Connection, Collaboration and Communication: The Educational Leader Role in a Team Context
The role of the educational leader is vital in the culture of a service, and it isn't just the educational leader's responsibility. This session is designed for teams, supporting all team members to understand their role in relation to the educational leaders role. Often we hear of a lack of understanding about the EL role: Why are they checking my programming? What are they doing with their time 'off the floor'? This session will shine a light on the importance of the role and support the team to develop a clear vision for how it will be implemented within their service in authentic, meaningful ways. Attendees will leave with practical strategies for effective communication and collaboration and perhaps a new found appreciation for the role.
Understanding Personalities: Adults
We are all different. We have had different life experiences that shape who we are. We have different preferences and different ways of learning and being in the world. These differences should be celebrated, but if we are not first able to identify these differences, the celebrating is challenging. In 2013 we were introduced to the concept of personality types as espoused by Florence Littauer. This changed the way we worked as a team. In this session, we want to share exactly how it changed! We will explore the four key personality types, look at the concept of introverts, extroverts and ambiverts and the impact that these differences can have on the way we work, both as individuals and as part of a team. During the session, participants will complete a profile quiz to discover their personality type and be given actionable strategies for successful communication, connection and practice, based on their personality type. This is a brilliant session for learning more about yourself, your team and also - as an added bonus - how this understanding can support you to build more meaningful relationships with families in your service.
There's a saying about having or needing eyes in the back of your head. The implication being that to keep children 'safe' or 'out of mischief' we need to have our eyes on them at all times. While supervision is a must for early education and care services, it is crucial that we look beyond the ability to see everyone at the same time! Effective supervision ensures that children are not in danger while encouraging opportunities for risk taking, exploration and connection. During the session, we will discuss regulatory requirements, what effective and ineffective supervision looks like, the impact of the physical environment and the importance of interaction and involvement. We will also troubleshoot the specific challenges of the service - supporting you to implement strategies that enhance supervision, while also respecting children's right to privacy and their right to engage in somewhat risky or challenging play. Attendees will leave feeling more confident in their role in keeping children safe in the service.
Sustainability: More than a Worm Farm!
Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can't expect them to help protect and care for it. - David Suzuki. At the heart of sustainability lies connection. While worm farms, recycling and vegetable gardens are positive steps, they are but a small aspect of raising awareness of sustainability with young children. Throughout this session, participants are encouraged to consider the role of a connection to nature in embedded sustainable practice. While looking at practical ways for services to be more sustainable, we will share the importance of the early years for developing lifelong capacity as global citizens. Element 3.2.3 of the National Quality Standard says 'the service cares for the environment and supports children to become environmentally responsible.' This session will motivate educators to do precisely that, in a way that is authentic and meaningful for their unique context and community.
Build Your Bush Skills
Are you spending time in nature with children? Want to further develop your own skills to support the play and learning of the children? We are delighted to introduce a new, hands-on session for educators. Attendees will have the opportunity to venture into the bush and learn some key skills that they can use in their nature pedagogy, including: - Rope/Knot Tying - Whittling - Fire Safety - Bush First Aid and Safety Tips. Throughout the session we will talk about the underlying approach to working with children in natural, wild spaces. The relaxed, hands-on nature of the session lends itself to deep conversation and reflective thinking. Each attendee will receive a kit to support them to take their new found skills back to their service.
What's So Special About the Outdoors?
Have you ever watched a child running, rolling, digging and climbing? Perhaps you smile, remembering with nostalgia your own experiences as a child, outdoors. Perhaps you worry that danger my strike, or that the space is too risky? Perhaps you feel challenged to explain how this free, exploratory play in outdoor environments support children's learning and development? This session will tap into all of those feelings, as we explore the importance of childhood memory development, as well as the importance of outdoor play. Through group discussions and practical stories and examples, attendees will unpack the challenges of outdoor play, the value of long periods of time outdoors and the practicalities for engaging with children in outdoor environments in meaningful ways.
Exploring Art Through Nature
Have you ever looked at a leaf and wondered 'what would you call that shade of green'? Perhaps you are inspired by the shapes of the petals in various flowers or the patterns on bark. Nature provides a world of opportunities for children (and adults) to explore in creative ways. In this practical, hands on session we will explore concepts and experiences such as: transient art, mandala making, weaving, creating natural paints and dyes, natural brushes and collage materials and so much more. Come prepared to create!
Dirt Between Their Toes: Planning, observing and documenting outdoor play with infants
Leaves crunch under crawling knees while a passing bird captures the attention of an infant sprawled on a rug. Sand passes through the fingers and a little one squeals as an educator rolls a large ball across the grass. Sounds idyllic right? Being outdoors with infants should be idyllic. It should be a rich, engaging and sensorial experience. In this session, participants will deepen their understanding of the developmental benefits (including physical development, emotional wellbeing and sensory integration) for babies, of outdoor play in inspiring environments. We will explore the key elements to programming for babies, from planning to observing and documentation. This engaging session will empower educators to provide environments where infants thrive; to deepen their connection with the children in their care; and to find joy in the magical moments of outdoor play with infants.
Loving Loose Parts
The opportunities that arise during loose parts play are endless. And yet, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin and there may be endless questions: Where do I source materials? How do I keep children safe? How do I explain to parents why children are playing with a bunch of ropes, tyres and wood? Where do I store it all? This session answers all of those questions, and others you might not even know you have! Unpacking the history of Loose Parts Play (including the theory of loose parts and the concept of adventure playgrounds) and using practical examples, educators will build their confidence in introducing, supporting and extending this type of play within their setting.
Seeing the Magic in the Moment: Programming for Babies
So often we hear educators say “programming for babies is really difficult”, but it doesn't need to be! This workshop will inspire educators to see the magic in the everyday moments in the lives of babies and to use these as the catalyst for quality environments and programs. When we have a deep understanding of the way in which babies develop and play, we strengthen our ability to program for them. During this session, educators will review key research related to infant development, will explore the ways in which infants make sense of the world and look at practical ways in which they can observe, document and plan within their infant spaces.
Words Are Wonderful
We've all experienced children who start talking early (and never seem to stop!) and children who hold out a little longer than expected. As we know, with all development, children develop language and literacy skills at different rates. The disturbing trend of a downward push of academics into the early childhood years has many educators questioning how they engage children in language and literacy. Phonics programs and structured 'literacy learning' are seeping their way into early education and care programs, research indicates that there are far more effective ways of supporting language and literacy development - through play! During this session, we will explore: The development stages of language Potential barriers to language development Environments, routines, practices and programs that support the development of language and early literacy skills Talking to families about language and literacy development Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of children's language and literacy development, as well as practical ideas to enhance their practice.
Connecting with Communities Through Excursions
Exploring the local community offers valuable opportunities to children, yet can sometimes feel overwhelming or challenging for services and educators. This session will arm educators with the confidence to get out of their service and into the wider community, as they gain a thorough understanding of the regulations and requirements for excursions, as well as practical strategies (including the use of Benefit Risk Assessments and our Excursions Made Easy Toolkit). We will discuss opportunities within your local community and consider the value of creating community connections. Attendees will leave the session feeling empowered to 'get out and about' with children.
Bringing STEM to Life
Tinkering with tools, watching the weather, block construction and sand play might all seem like pretty ordinary moments in the life of a child. Yet, in these ordinary moments, an abundance of discovery, learning and development takes place. Using examples from quality services, this session will empower educators to identify STEM learning in play and to recognise that learning does not occur in isolation. The use of STEM intertwines the important concepts of science, technology, engineering and math. This session explores the origins and purpose of STEM and will support educators to discover authentic ways to embed STEM in their classrooms, programs and practice.
Does your team find it difficult to reflect? So often we hear: 'I don't know what I am supposed to reflect on?' or 'how do we know if we are doing enough?' It is crucial, as professionals, that we are able to critically reflect, not only on our programs, but our practices, pedagogy and environments. But, reflective practice is more than just asking and answering questions - it should be a practice that we engage in not because we have to, but because it enhances our thinking, and our ways of working with children. Educators will leave this session with a deeper understanding of the value of reflective practice, and strategies to make it a daily part of their role. We will share practical tips for overcoming challenges such as time and differing educator philosophies.
Learning Through Play
Our Early Childhood community is becoming stronger and more passionate about advocating for children's rights to play based learning. As a profession we know that this is the best way for young children to learn and as professionals we need to be able to support other adults in a child's life to understand and respect play based learning as well. This session will unpack the research and support for play based learning. It will empower Educators to see the learning happening in play while also exploring different ways to advocate for this essential opportunity for children through different forms of communication.
Supporting Under 3's Through Discovery Play
Babies and Toddlers learn through discovery. As they explore the world around them, they make connections and create understandings. Sometimes during this process they do things that drive us crazy (such as pulling all of the blocks off the shelf or tipping out baskets of toys or throwing things!) By understanding and facilitating discovery play in meaningful and authentic ways, we provide under 3’s with the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge and make sense of the world. In this session, attendees will learn about schemas - what are they, why are they important and how do I plan with them in mind? We will also explore the concept of treasure baskets and heuristic play, as well as the importance of sensory play for infants and toddlers. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the way in which infants and toddlers play and practical strategies and ideas for supporting that play in their program and environments.
Engaging Environments for Toddlers
The way in which toddlers play and explore their world is unique, and so, the environments in which they play should reflect that. Environments are more than physical aesthetics. While we of course want our spaces to be visually appealing, first and foremost they need to be responsive to the way in which children play. In this session, we will explore the specific role of schema in the play of toddlers, and discuss how our environment can be designed to facilitate this. Through practical, high quality examples, we will consider the impact of the physical environment on play and well-being, what makes an environment work - both indoors and outdoors, and reflect on changes we can make to facilitate this.
Inspiring Artists: Environments, materials and interactions to support children's visual art
Have you ever tried to draw with a pencil that keeps breaking? Or perhaps you have fought with a glue stick that refuses to stick anything together? The Materials and environments that we provide for children to explore visual arts are crucial to their feelings of satisfaction and to the release of creativity! Access to a qualified art educator in every service would be amazing, but the reality is, that most educators have little to no specific art training. Does that mean the children in our care will miss out on opportunities? Absolutely not! During the session, we will explore practical ways in which we can provide opportunities and environments for visual art. Educators will learn about the developmental benefits of visual arts and the difference between process and product based art. This inspiring session will have educators clamouring to return to their work with children, filled with new ideas and strategies for supporting creativity and exploration.
The session was extremely well received and thoroughly engaging….thank you Nicole!! Our educators gained many new insights and ideas for planning and facilitating positive relationships with our 0-3 children. There was so much to take away and implement, very inspiring and motivational all round.Catherine - Cameron Park Early Learning Centre, NSW