Some of my main goals were based around the inquiry questions I had throughout my Professional Experience. ‘How can parents take more of a leadership role in their children’s learning and development? (working along side the staff),’ ‘How is the OEYC supporting the needs of the families? How does the OEYC contribute to the positive growth and development of all families?’ This gave me a chance to witness parents initiating and conducting some of the activities like Little Chefs, Gathering Time, Dad and Me Activities, cleaning up after themselves, and taking it upon themselves to make other families feel welcome within the program. I began documenting the conversations I was having with the families at the centre, grasping a better understanding of how the OEYC has affected them and their children.
Putting together a Journal of Journeys of the conversations I had with the parents was a way to help support the documentation of the positive outcomes they’ve had at the OEYC and how their children have grown and developed since attending the program. After talking to some of the families and looking at the observations I had made so far, I critically thought of some questions for myself to focus on while speaking to the families which are, ‘How can leadership roles be strengthened at the OEYC?’ ‘How can more positive interactions be formed between staff and families?’ ‘What personal and professional development could staff take part in to support the families becoming leaders?’ and ‘What methods can be used to interact with the families to help support strong, meaningful and positive leadership roles?’
I also left a Community Comment Book for the parents to write down any questions or concerns or ideas for programs and activities they would like to see being implemented at the centre. In order to complete my goals appropriately, I had to consult the College of Early Childhood Educators Standards and Code of Ethics which helped guide me to do ethical research on the centre and the community. In the text of Standard 1: Caring and Nurturing Relationships that Support Learning in the Code of Ethics and Standards document, it states that, “E. Early Childhood Educators establish professional and caring relationships with children and families. They engage both children and their families by being sensitive and respectful of diversity, equity and inclusion. Early Childhood Educators are receptive listeners and offer encouragement and support by responding appropriately to the ideas, concerns and needs of children and families” (Standards of Practice, p. 13).
A personal goal for myself was to learn more about what is happening in regards to the Best Start and Early Years programs. There are many changes happening within the next couple of years based on the curriculum and as an early childhood educator myself, I wanted to do more research to keep myself and other colleagues updated on these changes. Eventually all of our programs will change too. I also looked at Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model of Human Development. He explains that there are five organized subsystems that help support and guide human development. This link will provide you with the opportunity to read more on the systems Bronfenbrenner speaks about. http://www.psy.cmu.edu/~siegler/35bronfebrenner94.pdf
Quality in early childhood is critical to the well being of children. Everyone is a leader and has leadership potential. Through ongoing learning, engagement, networking, mentoring and collaboration, the leadership skills of every early childhood educator and parent can be strengthened. The purpose of a family is to support the growth and development of its members, which gives them a sense of leadership.