Home-based Early Learning Program

Added Advantage 

Serving London, Ontario 

The Role of an Educator is endless...

?Setting the stage? for next level of exploration / investigation.

 This really involves rethinking how we plan our program from activity based to material based.

 Tips for Setting the Stage:

  • Re-looking at the materials you offer and thinking of how to use less single use commercialized toys and more open-ended materials from everyday life. (these are often way more cost effective for the program while offering much more versatility and useage not to mention hours of exploration for the growing mind)
  • Adding a ?recipe? book of experiences really helps children learn to co-construct their ideas and build bigger more elaborate creations! (A book of photos of previous work with blocks for example, mosaic pieces, play dough, etc.)
  • Setting aside space for children to explore with all their body ? to play BIG!
  • Planning for ways for children to save their work ? encourages more of an effort to be made!
  • Role-modeling the combining of materials to create cities and even zoos in the classroom!
  • With inspirations from nature but that also feel like home.
  • Look at your environment through the eyes of a child...get down on the floor and reflect on what you see!

Provoking ?I wonder? questions, initiating conversations and assisting in researching answers to their questions.

 The Art of Asking Questions

 Open ended questions are like communication skills in general?to some it comes naturally and others need to work at it. Educational and general ?life? settings have role-modeled to us the art of asking and answering ?testing? style questions that we already know the answers to ? therefore they come very naturally.

 Open-ended questions may therefore take more thought to get into the habit of asking. However when you do not know what the child may answer ? it can be very exciting and insightful as an educator. Open-ended answers give far more information about the child?s views then ?its yellow, quacks and lives in the water??

 

Tips:

  • Practice with your ?I wonder?.?? Doing this opens up the possibilities for wondering why, how, if, what would happen if, etc.?
  • When children ask you ?Can I??? Instead of answering yes or no right away, try ?let?s investigate. What might happen if??? until the child is satisfied with own answer.
  • Before solving someone?s problem, stop and say: ?It looks like you have a problem.?
  • Encourage the children to share their problem then ask the other children ?I wonder how we can solve this problem?? and see where they take you.
  • When introducing a new material, avoid giving children the directions right away, instead ask ?I wonder what we might use this for?? They may have answers you never thought of that are really inspiring.
  • Brainstorm, write everyone?s ideas down.
  • Then you can go back and ask ?I wonder what would happen if??
  • This is a nice time to rule out unsafe ideas for materials without shooting them down immediately giving children a consensus over how materials will be used, respected and stored.

Being reflective in our practices ? how did that go? What can I or we improve on next time?

 

An area that we as educators and caregivers often shy away from; living authentically through open, honest reflection of our actions or experiences.

 

Ensuring we keep abreast of effective practices in Early Childhood Development

As an educator the best service that you can do for yourself, your children and the families you serve is to be active in your own professional development.

  • Access local seminars, workshops and conference offered in your community, network on the web, read new books and articles...keep your mind fresh and open to new ideas.

Advocate for your dreams!

  • Is your place of employment going through the motions but not really offering a quality program? (unfortunately this is something all to common...over time what might have once been a quality program becomes stagnant or educators just go through the motion but have lots their passion) As Educators we need to stop fearing this kind of conflict and advocate for change! Find your voice, in a positive but frank and direct manner, at staff meetings, challenge your co-workers or Supervisor to ask themselves deep reflective questions, revisit and possibly rewrite your centres philosophy and come up with a plan of action to reflect how the vision or philosophy will come alive.
  • Educate others about the important work you are doing and what your goals are...building a strong network in your community to help increase your voice through sharing your documentation, project work and celebrations, distributing monthly or quarterly newsletters, etc.
  • Need a better budget or resources? Organize letter campaigns and spread your message and work to Board of Directors, local newspapers, members of government, etc.
  • Belonging to a professional organization that shares your philosophy can help to make your one voice heard in your local, provincial or federal governments through collective petitions, lobbying and networking!