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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 57 Summer 2014
REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • SUMMER 2014 - ISSUE 57 11 As early childhood educators we understand the importance for children to feel a sense of belonging. Children need to feel secure to engage with new challenges, to grow and develop. We are even guided by a document that has the word 'belonging' in its title, Belonging, Being & Becoming - the Early Years Learning Framework. As educators, we actively seek to create a sense of belonging for our children and for our families. We develop procedures to ensure that we support children as they transition between rooms. We use family interviews, orientation visits, family questionnaires and other conversations and documentation to communicate with families and help us to create a sense of belonging and community. By doing this we are acknowledging that as humans we strive for a connection, a sense of belonging from our very first breath. For many of us, knowing that we are valued by the people that we engage with everyday, whether at home or at work, is a fundamental goal. It left me questioning myself. If a sense of belonging is such an integral part of successful growth and development, then why shouldn't I consider my fellow educators' sense of belonging? This wasn't just a question of whether as educators we were friends, or liked working with each other, but about a connection between us that would positively impact on the program that we delivered together. And for me, as leader within my room, how could I have more intent about this critical element of connection and belonging in my team building process? We began a process of inquiry about our individual ways of being and beliefs about education.This created the opportunity for us all to share and document our ideas and to discuss our passions, goals and preferences for communication and management styles. Both intentions and challenges were set around the content and focus of the program we were going to create with our children and families. Having these to refer back to, throughout the year, helped our room meetings to be meaningful and kept us moving forward. This year I have worked with a wonderful, motivated team of educators who support each other to strive for more within our program and documentation. We have had a few moments where we have had to revisit our initial intentions and discuss our different ways of being, and to modify our behaviours but, for a group of educators of varying ages and experiences, we are a cohesive team that has a strong sense of belonging, pride and commitment to our program. Can you say the same for your team? This is the challenge - to be more mindful about how we create our teams of educators within a service. This is an invitation for you to reflect on your own team. Does your team really feel like a team? What steps can you take to connect your team and discover your potential together? Meghan Woods Early Childhood Teacher Gumnut Cottage Childcare Centre Macquarie University BELONGING: exploring values to support the creation of cohesive teams of educators When asked to lead a team of educators on a part time basis (working three days a week), I was excited to find out who I'd be working with. My team included one 20 year old educator with 3 years experience, and another educator in her 40's and with over 10 years experience. Along with excitement I wondered how I was going to facilitate the creation of a community of learners and a program that met all of our needs and would continue to evolve on days when I wasn't present.
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015