No doubt Educator’s lives and work have changed in some ways since the start of the pandemic and more so during lockdown. Some dramatically whilst others not so much, depending on where you sit in our country. But one thing is certain there has been change…a forced change …one we did not expect…. one none of us saw coming!
May we say here, we congratulate you as an Educator in a children’s service for your adaptability and flexibility in coping with these changes. You have been the mainstay in our society. You have kept on keeping on. You deserve the gratitude of all Australian families and children.
Like them or not, the changes that happened due to the pandemic and enforced lockdowns are worth pausing and pondering on.
Our story, when our face-to-face facilitation of professional learning ceased at the start of the pandemic, has been a pathway to a total re-imagining of who we are and what we do—a new direction; a complete overhaul of our brand and website; and the creation of ‘Pause & Ponder’. It required us to look deeply and honestly at ourselves and reflect on aspects of our practice; our growth and our learning over the past few years; and how we could share this with others in our profession. We reflected, we talked, we jotted, we drew, we researched, we moved forward unhurriedly, we sourced professionals and experts to help us, until finally it all came together. But this is not the end—there is no end. Reflective practice is a cycle; a never-ending cycle.
Your turn now:
Ponder the following:
What did we do differently at our service?
What did we change?
What were my reactions to and impacts of the changes on me? The children? The team of Educators? The families? Your service?
You might like to ponder these as an individual or as a collective with your team of Educators. A great provocation for your next team or staff meeting.
Brainstorm and mind map the changes that we will keep and the ones we will dismiss. When considering these, ponder the impacts on others in your learning community by questioning if anyone will be disadvantaged or excluded by the decisions made. Consider the ‘why’.
Once you have completed the decision-making process it’s time to move forward.
Here’s a few tips but we are sure you will think of many more
Take it slowly. There is no right or wrong way forward.
You and your colleagues may encounter wide differences in beliefs, values and long-held traditional practices that may result in many rigorous discussions and test your capacity as a team and as an individual to move forward in unison.
Keep the child at the forefront of your thinking
Ask questions like ‘Will this decision benefit all children at our service? How will this affect each child’s learning and development? Will this negatively impact any child?’
Encourage children to reflect on their own learning: ‘I’m curious about how you felt when your parent couldn’t come inside to say goodbye’ or ‘Let’s write about/draw what happened’
Review your QIP
Add what you achieved or did great as a strength.
Maybe add a goal or two about how you want to move forward with the changes you want to keep.
Weed out any thing that you may have been working on that just will not work now.
Start a research project
Great for involving your whole learning community, including the children. There may be something you want to research more before you continue or change the practice. For example, you may want to look deeper into how families and/or visitors return to entering your service. Or you may have programmed differently when having less children and want to consider this or other options for moving forward.
Find a way to celebrate your success, no matter how big or small. You’ve done this together, now celebrate together. Celebrations ensure that you keep momentum and enthusiasm about reflecting individually and as a team.
Share your story
Share with others outside your learning community …. and please share with us. We would love to hear from you via our socials, website or email.