“Leading from within… Getting It Together” FDCAQ Conference Reflection by Peta McNellie

“Leading from within… Getting It Together”

November 5th, 6th and 7th FDCAQ hosted our conference to launch the new resources developed for FDC by FDC.

We were fortunate to have Gabrielle Sinclair, Deputy Director-General, Department of Education, Training and Employment – QLD Government open our conference.

Gabrielle impressed as all with her genuine and inspiring welcoming address.  Gabrielle shared key goals of the department for all learners along the life span of education- To feel safe, loved and cared for.  For the Family Day Care community present, this was like music to our ears.

It was also a great opportunity for FDCAQ to acknowledge the QLD Government and the Program and Practice Grant that made these wonderful new resources possible.

We started the first of the three days launching our new Practice Mentor Capability Framework (PMCF).  I feel particularly connected to this work as a past Practice Mentor (coordinator) as it has a been a passion of mine for some time to ensure the role of Practice Mentor is brought out of the shadows and highlighted for the important work that is required.ShopCapabilityBoxSet

Too often we hear and see and focus on Educators (and this is important) however the role of Practice Mentor is a complex one and often not understood.

FDCAQ is being bold in taking a position and proposing a new title for the role of coordinator.  One that we believe better reflects the complex and valid work that is done each and every day.  A role that is critical to achieving quality outcomes for children and a name that we hope people will feel proud of when asked what their profession/job is.

Penny Gordon and Sue Whitehead from Penny Gordon and Associates who wrote the PMCF also facilitated our learning on day 1.  After receiving the resources for the first time, Penny encouraged participants to share their 1st impressions.

The team at FDCAQ where overwhelmed with joy and pride as we could not have asked for a better response.  Participants shared just to name a few:

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I feel validated.

It shows me who I am and what I can become.

It looks professional, and feels beautiful.

Highlights the work I do.

I Can communicate to others the work of Practice Mentors.

I must say I was extremely impressed with how participants tried the new name on for size, whilst not everyone was sure, a large part of the participants were keen to try it out.

Day 2 was the launch of ‘Get it together’ resource, I refer to it as the languages of home based curriculum.DSCN2652

Practice Mentors had the opportunity to go through this new resource which has been developed to enhance the work of Educators and Practice Mentors in relation to curriculum.  Get it together is not another document on top of the learning frameworks, but one that works  alongside the Early Years Learning Framework and My Time Our Place.  We were fortunate to have writers Catharine Hydon and Anne Stonehouse present.  Catharine facilitated the day providing learning on how this relates to practice and how Practice Mentors can you use the Implementation Guide to support educators work.

Day 3 was a session with Educators on the ‘Get it together’ resource facilitated by Catharine.

I felt truly inspired by educators and their enthusiasm and commitment to their work.  It was clear that they loved the new resource and like Practice Mentors the day before made comments like:

‘Wow- looks professional”

I feel valued as a professional.

Helps to give the words in explaining my curriculum.

The poster is a great visual reminder.

The visual guide is a great way to communicate to families and others about our curriculum.

Participants engaged readily and had many conversations exploring practice of how the Get it together resource supports them in their work.  Many commenting that they would be going home to read it that night and start thinking about how they respond to their curriculum.

DSCN2657Spending time with the educators was an absolute highlight for not only myself but the rest of the team at FDCAQ, the way in which educators engaged in deep conversation and shared clear messages about the importance of being seen as a professional, reinforced the images that FDCAQ holds of educators and the sector alike.

The launch of the Connect FDC website, developed to connect culturally and linguistic diverse providers, educators, families and communities had many ‘oohing and aahing’ as we explored amazing images of FDC environments.  A must see is the interview with Daniel Davies, son of educator Rhoda Davies. This interview bought a tear of joy to participant’s eyes as they watched on with pride.  Connectfdc.com.au will be a great resource for all and a wonderful way to share the benefits of FDC and understand how all the pieces come together.

FDCAQ is definitely stepping out and leading from within and we feel confident that our sector can do the same.

The resources reflect the powerful work of the sector and send a message to all that our work is important and valuable to influencing outcomes for children.

I know that this is a long story, but the experience was amazing and I look forward to hearing from practice mentors and educator alike about the story they have in connecting with these new materials.

Cheers

Peta McNellie.

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