October 2021 newsletter
Early learning and child care
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?
Exploring our roots
Children often have dreams of what they want to be – dreams rooted in wonderment, curiosity and experience. From their favourite storybook character to their favourite person, a child’s dreams of what they can become is limited only by imagination.
The same holds true as we grow over our lifetime. Who we become is limited only by imagination.
To understand who we want to be, we must first understand who we are. Our experiences and our history are the roots of who we are today.
Take a moment to think about who you are today as an Early Learning Professional.
What experiences have shaped the person you have become?
Now think about who you want to be. How do you want to grow as an Early Childhood Educator?
Growing the early learning field
The field of early childhood education is in a time of rapid change. The current global pandemic has shown Canadians and the world just how important Early Learning Professionals and their places of work are, not just for children and families, but for all of society. Together we are creating the future of early learning in the Yukon.
Our vision of the child connects us. Children connect families, communities, and cultures. They also connect us with our past, present and future. Children are strong, capable, creative beings with limitless potential, connecting society in powerful ways. So too are the professionals working in early learning and child care.
Each day, early learning professionals create connections that last a lifetime. With children, with families and with each other. Together we are growing a strong community. We are growing Yukoners. We are creating the future of the Yukon.
What future can you see?
"A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more."
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Do you remember collecting treasures as a child? Filling buckets full of shells? Filling pockets full of rocks to gift to the special people in your life? Do you remember playing with sticks? Building forts? Having sword fights? Do you remember how that felt?
There is a special kind of power to be found in the natural world. Nature has the power to connect us with the greatness of life outside of ourselves but even more power to connect us with all of our hidden parts. Who we used to be, who we are and who we hope to become.
One of the superpowers of an early childhood educator is the ability to help children discover a strong sense of who they are. Connecting children with the natural world is one of the best ways to do this.
Connecting with nature can look like walks to the park, treasure hunts outside or collecting treasures in the woods. It can look like incorporating natural materials in block play centers, creating art with natural materials and exploring natural phenomenon.
How will you help children connect with nature today?
"When a child gives you a gift, even if it’s a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude. It may be the only thing they had to give and they have chosen to give it to you."
Activity Idea: Take children on a nature walk to collect natural items such as rocks, pine cones and sticks.
- How can you collaborate with children to use and display the natural items you gather together?
- How can your program expand children’s play with a provocation or invitation for children to create and engage with their environment
- How can these materials be used and included in all the areas of the program? How can they be included in the reading space, the block center, the dramatic play area?
There are many different ways to connect with the natural world using loose parts.
Materials: rocks, sticks, pine cones, leaves, bark, feathers, moss, soil, sand, water, shells, seeds
- Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
- Mattland by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert
- Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in young Children by Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky
"Critical reflection involves thinking carefully about fundamental beliefs that shape our senses of self and how we view the world”
(B.C. Early Learning Framework, 2019 , p.47)
Consider these reflective questions:
- How do these materials invite joyful engagement for children?
- Do the children have opportunities to engage with objects and materials in unusual or surprising ways?
- How could I experiment with this idea?
Document your own learning, exploring and growing. Start a journal where you can begin to answer some of these reflective questions. Over time, you will be able to see how you have changed as an Early Childhood Educator.