Thursday, July 26, 2012

100

This is my 100th post. Now for some of you that might not sound like much of an achievement. Why there are bloggers out there posting once a day or even more and they've been doing it for years. Many of them are undoubtedly into the thousands when it comes to number of posts. But this isn't about them, it's about me me me.


What is probably most astounding about this milestone, to me at any rate, is that I actually stumbled into blogging. It was something I never planned to do. The original idea for this site was to create a place to share information about males in early childhood for those wanting some guidance, reassurance or simple facts, whether they be male or female. Now there is still an element of that within this site. Take a look through the menu of pages listed on the right hand side towards the bottom and you'll find articles, sites and other resources about men working with young children.

There was a network group that I was a part of which physically met regularly in the Newcastle area of NSW to discuss a range of issues. This group was started by Craig d'Arcy and through his hard work and endless efforts it was able to achieve some amazing things. Highlights included a summit held in 2006 which attracted men from around Australia and even New Zealand, and the Males in Early Childhood Education World Forum in Hawaii in 2008 which Craig was a presenter and part of the organising team.

However, sadly after Craig's departure from the group to pursue other ventures the meetings became less frequent and fewer men attended. An attempt to resurrect it lasted only briefly and the hope was that this site would become its new home.
Well as you can see that didn't eventuate so I began blogging. Being a complete novice I stumbled my way around the blogosphere, taking inspiration from more established and highly regarded bloggers. That formula seemed to work, although when I look back now it was more of my version of what others were doing rather than a true sense of me or the Males cause.

Then events in my life meant that I changed the direction my blogging would take. A more honest and true account of the world around me through the eyes of a male early childhood educator. Gone are the photos, the catchy phrases and the drive to be like everyone else. For some it makes this site less enticing and it seems to have less to offer on the surface. However, for anyone passionate about the lives of young children and those who care for them I hope that there is plenty to keep you engaged.

The numbers would indicate that the popularity of this blog is wavering, but that is no longer important to me. Being true to myself is. If no-one ever read this blog again I would, of course be disappointed. Hell, I'd be guttered! But it wouldn't matter too much to me in the long run as I can only do what I believe is right. The rest my dear reader is up to you.
On a final note, I am so glad I stumbled into this. I have discovered some amazing bloggers who I network with frequently, which adds another dimension to my personal and professional development. More importantly though is that I have made some truly wonderful friends. People who have filled my heart with love, hope and joy. I will not embarrass any of them by naming them here. I'm pretty sure most of them know I mean them anyway. Let's just finish off by saying that I am a far richer man for embarking on this journey and I would like to thank every single one of you who have ever taken the time to visit this site for doing so. You made my day when you did.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inspired EC

Inspired EC is an early childhood consultancy service based in Newcastle, NSW. Visit their website here to discover all that they have to offer. These include conferences, workshops, tours of inspiring early childhood services, resources for sale such as mini playscapes, playground renovations and much more.

Two of the exciting events coming up are a workshop on engaging boys and risky pay with the wonderful Niki Buchan from Mindstretchers presenting.

NIKI BUCHAN from MINDSTRETCHERS - Engaging Boys and Risky Play

ONLY $80 per session or $147 for full day (includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)

Venue – Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia
412 Sandgate Rd
Shortland NSW 2307
Austral
ia

  "Imagine a world where the lines were harsh and unyielding, the textures were consistent and variation is unheard of. Does it inspire you? Now imagine a place where the carpet changes every day, the ceiling is a myriad of different colours, light, shadow and movement. The feelings and movement completely surround you, sometimes breezy, sometimes cold, others warm. Unexpected wonders fly by, sometimes full of colour and sometimes full of noise and movement. If we really want children to thrive we need to let their connection to nature nurture them." - Claire Warden

Friday 27TH July 2012 - 9.15am – 3.15pm

9.15 – 12.00 session - ENGAGING BOYS

Why do boys feel the need to create weapons, look for challenge and risk and how can we support this need in a motivational learning environment. This inspirational training course will explore how to create positive learning spaces that enable kinaesthetic children to thrive both indoors and outdoors.

12.15-1.15pm  Lunch

1.15pm – 3.30pm session - RISKY PLAY

Risk it - is a training course to support practitioners in creating positive learning environment that enable kinaesthetic children to thrive. Action research has shown that the well being and involvement of children and in particular boys increases with the introduction of creative, risky and challenging opportunities. In this session we will demonstrate how you can support children to be self risk assessors who are resilient and thoughtful about their own personal safety, and who can make choices about what risks to take.
Also, there is a conference occurring in late October with an astounding line up of presenters, headlined by Claire Warden. This is tackling the problem of wrapping young children in cotton wool by encouraging risk in children's lives.
 

Both of these events are happening in Newcastle, NSW. This is well worth the trip from those elsewhere in NSW, interstate or even overseas.
Besides the direct benefits of both of these events, it will also be an excellent opportunity to meet up with other early childhood professionals. I myself plan to catch up with a number of fellow bloggers, just like I did with Candy Lawrence a couple of posts ago.

So come along, I'd love to catch up with you too. I can't make it to the workshop, but will definitely be there both days of the conference.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Children are the Best Judges

Many of us receive all sorts of feedback from other adults. Our parents, spouses/partners, friends, colleagues, parents of the children we care for and other professionals are all likely to provide us with their opinion of how we are performing as a professional and individual. Some of this can be quite constructive criticism, yet there is also examples of people finding fault because what they witness or are told about flies in the face of their own philosophy, whether it be personal or professional.

Over the years I have been on the receiving end of some quite petty complaints from all sources. When coming from fellow professionals I find it difficult to comprehend that these people can actually be so unprofessional. On the other hand, negative feedback from families of children is a little easier to digest, even if it hurts just as much, as they are coming from a completely different perspective that is part of the complete make up of the child.

It must also be said that much of the feedback I have received that has been less than favourable has been presented in a manner that is constructive and enables me to further develop myself as an early childhood educator. After all, feedback, both good and bad, is vital if we are to grow and develop effectively.


Now the reason I am writing about this is that I recently received some fantastic positive feedback from the best sources, children. Well actually it was the parents personally giving me the feedback, but the children were the sources. Several parents over the past few weeks have commented how their children continually talk about how much they miss me and liked having me as their teacher.


I still work indirectly with some of these children as they are simply in a different room to me at the moment while others have moved onto school, attended a centre I use to work at or have left our service for one reason or another. For those still within our service there is a real possibility that I will again become their teacher. This would open up the opportunity for our relationships to resume and develop even further.

Now many people say children are the harshest critics and the best judges of character. In many ways I agree with that statement which is why such feedback means so much to me. it's one of the reasons that this job is so worthwhile. Whenever I have self-doubt or am second guessing whether what I am doing is effective all I need do is recall moments such as those above to restore my confidence and self-worth.

I believe in myself because these little human beings believe in me. It's as simple as that. Oh, and my family believes in me too.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2 Great Minds Meet At Last

I have had the pleasure and privilege to connect with so many wonderful people via blogging, social media and other areas of the Internet. Networking with professionals, parents and community minded folk has helped me further develop as an educator and as an individual.

What's even better is that many of these people I now count as very dear friends. We support one another through good times and bad. We offer feedback and advice. We share, care and despair together. We laugh, love and live together. The one regret is that most of these friends remain enigmas to me as I have not yet met them face to face.


Well today that changed a little. Today I finally got to meet Candy Lawrence from Aunt Annie's Childcare in person. We had a great time chatting over lunch, sharing stories and the like. The amazing thing is that our conversations tended to follow a similar path to those we have online. I guess that indicates that our friendship transcends distance. However, it was still lovely to meet the person I have connected so well with.

Thank you for a lovely day Candy. Now I only need to repeat this experience with my other online networking friends.