STRIVE: Early Years Education Work Experience in Spain

What is STRIVE? STRIVE stands for the Student Traineeship and Research into Vocational Education. It’s an overseas work experience placement for students studying Foundation Degrees in Early Years or Learning Support. The scheme is offered by the University of Worcester in partnership with Halesowen College.

The following blog has been created by 3 students, Abigail, Caitlin and Jordan, who are spending 4 weeks works experience in Santa Coloma primary schools. HE lecturer, Sandra Derham, accompanied them on their visit for the first week. Once Sandra returned to the UK, she left the students to live and work independently in Spain. The  students will be sharing their journey from 20th May to 20th June 2018 in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona, Spain.


Meet Abigail…….

Hi, I’m Abigail. I’m 20 years old and currently studying for a Foundation Degree in Learning Support at Halesowen College, delivered in partnership with University of Worcester. I am approaching my final year of study and have decided to top-up this qualification to a BA Honours Degree in Integrated Working with Children and Families. I have chosen to study for this final year at University of Worcester instead of Halesowen College to widen my life experiences. I am looking forward to working at Fray Luis De Leon School, working with children aged six to twelve years old, including some children with additional needs.


Meet Caitlin……

Hi, I’m Caitlin. I am currently studying for a Foundation Degree in Early Years part time, one evening a week. This is my first year of a three year programme. I am 19 years old and work in a day nursery full time. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to come to Santa Coloma to experience working in the early years department of a primary school, Riero Alto. Pre-schooling is divided broadly into two three-year stages (zero to three years and three to six years). Nursery schools (guarderias) cater for children from zero to two years, while kindergarten or infant schools (escuela infantile) are for children between three and five years.


Meet Jordan……

Hi, I’m Jordan. I am 21 years old and also approaching the final year of a foundation degree in Learning Support. I’ve decided to continue my studies at University of Worcester undertaking a BA Honours degree in Education Studies. For this final year, I will be relocating to Worcester as a live-in student and hope to make many new friends there. I applied for this opportunity to experience Spanish culture and lifestyle. I’m particularly interested in finding out the pedagogical approaches adopted in Spain. It’s compulsory for children to attend primary school when they turn six, and usually lasts until age 12. There are three, two-year stages or cycles, making a total of six academic years. The primary school I will be working at is called Les Palmeres.


First blog entry: Wednesday 23rd May 2018


Abigail: These past 3 days have been the start of a fantastic experience embracing the Spanish/Catalonian culture. Visiting the primary schools in Santa Coloma, it was interesting to see how the school curriculum works compared to schools in the UK. It’s made me wonder if the approach in UK schools could take some pointers from schools in Santa Coloma, like the project approach. I’m thoroughly enjoying living independently and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.


Jordan: Hola! Just had my third full day over in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, just outside of Barcelona. I already feel like I’ve settled in. So far we’ve visited Barcelona, met some Early Years students and visited the schools we’ll be working with for the duration of the trip. I’m apprehensive to start at the school but I’m sure I’ll be fine once I’ve settled. We’re staying in an apartment together and we all start placement tomorrow (Thursday 24th May). I feel like this experience is going to teach all three of us a lot and I’m very much looking forward to it.


Caitlin: The past three days have been an eye opening experience regarding my personal abilities. I initially felt like I could not cope on the first night of staying in Santa Coloma, but I now feel like it has already been such an amazing experience in a short space of time. Meeting Irene (Eramus Officer and local Early Years lecturer) has increased my knowledge and understanding of the Spanish culture. We’ve visited beautiful, quaint and old creations of the city and explored a wide range of tastes like a very famous and relaxed three course Spanish lunch.

Staying in student accommodation has enabled me to become a very independent character and my confidence has grown already. Meeting Spanish students in Institut La Bastida gave me the opportunity to interact with students of a different culture and language, building new friendships. We’ve even made plans to explore Santa Coloma together! We spent the day visiting each primary school today, giving me an insight into the different approaches in which children play and learn using creativity and arts. I’m looking forward to spending my first day in the school tomorrow, meeting all the children and engaging in fun and educational experiences.


We’ll keep updating you on our journey in Spain, so keep an eye out for our next blog post!

Until next time!