Friday, 29 December 2017

Fairy Dust Teaching Webinar: Atelier Set Up

Fairy Dust Teaching offered this webinar as a bonus because I signed up for their Winter Conference. I was very excited when I received the email as the children in my class are very drawn to art and are incredibly creative. Supplying materials to encourage the development of creative representation that are also safe to make accessible to the younger infant students can be a challenge; I'm excited to tackle creating a better atelier space in my classroom.


After participating in this webinar I have spent some time reflecting on the idea that I must be intentional in how I set up the classroom and present both art materials and other materials. I must be aware of what the classroom is calling the children to do; what feelings of competency is my set up supporting? "Children thrive in indoor and outdoor spaces that invite them to investigate, imagine, think, create, solve problems, and make meaning from their experiences – especially when the spaces contain interesting and complex open-ended materials that children can use in many ways." (How Does Learning Happen? Page 20)

"If you put things out of reach or behind curtains where they can't touch, what does that tell a child?"

This question from the webinar was very powerful and spoke to me deeply. I think that for some educators it can be difficult to allow children to have access to that many art materials independently; however giving the children the opportunity to work with them demonstrates your trust and respect for the children in your care. I believe each of the children in my class are competent and capable individuals (How Does Learning Happen?Page 6); I want to ensure that the materials in my class encourage the children's explorations and express that I believe that they are skillful and curious.


While the little ones are off on winter break I'm hoping to tackle the "Atelier" area of our classroom to make it more inviting and beautiful. I want to include safe materials (as they may be mouthed by my younger students) such as fresh markers, natural collage materials and glue, paints, brushes, clay, and mats so that the children can define their work areas.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Self Assessment Tool - Part 2 - Reviewing the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

Standard I: Caring and Responsive Relationships 

(x) I have read Standard I: A – C on pages 8-9 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. 

Identify your strengths and any areas for growth, leadership development or professional learning interests from Standard I. Reference the specific standards (e.g. Standard I: C.4).

Building positive relationships with children, families, and other professionals in the field of Early Childhood Education is a fundamental part of my core professional values. I believe these relationships of mutual trust and cooperation are absolutely necessary if a Registered Early Childhood Educator wishes to demonstrate high quality practice.

I feel that as an educator I excel at connecting with children, developing caring and nurturing relationships which support their growth across the spectrum of development. I would love to continue to hone these skills as these relationships are essential for young children. (B. 2)

I want to ensure that I am responsive, caring and supportive of other professionals in my field. I find that sometimes in the whirl and business of the day it is hard to dedicate time to supporting other educators. I feel that one of the most important ways to learn is from each other and I hope to develop communication strategies to work more effectively and collaboratively with other professionals (C. 6)

Standard II: Curriculum and Pedagogy

(x) I have read Standard II: A – C on pages 10-11 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Identify your strengths and any areas for growth, leadership development or professional learning interests from Standard II. Reference the specific standards (e.g. Standard II: B.3).

I am thankful that as an educator I have always worked within child-centred, play based programs. It has assisted me in building a strong base to work from as a co-learner in the early childhood classroom. I am passionate about implementing a child-directed and inquiry based program driven by current knowledge of child development and learning theories.

I would like to take some time to further discover the intricacies of the How Does Learning Happen document as this will assist in guiding the children in their learning (B. 3) and in creating pedagogical documentation to communicate that learning with families. (C. 7)

Standard III: Safety, Health and Well-Being in the Learning Environment 

(x) I have read Standard III: A – C on pages 12-13 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. 

Identify your strengths and any areas for growth, leadership development or professional

I love the indoor learning space that I have created at Red River Early Learning Centre. I have incorporated loose parts into our space that are safe for my young infant students as well as engaging for my preschool and school age students. These materials have provided so many amazing opportunities for the children to explore in a variety of creative ways. I have also utilised adaptive materials to ensure that the youngest students are included in activities such as a high chair at table height so my littlest child can work with the oldest ones at the art table.  I would like to continue to implement strategies to include children of various levels of development and abilities by making adaptations to the environment with the support of other colleagues (C. 4)

I include pictures of the children in the environment as well as their artwork to foster a sense of belonging for each child in the class. Books, materials, dolls, and more are presented in different areas of the classroom to reflect the diverse cultures, family structures, and individuals in our community. My goal is to create a warm and welcoming space where each family and child feels valued, I will continue to research methods to further develop inclusiveness within my program and reach out to colleagues and families for support in this journey (C. 1)

Standard IV: Professionalism and Leadership

(x) I have read Standard IV: A – C on pages 14-15 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Identify your strengths and any areas for growth, leadership development or professional learning interests from Standard IV. Reference the specific standards (e.g. Standard IV: C.7).

It is highly important to me to demonstrate professionalism as a Registered Early Childhood Educator and as an Independent Home Child Care Provider. I have acted as a leader in my field and as a resource for other home child care providers seeking information regarding current legislation that guides professionals in the field (B. 1) I have also been a mentor for new educators in the field, answering questions and providing support when required (C. 7)

My main goal in this area is to build and strengthen my partnerships with the community and work to establish collaborative relationships with members of other professions in order to access their unique expertise (C. 3) as I feel this would be hugely beneficial to the children and families that I work with.

Standard V: Professional Boundaries, Dual Relationships and Conflicts of Interest 

(x) I have read Standard V: A – C on pages 16-18 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. 

Identify your strengths and any areas for growth, leadership development or professional learning interests from Standard V. Reference the specific standards (e.g. Standard V: C.6). 

I believe that it is very important to have professional boundaries and strive to maintain them in relationships with clients and other professionals (Standard V: B. 1) while also cultivating communication and transparency in my practice. I am aware of what constitutes a conflict of interest and ensure that these situations are managed appropriately and professionally (Standard V: B. 7)

Standard VI: Confidentiality, Release of Information and Duty to Report 

(x)I have read Standard VI: A – C on pages 19-20 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. 

Identify your strengths and any areas for growth, leadership development or professional learning interests from Standard VI. Reference the specific standards (e.g. Standard VI: C.2). 

Thankfully I have never really had any issues arise during my career that I have been required to report. However, I feel it is important to sharpen my knowledge in regards to the Child and Family Services Act in order to continue to provide the best support for children and families in my program, so I will set aside some time to read it over again as part of my professional development (B. 5)

Self-Assessment Tool - Part 1 - Reflection Questions

1. Reflect on your practice and think broadly about what impacts your work

Brainstorm and make a list of things that impact your work.

  • Child Care and Early Years Act Regulations relating to independent home child care.
  • Developing supportive and collaborative relationships with families.
  • Creating a classroom environment that acts as a "third teacher" (Reggio Educational Philosophy).
  • Implementing programming for a multi-age class. 
  • Developing creative invitations to learn.
  • Networking with colleagues as an independent child care provider.

2. Think about the role of others in your professional practice. How do you seek, offer and consider feedback from others? What have you learned from others? What do others learn from you?

Working as an independent home child care provider I don't have the opportunity to interact in person with colleagues every day. My networking has to be very intentional as I set aside time in my day to speak to other professionals through messenger or in child care provider forums regarding their struggles and my own relating to implementing a quality program.
I communicate with parents every day through HiMama; allowing them a window in to our program and keeping them up to date on their child's daily activities. Parents are able to give me active feedback through the app as the day progresses. I also maintain a blog of learning stories (Red River Learning Stories) and invite parent input.
Comments from parents have shown me areas where my program really shines and also places I can improve in order to better meet the needs of families and children.
During my career I have learned from other professionals in the field how to effectively link concepts to experiences through playful learning every day and that the best way to manage a classroom is to control the environment. I like to think that I pass these two very important lessons on as others observe my program on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

3. Based on your professional practice and notes above, what additional knowledge, skills or resources do you need to support your strengths, areas for growth, leadership development or professional learning interests?

  • Dedicate time to interact with colleagues personally; whether it is a chat over coffee (or perhaps even over skype?)
  • Observe the business social media pages of other home child care providers to seek inspiration to implement within my own program (such as Fairy Dust Teaching).
  • Create detailed posts regarding my own activities, program plans, and excursions to share with other educators.
  • Continue to improve methods of implementing programming effectively for children of varying ages and skill levels.
  • Attend professional development to further understand the intricacies of the Child Care and Early Years Act as it applies to both home child care and institutional care.
  • Read books about implementing play based and nature based learning. Check out webinars and other professional development on the same topic.
  • Implement methods to include parents in our program in a variety of ways.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Professional Development Training (Before CPL)

Even before the CPL Professional Learning Portfolio was implemented by the College of Early Childhood Educators I attended a number of professional development training sessions to ensure that my educational strategies remained current in the classroom.

Acorn Collaborative: Video Documentation 04/28/2007
Personal and Professional Leadership 06/27/2007
Providers Helping Providers Conference: Managing Misbehaviour/Little Hands Talking 11/03/2007
I Am Clay Workshop 11/07/2007
Toddler Art Studio 01/09/2008
Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum 02/09/2008
Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day 06/19/2008
Rock and Roll Recharge: Stress Mess/Kinderscience 02/21/2009
Supporting the Halton Community 03/30/2009
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Brain Workshop 02/24/2011
Sexualized Behaviour in Children 09/13/2011
ASQ-3 and Social Development Handbook Training 2011
Emergent Curriculum Series 10/01/2011
Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Training 07/19/2011
Identifying and Extending Children's Learning 09/18/2012
Caring for the Caregiver: Compassion Fatigue 10/09/2012
RIRO Resiliency Skills Training 02/21/2012
Emergent Practice with Infants and Toddlers 05/29/2012
Playful Inquiry-Based Learning 06/19/2012
Machines: A Perfect Metaphor for Emergent Curriculum 05/12/2012
Pascal's Vision 03/23/2013
Technology and Innovative Ideas in the Classroom 03/23/2013
CPI: Sharing Strategies (Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Program) 10/02/2013
Beginning ASL 07/13/2013
Home Childcare Network 03/13/2014
Humane Education 04/14/2014
Let's Open the Doors: Turning Curriculum Inside Out 04/16/2014
Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes 03/07/2015
Constructivist Approach to Early Learning 03/07/2015
Invitation to Play and Learn 10/10/2015
The Importance of Early Experiences 10/10/2015
How Playing is School Readiness 10/10/2015
Family Engagement 04/20/2016
Why Infant Mental Health Experts Say Sensitive Care and Play Trump Early Academics 04/27/2016

2018 Art Auction

This year my home child care program and Faery Childcare collaborated to run an art auction with the little ones in our classes. The childre...