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Get a Big Group

A while ago I posted Get a Group, in which I talked about how eight of us get together to discuss our ECE practice. But now I want to talk about how fabulous it is to Get a Big Group…..say 350?!

Danielle and I just returned from the annual Early Childhood Educators of BC Conference where ECE’s from all over our province gathered in Vancouver for 3 days. There were presentations, workshops, meetings, slide shows, and a gala dinner, but as my good friend and colleague Sarah always says “It’s not about what happens in the sessions, it’s about what happens in the hallways”.

The diversity of presentations was amazing and I didn’t  hear one negative comment about any of them, but it was the conversations at breakfast, over coffee, in the corridors and over wine in the evenings that really fascinated me.  It was in these places that I heard retired ECEs wonder how they could volunteer to engage ECEs in ongoing dialogues to reflect on practice, it was here I heard instructors from colleges 500 miles apart discuss how to support students in practicum when the setting is challenging. I heard a young ECE talk about how she she is changing her practice to better reflect her personal values, and another share how she is trying to get rid of the plastic toys in her centre. I talked with people who were trying to bring ECEs and primary teachers together to share practice, and another who wants to do research on using pedagogical narrations as a tool for assessment. I heard about challenging licensing regulations so aboriginal communities could build a fire and share traditional culture with children, and I heard about work being done to attract males to our field.

Passion is an overworked, over-used term and I’m hesitant to use it here. But there was passion in those corridors, in those conversations. The connections being made, the ideas, the information, the challenges and the struggles that were shared were serious and joyful, determined and heartfelt.

I came away with admiration for my fellow ECEs. We are consistently under paid and undervalued, we work in basements and church halls that were never intended for children, we work more hours than we are paid because we want to change that bulletin board or try that new idea, we make due because we have no funding, we do advocacy on the side, and education on evenings and weekends. And yet  those corridors were filled with passion for our work, belief in the importance of what we do and a commitment to keep learning.

I am always proud to be an ECE. Being in that Big Group made me even more proud.

About Kim

Kim is an admitted ECE geek. She and Danielle have bonded over their shared geekdom and have come to terms with it. She is a pedagogical facilitator working with educators in a number of early learning settings supporting and extending new thinking and practice. She loves reading, writing, talking and sharing ideas about the potentials of teaching and learning with ece's and young children. ECE geeks unite!

11 thoughts on “Get a Big Group

  1. Hurray for you, Kim, and for all the passionate crazy people who believe that this chosen work with children matters, and that children matter, and that being the best we can be matters!

  2. Oh how I miss the IQ group. I need to start putting my personal and professional growth as a priority.

  3. So easy to let that sort of thing go to the back burner! But when you do it’s so worth it. Nice to hear from you Christine.

  4. I love it!!! You truly captured the true essence of the
    Conference! It is so important that we continue to
    feed the energy that was shared..
    We need to keep moving forward and upward!

    Carla Hees
    Early Childhood Educators
    Leadership Cohort #3

  5. Oh how I wish I could have afforded to go. I love ECE conferences. Coming back from conferences is always a high. Then there is the real life. I am three month from 65 and do not have a full time job. I could have if I would put up with abuse and facilities braking regulations. If I could put up with lack of conversations around children’s developemnt and not being able to share my passion for Pedagogical Narrations. It is very hard to have done so many things and knowing my own skills and passion for children, and not being able to find a place where I can feel free and safe. And if I don’t feel free, how is it for the children? How do we know what they feel? My last summer in Penticton was spend as a sub in a child care facility supporting a cild with behaviour challenges. When I arrived to the center, the supervisor stood with her arms to her side and said “You want to come and work for me? Don’t you know I make people cry”. So I said “Do you know what my reputation is? I report people”. I ended up reporting, and she ended up crying. I have now found places now where I can sub, and where I know I am valued. But we need to have places where we can seek advice, where we can go when we get fired. I have always been in support of licensing, but I see too many ECE accepting regulations being broken by owner or directors to protec their job. I have conversed with Licensing, but they cannot help us. They go to facilities and then they ask the one in charge to make changes, but the one reporting is out the door. It has happemed to many more than me, and those are the things we have to take hold of if we want things to change. My passion for children cannot disappear and I feel for the parents who have no choise but sending their child toa facility they may not agree with. They are affraid of speaking up because then they may not have a spot. These are the flip side of child care that we need to look at and make changes.
    Sorry for my rant, but that is my passion. Thank you, Kim, for creating a blog.

  6. Never apologize for a rant Birgit!! Danielle and I rant regularly. When we are passionate about what we believe and frustrated with the status quo we all need to speak up and tell the world! The more often we do that, the more we can hope for change. A blog is a way for us to share what we believe and hearing from people like you makes it worth it!

  7. Thank you, Kim. You two are amazing. I am sure you have some interesting conversations.
    I really like all the different stories on children’s play and the blog can be a substitute for our learning circles.
    That was such a good time. I attend some great workshops and the last one was on “Emotional Safety” with a great little CD to take home. Meet other people with passion for children. Thank you again.

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