Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Mentorship in ECE

Great to see that early childhood - the industry is thinking and discussing how they can support teachers in centres and adapt the professional standards for teachers and how they can use them. The Self assessment tool can also be adapted for use with ECE. I personally used the tool for myself as a teacher to see where I sit now that I work in LDC. Will post some feedback that I did as part of this process

Friday, 15 March 2013

Literacy and Numeracy in LDC

I love working in early learning and there are many fantastic educators in the industry that use quality pedagogy and appropriate emergent curriculum and truly care about the children in their learning institutions though I believe one area that early childhood educators lack or need further development is early literacy and numeracy development and strategies to enhance them. I believe that with support this is the role of experienced ECT's in centres and that LDC should support them to do this. I hope that we can do this for the benefit of all young children.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Pedagogical Support for ECT's in Long Day Care

The topic of this post I have been concerned about recently as I now am required to be a mentor for a teacher going through the provisional registration to full registration process at another centre. This will be difficult as most teachers whether they end up in centres do this process in schools so it is relatively easy.They also at least do it at the same school as their mentor but because there is only one ECT per centre this can be difficult.  Talking to other ECT's in other centres, it can be quite difficult in the position they are in. They feel isolated as they are the only person in their centre doing their role when if they are in a school they are one of many and can ask their colleagues for support. They can ask the educators for support and they are fantastic at the specific childcare/early learning related issues but in relation to curriculum development for their program it is difficult. ECT's on the whole also don't want to isolate themselves from other staff so it can be difficult.  In Queensland, Most ECT's teach the kindergarten program as there is government funding attached and even though it is based on the EYLF it is slightly different as more detailed and specific. I truly believe that educational leader's in centres don't need to be the ECT actually I don't think they should be as ECT's have enough work implementing the Kindergarten guidelines. But I do believe that educational leader's need to have the support of pedagogical leader at a higher level whether it be a director/owner with experience in Kindergarten or the Large long day care centres where they have consultants that they be ECT's with kindergarten experience in order to help support teachers. This has important implications for 2014 as in Australia if you have over 25 children in your care you need to have a qualified ECT for 60% of the time. I believe to help with the employment process both hiring and retention it is important. As the likelihood that alot of these teachers will be first year or on provisional registration will be high and therefore having a first year teacher program - including induction, mentoring and support for these first year teachers will be important.

Please comment and tell me what you think educators?

Working in Teams in Early Learning

I love the fact that I work in a quality team. Because I conduct two Kindergarten programs I work with two group leaders  - one in each room and I love that we work as a team. For example one group leader has admitted that organisation is something that she needs to work on and the other group leader has admitted she wants to improve on her observations so we work together even if it means swapping the educators around so they can improve and hone their skills. I love the fact the we are able to work together to improve and reflect on our practice as educators I hope to be able to continue to do this in whatever setting I work in.

Using Emergent Curriculum in a Kindergarten Program

Emergent Curriculum

Based on Stacey's (2009) work "Emergent Curriculum" has six main points or attributes to it. 
  • While framed by the educator, it is child initiated, allowing for collaborations and giving everyone a voice;
  • It is responsive to the child, allowing educators to build upon existing interests
  • In its practice, the educator takes on the role of the facilitator, taking what is seen and heard, and bringing the children the opportunity to discover further.
  • It is flexible in that curriculum planning, rather than being done well in advance, is constantly developing
  • It enables children's learning and teachers' thinking to be made visible through varied forms of documentation
  • It builds upon the theories of the recognised theorists in our field: the work of Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky supports the practice of emergent curriculum.
In her work she looks not just at the theory but also provides many positive examples not only for Preschool age but also babies and toddlers. 

The practice elements of the EYLF advocate an emergent curriculum not in so many words but through "Responsiveness to children", "Learning through play", "Intentional teaching", and "Assessment for learning". It is also promoted by the QSA who construction the Kindergarten Guidelines for QLD which is based on the EYLF. 

To support educators the QSA has published some documents to introduce both the theoretical and practical aspects to emergent curriculum. They include:
  • Understanding emergent curriculum in practice
  • Planning with children: simple beginnings
  • Emergent curriculum planning: frequently asked questions
  • The spiders web: using children's interests to support curriculum planning 
and many other case studies. If you are reading this post and are interested in how best you can implement emergent curriculum I would suggest looking at their website. Whether you are an educator of babies or kindergarten children this is a good place to start and would encourage you to do so. 

In practice

In my kindergarten program I use emergent curriculum in different stages and in very different ways daily. One example is during rest time a child was discussing with an educator how important it was for her body to rest as well as her brain but did not know where her brain was and assumed it was everywhere. With the educators support based on her interest she researched the brain on the Internet found where it is, what it does and then compared a human's brain to a shark's brain. She learnt many new and amazing things in her mind but it was based on her interest. Then she decided she would create a poster about her discoveries and share them with both her parents and her friends. 

In other ways, we have changed and continue to change the learning environment based on emergent curriculum in order to encourage more sustained play at our Kindergarten both inside and out. 

I have started to experiment with food and time in relation to the child's needs and wants. This has been challenging for myself as being a classroom teacher in a school for at least 10 years letting control for routines and transitions be given up to the education process was difficult but I am so glad I have because it has been worthwhile. The children are starting to learn that when they are hungry they eat and if they want their play experience or investigation to last longer they can. What this has allowed is the children to really investigate and use higher order thinking skills in their play. Over the next few weeks I would like to continue to develop this type of curriculum particularly in the second kindergarten session.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The role of an ECT in a centre

I really believe that the role of an ECT in a centre is modelling in a range of areas.  They need to model good behaviour management for other educators. Model how to implement emergent curriculum and the EYLF effectively. Model how to document for learning not just what occurred. Not necessarily be the educational leader and tell or demonstrate to other educators but to model so you demonstrate good practice in a non-threatening and encouraging way. Other educators who have years of experience in early learning now how to interact well they just sometimes need someone to show them where the learning is and this is done effectively not by teaching but by showing or demonstrating. I want to try and do this every day.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Documentation in early learning

Documentation in the EYLF is a contentious issue in both theory and practice in early learning. Educators that have been in the industry for a while struggle with constant state of change in relation to documentation. As I teach the Qld Kindergarten I have both the QKLG and the EYLF to work with when documenting learning. This can make it challenging but also exciting. I also program for about 50 children across 2 rooms so I feel that I need to get it right otherwise I will be wasting my time. I program in a few different ways. In the room I have an A4 scrapbook for each child which stays in an pocket. That is used by educators to record basic observations using a kindergarten template.  I use my IPad with the comic life app to co-construct learning stories with the children, which are recorded in an A3 scrapbook which is kept in the reading quiet area that the children and parents can access together and experience their learning together. We also have created a website which collate  all the information about that child from the kindergarten program including profile, transition to school and EYLF links.