This past weekend HiMama hosted our 2nd annual Early Learning Summit to support our community of educators. We are so excited to have had over 6,000 people sign up to attend our sessions! We had lots of engaging sessions, group chats and many fun prizes awarded. If you were not able to join us, no worries! You can watch the recordings of all sessions here. Today on the blog, we are summarizing 10 key takeaways from the summit that you can use to enhance your day-to-day roles and responsibilities as an educator!
1. Reflection is a very powerful tool
Taking the time to reflect on your day/week/month can play an essential role in evolving personally and professionally. It is so important to define what is working, what is not and make a lifelong practice of acting on these reflections to continue to grow and become stronger. The key elements of reflection to practice are pausing, slowing down and focusing on what is important.
The systems you put in place to meet goals are more important than the goals themselves.Kris Murray
2. Play is the work of childhood
Play is an essential process for children to learn new sets of skills. Play is self-chosen and self-directed, guided by mental rules which provide structure but allow for creativity. However, documenting play is not always quick or simple, but it’s always worthwhile.
When documenting play, try to follow these four steps:
- Discern your audience [What is your goal and purpose? Who are these insights for (parents, administrator, specialists, etc)?]
- Set a time limit (set a few minutes aside each day for documentation and maintain these boundaries)
- Focus on a story [bring in a narrative they can relate to (e.g. dramatic play, sensory play, overarching story)]
- Unpack its depth (bring it back to the basic skill development as much as possible)
- Revisit with a colleague if possible (having a second set of eyes and perspective on documentation is always helpful!)
3. Parent communication drives parent engagement
Parent engagement and connectivity start with communication. Sharing observations, insights, and documentation with parents as much as possible allows them to feel included in their children’s day and build trust and strong relationships.
4. Children will not learn if they are not first safe and loved
No learning can happen if a child’s emotional needs are not met. They have trouble learning from adults that don’t value them. Always check in with a child on their emotional and physical needs before diving into learning.
5. Focus on planning ‘power activities’
Instead of burning yourself out by planning a lot of learning opportunities, focus on really engaging ones that cover multiple developmental domains.
6. Children misbehave because it works
Attention-seeking behavior in children is a relationship-seeking need. When they’re able to get their needs met by misbehaving, it paves a path for the negative behavior to continue to repeat itself. Children need to be empowered and given a vocabulary to understand self-regulation and impulse control. They need to be taught to reflect and determine when they are calm and what they can do to help themselves when they are upset and have unmet needs.
7. There is a big difference in assessing versus understanding children
The assessment of a child’s socioemotional state should never be the goal of an educator. Instead, what we want to understand is how to meet a child where they are at. We want to understand where they are in their development and how they can grow, as opposed to assessing them or comparing them to any arbitrary benchmarks.
8. Leaders need to be in a position to have open ears and use their words to communicate
It is important to give your parents and team members the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t have the answer, then be honest about it. Communication is very important for everyone in a child care setting. Transparency and honesty go a long way when it comes to strong relationships and retention with educators and parents.
9. You can “reclaim” ownership of your daily routine with four simple steps
- Get clear on your long-term and short- term goals
- Be real and realistic with yourself
- Write down these goals and the system changes that will allow you to achieve them
- Make daily commitments to uphold yourself to these standards and focus on slow but steady progress
10. “Be a guide by their side” – Constant Hine
It is important to try to guide your team and children forward while being there alongside them every step of the way. Leaders lead best by example and by showing your team and children you are there for AND with them, you allow them to trust you and follow in the path you are setting.
Watch the Recordings!
Keep the growth and development going by tuning in to the recordings of all of our Early Learning Summit sessions here! We are honored to be able to provide FREE professional development to our community through events like this.
Also, check out our weekly webinar series for more content and learning opportunities!