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!!
Mentoring is not a new concept and for many early childhood educators the idea of reflecting with a trusted colleague or group of peers has become essential to developing reflective practice and pedagogical leaders. What does this look for an educator? The following acronym highlights essential skills:
“Reflective processes can be undertaken in isolation from others, but doing so often leads to a reinforcement of existing views and perceptions. Working in pairs or with a group for which learning is the reason for being can begin to transform perspectives and challenge old patterns of learning. It is only through a give and take with others and by confronting the challenges they pose that critical reflection can be promoted.” (Boud, 2001, p.14-15)
Do you have a critical friend or mentor?
Do you intentionally seek multiple perspectives?
Do you believe you have time to nurture relationships and a reflective stance?
Boud, D. (2001). Using Journal Writing To Enhance Reflective Practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 90,9-17.
One of the reason I find blogging useful is it a simple way to share the wealth of information found online and to promote time to consider and reflect, to become more intentional in our thinking and doing. So find a critical friend, a mentor or a colleague and have a conversation.
How would you see yourself using these five questions?
1. What do you think?
2. Why do you think that?
3. How do you know this?
4. Can you tell me more?
5. What questions do you still have?
I imagine if these 5 simple questions become an intentional aspect of our thinking and interactions with children, our colleagues, our mentors and our mentees, we will become more reflective and intentional in understanding why are doing what we do! It helps create deeper thinking and allows for critical reflection.
One strategy I have seen used and have seen work is posting questions throughout the environment to reinforce the intentionality of our thinking. What are your thoughts?