What Kind of Educators are We Allowed to Be?

IMG_9363Kim and I have been talking advocacy lately. Speaking engagements are becoming opportunities to pull out our soapboxes and implore all early care and learning professionals to speak up, and advocate for ourselves, the children and the families we work with.

 Kim’s rant yesterday talked about the pressure. Mine is about the outside forces that are deciding what our programs and classrooms should look like. An alarming trend is emerging as we talk to more educators, teachers and administrators. Outside forces are deciding what they can and can’t put in their rooms and what kind of play is allowed. We have heard stories of educators who decided not to allow paint, sand or any messy sensory play in their classrooms because pressure from the Janitor. We were told of a school where teachers had to get rid of couches in their classrooms because the fire marshal told them couches were a fire hazard. Licensing officers pushing centres to get rid of trees and bushes in their yard.  These outside forces are deciding what kind of educators we are allowed to be.


When did these outside forces become experts in early childhood?


Why are we letting them decide what is best in our programs and classrooms?

 Here is my rant though. They are just doing their job. We must also do ours though and part of our job is to advocate for the kind of practice that we believe in. We must become articulate about why we do what we do. We must talk to our administrators about our concerns. We need to talk to these outside forces about our practice and explain to them why we need messy play, soft surfaces and natural elements. We must implore them to not only look at the risks but the benefits as well.

I have been there. I have felt powerless. I have felt the pressure to conform my practice to others wishes. I CANNOT do that anymore though.

My licensing officer and I have a great relationship and I am never afraid to ask her why. This took time, I won’t lie it was scary the first time I questioned a licensing recommendation or requirement. It is Licensing’s new practice to negotiate with licensees.  The more I ask why or negotiate with licensing the more comfortable I get with advocating for my practice.


Shouldn’t we decide what kind of educators we want to be?


I must give credit for the title of this post to Cristina D. Vintimilla who asked the question “Who is the educator allowed to be?” in her chapter These Ventriloquist Walls: Troubling Language in Early Childhood Education in the book Flows, Rhythms and Intensities of Early Childhood Education Curriculum edited by Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw. A book I highly reccomend to help you on your journey of becoming more articulate and advocating for your practice.


About Danielle

Danielle is an Early Childhood Educator,blogger, self admitted ECE geek, Preschool teacher, Mother and project coordinator for The Images of Learning Project. These days she juggles presenting, conference calls and blogging with playing with her daughter and nursing her son. She looks forward to the day where she can once again finish her morning coffee.

2 thoughts on “What Kind of Educators are We Allowed to Be?

  1. When I had a family childcare my licensing specialist would insist that I use bleach to clean and I fought the regs stating that there are many natrual products that do the same thing as bleach and I was not going to use such a strong/poisonous product around the children in my care………..let’s just say I didn’t have to use bleach after I finished providing the evidence that my way would be just as effective 🙂

  2. If a child sits at a table playing, how can there all of a sudden be such horrible dangeous germs when it is snack time. Where did these germs come from. If we have such horrible bad germs in a facility, should anyone be there?
    Children touch toys, they crawl on the floor, which to me has got to be the worse. Carpets. How often do they get cleaned?
    In our facility, we wash hands all the times. Yet. All the children and the workers have been sick. Children sneeze, and germs fly in to the room. They pick their noses. They touch things. We cannot keep an environment free of germs, and we shouldn’t. We need to keep daiper areas clean. Food preparation needs to be clean, but germs still fly. We cannot have and there never has been a germ free environment in the world. Some one with germ fobia has found them self a good job, because germs are every where. By the way, so far I have been free of germs this year. I contribute it to good diet and fresh air because I have had many sneezes right in my face and I have changed many runny daipers this winter.

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