Finding out about child-led, play-based approaches to early learning has turned a job I unhappily “settled for” for years into a genuine passion and interest, possibly an obsession. In 2016 I’ve read so much – Magda Gerber, Peter Gray, John Holt, Alison Gopnik, Heather Shumaker, Deb Curtis, Margie Carter and more. I’ve learned just as much from the Upstairs Studio podcasts. I’ve delved into the massive arena of Early Learning FB groups and for better or worse, most recently I’ve discovered the world of “edutwitter.”
It’s embarrassing to admit it but I have very few coworkers I can talk with about things openly and honestly. Anybody working in the early years should sympathize with the lack of time we all have. There is little time for us to talk, reflect or debate. Two of my immediate coworkers go home and have their own children to take care of. The other one has an active social life. They are great workmates but I have not been willing to out myself as the total nerd that I am: “would you like to get together this weekend to discuss schemas and respectful discipline techniques?” We have talked about getting drinks since September and this week we are going to actually set something up. I’ll do my best to use the the time to talk about nonwork stuff!
While keeping my eyes on the prize, I’ve been finding it easier to not be so zealous about changing the state of our program or my workmates interactions. I’ve been able to let go more and I think show a different way by example somewhat. Showing a better way is much more effective than telling somebody, especially if they are not actively looking for a new approach to their practice. To be quite honest, part of me thinks I am further along down a path I’d like others to go down. If I look at it more fairly though I am having some success spreading the type of practice I think is best.
I love research and discussion about what practice developmentally appropriate or not. I can and do talk, read and listen about it all day lately. I am going to challenge myself to stay away from it on social media at least for a while. I have found myself getting caught up in the silly stuff. I think I had to write all this to drive home for myself the painfully obvious fact that the likes, favorites and retweets don’t provide better practice for the kids in our care. I am starved for that discussion with colleagues but it’s just not the same over the internet.
Instead I am going to focus on finding ways to find time to discuss and reflect with my coworkers and move things forward with them. Tomorrow our two year old room is going to be merging with our nursery and our teams will be merging more or less. I think it can be a great positive in the long run but there are going to be some definite growing pains and I am gonna try to save all the energy I’ve been spending on social media and use it to help roll with the punches that are sure to come.
I’m still planning on posting this to social media. Mostly because I am a total hypocrite but I would still like to share my thoughts with anybody listening. I just won’t be scouring the internet looking for other people’s for a while. Instead am going to try to engage more with the thoughts of the educators I see 37.5 hours a week.