This is my first blog, my first ever blog. I’ve often thought that I could perhaps write one, then thought but who would be interested in reading it, have I got anything of value to share?
Over the years lots of people have said to give a blog a go. I’ve always felt that I don’t know that I’ve got something important to say. I love reading blogs hearing the thoughts of different people involved in early years in some way. The bloggers I read are mostly educational but not all. Why now? Do I now think I have something more important to talk about? Not really!
I decided to do it now because I had a conversation with my mum. I was chatting to her about a blog I follow all the time. June O’Sullivan is my go to blog. I love June’s humour, even when talking about something really vital to children’s lives, something political or something that she has a bee in her bonnet about, June is passionate, she’s an agitator she is a social and political commentator and she doesn’t miss with a message and an opinion. Mum suggested, ‘if you think that you have something to say or you think you have something that your passionate about and want to share that passion, is it not up to the person who chooses to read it or not read it.’ I guess she’s right. I am not forcing anyone to read but encouraging them to consider and think about things that are important.
I guess the first thing I am going to talk about is my love for my job. I love being a trainer an early year’s specialist. I started my working career as a civil servant, I worked in one of the nuclear bases. I hated it. I then made a change, became a teacher and have never regretted it for a moment.
I love being involved in early years. In my role I love seeing practice in massively different settings, observing educators who have ideas, love offering opinions on an debate about pedagogy, to me it means we’re thinking about our practice, the way we engage our children, our environments all the things that are important to the child who has a right to know they are loved, cared for and that we are passionate at spending time with them.
I can remember years ago I was sent to Dublin Castle for a conference. Going to Dublin Castle and having access to international speakers was a first. I’d heard lots of local speakers been on a lot of local training, never to another country to have access to a range of professional ideas and theory’s.
The first speaker was a professor from Sweden, interesting, challenging and thought provoking. The second was Carlina Rinaldi from Reggio. One of the ideas she shared was…
“There is a constant relational reciprocity between those who educate and those who are educated, between those who teach and those who learn. There is participation, passion, compassion, emotion. There is aesthetics. There is change.”
While I had never heard hugely about Reggio and their approach this comment made me listen. I focused, then I have to admit my concentration slipped, four times I heard the word pedagogy mentioned and I wasn’t quite sure I knew what it meant. I had not fully processed this concept as a professional. It was not brand new to me but I had started in Primary teaching and was still forming my approach to early years. I began to think about this and I lost the end of Carlina’s seminar. (I have since had the joy on many occasions to listen to her share, so I am caught up in all things Reggio!)
It was time for a coffee break I popped out to grab a drink surrounded by 400 delegates. I had a quick look round for Marie my colleague, couldn’t see her and so sat down beside a chap who had flowing grey locks and a beautifully twisted, curly moustache. The original hipster me thinks! He turned to me and after introducing ourselves he asked “so what is your pedagogical perspective?” I was dumbstruck, how could I answer, I had no idea! I quickly excused myself and went to the loo. I sat in the cubical with my head in my hands thinking ‘oh my, what is my perspective?
I recently was telling this story to a group of delegates and one of them asked ‘why did you not just google it?’ Really! There was no such thing as a mobile phone, well not that I had in my life at that time. Now don’t panic I know now, 17 years later. That’s how long its taken me to formulate my ideas and opinions. That’s how long its taken me to be confident that I could express my pedagogical perspective with conviction. However, it also changes on regular basis. My approach changes depending on the child, the setting, the season, the play. Is that not how it should be? One size does not fit all. Each child deserves what suits them.
Should our pedagogical approach not be fluid, flexible and organic? Is that an excuse or an explanation?