Reflections on Quality is an invitation to reflect by Anna Nguyen-Sgro, Quality Specialist, Children’s Services, Halton Region
While there is no single definition of quality in early childhood education, there are a number of elements recognized as contributing to positive outcomes for children. One of these elements, which is considered the key to quality child care and education, is the presence of caring, qualified Early Childhood Educators.
The College of Early Childhood Educators recognizes that educators work in a variety of settings including: infant, toddler and preschool (including child care and nursery school) programs, before and after school programs, kindergartens, primary grade classrooms, special education, intervention programs, Ontario Early Years Centres, Head Start programs, family supports, home child care programs, parent/child/caregiver drop-in programs, paediatric playrooms and health care settings. In each of these settings, educators play an important role in the lives of young children and their families.
As described in How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years:
“Educators are competent and capable, curious and rich in experience. They are knowledgeable, caring, reflective and resourceful professionals. They bring diverse social, cultural and linguistic perspectives. They collaborate with others to create engaging environments and experiences to foster children’s learning and development. Educators are lifelong learners. They take responsibility for their own learning and make decisions about ways to integrate knowledge from theory, research, their own experience, and their understanding of the individual children and families they work with. Every educator should feel he or she belongs, is a valuable contributor, and deserves the opportunity to engage in meaningful work.” (page 7).
How does this view of the educator align with your view of yourself and your colleagues?
While pre-service training in child development and education is a predictor of classroom quality and child outcomes, research suggests that the effectiveness of early childhood education is highly linked to ongoing professional learning that supports educators’ interactions with children (Early et al, 2007). It is through positive, responsive relationships that educators build with children and families that have the ability to impact children’s learning, development, communication, self-esteem, academic achievement. For information on the Ministry of Education’s qualifications upgrade and leadership certification look at the ECE grants.
Check The Halton Resource Connection for professional learning opportunities in our community.
Invitation to Reflect
- Reflect on your journey to become an educator. Why did you enter the field of early childhood education? What is the reason you commit yourselves to children and families each day? How has your journey shaped your current practice as an educator?
- What professional learning activities do you participate in to strengthen your practice and relationships with children, families, your colleagues and the community? Consider the examples of continuous professional learning activities from the College of Early Childhood Educators.
- Reflect on your work with children and families. What are you most proud of? How are you contributing to quality each and every day?
OECD. (2012). Starting Strong III: A Quality Toolbox for Early Childhood Education and Care. OECD Publishing. p. 144.
Anna Nguyen-Sgro, RECE, MA
Quality Specialist, Child Care System
Halton Region, Children’s Services