Early Childhood Qualifications Re-Launched

Early Childhood Qualifications Re-Launched

Crossfields Institute Early Years qualifications

After many years of working collaboratively with NCFE CACHE, Crossfields Institute are delighted to announce the re-launch of following qualifications:

Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator)
Crossfields Institute Level 4 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (EYE)
Crossfields Institute Level 5 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies – Leadership and Management

These qualifications were previously awarded through NCFE CACHE but will now be part of the Crossfields Institute suite of qualifications NCFE CACHE made the following statement about the qualifications:

“NCFE CACHE has worked with Crossfields Institute since 2013 and would like to wish students following these qualifications the best of luck as they embark on their studies. These specialist qualifications are of quality, robust in both content and assessment and they offer insight into the expertise, skills and professional approach needed to practice in an early childhood setting.”

Below is some further information about each of the qualifications:

 

Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator)

The aim of this qualification is to provide the learner with the expertise, skills and professional approach needed to become an EYE qualified holistic early years practitioner, and includes classroom based and placement hours. This qualification prepares learners to use a Steiner Waldorf and Pikler approach to baby and early child education and care, appropriate to holistic and mainstream settings.

Learners completing this qualification may proceed directly to work in an early childhood setting, for example in the role of an early years educator, adult and child group leader, or childminder and carer of children under 3 years, in a Steiner Waldorf or mainstream setting. Learners can also progress to the NCFE CACHE Level 4 Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (EYE) (VRQ).

Learners interested in studying this qualification should contact Emerson College, East Sussex +44 (0)1342 822 238; +44 (0)1342 826 055 or email registrar@emerson.org.uk

 

Crossfields Institute Level 4 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (EYE)
Crossfields Institute Level 5 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies – Leadership and Management

These Crossfields Institute qualifications were originally created in collaboration with subject specialists including London Steiner Kindergarten Training Company Ltd and Dorothy Marlen in order to provide the learner with the expertise, skills and professional approach needed to be an holistic early childhood educator.

Learners interested in studying this qualification should contact either The London Steiner Kindergarten Training Company by contacting the course administrator Suzanne Leek at: Suzanne.Leek@ntlworld.com. The London Steiner Kindergarten Training Company based in London with residentials in Gloucestershire.

Alternatively, learners can also contact North of England Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies by contacting the course coordinator Jill Taplin at Jill@neswec.org.uk or telephone 01782 504567. This course is based in York with residentials in the Midlands.

 

Any organisations wishing to deliver this qualification should contact Crossfields Institute at info@crossfieldsinstitute.com or 01453 808118. Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

Job Vacancy: Academic Administrator

Job Vacancy: Academic Administrator

Applications are invited for the following vacancy:

Academic Administrator

The Role

Crossfields Institute is looking to recruit an experienced Administrator for the awarding organisation (AO) based in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

The post-holder will act as the first point of contact for the AO and will be responsible for assisting with administration under the guidance of the Administration Manager. The role will involve managing incoming calls and customer service enquiries as well as the support of the administration of the AO’s online platform, website, and digital marketing.

Initially a part time role of 15 hours per week (flexible with minimum of 10 hrs per week in Stroud office), this is an exciting and varied position with excellent career development progression opportunities for the right candidate.

Salary: £25,000 pro rata, initially 15 hours per week

Crossfields Institute is an education charity and awarding organisation, aiming to contribute positively to making the world a better place by developing high quality, innovative education.

Closing date: 08 August 2021 – 23:59.

Please send a CV and cover letter to Jay Phillips at info@crossfieldsinstitute.com by the closing date. For further information please email the above address and someone will be in touch with you.

Job Description
Person Specification

Job Vacancy: Qualification Development and Assessment Manager

Job Vacancy: Qualification Development and Assessment Manager

What we do

Crossfields Institute is a registered charity that was founded in 2007 with the aim of enabling education providers with a holistic and integrative approach to improve the quality of what they do and offer certification to students.

We are a vision-based organisation, meaning that through our activities our aim is to contribute positively to making the world a better place, while also providing high-quality services to our clients. Our belief is that education has the power and potential to be a force of positive change in the world, if used in the right way, and as an organisation we are on an action research journey to discover what this means in practice. We invite those with whom we collaborate to join us in this inquiry.

The Role

Crossfields Institute is looking to recruit a Qualification Development and Assessment Manager for the Awarding Organisation (AO) based in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

The post-holder will take a leading role in developing the activities of the Awarding Organisation, working alongside our Administration Manager and under the guidance of the Responsible Officer. The role will involve developing our portfolio whilst promoting continuous improvements and excellent client relations. As such we need a flexible, dynamic and enthusiastic individual who is also able to work with attention to detail and manage their own workload.

This will be a 32 hours per week role (flexible with minimum of 16 hrs per week in Stroud office), this is an exciting and varied position with excellent career development progression opportunities for the right candidate who shares our passion to support good education for all.

Main Duties

Some of the main responsibilities of this role include but are not limited to:

  • manage and develop our portfolio of qualifications and programmes
  • oversee assessment and quality assurance processes
  • promote continuous improvement across all Crossfields Institute approved centres
  • contribute to the development of the Institute’s vision and strategic plan

Criteria

Skills and Abilities

  • A high level of self-motivation and a flexible approach
  • Clear and concise written and spoken communication skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team and autonomously
  • A positive can-do attitude and proactive thinker
  • Ability to multi-task and adapt easily to new situations
  • Ability to manage, prioritise and organise own workload and use initiative
  • Ability to work to deadlines

Experience

  • Experience in delivering or managing assessment (Essential)
  • Experience in providing education or training (Essential)
  • Experience in working for an Awarding Organisation (Desirable)
  • Experience in working in a small business environment. (Desirable)
  • Experience of working in the education or charity sector (Desirable)

Knowledge

  • Level 6 qualification (First Degree or equivalent) and demonstrable experience as an administrative manager or equivalent role.
  • Excellent IT literacy.

Crossfields Awarding

Crossfields Institute is an awarding organisation regulated by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation). Ofqual is the regulator of qualifications and examinations in England and therefore of awarding organisations in England. Crossfields Institute is a charity working to promote holistic, integrative education and the awarding organisation develops specialist qualifications using subject expertise from vision-based organisations, centres and colleges in the UK and overseas.

Job Types: Part-time, Permanent
Salary: From £30,000 per year (pro-rata)

Benefits:

  • Flexible hours
  • Sick pay
  • Work from home
  • Pet friendly
  • Continual Professional Development (CPD) opportunities

CANDIDATES MUST SUBMIT A COVERING LETTER AND COMPLETE AN APPLICATION FORM

CLOSING DATE: 13th July 2021

New Centre Approved

New Centre Approved

Crossfields Institute is delighted to announce that Westwood Training and Consultancy has been approved by Crossfields Institute to deliver the NCFE CACHE Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy.

NCFE CACHE Level 3 & 4 Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy

This qualification is open for registrations from 19 July 2021.

NCFE CACHE has worked collaboratively with the Crossfields Institute to develop these specialist level 3 and 4 Early Years qualifications.
In collaboration with NCFE CACHE, the Institute is responsible for the ongoing delivery, and centre quality assurance of this qualification. As specialist qualifications they have particular requirements which all centres must meet in order to gain qualification approval in terms of both staff expertise and resources.

Westwood Training and Consultancy (WTC) offers quality, affordable Montessori and Early Years training in a working Montessori environment. Situated within the grounds of an Ofsted outstanding Montessori nursery and pre-school, they offer hands on collaborative learning ensuring that far from being just an academic exercise, their training ‘lives’ for their learners and is delivered by practicing Montessorians.

Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

Michelle Wisbey Mont Dip, BA Hons, MA, PGCE (Montessorian of the Year 2015), leads a team of experienced lecturers and trainers, all of whom have studied with Montessori Centre International in London. With several years of experience, they provide both face to face and blended learning with full tutor support with learning taking place in a supportive, comfortable and fully equipped environment.

Our Story

“As dedicated Montessorians and the team behind four Ofsted outstanding nurseries and pre-schools it became evident that regional training in Montessori Pedagogy was essential to maintain the quality of teaching in the more rural areas. Working closely with Montessori Centre International (MCI), we established ourselves as an accredited regional centre for the south-east and surrounding area and provided a much needed service for all our keen and committed Montessorians. We are now an independently accredited training centre and continue to deliver the Montessori qualification, alongside other qualifications and courses.”

A Silver Lining: The Orchard Project Provides a “Lifeline” During the Pandemic

A Silver Lining: The Orchard Project Provides a “Lifeline” During the Pandemic

In August 2020, 17 new students gathered in London’s Valentine Park for their first training session of The Orchard Project’s Crossfields Institute Level 3 Certificate in Community Orcharding or CICO course. Unknowingly, this was the one of the few times that the participants would enjoy the physical presence of group gathering for many months to come. The winter lockdown has been gruelling and long, but many of the CICO students have found the course to be a light in the dark; not only a means of maintaining regular contact with others, but also a welcome distraction to learn new skills. It has even become a source for hope amidst the employment crisis hitting many sectors.

Rather than cancel the CICO course when the pandemic struck, Training Manager, Jo Homan, worked tirelessly to transform the course into a blended format: a mix of online study with in-person, practical sessions outdoors. The students who were already enrolled on the sixth delivery of the course, had to adapt to learning online last November. Those who’ve registered on the new blended course will enjoy five in-person sessions try out new skills, like pruning and grafting, while respecting the social-distance safety measures. But the online training sessions are proving successful in allowing students to feel connected, both to each other and to our brilliant team of tutors.

“There is a real sense of community and support within our group of teachers and students alike, – even though we have had some training days online;” says Liz, one of the students. “I’ve found this invaluable during this Pandemic.”

Rosa and Sharon, who completed the CICO course in December 2020

The online component of the course involves training videos, presentations and interactive quizzes. It is proving popular! In the words of current student, Maggie:

“Like many others I have found keeping positive during lockdown a bit of a challenge at times. Having the CICO course has helped and supported me in ways I never imagined. It has delivered in spadefuls! Brilliantly crafted with each module flowing organically into the next… and listening to the (online) presentations with orchard birdsong, I can feel myself relaxing.”

As well as forging connections during an isolating time, the CICO course is also opening up new career pathways for some students. We are yet to know the full economic impact of the pandemic, but is it already being acutely felt by many at an individual level: Liz lost her job in the theatre sector during the first lockdown. Rather than face the difficult prospect of job-hunting during uncertain times, she decided to harness her desire to help tackle climate change; signing-up to the CICO course seemed like a great way to do this.

Liz plants a tree in the community allotment nursery, which she established while studying for the CICO certificate.

“This course is a lifeline, enabling me to change career direction and give me hope for the future”, Liz says. “On the first day, learning about the …layers of biodiversity as we sat under the shade of a huge mulberry tree… I knew it was perfect for me.”

The CICO course takes students on a journey lasting almost a year, allowing for familiarity with the orchard in every season. It provides a chance to not only learn about every aspect of orchards, but also to build strong connections with course-mates and with the natural world.

lla and Tana hone their pruning skills. They graduated from the CICO course during the pandemic in December 2020

If you’re interested in finding out more, visit the course info page on The Orchard Project’s website  or see the qualification specification on the Crossfields Institute website here.

Article adapted from https://www.theorchardproject.org.uk/news/a-silver-lining-orchard-course-provides-a-lifeline-during-the-pandemic/

New Horticulture and Forestry qualification launched

New Horticulture and Forestry qualification launched

Crossfields Institute and The Orchard Project are delighted to announce the launch of

Crossfields Institute Level 2 Award in Forest Gardening

This qualification is open for registrations from 10 February 2021

This Crossfields Institute qualification was created in collaboration with The Orchard Project in order to provide learners with:

  • an understanding of forest gardening
  • a thorough understanding of how to plan, plant and manage a forest garden
  • the practical skills to engage in planting, pruning, grafting and soil enhancement
  • plant identification skills and familiarity and understanding of botanical terminology

This qualification was developed in response to the growing interest in forest gardening as a way of producing food in a way that is low maintenance, has a low carbon footprint, encourages biodiversity, and is resilient to climate change. This is a relatively new area of expertise however and is not well understood by the public, so there is a need to teach people the skills to create well designed and well-maintained forest gardens.

  • Any learners who are interested in finding out more about this qualification should contact The Orchard Project on 07525 115209 or at orchard@theorchardproject.org.uk
  • Any organisations wishing to deliver this qualification should contact Crossfields Institute at info@crossfieldsinstitute.com or 01453 808118

Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

The Orchard Project is the only national charity dedicated solely to the creation, restoration and celebration of community orchards. We aim to make a serious contribution to a better food system, based on people working together where they live to produce and harvest their own fruit.

New therapeutic care qualification launched!

New therapeutic care qualification launched!

Crossfields Institute and Mulberry Bush are delighted to announce the launch of:

Crossfields Institute Level 2 Award in Working with Trauma

This qualification is open for registrations from 14th January 2021.

This Crossfields Institute qualification was created in collaboration with Mulberry Bush to equip learners with the basic knowledge, understanding and skills to work effectively and empathetically with children and young people. This qualification is designed for people who work across the childcare sector, whether in education, health or social care, to help them work effectively and empathetically with children and young people who have experienced trauma.

  • Any learners who are interested in finding out more about this qualification should contact Mulberry Bush on 01865 300202 or at info@mulberrybush.org.uk
  • Any organisations wishing to deliver this qualification should contact Crossfields Institute at info@crossfieldsinstitute.com or 01453 808118

Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

The Mulberry Bush is a charity. Since 1948, we have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of emotionally troubled and traumatised children, their families and communities. We have since extended our charitable objectives to enable us to support adults who may have experienced childhood trauma via our specialist services, which now include training and research.

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings

After this year of change and challenge but also growth and opportunity, all of us here at Crossfields Institute send warm seasons greetings to you all. We hope that the year has treated you kindly and that you and your loved ones are able to enjoy a restful and restorative break. In these times the world needs our collective, pioneering work more than ever. We look forward to continuing to support and journey alongside you in the New Year. With warmth and trust. Lou

Learning from online learning

Learning from online learning

Dr Fergus Anderson

Covid-19 has forced a massive change in way that education happens and education providers all over the world have had to adapt fast. At Crossfields we are no exception. Our postgraduate teacher training programme (PPIE) normally has three residential intensives per year, but for the July residential we had to move everything online due to the lockdown.

We already had a lot of experience of online delivery, but doing a five-day intensive online was a whole new challenge. In this article I am going to summarise the main learning that came out of this experience with the hope that this will be of use to education providers who are struggling with similar situations.

First some general observations:

Anyone who has experience of live online teaching and learning will probably be aware that this can be a rather flat experience. Students tend to be more passive and unresponsive than in face-to-face interaction and teachers tend to counter this by filling the empty spaces with content, often with the help of Powerpoint. This can be an effective way of getting information across, but the student experience can easily be drab and uninspiring.

A further challenge has to do with the very real phenomenon of ‘Zoom fatigue’, namely, that interacting with a group of people online often seems more draining than interacting together in a classroom. So, added to the tendency towards flatness is the experience of exhaustion and burnout that can arise from the medium itself.

This may not be too much of a problem when online sessions are relatively short and happen relatively occasionally. But if online learning needs to occur in a more intensive way, such as has been the case for many education providers since the pandemic, then this can be a real problem.

What I will present below is intended primarily for further and higher education providers who, for one reason or another, are obliged to do intensive online learning for extended periods. The challenge in this case is how to make the experience as alive and stimulating as possible. Much of what I will propose will not be new, but hopefully it will help you to think creatively about what’s possible.

The first step, I would propose, is to be aware of the different modalities that online learning can include. I have experimented with five different modalities, though of course there may be more. These are:

1. Live presentation

This is the familiar ‘from the front’ presentation, either with or without slides. There may be pauses in the delivery for questions or discussion, but the basic aim and rationale for the activity is for the teacher to deliver content. Everyone is familiar with this modality so there’s no need to say more, other than perhaps to note that you can experiment with props.

For example, use a white board or flip chart to draw and write rather than Powerpoint. This can give a more organic and dynamic feel to the presentation and it also means that the face and torso of the presenter can remain visible, so the presenter can bring their enthusiasm and expressiveness to the session more effectively.

2. Recorded presentation

Traditional ‘from the front’ teaching can be inspiring. But as many Ted talks and YouTube films testify, inspiring presentations can be just as inspiring when they are recorded rather than live. The great benefit of a recorded presentation is that students can access it in their own time. They can also pause and go back over sections if necessary, or take a break.

The Zoom burnout experience that can occur in the live context does not seem to apply to the same degree here, which is a significant advantage. It is important to note that there is a distinction here between a presentation that’s made available as a recording from the beginning and a live presentation that’s then made available later as a recording.

Recorded presentation, as I mean it here, applies only to the former, i.e., it is something that’s recorded without students present, and then make available to students afterwards. The recorded presentation puts all students on the same footing whereas a recording of a live presentation differentiates between those who were actually there and those who watched the recording afterwards. A recorded presentation can also serve as a resource that can be re-used, so extra time, care and attention can be given to making it as high quality as possible.

3. Group-work or seminar

This is where students discuss content with fellow students and/or a faculty member. The discussion should be essentially student led and the aim is to engage the collective intelligence of the group to further and deepen the learning of all. The teacher/tutor should be engaged in facilitating this and not on holding forth, and that’s a quite specific skill in the online context. Breakout rooms on Zoom and other applications is a very useful tool for this as it enables small group discussion.

A typical session will oscillate between whole group discussion and small group discussion. Given the already discussed ‘passive’ nature of online learning, it can require skill on the part of the facilitator to stimulate and motivate discussion, and to crystallise and formulate what has emerged in an open and accessible way.

4. Walking conversation

Given that most online learning takes place indoors either sitting or standing in front of a screen, this modality aims to disrupt this by freeing the body and the visual gaze while also opening a subject to peer discussion. All students will have an app on their phone that enables free phone calls (WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.). The idea here is that students are paired in twos to go outdoors on a ‘walking conversation’ where they engage through conversation in some aspect of the course content.

The teacher might set questions or themes that inform the discussion, or not. What’s important to note here is the impact that walking has on conversation and the fact that the visual gaze can roam freely. For this it is important that students use headphones and also that they don’t use the video option (i.e., it’s an audio call only). Student can also be encouraged to use the sensory impressions and embodied awareness from their walk to inform and stimulate their conversation.

5. Individual reflection

The fifth and final modality is that students work individually during a live session. This can be a valuable activity in that it enables them to disconnect for a while from the slightly numbing and mesmerising presence of the screen and to engage in a reflective or reflexive way with what they actually think or feel. Doing this while the seminar screen is still on in the room (though they are not looking at it) can help to give students an awareness of the presence of others engaged in the same activity.

What makes these different activities interesting in this context is how they are combined. The aim is to combine them in such a way so as to make the learning experience as dynamic and varied as possible, so as to counter the tendency to flatness and passivity. But there is no prescribed formula. The above five modalities can be seen as a palette from which something dynamic can be created, but this will mean different things with different student groups and in different contexts.

An example of what has worked for me is to begin with a recorded presentation that students view in their own time over a three or four hour period (say over an evening and part of the next morning). They then have a walking conversation with a fellow student to discuss the recording and to identify questions and areas of interest or unclarity.

There then follows a seminar session that is facilitated by the faculty member who recorded the presentation. This gives students the possibility of discussing the presentation with the teacher but informed by the deepening that has taken place through the walking conversation. The students have tried to make sense of the content first in their own time and then discussed this with a peer before engaging with the teacher who gave the presentation.

Another example is that the teacher begins with a live presentation, then shifts to a period of individual reflection, followed by a group work seminar session. Another example is to begin with a seminar session, followed by a walking conversation, followed by a live presentation. The aim is to shift and disrupt the learning experience so that a theme can morph and develop in an organic way over time as it is encountered in different ways. The sum of these activities should amount to a gradually deepening engagement with the content. The key here is to experiment and ask for feedback from the students about what works. It’s also important not to assume that what worked for one group will work for the next group.

I hope that this has been useful. Do get in touch if you have further insights to share on this subject.

fergus@crossfieldsinstitute.com