I love the Christmas Play, apart from one thing! There always seems to be one parent who doesn’t know a thing about it! How, I don’t know. They seem to miss the letter, the email and all the signs which get bigger and bolder as the day approaches, and then they turn up and turn on you! Understandable, they are so disappointed to arrive and all the other children are in costume, the tension mounts, and for all your efforts to tell them you have advertised in every way you know possible, your family get angry with you, this year email you to say how the setting have upset them. Then as a manager you have to decide when they have said they will not come back in January whether to accept it, or use your powers of persuasion to turn the family round. This year I decided to try and “massage” the situation. Although you stick to your guns about the methods of letting parents know, you empathise with how upset they must feel, and recognise their feelings. It worked! We don’t want to lose the child, they don’t really want to look for a new Pre-School. They have been hasty in their decision, and you have met in the middle. Staff will make an effort to inform them verbally of anything that happens (especially as the family have had a new baby) and it upsets us if people leave us, particularly when it’s in the heat of the moment. We are all happy. A few nicer, kinder emails are exchanged as we wish each other a Happy Christmas, and we genuinely do look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Peace!
There was an interesting conversation on EYtalking on continuous professional development, (speaking of which I must get better at Twitter!) there are many ways as discussed to nurture a culture of professional development other than the classroom. Also staff have different learning needs and styles.
Supervision itself is a form of improving and impacting on practice. Taking photos of good practice and sharing ideas in the team is particularly helpful to progress as a practitioner. Having said that, ther is nothing as effective as an inspiring study day with a motivating speaker. Staff meetings are a great chance to share the ideas initiated on training days and working out how they can be implemented in our daily childcare sessions.
Regular reading of articles that relate to our work can be shared, something I am finding Twitter really usefull for (thanks to Laura Henry @LauraChildcare for introducing the thought on a training day!) I am encouraging my staff to follow early years this way as it has usefull updates and links to professional blogs.
The training I find that has the most impact on our practice is our annual team training. The two Pre-Schools join together and we have a trainer in to inspire us. Because the training is delivered to all staff, there isn’t the problem of diluting the impact through trying to disseminate information. Everyone is on board, and we agree to try new pedagogy in our daily routines with the children. Last year it was the “plan-do-review” in HighScope pedagogy. A huge change in our routine, leaving some of us taking a huge leap of faith. I have to say, my staff prepared well and we were supported by the trainer as we set up the new process. that’s a whole other blog!
Professional development doesn’t just take one form or directive. We learn from each other and seek out good inspiring people to help us improve. Just one more thing, in Early Years…never stand still!