Last week I shared with you the idea of noticing and celebrating what you already do in the name of inclusion and I asked you to make a decision just like ‘Alison’, one way or another.
For this next example of inclusion in everyday action I am going to tell you a story of courage and bravery, but I also have to tell you that at the time it happened I didn’t think of those attributes at all. In fact, it wasn’t until I studied a variety of perspectives in my Masters degree that I revisited this instance and re-noticed the complexities of the situation.
When you’ve read my story I would love to hear from you about how hindsight – or critical reflection – has changed the way you viewed a story from your past. Look back on an experience consider what was really going on for the children and yourself or another educator and ask yourself what you could do differently next time.
- What was my focus?
- What was important to the child?
- How did my actions affect the situation?
- Is there a name for the skill or disposition I used?
- Would I change anything?
- Could I have been braver?
So here goes…
Jan entered her room for the last day of the week and was feeling extremely tired. Jan worked as the support worker for Joey, 3, who was physically active for most of the day and found it difficult to sit for long periods (in fact, for more than two minutes at a time).
Jan was feeling bad for thinking that she may not be able to keep up that day. It had been a week of accidents and incidents and everyone was feeling it. The other children were beginning to blame Joey for everything. Joey’s mum, Peta, was tired too and Joey’s teacher, Shane, had run out of patience.
- ‘Jan! Joey knocked over my castle,’ said Emma, 3, knowing full well that Joey wasn’t anywhere near her castle.
- ‘Come on you feral, just stop running!’ Jan heard Joey’s mum yell from the foyer.
- ‘What are we going to do with you, Joey?’ Shane shook his head and sighed as he walked out to the bike shed.
Jan took a deep breath as Joey came tearing in to the room to see if his cars were still on the shelf.
Joey greeted her with a big smile as she knelt to the ground with her arms open and her eye fixed on his.
‘I am so glad you are here Joey, I have a big crashing mat outside today, let’s go and do some rumbles!’
‘First we rumble, then we sit for a book, then it’s your choice!’
The last thing Jan felt like doing was crashing on the mat, but she made a choice that took some courage. Jan made a choice to advocate.
What would be your responses to the comments from Joey’s peer, Emma, his mum, Peta, and his teacher, Shane?
What further advocacy could Jan have engaged in for Joey?
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Meet the author - Rebecca Thompson
Spanning 20 years in a variety of early childhood, early intervention, primary school and tertiary education, Rebecca's hands-on experience backs her commitment to advocacy for every child's right to quality care and education. She has also engaged in action research and community wellbeing programs for children and families from marginalised groups.As founder and early childhood consultant at Stone & Sprocket, Rebecca supports services wanting to bring new light to children’s behaviour, re-think inclusion through nature connections, relationships and meticulous observation/data collection for informed decision making.
Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.