A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of spending 24 hours with a group of Early Childhood Educators some I knew well and others I had just met. Thank you to www.dare2declare and Strive for providing the inspiring space and tools to dream and plan.
I have had the luxury of time to be able to reflect on this experience and I can say without a doubt that creating your tribe, your community, finding a cheerleader, a mentor is essential in this journey.
A career working with families, children and educators is an honour and yet we have to protect our own well-being in order to be present in our day to day work.
So to my fellow colleagues look for your tribe, find your cheerleader/s. Build in a practice of self care but most of all be kind to yourself.
Today is BellLet’s Talk day and it has me reflecting on this idea of talking and the purpose of this movement. My understanding is this day is meant to normalize what some may see as the difficult conversation of taking about mental health and it’s history of being wrapped up in shame. The premise is the more we talk about it the easier it gets. It allows us to relate to others who have walked the shame of depression, anxiety and other mental health labels. It becomes less scary for people to admit they too have struggled!
I then read the quote below as I was preparing to write a post and it struck me that what we may really need is the ability to hear from a place of compassion and care.
As we travel through this thing called LIFE we all want or need our peeps (thanks Glory for this term) Those who we call our peeps are the ones who when we talk, listen and truly hear us from their heart!
Each August I find myself being reflective, It is more then a behaviour but a feeling. I am sure their is a physiological reason for this but that’s for another post.
I wanted to highlight a short video I watched today. The video is by Simon Sinek who many of you know from his book Start With Why.
In this short You tube video (2012)Why Reciprocity Improves Mentor Mentee Relationships Simon so simply puts in under 2 minutes the role of Mentoring to him. I found it refreshing and yet could n’ t help but think how in an effort to be reflective we sometimes overlook the obvious or the simplicity of some actions and behaviours.
Quite simply Simon states” mentor relationships aren’t mentor-mentee, they should be mentor-mentor. One should only agree to be someone’s mentor if you want them to be your mentor too. ”
So as we begin to prepare for a new school year take a couple of minutes to consider- Who do I want to spend time with , to learn from and to get to know better? Then ask them if they want the same from you! You now have the beginning of a Mentor-Mentor relationships.
Our Goal: The Mentor Network working group is developing an intentional mentoring program to sustain and grow the mentoring capacity in our community. Identifying protocols for a new mentoring initiative will ensure there are intentional opportunities to connect with other practitioners to grow professionally and transform their practice.
As 2016 quickly comes to an end, with autumn in full bloom, it feels like a natural time for reflection.
On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 250 Early Childhood Educators from London and surrounding celebrated their contribution to children and the field of early childhood education at the 10th Annual Mentor Appreciation gala.
This gala also coincided with Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day. This day celebrates those who work with children and advocate for government investment in the field of early learning to ensure high quality, affordable education care is available for all families. The theme for the national event is Shaping Our Future, which highlights the special role early childhood educators and child care staff have in the lives of children, families and communities.
View this smilebox video of our 10 year journey below! We have much to proud of!
Now on to shaping our next 10 year journey of mentoring.
As we transition back to our Fall routines after a glorious warm summer, it is also a time to consider ways to continue our own learning journey.
In my travels and teaching I have found short videos can act as useful tools to provoke conversation and reflection.
As many of you have discovered the Ministry of Education has a selection of thought provoking videos connected to the Think, Feel, Act Document. If you haven’t viewed them try one at your next staff meeting .
The following are other videos that may act as a provocation for you and your colleagues to challenge us to Rethink why we do what we do?
From the Opal School Dialogue with Natural Materials perfect to consider and help children appreciate our beautiful changing natural environment. ( 5min and 53 secs)
Documentation:Transforming our Perspective this video is a conversation with several leaders of Reggio Children and the municipal infant-toddler and preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy about the practice of documentation and its role in teaching and learning. (15 min 56 secs)
“All is connected … no one thing can change by itself.”
Paul Hawken”Natural Capitalism, Yoga Journal October 1994
The idea of having or being a Mentor has been discussed for many years, but as a young Profession Early Childhood Educators have been embarking and considering this practice with more intention over the last decade.
This idea of having a critical friend, someone who can hold us up yet also challenge us to dig deeper about our practice is essential to our reflective practice.
This has led to exploring the questions I would of wanted some one to ask me early on in my career.
What is your own goodness of fit? What does this mean to you?
What do you want to know more about?
Where will you find your passion? Your passion for children, families and our profession?
Finally, always be ready and able to consider and answer ” Why am I doing what I am doing?”
As we come to the end of one year and are about to embark on a new year…an certain energy and hope can prevail. Taking advantage of this I thought I would share a blog post that outlines three easy steps to finding a mentor as shared by Marilyn Hewson (2015) on LinkedIn.
The simplicity of this post I think makes the idea of mentoring more tangible and less daunting. Here are the three steps Hewson (2015) outlines:
1. Look for Mentors all around us.It may be that it takes a village of colleagues and guides to create a community of support and cheerleaders. These Mentors may be long term guides or mentors for specific moments.
2. Find a Mentor by earning one. The most successful Mentors may not be assigned.There are some basic tenets to building a trusting relationship that lends itself to a successful mentor relationship.
3. Most importantly, give as much as you receive. The best Mentor relationships are built on shared beliefs and a spirit of reciprocity.
Mentoring is a form of professional learning, so as you set your intentions for 2016 consider your relationships and look for ways to create and support your professional growth through Mentoring!
Early Childhood Program Hosts 9th Annual Mentor Appreciation Night
On Thursday October 29th, 2015, approximately 185 Early Childhood Educators attended an evening of celebration to honour their contribution to the education of our students and to celebrate the field of early childhood education. The event was held in the James Colvin Atrium. Sandra Fieber, Chair of the School of Human Services, welcomed the guests as the child care community also acknowledged those child care centres who participated in the “Raising the Bar” a Quality Child Care Initiative.
As part of the “Quality Child Care Committee” in partnership with the City of London and Fanshawe College the evening was highlighted by some lively conversations about the importance of Appreciation. The event highlighted the connections to our new pedagogical document “How does Learning Happen? and how the four foundations of Belonging, Expression, Engagement, and Well being connect to appreciation.
Members of the Early Childhood Education Faculty and Community Partners donated door prizes and each participant received a Journal to punctuate the message of Appreciation and Reflection.
In a time of tremendous growth and change in the field of Early Childhood Education we are grateful for the support of our child care community and the working committee is already looking forward to our 10th Annual Celebration in 2016!!