On Wednesday the 20th of July we were very fortunate to have Rhonda Livingstone (ACECQA) and Cathy O’Malley (DET) present at our State FDC Regional Meeting at our Murarrie office. We had 32 participants attend and 23 online.
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Rhonda Livingstone shared with the group ways to build confidence when preparing and undertaking the Ratings and Assessment process. Click on the below button to view Rhonda’s presentation.
Cathy O’Malley spoke about the new DET Fencing Requirements for a Family Day Care residence. She also shared that Family Day Care is diverse and every environment and situation is different and each should be considered in their own context.
We finished the morning off with a Professional conversation around these questions.
- What were the key themes that stood out for you?
- How do I advocate for my service?
- What three key themes do you want to share?
The key themes from the four groups are below :
From Rhonda Livingstone
- Advocating for Educators – Building their confidence to promote what they do
- How? What? Why?
- Meaningful, informed and achievable
- Relationships with families, children and communities
- Developing the community relationships
- Not to FEAR Department
- Articulate the information
- Always about children
- Not to FEAR Department
- Articulate the Information
- Every child
- Collection of information
- Empowering Educators
- Understanding regulations
- Needing to Educate community on professionalism of Family Day Care
- What are your strengths?
From Cathy O’Malley
- Open for interpretation – coming back to outcomes for children
- Cannot blanket – All about safety
- Every child, environment, needs are different
- Family Day Care is diverse
- Open communication
- Consistency of information
- Collection of information 3 key things we heard
- Challenge outcomes
- Empowering Educators to have confidence in own practice
- Requires our professional judgement – what has informed our decision
- Quality of care for children – good outcomes
- Why? What? How? – Youtube. Critical Reflection
- Looking at the data – using as a basis
- Health: Safety and Wellbeing – Policy and Best Practice
- Regional Meeting – sharing
- Emails including Fact Sheet re: Fencing
- Consistency with Regional Office in Assessment and Ratings
- Sharing of General Practice Guide – openness/transparency
- Embedded Practice and what it means
- What, how, why
- Children as a focus – Outcomes for children’s wellbeing and safety
- Confidence to challenge
On the 4 May 2016, FDCAQ representatives attended the Workforce Council Conference – Educator Unchained.
The Educator Unchained Conference posed a series of questions to the attendees. Have your say below on the following questions asked.
- What are the connections between a predominately female workforce and the challenges the ECEC sector currently are facing?
- How is professional identity influencing the service children receive in Australia
- Stand out- As EC professional ” What is our role in changing the thinking about EC Teaching?”
- “What do we need to do as a sector?”
- “Do we need to claim the right language and space around ECEC teaching?”
“We feel that risk has a role to play in learning and as research shows, has the potential to achieve positive outcomes for children.” (Lewis, 2005; Nichol, 2000).
“Children and young people need to encounter some real risks if they are to respond positively to challenging situations and learn how to deal with uncertainty. This cannot be achieved by limiting them to supposedly safe environments. Therefore, providers of play opportunities have no choice but to offer situations in which children and young people can experience real, not make-believe, hazards”
from Managing Risk in Play Provision, by Ball, Gill and Spiegal
Think back to your own childhood! What did that look like? Was the main focus outdoors and freedom?
Research has shown that contact with the outdoors is often limited for many children in modern society, and the vital experience of using the outdoors and being comfortable in nature is being lost. According to research by Planet Ark (2013), “one in ten Australian children play outside once a week or less. We have become a nation of indoors, not outdoors.” Not only is the frequency of outdoor play changing, the nature of outdoor activity in Australia is also changing. Ball games are still popular and organized youth sport remains popular at 35%, however games like tag, hop scotch, street games and exploring local nature have declined significantly in the last decade.
The Planet Ark (2013) data states that the decline of outdoor play is not linked to the amount of homework children receive however parents commented that concerns about crime and safety and lack of time to play outside were identified all as significant factors that prevent children from playing outdoors. As a result children have become reliant on indoor sedentary play for recreation, learning and socializing with low risk associated. These modern pastimes are filling the space of that outdoor play occupied.
Children are driven by nature to seek challenges; it is how they learn. Taking risks are an essential element in play, learning, exploring, experiencing and growing. However a culture and adult expectations can increase or diminish this drive. If there are no challenges in an environment children will create their own acts of daring or experimentation that can result in harm.
As Educators working in Education and Care environments we have a duty of care to the children and their families to manage risk whilst still ensuring children have appropriate opportunities to belong, be and become. As a society we are increasingly recognising the necessity and the developmental value in children engaging with natural and built environments, taking on some challenges and testing themselves as they explore, grow and play and this is supported by the National Quality Standards.
It is our role as Educators to showcase and engage children in the natural environment paying close attention to creating a culture of Adventurous play-risk rich environments. When this is a main focus children will:
- learn through child-led play at the child’s pace
- develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and others
- build early risk management strategies
- develop coping mechanisms and problem solving capabilities
- learn to take on challenges and accept responsibility
- consider the impact of their actions on themselves and on others
- develop a respect for danger, hazards and experimentation.
- foster their self-esteem and self-belief
Claire Warden (2011) suggests by offering children a risk-rich environment allows adults to help keep children safe by letting them take more risks, whilst guiding them through a progression of experiences.
What is your role and responsibilities as an Educator creating an adventurous play environment?
Educators play lots of roles in children’s group settings; they make it possible to go outside frequently, they help to make experiences challenging, spirited and safe, they help to make the outdoors a place for growth and learning, they observe, they interact and make judgements around the safety of the environment.
Here are a number of roles you may play….Consider which role/s do you take around creating a culture of adventurous play;
- Rule Maker
- Safety Monitor
- Mentor and Guide
- Conflict Resolver
- Safety, Liability and Risk Management
Educator Reflective Questions when creating a culture of Adventurous Play- Risk Rich environments
- What are the real safety issues and risks in your environment and what are the perceived ones?
- Who sees these risks?
- Do you focus on both risk assessment and benefit assessment? For example, it may be risky to climb a tree, but the sense of achievement and physical skills that children gain from climbing are very beneficial.
- Does avoiding the risks reduce the benefits?
- What is risky for one child, in a particular setting on a particular day, may not be for another child. Risk is relative.
- How do you share this with families and the service?
Current evidence shows that when Educators are thoughtful and purposeful around planning for a risk rich environments this supports the best learning outcomes for children. This approach enables children to become strong stakeholders in their own development, which allows them to build confidence, competence and independence.
How can services create a balance between being aware of risks, while honouring and valuing children’s play, freedom of movement, indoor and outdoor learning opportunities and, most importantly, the relationships children have within the service?
Buchan. N (2015) “Children in Wild Nature- a practical guide to nature based practice” Teaching Solutions, Blairgowrie.
Lewis, I. (2005) Nature and adventure ECOS 1
Nichols (2000) Risk and Adventure Education Journal of Risk Research 3(2)
Planet Ark (2013) From Climbing Trees –Getting Aussie Kids back outdoors:
Commencing on May 1 and concluding on May 7, National Family Day Care Week , organised annually by Family Day Care Australia is about recognising and promoting the important role family day care educators and services play in the development and wellbeing of more than 203,790 children across Australia. Family Day Care Queensland would like to acknowledge our Co-ordination Units and Educators for their commitment to quality outcomes for children. We appreciate the endless hours and dedication of each and every individual within our Family Day Care Queensland Co-Ordination Units. Their dedication to mentoring and advocating our high quality Educators and their desire and willingness to inspire wonderful childhoods help to fuel our mutual efforts of building positive and meaningful relationships with all families and children. To our Educators, we recognise that Family Day Care Queensland is the great organisation it is today because each and every one of you perform your vocation with passion, dedication and integrity. We know that the best lessons for all of the young individuals within your care are not learned from books, but from the hearts of truely great Educators like yourselves. There is nothing that gives us more satisfaction than when we accomplish so much together with you all, and for that – We thank you! National Family Day Care Week is your week to celebrate you. Through this blog we would like for you to comment and share below your stories as a Practice Mentor ( also known as a Co-ordinator ) or an Educator. You could perhaps share with us how –
- As a Practice Mentor ( also known as a Co-ordinator ) or Educator you feel proud when …..
- As a Practice Mentor ( also known as a Co-ordinator ), you best support Educators by …..
- As an Educator, you best support Families and Children by …..
We would also like to hear directly from you how you celebrated National Family Day Care Week . Please send your stories and images for us to read and share to firstname.lastname@example.org.