During challenging times, it’s important to remember why we do what we do, and that we are providing vitally important structure and support for the children in our care.
This beautiful reflection by Director Susan Foy reminds early education professionals to focus on ‘the Wonder’ – the awe we can feel when we consider the world around us. Beautiful and curious things still happen, even when it feels like what’s around us may be breaking. We can help to make sure this wonder is still experienced.
Life is so different, but still normal in many ways
In this time of lockdown and isolation, we as Early childhood professionals have a difficult and special role. We are conflicted because we are still at the frontline of an unknown and dangerous situation which, realistically no one knows how to navigate perfectly and this can be confronting and overwhelming.
On the flip side, life is going on as normal in many ways for us and the children in our centres.
The children arrive, sometimes there are tears, sometimes there are none. Hugs are given, goodbye rituals continue and our days commence. We eat, we play, we negotiate and support. We sing, we laugh, we prepare beds and change nappies and do what we have always done.
What is so crucial in our role right now is being with children and making sure that even though a lot of things have been taken away from them that they can retain some of the most important things about childhood. Children can’t visit their Grandparents, they can’t go to the park, they can’t see their friends, they are missing out on so many normal activities that make their world rich and interesting.
We can provide the lens through which to view what is still good in the world
We as Educators are still there in the places and spaces we have always been and we can work alongside children to continue to view the good in the world. We have the work of evoking Wonder to attend to. Whilst much has changed, small things like the feel of rain on your face, observing the way the leaves change colour with the seasons, the curiosity of how stars are made is always there.
Children are in our centres still discovering that the life cycle of a frog is an interesting and amazing thing. They are engaging with music and finding the physical joy of dancing with complete abandonment. They are making scientific discoveries, they are writing stories, they are feeling paint between their fingers, they are learning about the complexities of human relationships. The hardest part of our role currently is to continue as normal but it is really important that we do. Children deserve us to be present and support these feelings of wonder and curiosity at the world around them because there really is so much that is still good and their life is still full of firsts and excitement.
There are multiple benefits to wonder and curiosity which include stimulating intellect, health benefits, feelings of joy and happiness and being able to place yourself in the context of a community and wider world around you. These are all things we could use currently.
So each day when we wake up and feel uncertainty as we enter our workplaces let us focus on the Wonder, for ourselves and the children in our care. Let’s remember this as a time when we felt awe again at the world around us for good reasons and hold onto the knowledge that beautiful and curious things still happen even when the structures around us feel like they are about to break.
Susan is currently working as a Centre Director, leading an amazing team of educators at Wonderschool Throsby in Canberra. She is a trained Early Childhood teacher and advocates for children and educators rights. Susan is interested in learning from children about the important things in life such as play, wonder and spending time in nature.
Currently, our face to face sessions are on hold, but we have developed a range of interactive and thought-provoking online learning to help you through COVID-19 and continue your professional learning.
Delivered in a variety of 2-3 hour sessions or 2 part series, our online learning has been designed to provide information you need to know now, inspire ideas and further develop professional practice and build Teacher Accreditation hours.
We have developed new sessions to enable Nominated Supervisors and Approved Providers to navigate their responsibilities in relation to COVID-19, as well as training to support the wellbeing of early education professionals during this uncertain period.
We have also taken many of our popular courses and designed them to enable your continued learning. You can view our online sessions here.