Early Childhood Work Experience in Spain for Young Professionals
The complete programme offered to Irish recent graduates has two main components: on the one hand, teacher training through an initial workshop and a university TEFL course with a focus on Early Years Education; and, on the other, teaching practice in one of our partner schools in Spain.
Although speaking Spanish is not an initial requirement to join this programme, once in Spain educators will have the chance to learn or improve their Spanish in a native environment. For instance, it is very common to arrange conversation exchanges with school teachers, to learn languages and share their knowledge about Irish and Spanish culture.
Early Childhood Work Experience in Spain
8 to 9 months
- Application Deadline
Apply by April 1st
* *Note: For Irish citizens, applications are also accepted after this date (limited opportunities)
- Monthly Pay
Up to €930 (20 teaching hours per week), according to Spanish salary standards and cost of living in Spain
- Candidate’s Requirements
– Early Childhood-related degrees, and Education or Primary Education
– Native-level English speaker
– Spanish skills are not required
– Placement tutor's contact
About Meddeas’ Early Childhood Work Experience
Within the last years, Spanish schools have focused on second language acquisition in early years and want to immerse their pupils in other cultures from their very first steps. The schools seek to create high-quality environments for young children who are learning English as a second language.
Indeed, around 70 out of our 200 partner schools all over Spain participate in this programme. They are all private or concertado schools and most of them are bilingual (Spanish/English) or trying to improve the English language skills of their students with the help of our programmes. Therefore, it is a good context for Irish educators to learn about the best teaching methods for pre-schoolers with a bilingual purpose.
Schools in Spain are implementing improved methods to teach a second language to young children, with wide-ranging activities such as learning about foreign traditions (St. Patrick’s) incorporating science or drama, encouraging creativity and imagination, or working on a vegetable patch.
1. Highlights of this Programme for Early Childhood Education Teachers in Spain
Irish ECE teachers join the Early Years teaching-team of a Spanish private school during one academic year, interacting in English with students of up to 8 years of age. Activities will be conducted in split groups or accompanying the main teacher with the whole group.
- Teach alongside experienced Early Childhood educators in a European educational system
- Teach exclusively young children (aged 0 to 8), to learn more about preschool teaching
- Receive ongoing support from two experienced tutors
- Get a monthly pay to live in Spain as a young professional
- Get enrolled in a blended TEFL course, which contains early childhood modules/workshops, provided by School of Education of the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC)
- Learn first-hand about second language acquisition and teaching at early childhood level
- Learn/improve your Spanish language skills
The programme is great. It is very beneficial and you learn a lot. I’m sure my experience abroad will set me far apart from other applicants in any position I apply for, as international experience is extremely valuable in many jobs in Ireland. Teaching English abroad proves my ability to adapt to a new environment and to live and work with people from different cultural backgrounds.”
Catalina O’Brien, Early Years and Childhood Studies recent graduate, UCC (Ireland), and former participant.
2. Requirements to Participate
The candidate must:
- Hold an Early Childhood-related degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s and/or PhD), obtained within the last 4 years
- Provide the official assessment report from the most recent practicum or the contact information of the placement tutor
- Have no criminal records (Garda Vetting in Ireland)
- Be a native-level English speaker
- Speaking Spanish is not required
If they don’t meet these requirements, candidates interested in teaching English in Spain can do it through Meddeas’ Language Assistants programmes. The role, age groups, and training are different from those in Meddeas’ Early Childhood Work Experience
3. The University Course: TEFL with an Emphasis on Early Years
This course is designed and delivered by the School of Education of the UIC. It is a compulsory part of the programme, and provides educators with practical tools to help them at school, and knowledge that could help them back in Ireland. With a workload of 180 hours, it has a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) base with a special focus on Early Years students.
Each of the course modules is designed to provide participants with the guidance needed to carry out their teaching practice in an effective way. The content of the modules aims to cover each of the educational stages. One the modules is tailored for early years educators. It includes stage-related readings and videos that will broaden their knowledge to teach infants.
It begins with a one-day session in Barcelona in the UIC’s School of Education, after which participants will move to their destination and follow the rest of the course online, with the support of forums, tutorials, and a tutor. The completion and evaluation of the course will be based on the assessment of individual module reports. TEFL-related courses are internationally recognized and certified by the School of Education of the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya.
4. One-Day Workshop to Initiate the Early Childhood Work Experience in Spain
The pre-school workshop is designed to give early childhood educators very practical, hands-on tips and tools that they can use from day one of their teaching practice in Spain. basic information is given regarding what the educator can expect from Spanish native speaker pre-schoolers. Also, the workshop provides a variety of ideas on different classroom activities and games that the educator can use, focusing on how to teach vocabulary or storytelling.
5. Classroom Practice: Second Language Acquisition in Early Years
Educators will be able to test their skills and knowledge in a real-world setting in Spain, which may differ a lot from Ireland. They will have the opportunity to use their initiative and creativity to plan and conduct lessons. Educators will focus primarily on helping pre-schoolers improve their English speaking skills through games and activities. Nevertheless, their tutors and the main teachers will them give general indications and guidelines on how to be a good preschool teacher.
There will be a good support system from two tutors: a professor from the UIC that will provide guidance, when needed, to complete the online course and an experienced early childhood teacher in the school where educators are placed.
6. Length of the Work Experience and Teaching Hours
The work experience runs from September/October to May/June and, alternatively, from January until June. If at the end of the first academic year the school’s report is positive, educators can apply for a second year, in the same school or in a different one.
Based on the educator’s performance, Meddeas issues a certificate of completion that can be used in the future as proof of the early childhood work experience in Spain.
7. Lodging Options
There are two lodging options: full board accommodation with a host family or independent housing.
“Overall, whether staying with a Spanish host family or living independently is the best option is a very tough decision to make. Living with a host family first during the first year and in an apartment, the second year was the right series of moves for me. I learned how to organize myself, prioritize tasks, and decide what was and wasn’t okay for me in my home life. Moreover, I learned about a culture from the inside out, something I’ll always treasure.I took the things that I learned in the first year in the homestay and put them into practice in my second year living on my own.“
Starting a Successful Early Childhood Teaching Career in Ireland after this Work Experience
Employers not only value the experience of teaching a second language in early childhood; they also understand the importance of life skills that can only be acquired from leaving the comfort of one’s home country.
This international early childhood work experience will enhance an educator’s resume and boost their employability when they return to Ireland. They will have the opportunity to:
- Teach in a different educational system and in a totally different culture to Irish, growing both professionally and personally
- Learn from experienced early childhood educators
- Learn/improve their Spanish in a native environment