Category Archives: Leadership

The Pedagogue Ponders: A team really does make the dream work…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, without a team who feel valued, feel trusted and feel believed in, a leader has nothing. Our teams are the very people who, in their own individual and unique way, tie our leadership together, making for the very best early years experience for our wee people.

Just before the October holidays it was announced that at Bowhouse ELC, we achieved grades of six in our most recent care inspectorate. No easy achievement I may add, two years of hard work and nurturing a team which was valued, believed in and trusted was part of the recipe. Not forgetting our amazing wee people, their families and of course those leading leaders. We all need a leader. Someone to look up to, someone to talk to, seek support from and someone who believes, trusts and values you.

Two years ago, as I began a senior position in Bowhouse, I had no idea, just how important it was to lead a team effectively. It’s been two years of steep learning curves; finding myself as a leader, adjusting leadership to different people, the importance of laughter- even when it’s the last thing you want to do, of taking chances, continuing to stand firm in those chances even when everyone else continues in their comfort.

However the biggest learning curve- the thing that has only strengthened over time is the true value of teamwork. In the early days at Bowhouse there were just three of us and I now wonder how on earth we did it all. Free flow outdoor play, independent children helping to prepare snack, woodland visits, stories, songs, rhymes, blocks, planning, learning stories, the list is endless but we did do it. We believed in each other; knew each other strengths and weaknesses but weren’t ashamed of them. That’s why, even though I’m leading marvellous mealtimes across Falkirk, I’m banned from the Bowhouse kitchen, it would seem that actual cooking and baking is not a strength!

Anything is possible, regardless of the amount of people in your team, what really makes it all work is real effective teamwork.

In August 2018 our wee team of three became a team of 15. That in its self was another learning curve. Not only did I pass my senior early years officer hat on, I became an equity and excellence lead (Early Years Pedagogue). At Bowhouse we don’t do anything by halves so just added in the 1,140 expansion, a new senior, EEL, 8 EYO’s, 3 ELC Assistants and a few SfLA’s. As well as 56 wee people experiencing 1,140 for the first time we had a lovely new setting to set up. Phew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. However a year on, it seems that we’ve always been together. I suppose that’s because in the early days, as an Early Years Pedagogue, I relied on the team to step up and push fo excellence and boy did they deliver. It soon became apparent how different each member of the team was. Each creative, curious and exciting in their own way- even then I knew 1,140 was the best thing to happen to us.

Over the course of the last year we’ve come to respect and value each other for who we are. Claire for her never ending calmness, kindness and positive outlook as well as being the best SEYO! Jacqui for her nurturing and soothing ways with our wee people and families and can do attitude. Teresa for her passion of all things stories, music and rhyme- missed her calling to the stage so is our resident songstress in Bowhouse. Jennifer who has embraced Froebel and transformed our concrete jungle into a gardeners haven, always taking the time to involve our wee people, each and everyone of them. Rachel for her sense of humour- always knowing when a wee laugh is needed, Rachel’s knowledge of family support makes her our go to person when we need to chat. Kimberley’s relationship with her families and the way she knows what they need and how to get it, makes sure our wee people have the best experience, a marvellous mealtime marvel is our Kimberley. Lynne our outdoor warrior has also developed our wee people’s experiences outdoors and has a way of drawing a crowd of wee people, where ever she is, this alone speaks volumes. Kirstie, whose hidden talents include knowing baby shark word by word, provides our children with the love and nurture they need. Always a nurturing soul for our families too is our Kirstie. Emma, just recently returned from maternity leave, is as positive as you will find. Always willing to try new things out and learn, When Jodie walks in our door at 11am, your always sure to know as a chorus of “It’s Jodie’” takes place as our wee people run up to welcome her. That in itself speaks for the kind and caring practitioner Jodie is. Rachel , quietly confident as she reads stories in a relaxing voice, so much so we all need some quiet time. Mel whose enthusiasm for learning shines through as her ever curious practice means it’s all teach, all learn in Bowhouse.

In light of our excellent inspection, I felt it was important to take the time to speak of the Bowhouse ELC team, let you know a little of them and the amazing work they do EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and glow of an excellent report, however we know we can’t become complacent. That excellence has to be maintained, boundaries need to be pushed, innovation needs to happen.

It is as simple as this, without them- the team, excellence would not happen. Confident, independent, successful and curious wee people would not be moving on in the world without the team.

I would not be a leader without a team who supports me, challenges me, praises me, reigns me in (it happens daily!) and most importantly works with me.

Without them I’m just a person with an idea and what good is that, when you have no one to share it with?

Gemma

NEW – ELC Materials on National Improvement Hub in one place

All ELC support materials are now situated in one place on the National Improvement Hub.

Education Scotland have responded to feedback from users who said that materials and resources were hard to find.

Being collected in the one space within the Hub saves meaningless searches. It is also great to know the totality of materials that are available to help drive forward improvement for our wee fab Falkirk folk.

Make sure you save this link in your favourites and familiarise yourself with some great materials and resources.

Click here to spring into the ELC section of the National Improvement Hub

New SSSC Learning Resources to Support Early Learning Workforce

The SSSC has launched new learning resources to support early learning and childcare workers

The free digital resources can support our Falkirk’s EYC staff in continuing to develop good practice  within the areas of:

  • Observing children
    This online practice simulator allows workers to observe children at play while in different workplace settings to help them develop observation and recording skills, which play a key role in early learning and childcare.
  • Child development
    This app is an essential reference for early years practitioners in Scotland containing important aspects of national guidance and a mix of information and real world activities to support practice.
  • Mentoring for early learning and childcare services
    This app will help you implement a mentoring programme in your early learning and childcare service. We’ve designed it to help your service reach its potential and to support the continuous professional development of workers.

Falkirk’s Early Learning CLPL – Our 2019/20 Offer

Regular engagement in high quality makes the difference between good and great professionals.

Our 2019/20 CLPL programme aims to support our educators to deliver the very best outcomes for children.

The programme is aligned to the 4 workstreams of our QIStrategyEYTeam20192020.

Click on the Professional Learning option on the menu tab on the home page to find and sign-up for professional learning sessions or click here https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/falkirkearlyyears/calendar/

Remember: There are many resources and materials to support in-house professional learning including these new resources:

  • Children’s involvement in the planning process.
  • Using observations to shape planning for children’s learning.
  • Effective planning to meet learner’s needs.
  • Effective early years planning meetings.

Click on this link to access these materials and more (you require a Glow account and this is only accessible to Falkirk  Council staff).

 

 

New Health and Social Care Standards

 

 

The new Health and Social Care Standards have now been published and will be rolled out from April 2018.

National Care Standards were developed with people who use care services and they say what a good quality care service should be like.

Every child across Falkirk Council is entitled to high quality care and support tailored towards their particular needs and choices. These Standards are hugely important to ensure that everyone in Scotland receives the care and support that is right for them. In Falkirk, staff in nurseries should use the standards to check the quality of the service they provide for children and families.

Our nurseries should reflect:

Dignity

  • Be treated with dignity and respect at all times; and
  • Enjoy a full range of social relationships.

Privacy

  • Have your privacy and property respected; and
  • Be free from unnecessary intrusion.

Choice

  • Make informed choices, while recognising the rights of other people to do the same; and
  • Know about the range of choices.

Safety

  • Feel safe and secure in all aspects of life, including health and well-being;
  • Enjoy safety but not be over-protected; and
  • Be free from exploitation and abuse.

Realising potential

  • Achieve all you can;
  • Make full use of the resources that are available to you;
  • Make the most of your life.

Equality and diversity

Live an independent life, rich in purpose, meaning and personal fulfilment

  • Be valued for your ethnic background, language, culture and faith;
  • Be treated equally and be cared for in an environment which is free from bullying, harassment and discrimination; and
  • Be able to complain effectively without fear of victimisation

Early Learning Leadership Forum – February 2018

The second Early Learning Leadership Forum was held in Camelon Education Centre on February 5th 2018.

A number of guest speakers from within and outwith the authority presented on a range of positive approaches to supporting themes 3 and 4 of QI2.3 from HGIELCC.  Thanks again to all those who came to share their good practice.

Falkirk Council staff and employees from our private partners can now access some of the presentations on our early years Glow page http://tinyurl.com/y7yr939f (Please note, you will need your Glow login details to access these materials).

New Support for Leaders of Early Learning in Falkirk

On December 5th 2017, we held our first Early Learning Leadership Forum in Camelon Education Centre.  This event was the first of its kind in Falkirk and it was great to see managers from all of our different EYCC settings coming together to discuss delivering the ambition for all of Falkirk’s bairns.

Falkirk Council and our private partner employees can access the Powerpoint and handout materials on our early years Glow page http://tinyurl.com/y7yr939f (Please note, you will need your Glow login details to access these materials).

Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative

What is it?

The Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC) encompasses the EYC (Early Years Collaborative) and RAfA (Raising Attainment for All) programmes. It will remain closely aligned with the work of MCQIC (Maternal and Children Quality Improvement Collaborative) where the focus is on maternity, neonatal and paediatric healthcare settings.

Following the learning session in November 2016, Scottish Government have released new stretch aims for the CYPIC. Falkirk will address these aims through the Integrated Children’s Services Plan and through individual service plans.

For early years this service plan is currently the Early Years Workforce Development and Quality Strategy 2017-2020.  We would expect management teams in our ELC settings, to familiarise themselves with both of these Falkirk Council documents and to use these along with the 3 step improvement framework  to inform and support the improvement planning in their own setting.

Building the Ambition

All Falkirk Council early years practitioners should have a working knowledge of the Building the Ambition national practice guidance document; which was published by Scottish Government in August 2014 to set the context for high quality ELCC.  Setting management teams should ensure that they and their staff use the “putting the guidance into practice” questions and the guidance about what babies, toddlers and young children need in ELCC settings, for training, professional dialogue and reflection, monitoring and self-evaluation purposes, thus ensuring their practice creates “caring and nurturing settings that allow wellbeing, communication, curiosity, inquiry and creativity to flourish.”

A copy of Building the Ambition can be found here or through the links section.

  BtA National Improvement Hub