How To Build A Childcare Team You Can Be Proud Of

 

A successful team is a group of many hands and one mind. ~ Bill Bethel

Many organisations are trying to do more with less by relying on the efficiency of teams.

That means that teamwork is more important than ever, and it’s critical that teams work well together.

Failures in teamwork have caused serious workplace accidents. They’ve also caused planes to crash and businesses to fail.

The problem is that many teams are really a collection of individuals. A group of people is not a team just because they’re called ‘a team’.

For a group of people to become a fully functioning team, a whole range of psychological processes need to be nurtured.

While all teams are different, psychologists have discovered there are some things that all teams need. Here’s the low down.

1.   Social Skills

A study conducted by Wooley Et Al in 2010 found that group intelligence is:

“. . .not strongly correlated with the average or maximum individual intelligence of group members but is correlated with the average social sensitivity of group members. . . ”

And it’s not an isolated finding, this evidence emerges in research again and again.

So strong communication and social skills are critical to great team wok.

2.   Clear Goals and Roles

It might seem obvious, but clear goals and roles make a huge difference in teams.

A recent survey of 7,200 U.S. adults found that only 12% of employees set priorities with their managers. But that 12% were much happier than the employees who scored their managers’ goal setting towards the bottom of the scale.

Organisation goals and clearly defined team roles prevent confusion and increase stability in so many ways. In fact, clearly defined roles decreases absenteeism and lateness (KammeyerMueller and Wanberg, 2003).

Role clarity is particularly important during times of change. Teams with clear roles can adapt easily, but when individuals don’t know who’s responsible for what, chaos reigns.

3.   Trust

Whilst trust might seem obvious when it comes to team function, it’s more complex than that.

Research conducted by Naquin and Kurtzberg in 2009 found that people will base their assessments of team trust on the least trustworthy individual in a team.

So each member of the team must be trustworthy, and be perceived as trustworthy in order for people to trust the group. If not, the whole team suffers.

4.   Humour

As crazy as it might sound, Professor William Hampes has found that people with a strong sense of humour are perceived as more trustworthy.

Equally, teams with strong group dynamics will joke around together. Humour is a signal that groups are getting along well and has the added benefit of reducing stress, increasing team cohesion and increasing creativity (Romero and Pescosolido, 2008).

Don’t Do It Alone

Building and leading a team effectively is complex and challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone.

If you want to build a great team by cultivating your leadership skills further, join us for a professional development day just for Early Childhood Educators.

On the day you’ll:

  • Learn how to think deeper about your practice
  • Be inspired to turn your ideas into action
  • Discover how to harness the power of your team
  • Meet other Early Childhood Educators like you for potential collaboration and shared learning
  • Have fun with people who love educating children

The Day With The Best 2016 brought together Australia’s leading experts and is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

5 Parent-Wrangling Secrets Every Childcare Professional Should Know

It can be challenging.

Maintaining strong relationships with parents. You know it’s critical, but that doesn’t make it easy.

Parents are so emotionally invested in their children they can’t always see straight.

Using a few simple strategies can make all the difference, so here are 5 strategies to strengthen your relationship with parents.

1. Stop, Look and Listen

Whenever possible, stop what you’re doing and look at parents when they’re talking to you. This communicates that you’re really listening to what they have to say.

Let the parent finish speaking and then check your understanding by paraphrasing what you heard.

Paraphrasing can seem a little strange at first, but it’s actually reassuring for the speaker. It shows you’ve heard them, and it helps clarify their thoughts. They can hear what they told you and confirm it’s correct.

2. Get Curious

Try to understand the parents’ perspective, even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying.

You can do this by getting really curious about their thoughts and feelings. You might try saying something like, “It sounds like that was frustrating.”

It’s also useful to use open-ended questions to ask for additional information if you need it. Open-ended questions give people a chance to expand on what they’re saying rather than just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example, “What did you mean by saying he was mucking up?”

3. Respond, Don’t React

Often when we’re rushed or busy we say things in the heat of the moment. It’s OK to pause and consider your response first. It’s also OK to defer the conversation until you both have more time.

Get used to using ‘I’ messages. They keep you focused on how you’re feeling about the situation, rather than blaming, or focusing on what you want parents to do.

It’s important to keep your comments in the present. Don’t bring up issues from the past. If the issue keeps happening, move on to finding a solution.

4. Address Problems Now

We often have to raise concerns with parents, and it’s never easy. But problems don’t go away by themselves, so it’s important to address them before they escalate.

The most important thing is to be open and honest with the parents. Explain exactly what the issue is and why it might be a concern.

Check what parents think about the issue and whether they’re concerned about it. Ask if they experience the same kind of issues at home.

5. Work Together Where Possible

When you’re looking after children it’s natural that there will be concerns from time to time. Whenever there’s an issue, it’s important for you to work with the child’s parents, as a team.

Try to show an interest in the parents’ welfare as well as their child’s after all, the problem is likely to impact them too.

Offering solutions is a consultative process. Ask for parents’ opinions and then brainstorm as many solutions as possible. Once you’ve got some ideas, jointly evaluate the pros and cons of each solution to find what works.

 

How To Harness the Power of Critical Reflection

Confusing isn’t it?

Understanding critical reflection and knowing how to use it to implement a childcare program.

What is ‘critical reflection’?

How is it relevant to childcare?

How do you use it to meet Element 1.2.3 of the NQS?

It’s all so … difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be. There’s really three simple steps to getting it right.

So let’s unpack them, shall we?

1. Unpacking Critical Reflection

The first step is to unpack what is meant by ‘critical reflection’ and what is expected of educators in relation to the National Quality Framework.

This needs to be done effectively so you can distinguish between evaluation, reflection, and critical reflection. Once this becomes clear, you can apply the critical reflective process to a range of practical context and issues.

Getting crystal clear on this also allows you to identify a range of strategies for recording and documenting critical reflection.

2. Strengthening Early Childhood Programs

Critical reflection is more than just a process to be followed. It’s doing reflection at a more conscious level.

Critical reflection is the process of analyzing, reconsidering and questioning experiences within a broad context of issues, ideas, and values. Used correctly it strengthens early childhood programs.

But it requires a deep understanding of the process, and how to make it work for you. You need to be able to participate in reflective conversations, reflection on action and reflection in action

3. Developing a Growth Mindset

A key outcome of the critical reflection process is developing a growth mindset. Not just in yourself, but in your team, and the children and families you work with.

Developing a growth mindset changes “I can’t” into “I’m working on it”. It moves you from “impossible” to “I’m possible”. This is deeply transformational for both educators and families.

Developing this mindset increases creativity and eliminates boundaries. It makes almost anything possible.

How To Make It Easy

Understanding critical reflection is one thing, but harnessing the power of the process can be complex.

It can take years of discovery, setbacks, and experience to get it right. But there’s a shortcut you can take.

You can discover key strategies from experts like Stephen Gallen, Caroline Fewster, and Rod Soper. Their experience encompasses all aspects of early childhood learning, from classroom teaching to managing services, consulting and developing professional development programs.

They’re passionate about early learning and providing optimum opportunities for young learners to realise their full potential, and they’re sharing their knowledge and expertise with us at the Day With The Best.

The Day With The Best is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators, so grab your place now.

How To Deal With Child Care Documentation (Without Drowning In It)

Necessary, but often overwhelming.

That’s how many child care professionals see documentation requirements. And it can be.

It can be challenging and time-consuming and draining.

But it doesn’t have to be. The trick is to know how to deal with it efficiently and effectively.

To know the frameworks and requirements, and to know how to inject a little passion into it.

Here’s how to deal with childcare documentation, without drowning in it.

Documention for KKTC

The Secret To Nailing Documentation

The real secret is to know what the experts in the child care industry are saying.

And that’s why we’re getting a bunch of them together for a professional development day on Saturday, 16 July – the Day With The Best.

It’s put together for child care professionals, by child care professionals, so you’re hearing from people who really know what they’re talking about.

And it is not a conference full of trade displays and sales briefings in between a few educator presentations.  Expect the most current industry topics to be covered, specialist panels, case studies and Q&A sessions – not sales managers selling their wares! This is a day for you not them!

Expect to listen to people like Caroline Fewster who offers a wealth of real world knowledge, combined with high-level qualifications and superior teaching skills, and Stephen Gallen who has over 25 years in early childhood education and care.

Join us and Australia’s leading experts for this one-day event, that’s set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators. Grab your place now!

 

Registrations Now Open For Day With The Best PD Event

Kool Kids Training College is pleased to be associated with Day With The Best! PD Event – A One Day Event Designed ‘By and For Early Childhood Educators’

The event will cover the most pressing PD issues in the sector today and will be held Saturday 16th July, 2016, at the Shark’s Events Centre on the Gold Coast. 

For more information about the event read today’s Press Release with registrations available at www.dwtb.com.au

Secrets Of Great Leadership

Leadership can make or break an organisation.

It filters into the very fibre of the organisation. It affects the morale, the efficacy and the overall success of a business.

So it’s critical to get it right. But what is right, exactly?

Leadership is more than just recruiting and managing a team, setting goals and delegating. It’s a blend of innate characteristics and learned skills.

Let’s take a look at some of the qualities of great leadership.

They Imagine The Future

Effective leaders need vision. They know where they are now, and where they’re going. And that requires significant knowledge of your profession because you need to be able to read the landscape.

It’s like a great driver needs to know more than just how to operate the car, and work within the road rules. They need to be able to see ahead, judge the environment and predict the unpredictable.

Effective leadership in an educational setting requires a vision for educational change. That’s not easy.

To do that well you need to understand both the purpose of leadership and the role of educational change. And then you need to understand the deep and transformative connection between the two.

They Manage Change

Great leaders understand that change is inevitable, and resistance to it is futile. Instead, they anticipate the changes that are coming and make plans to address them before they arrive.

They promote a positive organisational culture and encourage an environment of professional enquiry. This can be difficult when some of the team are resistant to change.

So great leaders also need great people skills. They need to be able to support, guide, influence, challenge and inspire the people in their team.

They need strong communication skills so they can guide their team through change – even if there’s resistance.

They Create Positive Culture

Effective leaders know how to create a positive workplace culture. They understand that people spend about one-third of their lives at work and that our work environment should be a pleasant place.

Unhappy workplaces are also unproductive workplaces. When people aren’t happy at work there’s increased staff turnover, higher rates of unplanned leave, they’re less productive and their work quality suffers.

A 2011 Harvard Business Review article stated that the level of happiness has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality.

Part of creating a positive culture is to recognise employee effort using strategies that cost little or no money, are easy to implement, and take only a few minutes to accomplish. Because recognising employees’ achievements results in improved morale, performance, and loyalty.

They Collaborate Successfully

Collaboration is a powerful tool when used well, but many people fail to get it right. It’s critical to understand the structure and processes involved and to know that some structures are better suited to achieving certain outcomes.

It’s important to know the pitfalls of collaboration, and not to use it as a façade for a predetermined outcome. It’s also critical not to ‘stack the deck’ with homogenous voices rather than the diverse opinions of all those impacted.

It’s not something that should be done because it seems like a good idea, and it’s not a quick fix. It’s a process that requires sufficient time and resources to get it right.

It’s also critical that leaders take their people on the collaborative journey because, without their support and enthusiasm, the collaboration will not succeed.

Want More?

If you want to cultivate your leadership skills further, join us for a professional development day just for Early Childhood Educators.

The Day With The Best 2016 brought together Australia’s leading experts. The event is  set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators.

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

A Fantastic opportunity to engage in PD to inspire and reignite passion in an early childhood educator. Ran very smoothly. Panel was a great idea to allow presentors to show perspectives – T Abbott Le Smileys

Gained confidence and knowledge on how I can improve my practices. –  J Bae Upper Coomera ELC

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

How To Build Strong Relationships with Children

Early Childhood Educators are in a unique position. They’re trusted to help educate and guide children that are not their own and expected to have a deeper knowledge and greater understanding of childhood behaviour and psychology than the average parent.

Early Childhood Educators are expected to know how to relate to children effectively, and how to create strong relationships and deep bonds.

It takes many years and a diverse range of experiences to develop this understanding and knowledge. But we can expedite the process by hearing from other experts, and learning from their experiences.

Early Childhood Educators know how important it is to stay up to date with new thinking and approaches and hear about new research and how it can be applied in an early learning environment. And Government and policy makers are keen to support educator’s with their professional development and have committed to the sector over $200m via the Long Day Care Professional Development Programme (view more about this at LDCPD Programme).

With a commitment to advance thinking in our sector and challenge entrenched views,  Kool Kids Training College is sponsoring a one day Professional Development Event on the Gold on Saturday 16th July called ‘Day With The Best! PD Event.’

The following is a snapshot into a small selection of the issues and speakers at Day With The Best.

Understanding Complex Behaviour

Sandi Phoenix is the founding company director and Principal Facilitator at Phoenix Support for Educators.

Sandi understands that there are reasons that children act the way they do, even if their behaviour appears to have no reason. Often a child’s behaviour needs to be unpacked, but if we dig deep enough we’ll discover that their behaviour meets a need.

Behaviour, particularly complex behaviour usually fulfils a certain requirement that often relates to one or more basic human life needs.

Once we understand the need behind the behaviour we can help the child meet those needs in different and better ways. We can fill their metaphorical cup of needs more appropriately.

We can take a positive approach to guiding their expected behaviour and behavioural choices within the learning environment.

Giving Children A Voice

Carrie Rose is a member of the Logan Child Friendly Consortium and is currently engaged in the Logan Together project – a long term, whole of community effort to create the best life opportunities for every child in Logan.

Whilst Logan Together is a project based on a specific community, there are key strategies we can learn it. Particularly the way that sharing the competence of young children to the Logan community has influenced the shape of the project. These strategies can be successfully applied to other settings.

Involving the children of Logan in the Logan Together project was hugely successful and lead to a deeper understanding of how we can advocate for and with children in the community. Children can help create strong community ties and give us greater understanding of community needs and aspirations.

By understanding the importance of the relationship with children we can better support communities. We can work with children to ensure their voices are present in society, so they have a say in shaping the neighbourhoods they live in.

Building Strong Relationships

Strong relationships are based on trust and our relationships with children are no exception.

Whilst it’s tempting to use cute baby-talk with children, it’s not conducive to building a strong relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Utilising baby talk may seem fun, but it’s perceived as patronising, even by small children.

Louise Dorrat has extensive experience managing Early Year’s services including Inclusion Support, and she shares her perspective on respectful and authentic communication, versus cutesy and patronising.

Children want to be valued as individuals. They want their contributions to be appreciated and respected. They want to be understood and they want our responses to demonstrate that respect and understanding.

Invest in YOU

The above 3 speakers were involved with Day With The Best 2016. They, along with another 5 thought leaders in Early Childhood Education conducted 12 workshops at this one day PD event.

If you want to further develop your knowledge and understanding of the childhood profession, reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

The Day With The Best is created for Early Childhood Educators by Early Childhood Educators and it brings together Australia’s leading experts.

Here’s what some people had to say about the 2016 event:

I’m so glad I was lucky enough to come. I can’t wait to implement it at work –  A. Barnes Kool Kids Nerang

Thanks for an inspiring, thought provoking day. I enjoyed every moment.” – T Eichmann TCS

The only dissapointing aspect was I could not attend all workshops!   – L. Bateman g8 Education

Reserve your interest in the Day With The Best 2017 by leaving a comment below.

7 Surprising Reasons To Start A Career In Childcare

It’s hard isn’t it?

To know what career is ‘right’ for you. What’s going to fit you, your skills, your talents and your interests?

The career you choose needs to be fun and flexible, and grow with you. You should be able to use it to see the world.

You should be able to work it around your personal goals like having a family, or starting your own business.

And it should be rewarding, so you get a great sense of accomplishment. That way your work becomes far more than a job and much more than a career.

It becomes a passion. Something you love to do every day.

And you know what? A career in childcare can offer you all of those things.

Really.

And here are some more surprising reasons to start a career in childcare:

1.  You Get Paid To Play

You get to spend your day surrounded by children – teaching them, playing games with them and reading stories. You foster their social skills and entertain them.

If you love being around kids, this is the place for you! You have the opportunity to watch them grow and help mould them into the people they’ll become.

2.  Your Career Grows With You

Depending on your qualifications, you could be a playground supervisor, a nanny, a child care worker, a child care manager, or an early childhood educator.

And that’s not all. The great thing about working in the childcare industry is that you could even end up as an entrepreneur, operating your own business!

3.  You’re Always In Demand

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the use of formal child care has been increasing since 1999. More people are using qualified carers to look after their 0-12-year-old children, and fewer people are using informal care provided by family and friends.

The childcare industry continues to grow and qualified child carers are always in demand, so you’ll always be able to find work.

4.  You Get To Be Your Best

It used to be seen as “just childcare” but it’s seen as the specialised career it really is. That’s because you need qualifications so you know and understand children and their development.

There’s opportunity for constant learning about children, people and communication. So you get the opportunity to stretch yourself and be your best!

5.  You Can Take It Anywhere

Interested in travel? Child care workers are in demand all over the world so you can use your qualifications to help fund a working holiday or travel overseas.

As a childcare worker, you have the potential to work as a nanny or child care professional and travel anywhere you like. Pretty cool, huh?

6.  You Have Flexibility

One of the best things about working in childcare is that there is a great deal of flexibility for both full time and part time roles. If you have children yourself, this is a great bonus.

You can work your career around further study or other outside interests. Not many careers have this level of flexibility built in.

7.  You Have Fulfilment

A lot of people struggle to find satisfaction and fulfilment in their work, but not carers.

Working with children is rewarding because you get the satisfaction of looking after people who really need you. And children know how much you care, and show how much they love you too.

“Working with children has been the best decision I’ve ever made.  … the best fun and the people are really friendly and the kids are adorable.”

– Tommi, 2015 School Based Trainee

Interested in a Career Change?

Start your career in Children’s Services today and become an early childhood educator.

How To Find The Right Childcare Training For You (Even If You’re Overwhelmed With Choice)

Which one is best?

So you’ve decided on a career in childcare, but how do you find the right training?

There are a lot of people out there offering training in early childhood education and care. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you?

You want professional training and the inside scoop from childcare sector specialists.

You want training that comes with strong support – trainers who are more like supportive friends.

You want training that gives you confidence as well as nationally recognised qualifications.

Sounds like you could use a checklist!

We’ve listened to a lot of students and we’ve put one together for you. It’s a checklist to finding the perfect training for YOU!

Here’s what to look out for:

Flexible Enrolments

You don’t want to have to wait for an annual intake to start, you want to start training now. And that’s what flexible enrolments offer you.

The best training colleges offer you the ability to enrol today and be in class tomorrow!

Childcare Sector Specialists

Look out for training by specialists, the colleges that only offer training in children’s services.

Why are these the best? Because you won’t come across a trainer who is spread too thin from teaching hospitality, or health and fitness, or aged care. You’ll be taught by people who specialise in childcare.

Awesome Trainers

What makes an ‘awesome’ trainer?

People who don’t teach from a textbook. Instead, they give you real life examples and inside knowledge so you know what you’re doing and you’re not drowning in theory.

And they’ve gone to the effort of writing the curriculum ‘inhouse.’ They don’t give you a textbook. They give you the most up to date resources written by the industry for the industry.

Look for trainers who are experienced in the industry – people who have worked in childcare themselves.

Clever Credentials

It may seem obvious, but make sure you sign up to the amount of training you want, and that you get the qualifications you need.

Great training organisations offer CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, and enable you the flexibility to study for your CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care later. This allows you to get the qualification you need to start working in the industry, and the flexibility to build on your training later.

Great training organisations offer you a pathway of education from that point onto a Bachelor’s Degree.

Super Support

There are trainers and there are trainers …Am I right?

And the best trainers are the ones who coach and mentor you so you achieve amazing results and get the BEST out of yourself. Always check out the support and testimonials from other students when you’re looking at a training course, so you’re not left hanging.

Convenient Locations

No one wants to spend forever travelling to their training college.

Look for training that’s offered in several locations so you can find something close to you. That means you can spend less time commuting and more time doing what you love.

Great training organisations know the value of class backed up by centre based training but also know some students prefer to study from home so they offer the BEST in e-learning.

Student WOW!

Student WOW is hard to find, but you can find it if you look hard. So, what do you look for?

Training organisations who see your learning as a shared journey between the two of you. Trainers who make learning both rewarding and fun. And training that supports you with practical placement experience where your trainer is in contact regularly and sees you in the workplace to not only assess, but to guide and mentor.

For new entrants to the industry this ensures when the time comes to work part time or full time in the industry you have the hands-on experience and are ‘industry ready’.

Start Today

Now you know what to look for, you can find the perfect childcare training provider for you.

Your fabulous new career could be only a click away.