How do you respond to the comment ‘Oh you are just a babysitter’ or to ‘What a fun job you just get to play with children all day?”
Be mindful of the language you use and the message you are sending. Be proud of who you are ‘I’m an early childhood teacher/educator’. Try not to use only the ‘C’ word …. ‘childcare’!!! Focus on the child development and learning, and the importance of the early years when discussing your responses to these questions.
The language we use supports us to be professional and reflects this professionalism within our learning community and to the wider community.
Within your service, talk to families about what their child has learnt, rather than just saying ‘____ had lots of fun today’ or ‘__ had a great day’. Instead, maybe something like …. ‘I noticed ___ was discovering cause and effect by racing each car down the ramp, then moving the ramp each time to make them go faster. Maybe ____ could show you how that works’ or ‘_____ was kind sharing his paint easel with another child so they could work together to create this masterpiece’. Encourage your colleagues to do the same by modelling and articulating your conversations around the learning taking place.
Advocating for children comes naturally for many of us who work with them. You probably can think of an instance in your work today where you advocated for the rights and dignity of at least one child. We need to share this with others. Stand up for children. Articulate what you know about child development and early learning and its importance. Only then will the wider community respect early learning and us as professionals.
So, what professional message are you putting out there?