Do you know the statistics?
That 1 in 10* children will have experienced some form of trauma** by the time they are 5 years old. That 1 in 4 are developmentally vulnerable (AEDC 2015). So, do the math for your centre…
• How many children, that you care for and educate, could be experiencing, or have suffered from, some form of trauma that you may, or may not, know about?
• How many children in your care could be, or are, developmentally vulnerable?
When we think about the lives of children today, and for many, their complexities, the importance of – and the impact of – your role in their lives cannot be undervalued. For many children, you may be their North Star. Their constant. Their consistency. You may be the safe harbour in a turbulent world. You may not even know this.
Which is why your work is important. And why your practice matters.
Let’s not get frustrated with Jonny when he starts hitting out at other children. Let not assume Jerome is just shy and quiet when he prefers to stay in the cushioned book area most of the morning. Let’s not assume it’s just Jenny’s personality that she is attention seeking and ‘in your face’ most of the day.
Because, as much as we don’t like to admit it, we are, more times than we care to admit, not working with all the facts. But that shouldn’t matter. Because…
WE get to choose.
WE get to choose our practice.
WE get to choose the language we use.
WE get to choose to use positive, supportive, informed teaching and learning strategies and to build relationships that make us a safe harbour for Jonny and his needs.
WE get to choose to learn the right strategies to deal with guiding children’s behaviour.
WE get to choose OUR behaviour.
The opportunity you have to contribute and have positive impact on children’s lives is significant. And for this to happen, you need to take your role seriously. Your practices need to be informed by evidenced based research & practice and relationships have to form the foundation of your teaching and learning program.
So, let’s not first jump to assumptions or ill-informed judgements on the drivers of children’s behaviour. Because as much as we don’t like it, we DON’T know the full story.
And we may never will.
But, we are in control of how WE choose to engage with and support young children. The one, single most important thing you can do is to make sure YOU make good, informed decisions and choices regarding your relationships and your teaching…so don’t buy into the view that what you do does not matter.
Because it does. If no one else says thank you, that child in your group does silently does…