Refresh your knowledge about ECEC
People working with children need to have a profound understanding of childhood as early years are the foundation for later life. When was the last time you read a book or study related to ECEC?
New studies and research are produced constantly, so it is recommendable for everyone to stay up to date. If you feel like you need to refresh some parts of your basic knowledge about early childhood education and child development, do it.
Lifelong learning is the new black!
Define your pedagogy
Having a well thought pedagogy improves the quality of teaching. Pedagogy in ECEC is involved in everyday actions that becomes alive in different situations during the day and in communication between staff and children. Pedagogy is tied in individual educator’s, as well as the whole staff’s work.
Some of the most important corner stones of pedagogy are:
- Knowledge about ECEC
- Creating diverse and adaptable learning environments
- Sensitive interaction and ability to take children’s opinions and ideas into account
Pedagogical activities are meant to be goal-oriented, but you should remember to be open for changes in your plans.
Child is the center of pedagogical activities and skilful educator can modify teaching accordingly if the plans change. When you pay attention to the way you teach, you also learn important things from the children and how they learn.
Think of your own prejudices, views and opinions about children and ECEC and ponder do they have an affect on your working methods (subconsciously)? What are your pedagogical corner stones?
Invest in your staff
In a child care center you need trustworthy, educated and caring staff around the children. Good and dedicated staff keeps your center going and an inspiring team spirit leads you forward. Children and families sense your good drive, so it is worth investing in.
According to the National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care in Finland, the educators’ goal-oriented and systematic self-assessment is essential for maintaining and developing the quality of early childhood education and care.
Is your staff assessing their teaching and professional development regularly? Have you set professional development objectives for your staff? How are these objectives followed on a personal and center’s management level?
Keep staff meetings regularly and make sure everyone gets to participate.
Every now and then, chat with your staff members one by one and ask for example:
- What are their professional dreams and goals?
- How would they like to develop their professional skills?
- What are their strengths?
By discussing about professional development, you motivate your staff to perform better at work. You can also suggest your staff to keep notes of their teaching and see, what truly are their strengths and weaknesses, and assess those in the next meeting.
Check your center’s curriculum
Every child care center needs guidelines about how to work and guarantee children the best learning possibilities and developmental opportunities possible. Probably, you have a national curriculum to follow and also your kindergarten’s local curriculum – that’s great!
The curriculums and plans include good practices and approaches to teaching, which make ECEC in everyday work successful and goal-oriented. Update your center’s curriculum once a year together with your staff. Modern curriculums can be demanding and following children’s learning challenging.
Your curriculum should have answers for example to these questions:
- What are your centre’s values, principles, goals and areas of learning?
- How is your curriculum used in the center?
- What kind of possibilities are the children getting to participate in pedagogical activities?
Create child’s individual curriculum
It is meaningful to have individual learning plans where each child’s strengths, needs and interests are listed on.
The plan guides the child’s learning and the educators’ planning. The plan helps to find ways to promote each child’s individual development, learning and wellbeing.
The ECEC plan consists of the staff’s, child’s and the family’s observations and views about:
- Child’s wellbeing
- Child’s development
- Child’s learning
- Child’s interaction in a group
A new ECEC plan is drawn up once a year. When assessing the previous plan, think of how did the planned activities, arrangements, learning environments and pedagogy support the child’s learning?
Connect with families in a new level
By collaborating with the families and engaging them in their child’s activities you can build a warm and trusting companionship and increase the parents confidence in their child’s learning and in your center.
You both are interested in the best of the child, so why not to connect and be wiser together!
Think of your current ways of communication and co-operation.
- Is there something that could be improved?
- How are the families involved in your center’s activity?
- Can they follow their child’s learning progress?
- What are the families’ wishes regarding your center’s ways of working?
- Do you have parent’s evenings or other gatherings where families can meet each other?
Think of ways to connect with the families and have them connect with each other too.
Plan and implement pedagogical activities
The aim of pedagogical activities is to promote children’s learning, well-being and transversal competences.
The themes of the activities may emerge from play, current issues or spontaneous situations. Different types of activities supplement one another, and pedagogy is emphasized in all activities.
Children’s ECEC plans, interests and needs are always the starting point for planning the activities. Different learning areas are also used as a basis for the planning.
Think of the following questions when planning pedagogical activities:
- What are the children interested in?
- What do they talk about?
- Which learning areas they should concentrate on?
- What do they like to play?
Documentation, evaluation and development is required for high-quality pedagogical activities. Learning situations, solutions and environments change according to the day, activity and according to the child. (National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care)
Share, show and store information wisely
Nowadays information is scattered all around us. Think of how does your center handle information and would it need some unifying and updating.
- How many ways of communicating do you have? (Eg. phone call, text message, email, note board, notebook, calendar, social media, a software application…)
- Is it stressful needing to serve the customers in various ways?
- Think about it from the families’ perspective – is it easy for them to find the information they need?
- Does everyone stay on the loop of things happening at your center?
- How do you update families about their child’s day and learning?
- Do you share photos of children in unsafe channels?
- How much time in a day does your staff use on non-teaching tasks such as updating logs and attendance records?
Get a habit of Pedagogical documentation
According to Finnish National Core Curriculum for ECEC, pedagogical documentation is a relevant part in planning, implementing, evaluating and developing early childhood education and care.
Documentation contains staff’s, child’s and guardians’ observations, comments and notes about the child’s learning moments via photographs, art work, stories, videos, questions and other documents as such.
Pedagogical documentation gives knowledge about children’s:
- ways of working in a group
The skills that children have already learned become visible through documentation and can be used as a basis for planning the activities.
In quality Early Childhood Education, each child’s learning journey should be documented systematically. Think about your center’s documenting methods:
- How do you collect and store documentation of children’s learning?
- How do children and families get to participate in pedagogical documentation?
Ps. When you have collected meaningful documentation during the term, it is a great idea to compile them in children’s personal portfolios and give the portfolios to families at the end of term. Child portfolio is a beautiful, personal and valuable memory of child’s learning journey during those precious early years.
Learn about Kindiedays Portflio learning →
Draw a schedule
Dreaming is one thing and going for action is another!
Think of the most crucial steps your center should take towards its renewal. Write them down and plan which one is the most important one and so on.
Set a date for example to a lovely Family Coffee Morning or valuable Staff Appraisals Afternoon and stick with it. Making changes always requires work and only the brave ones are up for it.
Keep in mind that times change and often manual pen and paper -based solutions do not support the education of children in a best possible way anymore. Choosing a digital solution is an easily achievable step to renew a major part of your working methods.
A proper digital solution brings joy and inspiration to the whole community around your center, so you don’t have to tackle with the renewal alone!
Think of all the positive outcomes renewing your center will bring to you and stick to those thoughts. Then going through these renewal steps one by one seems easy peasy.
In case you need guidance with the needed changes, book a free Consulative Call with Kindiedays Early Childhood Eduaction specialist!