Midnight Musings

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I have started working on an online induction package for new coordinators in FDC. This is a package that I have been procrastinating on because we already complete a face to face one and mostly because it is so difficult to completely define a coordinators role – particularly when every service has its own little intricacies. So, I started off thinking about my beginnings in family day care (feels like forever ago) and those little things that gave me some ‘ah-ha!’ moments as well as those things that I wish I had known. It became bigger than Ben Hur so I then had to edit to find out what was me or service specific and what was likely to be experienced across ...
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Do it for Dolly

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Today is Do it for Dolly Day – a day that is dedicated to sharing kindness and taking a stand against bullying. It is a cause that is quite close to my heart, both having witnessed and experienced the effects of bullying firsthand. I assume many of you also have. The thing is though that bullying behaviour is learnt. It is not something that children inherently do; they learn it somewhere. Whether that is at home, on tv, at school or online, it’s a behaviour that we need to step up and change. Too often do we ask the victim of bullying what they have done rather than helping to give them strategies to stand up for themselves in appropriate ways. ...
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Talk the Talk

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At the most recent Educational Leaders meeting, we talked about ways that we currently help those that can’t ‘talk the talk’ in Early Childhood. My aim of this session was for participants to share the little things that they already do to help educators be more able to verbalise the importance of their practices. There were some great examples of overcoming the issues surrounding this provided by participants. Reflecting on how we lead by example and the language that we use personally, helps us open up new ways of thinking about situations, being able to see the difference between ‘being difficult’ and ‘being stuck’. I am well aware (and quite open ...
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AEDC

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Yesterday I got an email that shared that the 2021 AEDC report was available so the first thing I did was go and find it. There were a few things that I found interesting (particularly when skim reading to find the interesting parts first). This paragraph stood out… ‘The language and cognitive skills (school-based) domain has experienced the greatest gains over the history of the AEDC, mostly between 2009-2012.’ Sounds great right but if you continue reading…. ‘These gains did not continue for this collection , with vulnerability increasing by 0.7 percentage points …’ It was that timely reminder to read things carefully and not ...
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Inspiration

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For one whose brain never stops on a normal day, I have a distinct lack of inspiration for this weeks blog. I have started and erased it about 10 times already because despite writing the words, I did not feel inspired by them myself so why would anyone else be? Eventually, after many stops and starts, I landed on the idea of inspiration…where does it come from, how are we inspired? I know that for me, I often go round and round in circles trying to get whatever thought it is to make some kind of sense before having an uh huh moment and having it all fall in place (usually in the wee hours of the morning!). Sometimes it is instantaneous and sometimes it’s ...
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Leadership

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I’ve spent this week helping develop a workshop for the Leadership Forum being held on Saturday. I’ve been in isolation as a close contact hoping that no one else tested positive so I could still attend and see some of you face to face. Unfortunately, it was not to be, so I have to lead from behind a computer. I have realised over this preparation, that my preferred way of leading is to challenge thinking. It shouldn’t have been a huge surprise for me given all my experiences, but it really was. I don’t think that it had occurred to me that challenging people to explore their thinking was an important part of leadership. But guess what, it is one of many ...
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Leading

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With our leadership forum coming up, I wanted to begin to reflect on what this concept actually means not only for me personally but for all of us in the Early Childhood sector. I believe…every time I write that down, the sentence is completed with a song… “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” It sounds corny, I know but these lyrics have always resonated with me. On international women’s day last week, we SAW our future leading with the launch of a national campaign to end injustice and inequity for women. All around the world, young people are calling for change– Thandiwe Abdullah ...
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Pronouns

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Many of you will have noticed that I include my pronouns in my email signature/s. Some of you will know why, some of you won’t have noticed and some of you would be thinking ‘why does she do that?’ Today I thought that I would explain. There are many reasons that I share my pronouns with everyone but the most important reason for me is that I want people be comfortable having the conversation with me. I don’t mind answering the questions, because as a heterosexual cis woman, I meet the ‘norm’ for society and essentially don’t need to correct people when they use the assumed pronoun for what I look like. People who don’t conform to the norm however, spend ...
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Building Relationships

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The last couple of weeks, I have spent time getting to know close to 100 new students in Years Prep to 10. This has been an interesting test of my ability to learn names and intricacies of how the classes function. As you would suspect, I am already on top of those names that need to be spoken hundreds of times over the course of the lesson but am still fuzzy on some of the quieter students’ names. This has always been my first step in building relationships with children. Remembering their names and using them. For me, this shows that I am interested in them and helps to begin the relationship. In some cases, learning names is a relatively easy process, ...
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Apologies in advance! It’s a bit of an essay. Recruiting and retaining Educators has been a huge issue in Family Day Care for as long as I have been in the sector (and probably for many years before that too). There are many varied reasons behind this, so it is not necessarily an easy fix. When I was a Coordinator, one of our processes was to go through our list of prospective Educators that had decided not to proceed with becoming an Educator and try to figure out why they had decided against continuing. Our results were usually a mixed bag of: landlord said no, family members were not happy with sharing the house, too much work to do to their house, ...
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Balance

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Balance is a hard thing to achieve. On a daily basis, we try to balance the often competing needs/wants of our work lives and our home lives. Sometimes work wins, sometimes home does. It all depends on how much is happening at the time and the things that we personally prioritise as being the most important. For example, if someone close to us is sick, we tend to place the priority on them in their times of need. If there is an urgent deadline at work, we tend to place the priority on meeting this deadline. 90% of the time what we forget to prioritise is ourselves. How many times have you cared for others when you were ...
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This year, the Educational Leader network has a new look. Our first session will explore dispositions for learning and then other Educational leaders will help us explore their particular passions, knowledge and skills. I want to try this format, because each of you have so much to share. Your years of service to Early Childhood, your individual experiences, your knowledge and your skills are all valuable information. When we share this information, we become stronger as a whole. What if someone out there is lost, struggling under the weight of new responsibilities and the one thing that would help them the most is something that you can share? Last ...
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New Journeys

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Next week, there will be a whole new set of school children. Some of them will be excited to go to ‘big school’. Others may be nervous about making friends, lots more children, doing ‘schoolwork’ and oh so many other little intricacies of transitioning to another environment. Some of these children will be staying with you, others will not. Parents are feeling much the same as their children with many added anxieties about the change. Educators will also be feeling sad or excited or nervous as they watch these school children move on to their next stage of education. Now is a good time to reflect on the transition process you have developed. Ask the children, ...
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Research

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I do a lot of research in my day-to-day work. Sometimes this is easy, meaning the information that I am looking for is somewhere that I access regularly. Sometimes it is a little more difficult and I have to find information and assess its validity before analysing it and forming a decision. Today I thought I would give you a few tips of what works for me. Suspend judgement – there is always information out there that provokes an emotional reaction. You know, those news headlines that make you yell at the TV (No? Just me?). If you are searching for information that backs up your current position (that emotional reaction you had) you are not researching. ...
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Digital Technology

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For the last couple of months I have been working on a training session about using technology with children. My own children are pretty tech savvy and educate me on their favourite programs on a regular basis. Whilst they play for enjoyment, they are learning a whole range of things that they are not even aware they are learning (most of the time). Anyway, as part of this training session, I went looking for research about the benefits of using technology with children because we’ve all seen the negatives splashed across the news headlines. I went looking for the positives because I have seen some in my own children as they were growing up. My eldest ...
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Pondering the Pandemic

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Normally, I take my blog posts from something that has been happening either in the world or even closer to home from conversations I am having with people. This week it has been really difficult to find a topic to talk about because all anyone is talking about is COVID. I was talking to my mum about the difficulty I was having, and she suggested that perhaps a post about reframing our thoughts around this may be appropriate, so here goes. When the pandemic first hit our shores, of course most people were terrified. This was something that a lot of us have never experienced before and the stories from the media were distressing (who can forget the images ...
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Welcome to 2022. Anything is on the cards for this year. New beginnings for many – new schools, new homes, new jobs, new adventures. One of my plans this year is to facilitate the creation of a family day care song written, performed and produced by children, families, educators and services. So if you are interested in participating, let me know! I’ll also be taking over the Educational Leaders Network so stay tuned for those meetings too. I will be dropping to part time when school resumes as I will be also teaching at a local secondary school. Don’t worry though Deb and I have you covered! Enough about me…what about you? What do you hope to achieve ...
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Reflections on 2021

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We made it! There are only a few days left in this year and what a year it has been. I want you to do me a favour…firstly look back over your personal life and what has happened in this arena in 2021. For me personally, I have seen my youngest child graduate primary school, my eldest performing in her first show that doesn’t rely on already knowing the whole cast, one child graduating highschool and being offered their first choice at University, and one child being recognised for their sporting achievements on top of my completion of a University degree. Phew. Just thinking about it makes my head spin. Now I want you to look back over your professional ...
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Holidays

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I am writing this ahead of time because when you read this I will be on holidays (insert cheering and happy dance here!). Whilst I enjoy having the time off to do some of the things that I don’t have time to do while I am working and running around after my children, I often worry about the amount of work that I am going to come back to when I return. Sound familiar? At this time of year though, I always feel a little different. Perhaps it is because a lot of others are also having time off or perhaps it is because there is just so much happening outside of work too. In our house (and in extended family), there are 2 distinct styles of holiday taking ...
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Gift Giving

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About 10 years ago, I tried to implement a handmade and/or regifted rule on family gifts at Christmas time. Whilst this didn’t take off for a number of reasons, I still create something special for loved ones at this time every year. Sometimes it is something that has been tried and tested, sometimes it is something that I think looks really cool and I just want to try it (80% of the time these are flops and I revert back to option 1). This year, I have been beading again and have finally completed them. Bookmarks, wine glass charms, necklaces, earrings, bag tags – all created with a special person in mind. See for me, gift giving and receiving has always ...
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