at Shepherds Bush Families Project & Children's Centre and Christchurch Kindergarten, Edgware. They attend BAKIP St. Christiana in the small town of Frohsdorf in eastern Austria.
We began our trip filled with curiosity. What would the UK nurseries be like? As it turned out, it was a pleasure to visit London and to see the differences between the two countries. We have done some really interesting work experience and greatly enjoyed our time.
In Austria, we attend a nursery school teaching college and that was one of the reasons why we wanted to see the differences between the Austrian and British approach to child care. In pairs of two, our class worked at many different nursery schools around London. These are the five main differences we encountered.
1. British kids wear uniforms
First of all, we noticed that the children in many London nurseries wear uniform. By contrast, in Austria, children wear their everyday clothes. However, Austrian kids have to wear slippers, whereas, in London, outdoor shoes are worn everywhere.
2. No nursery nurse
In Austria, there's a maximum of 25 children per group monitored by a nursery teacher and a nurse. The nurse takes care of everyday situations and makes sure the children receive a healthy snack, while the nursery teacher deals with the playful learning and competence of every child. In the UK, the nursery teachers focus on a small number of children, whereas we couldn't find an equivalent of the nursery nurse in the British kindergartens we visited. It seems possible that more than one nursery teacher handles every group.
3. Activities and games
We hardly found any board or card games in the nurseries we visited - although there's a huge number of jigsaw puzzles and other toys. In Austria, board and card games are common.
In Austria, the children have to put away their toys after they have used them, whereas in London they don't. This surprised us, as we're accustomed to a more structured way of approaching groups of children.
5. The morning circle
There's a 'morning circle' in UK nurseries. The children sing songs and listen to stories told by the nursery teachers. In Austria, it's common to play games instead and discuss matters through the games.
Carina Machovicz, Vanessa Krainz and Denise Lienhard visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Now we're also arranging work experience projects in Dublin. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or email us at email@example.com