Welcome to a New Year!
We hope you had a great and refreshing break over the holiday period and now you’re feeling energised to take on 2017.
Each fortnight we like to send out short bursts of information that keep you updated on current happenings in the Early Childhood sector, as well as general information and ideas that may help your daily practice.
Over the next few months, we will be focusing on the different elements of the 7 Quality Areas and look at simple ideas that make a Quality program. We love hearing input from services and individuals, so if there is anything you want to know more about or would like to respond to, please send us an email.
Also, this year we want to connect services and educators from across Australia. How can we do this? By publishing and sharing your ideas and opinions with each other. So if there is something you would like to express or share, write it up, send it to us and you could see it being sent to thousands of educators and services around Australia. We want to hear your voice.
To kick things off, a few ideas around the start of the year routines. The start of the year is different for every service. Large services may be inundated with new children whom they have never met, while small, country services may keep the same children from the previous year, thus making the transition easier.
Whatever your situation, there is a key thing to remember: all children are different and come from different home lives. I know, it’s obvious and we preach it every day. However, do you accommodate this in your routine? A previous experience saw new children attend a service for the first time. After the initial drop off period, the teacher tried to get the children to follow the routine from the previous year. Now, there was nothing wrong with the routine, however these children were just introduced to a new and exciting playground. There was so much to discover and play with, they were not interested in being told where they have to be and what they have to do.
Routines can be important for young children, with some children responding to them more than others. However, there is a word we use called flexibility that can make a big difference. The teacher in this scenario had 2 other educators in the room that they could of utilised, but the teacher was adamant that the children get into routine early and made all children sit on the mat. What followed were tears, screaming, crawling around and other behaviours that made the group time stressful for all involved.
So where do you sit on the routine discussion? Do you have a flexible routine that allows children the choice to join in or choose their own experience? Or do you feel children need to get into routine early so their all on the same page with what happens throughout the day?
Remember the start of the year is often the first chance for children to start building secure attachments with the educators, the environment and each other, so providing an environment that promotes this is the first block in building this relationship.
What else has been happening!
The last month has seen an uprising of Early Childhood advocates respond to the misinformed remarks of Senator David Leyonhjelm, who’s comments on a television news program brought anger to thousands of people who either work in the Early Childhood sector or who respect the profession.
While we at First Years found his comments rude, degrading and unprofessional, it also cemented that we need more advocacy of the importance of our sector. Sure, there were protest marches and gatherings, which is great and drew lots of attention, but it needs to start at a smaller level. Educators and services, don’t allow others to downgrade the work you do. We are not babysitters, we are not carers. We are Educators and we have the most important role in the world.
So be proud of what you do, advocate loudly and the professional recognition will come.