SEEKERS Monthly Newsletter
COMMITMENT OF EARLY YEARS EDUCATORS
OTHER STORIES Travelling The World Protecting The Environment Bring on the sharing spirit of Christmas
Nov 2017 • Issue 03 • Volume 01
THE COMMITMENT OF EARLY YEARS EDUCATORS BY JANET HARVELL SENIOR LECTURER IN CENTRE FOR CHILDREN & FAMILIES , INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION AND COURSE LEADER - FDA EARLY YEARS FLEXIBLE AND DISTRIBUTED LEARNING- UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER.
My journey as an early years professional/educator/teacher began 25 years ago when I had my own children and became involved in the preschool movement. It was at this time that the international community was beginning to recognise the importance of the early years and the value of providing quality care and education for the very youngest of our citizens. In the UK this heralded new qualifications, including degree programmes. Now, as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Worcester, I have been, and still am, privileged to work with colleagues and students who are motivated and passionate about working with children, developing their skill base and advancing their own continuing professional development. They have a secure knowledge and understanding of how children learn and develop, and are committed to improving children’s outcomes and fostering an excitement of learning in them. Historically, early years workers have been under-valued and poorly paid, seen more as someone who is there to keep children safe and provide for physical needs. Instead this is a role that requires staff to have a secure knowledge and understanding of how child learn and develop, and use this effectively to provide a safe, caring, stimulating, exciting and nurturing environment.
Over the last 17 years, the UK has seen the development of a more professional workforce, with an improved qualification framework, yet this has not resulted in improved salaries. Research continues to recognise the importance of the very early years in providing the secure foundations necessary to enable children to flourish. It is the fundamental right of every child to learn and develop to their full potential, and yet investment in the early years is still under-funded when compared to compulsory education. Currently, many students on the early years degree programmes are practising Early Years professionals with full time jobs in early years settings â€“ many with families and children of their own â€“ who take on the additional pressure of study. Nevertheless, students continue to enrol on degree programmes and accept the substantial fees that this incurs. At the heart of this is the desire to learn more and improve their practice as they engage in reading and research, share their thoughts and ideas, and reflect on their own provision and its effectiveness in meeting the needs of the families and children that attend their settings. There is a burning desire to learn and develop existing provision within their settings, with the intention of supporting children to achieve the best that they can, whilst providing them with exceptional learning experiences. At the end of the course students reflect on the increased confidence they have gained, and continue to develop and improve practice in their settings. Despite this improved knowledge and understanding, in the UK the Early Years is not a graduate-led profession and so most students will continue in their job roles with no additional [financial] recognition for the skills that a degree suggests. The UK is not isolated in this situation and many countries have similar issues around professional recognition and remuneration; and it does not go unnoticed that this is a profession that is significantly dominated by women. Nevertheless, it was heartening to attend a recent international conference in Bologna where 1400 dedicated early years professionals from across the five continents shared their research, and engaged in discussion which reinforced the global commitment of early years workers.
g n i l l e v a r T ! d l r o w e th
In our Montessori classroom children have the opportunity to travel the world. Whenever children have the opportunity of travelling with their parents we ask them to bring a flag from their trip. They then correspond the country with special places they visited. We've had many amazing adventures on these travels. Children also love listening to the events and especially the plane rides!Â
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT At Seekers we are very conscious of protecting our beautiful environment. Children love watching the birds, squirrels and insects who visit us regularly. They especially are in awe of the resident tortoises on their quiet morning walks. We work extensively to keep the awareness active and curious.
Bring on the sharing spirit of Christmas! Help children understand how privileged they are. A roof over their head, meals on demand/request and the umpteen number of wants and needs met by parents because of unconditional love. Every year around this time take a hard look at the family clothes. Help children see how another can make use of nearly new clothes. There are families in the local areas who aren't into begging.Not because of pride but because they are making do with what's available. These people are deserving. Cook a dish together with your kids and visit senior citizens who live alone. Arrange a social responsibility effort in your neighborhood involving children. Note: Children need good role models. By extending your strength towards a cause they, in turn, will learn to take up a cause as they progress in life.Â Â
SHOULD PRESCHOOL CHILDREN BE EXPOSED TO THE TOPIC OF SEX EDUCATION? Our question on theÂ closed group proved we should. Please look out for public forums in connection with this. If you would like to be a part of the discussion we'd love to know your views.
GOT ANY QUESTIONS? We would love to answer your questions on parenting and early childhood education, Send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising inquiries email email@example.com
SPEAK TO US We encourage parents to observe a working classroom prior to enrollments. This will help you understand our commitment. Our outreach program consists of counseling for parents and children from 10-15.
CONTACT US To visit us, arrange for counselling or for observations please call our hotline or email us directly. HOTLINE 0777 117090 EMAIL INFO@SEEKERS.LK 27/10, Samudrasanna Place , Mount Lavinia www.seekers.lk
A monthly publication on early childhood education and parenting by Seekers Montessori, Sri Lanka