7.2.2 Educational leadership

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The educational leader is supported and leads the development and implementation of the educational program and assessment and planning cycle.

Exceeding theme 1: Practice is embedded

Case Studies – Supportive Educational Leaders

 Karen says her education leader helps with Centre Support, and supports all of the educators in her room. She even helps her with questions she doesn’t fully understand in her diploma. The thing she like best about our educational leader is the way she assists with new educators. She identifies if they could be afraid or scared to do a practice or write the program and she sits and shows them how to do it, slowly and methodically. She has lots of patience and is extremely good at getting the new educators to see the importance of strong relationships between families, children and educators.

 Tamara is a new room leader and her educational leader helps her when she is stressed. Tamara says “our educational leader is easy to talk to and is happy to just listen or give me endless ideas to help me become a better room leader. She always has advice or a practice I can try with educators and the best thing is, if she sees curriculum that isn’t fabulous she comes in and shows why it isn’t and how to fix it. The educational leader may help me with strategies to teach the educators on how to write better curriculum or if I’m running out of time she will teach the educators.”

Eliza says Georgie her educational leader is very good at seeing when they are stressed in the room. She will come in as an extra pair of hands to take the room level tension down and give strategies with the room and children. She is great at helping with a debrief of the day. Georgie helps with practices like supervision too, especially with the trainee. It’s not just curriculum.

 Max says “our educational leader doesn’t get a lot of time off the floor, so we have developed an educator swap system to get the support we need with curriculum. We might swap with an educator in the educational leader’s room for an hour. During the hour with the educational leader she explains what and why she’s doing things and she really helps with the language we use in our documentation. Plus being in her room we get to explore different ways we could implement practice which definitely makes us think about new ideas, and she constantly talks about theory while it’s happening in practice.”

Case Study – Educational leader in name, not in practice

Our educational leader is also our Nominated Supervisors which makes it difficult to find time to discuss ideas, practice and curriculum with her.

Exceeding theme 3: Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and community

The service needs to reflect the unique geographical, cultural and community context and draw on the voices, priorities and strengths of the children and families.

The biggest influence on children’s lives comes from their family and community because they spend far longer with them than at the Service. Look at the curriculum and see if you can identify the below concepts being explored and learning extended as the curriculum plan grows:

  • Who lives in the child’s house?
  • What type of dwelling do the children live in?
  • What do the children eat for breakfast?
  • How do they get to your service?
  • Who belongs to the child’s extended family?
  • Who else is authorised to collect the children?
  • What parks do the children play at?
  • What coffee shops do the children go to?
  • What after school activities do the children go to?
  • Which shops do they visit?
  • What restaurants do the children go to?
  • What doctors do the children go to?
  • What hospital have they been to?
  • What do they do at home?
  • How many bedrooms do they have?
  • What toys do they have?
  • What books do they read?
  • What songs do they sing at home?
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What time do they go to bed?
  • What does mum and dad do for work?
  • Who are mum and dad’s best friends?

What might families think about the service or educators if they experience these practices?

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How will this affect children’s learning?

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What changes might you need to do after reflecting in this section?

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I often hear people say ‘they’ don’t know what ‘they’ are doing and ‘they’ have no common sense. However, what I usually see is a lack of experienced educators teaching less experienced educators.  So I’d like to work with you on the process of coaching.

What is coaching?

Coaching can be used to develop people’s skills, improve their performance, explore goals and correct inappropriate conduct. It typically takes place as a conversation between two people a focuses on an agreed goal. The coach then helps the other person to learn new things themselves rather than having new ways imposed on them. This approach is more likely to provide a lasting result.

How do I coach someone? 

The GROW model – think about

  1. GOAL – what you want to achieve
  2. REALITY – what’s happening now
  3. OPTIONS – what you could do
  4. WAY FORWARD – what you’ll do

Practical Example

Mandy’s been a trainee for 6 months. She’s a hard worker, studying well and is forming great relationships with the children and team members. Her portfolios and programming are coming along nicely – but some families have said they’re not happy with her communication.

  1. GOAL

Mandy and the Educational Leader Tracy discuss the family feedback. They agree Mandy needs to become more confident communicating with families and set a timeframe of 4 weeks.

  1. REALITY

Tracy and Mandy discuss:

  • how Mandy feels when a parent approaches her
  • what Mandy thinks her role is in building strong partnerships with families
  • her understanding of service policies and procedures on communication
  1. OPTIONS

Tracy and Mandy brainstorm ideas and develop a plan involving:

  • training in relevant policies and procedures
  • Mandy to stand with Tracy while Tracy models appropriate communication with families
  • Tracy to support Mandy while Mandy speaks with families and then provide constructive feedback
  1. WAY FORWARD

Nominated Supervisor speaks to parents after 4 weeks. They acknowledge a marked improvement in Mandy’s confidence, saying she now talks with them about their child’s learning. Nominated Supervisor implements a regular parent feedback tool to monitor all educators’ communication.

Mandy now has aspirations to be a Room Leader one day and continues to grow in confidence.

Tracy has added communication with families to all weekly meeting agendas to maintain the focus on communication.

Please give this new method and mindset a go and let me know what you think

Reflect

Educational Leader looking through the eyes of other educators. Look through the eyes of other educators you work with and imagine you are them. Do you think you are taking the time to coach them so they understand what you are trying to achieve?

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STEPS OF RUNNING THE LESSON 1. Make dots all over the paper in any fashion you choose. There is no wrong or right way!

2. Look at the dots and see what you have done. Is there something inside the dots? What would happen if you joined the dots together?

3. Begin to connect the dots to find an image/shapes.

4. Colour in the shapes/image using paints.

5. Reflection – what outcome did you get? What types of images/shapes? Notice how everyone’s art images are unique.

6. Extension – Collaborate with your friend. Draw the dots then join some up. Swap with your friend and finish each other’s artwork.

Evaluate the lesson

Some of the pre-schoolers experienced some difficulty grasping the concept of the activity. Dots were very large or close together in lines so when they were joined they did not form an image/shape. Regardless these children were encouraged and praised for their artwork and still painted along their lines, adding to the varying degrees of artworks.

Case Study – Young people today!!!

Reflecting on education through what we are getting as trainees, we can see the high schools have taught young educators to use Google for everything. Many have described never having used a book to find information. Let’s compound this problem. First, imagine a young educator looking for a solution. They go to social media sites, ask everyone the question, get a million wrong answers from a million wrong people who never read a book, let alone looked up a Regulation. Facebook ECEC groups become full of people dobbing themselves and their centres in for breaching Regulations. Their communication takes place mainly on smart phones.

Another interesting aspect to young educators is their communication method. They appear to communicate primarily through their smart phones and face to face communication is becoming difficult for them. Have you ever noticed how many say good morning to you as they walk through the door? This poses a risk to the centre because some are finding it difficult to have a face to face conversation with families. With their love of new technology, they have adapted well to the digital portfolios, but face to face conversations with families are a vital part of EYLF and MTOP and their loss is concerning.

The Nominated Supervisor and Educational Leader worked together to create plans, not just for programming, but also for practice.

Greeting Parents Procedure

When a parent walks into the room in the morning educators must:

  1. Make eye contact and say “Hi __________(parent’s name)” and then “Hi”__________ child’s name by physically getting down and looking in the child’s eyes, then giving the child a big hug and welcome.
  2. Start an informal conversation and ask things like:
    (a) how the parent and child are
    (b) whether the child had a good sleep
    (c) about anything we need to know eg medication that needs to be administered
    (d) who will be collecting the child in the afternoon
    (e) what they’ve been doing during the week to get curriculum ideas

Use ‘keep them safe and look after them words’ like those in the following script.

Script

Educator: “How are you Nadine and Jackson?  It’s good to see you today.”
Nadine (parent): “Hi Rachel –  say hi Jackson.”
Educator: “Did Jackson have a good sleep?”
Nadine: “Yes, he slept all the way through.”
Educator: “That’s great Jackson. You will have lots of energy to have fun with your friends and learn lots of exciting things. Now Nadine, (use the parents name as many times as you can) is there anything we need to know like giving Jackson medication?”
Nadine: “No, all good.”
Educator:  “What exciting things have you been doing on the weekend or over the week?”
Nadine: “Nan is visiting us from Townsville.”
Educator:  “Wow Townsville is a long way away.”
Educator:  “Who will be picking up Jackson today?”
Nadine: “Daddy will.”
Educator: (look at Jackson and say) “That’s great Daddy will pick you up today. I will look after you and keep you safe until Daddy comes and picks you up. Give mum a big hug and say goodbye and we’ll put your bag in the locker and go and play.”
Nadine: “Thanks Rachel. Have a good day Jackson. I love you.”

Note: I will look after you and keep you safe until Daddy comes and picks you up.

These words come from Dr Robyn Dolby’s research, and it works very well.

If we don’t teach then review, how will we ever know if our educators know? These are the must know procedures. You are to coach your team and then assess/test them. Remember: what you don’t inspect, don’t expect.

Step 1 Educational Leader goes through the steps with educators
Step 2 Educational Leader lets educators practice
Step 3 Educational Leader assesses educator in a real-life situation
Step 4 Educational Leader coaches educator for improvements if required
Step 5 Educational Leader /Nominated Supervisor completes educator’s training plan

That is embedded practice.

Matthew Stapleton, Director of Centre Support


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