Educator of The Year - What Being An Educator Means To Me
"Each day is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on a young exuberant life."
Inspiring words from an inspiring woman. Sharing voices from within our community is so important, our authenticity enables us to help, encourage and inspire each other. This week's reflection was written by award winning early childhood educator Keri Duncan.
Keri is a home based educator from Wild Things in New Zealand's South Island. She was named Educator of the Year by NZ Homebase Childcare Association in September, 2015. Keri uses Educa on a daily basis to record learning stories, and keep track of children's progress.
What Being An Educator Means To Me.
There aren't a lot of jobs where you get the flexibility to do what you want all day. I can be a kid and play all day if I want to - ball games, doll games, art & craft, play dough or water play, the choice is mine, oh, and my friend's choices. My friends just happen to be a lot shorter and younger than me. At the moment the youngest is 16 months old and the oldest has just turned 5 and will be leaving for school at the beginning of next year.
My job as an early childhood educator is a wonderful opportunity to impart some of my knowledge into the life of a very young impressionable person. Each day is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on a young exuberant life. It's extremely important that I get it right. There are so many things a child needs to learn on their path to growing up, and so many experiences to be had.
How do I choose what is best for each child? The answer lies with getting to know each child intimately, by playing with them, watching them, and listening to their interactions with other children. I get to share their excitement, watch their imaginations develop, and their confidence grow. I love the cuddles, the love, and the laughs with each child and feel a deep responsibility to protect and nurture them.
I feel blessed that parents have allowed me to share the early years of their children's lives, and with Educa, I can share the special moments I witness every day with parents too.
I love listening to conversations between children. Hearing what they think and how they see things.
Miss 3: I have the biggest shoes
Miss 4: Well actually I'm older so I have the biggest shoes
Miss 3 (pauses for a moment): Then I have the next biggest shoes
Miss 4 (kindly agrees): Yes, you have the next biggest shoes
I can witness Miss 3 looking up to Miss 4 and wanting to have more responsibility while at the same time I see Miss 4 showing maturity and patience. Hearing a conversation like this and recognising the natural learning that is happening is easy.
Recording it is easy too, especially now that I can use Educa to quickly add a few notes to each child's profile.
The challenge for me as an educator is to keep asking myself questions like 'Where to next?' and 'What other opportunities can I provide for them to further their learning?'