Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sweet Pototoes

Celebrate good times come on, celebrate good times come on....
I have heard this song many times over the past years as a climax to a wonderful night of celebrations - nights such as Christmas in the Park when they finish with a rousing rendition of this song.

What happens though after a year of working hard as a teaching team reflecting on and refining your practice.  Do you celebrate, do you shout and sing and let the world know what has happened,  probably not because there is a whakatauki, proverb, which says kaore te kumara e whaakii ana tana reka -the kumara does not say how sweet he is.
But within early childhood it is wonderful to hear about the deep thinking that teachers are doing.  So this is why I am writing on behalf of Nicole, Lorraine and Rachel who work in an up to 2’s centre in Whakatane.

During the year this team have researched, reflected and implemented changes within the centre.  After researching key teaching the teachers slowly but steadily refined their practice to incorporate key teaching strategies.  Key teaching strategies often assist teachers to create a slower more responsive pace to the children’s day.  This is obviously the case for Nicole, Lorraine and Rachel.  Key teaching is one of the recommendations to the Government from the Senior Advisory Group for up to 2’s and something that is considered necessary by the Brainwaves Trust who wrote, “The primary work of infancy and toddlerhood is to become securely attached to the significant adults in their life.  And only when they’ve done that work can they be ready for peer relationships.”  Miriam Caleb’s article, Love Connection, recommends key teaching for care and education centres for up to 2‘s. Key teaching is closely aligned to the secure attachment formed by parents which she says are formed by what she calls the “simple stuff we do every day that’s the magic: bathing, feeding, dressing and changing nappies. Our brains are built by repeated experiences”  You can view her article on

Nicole has created a booklet for new families coming into the centre that explains key teaching that I thought was well worth a celebrate good times response. “The Pounamu Room environment creates a feeling like a home environment that is peaceful, calming, loving, nurturing, fun, and joy.....We have a respectful practice approach to learning this involves key teaching, free of movement, and connection with nature.
Key teaching: Your child has a strong bond with a teacher who works in partnership with your child and is responsibility for their care moments. The Key teacher is their to fill up the child’s love tank so the the child is then able to move freely and securely in their environment exploring and building knowledge of the world.....As our classroom is a small environment all teacher build relationships with the children some are stronger than others. All teachers are responsible for your child’s learning. Key teaching is about a respectful relationship with your child that has trust and is guided by the child so they know what to predict will happen next - creating a secure peaceful environment and sense of belonging.”

This group of teachers are certainly not the only ones to have taken this journey recently, for those that are part way along the in their journey - keep going because good things take time. For those who are yet to start - all it takes is one passionate person in your team to start the journey.  For those that have got to the place that key teaching is deeply embedded in their practice let’s hear a rousing rendition of celebrate good times, come on.