Mentoring : a tool to develop an intentional critical reflective stance

In processing all the wonderful, exciting and challenging changes that are occurring in education which early education is now part of; and as I attempt to process the time I spent in Reggio Emilia, Italy, I find myself looking for folks to dialogue with, to share, debate, disagree, and find common ground with.   I am ever more hopeful that as our young profession is growing we too are open to challenging the status quo, to expecting more from ourselves.

It is a hopeful, scary, exciting, challenging time,I know that others feel the same way. It is in this time where we need to reach out to others for support. It’s that notion that a trusting colleague or friend can listen without judgement and without fear we can process the changing terrain together.

So consider:
1. What are your hopes, your fears for the children, families and yourself?
2. Who are your trusted colleagues or friends?
3. How can you build on these moments and conversations to take action in your day to day work?

P.S. Watch for information soon on the Fall Appreciation Event- a new format is being planned…check out the tab at the top of the page for the most up to date information. Continue reading

From Vague to Intentional……..Make Your Mentor Relationship count!

When moving towards intentional mentoring relationships a good place to start is by creating the culture or climate for Mentoring to occur.

To assist with this structure some create policies, ground rules or agreements to support the success of a mentoring partnership.

In her book Developing Mentoring and Coaching Relationships in Early Care and Education : A Reflective Approach, Marilyn Chu(2014)  dedicates the first chapter to understanding the structure and dispositions needed to create learning partnerships.

What would your lists of agreements be?

  1. Give respect to others.
  2. Recognize power differences.
  3. Listen, pause,and allow others to speak.
  4. Add your own….


Reflect: Creating a Mentoring Culture

Many people ask how do I get a mentoring program started?

This is a question that has been discussed for more than a decade in Early Childhood settings, whether we are talking about collegial mentoring or mentoring students the conversation is the same.

There is a fine line between a formal mentoring program and informal mentoring and for many mentoring is already occurring in their  workplaces. So what are we asking then? What we are really referring to is what can be called intentional mentoring.  If we apply the reflective model to this concept how would we begin?

It is about creating a culture of being that promotes relationships.

Brené Brown’s graphic provides the visual essence of what this might look and feel like. (click on Brené Brown to go directly to her work)


In Creating a Mentoring Culture by Lois Zachary (2005) she outlines a cultural audit that consist of 50 best practice items that work together to create a vibrant mentoring culture. Among them they include:

  • Is learning an organizational priority?
  • Is mentoring supported by allowing time for mentoring to occur within the work day?
  • Is Mentoring aligned with leadership development?
  • Is Mentoring consistently creating positive value for the organization and its people?
  • Is excellence in Mentoring recognized, rewarded and celebrated?

To-make-a-difference-in2Reflect on your relationships and you may discover that you already have beginnings of a mentoring  program.

Consider your “Group Norms” in 2015!


What are your thoughts as you read the list?

Are these qualities you might aspire to?

Which might be easiest and/or hardest to live by?

In a time of reflection, it is incumbent on each of us to look within and challenge ourselves to create a climate and culture open to other perspectives as we work towards a community of practice.

What would your group norms be?

Image retrieved from on Dec.3,2014.

Something to Reflect on…..A Gift for You

Gratitude | Louie Schwartzberg | TEDxSF  (Click and watch this 9:56 min video)

Nature’s beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day. (Filmed at TEDxSF.) YOUTUBE.COM

After viewing the video: What is your first reaction?

Watch again and consider the comments made by the young girl at the 3:45 minute point in the video. What does she teach us?

How can you share this message with others?

Celebrating our Success as Mentors!

On October 30th, Fanshawe College along with the Quality Childcare Coordinating Committee of London and Five Counties joined in celebrating the 8th Annual Mentor Appreciation Event in the James Colvin Atrium at Fanshawe College, London Campus. This event organized in conjunction with Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day that was celebrated Oct 29th!

Over 120 Early Childhood Educators mingled, networked, and listened to some truly inspirational words  by Kelsey Ramsden speaking on “Trust, Truth and Authencity”

We would like to recognize our early childhood educators and community partners because without them we could not educate the future leaders in our field.

"The Celebration"
“The Celebration”