Putting our best foot forward – How pride and vanity can contribute to better learning outcomes for children…

Last night our centre was visited by a group of teachers from another Auckland centre. They wanted to come along and see for themselves how we put our understandings of how early childhood teachers work in Reggio Emilia into our teaching practice here in New Zealand.
I am very pleased to say the visit was a great success (at least that is how it felt to me). There was much sharing of stories and in-depth discussion about different forms of documentation and what engages children and families most successfully (at least in our experience). There was also a lot of laughter and warm feelings between the teachers. Isn’t it great to talk to people who know exactly what you are talking about and deal with the same challenges and struggles on a day to day basis? I loved it!
As we knew these teachers were coming and would be looking closely at our work it was only natural for us to want to make everything as perfect as possible. After all we wanted to show off the possibilities and the potential of what work with young children could be. And so I spent a great part of my day yesterday wiping, dusting, arranging and putting away. My two mottos were ‘keep it simple’ and ‘less is more’ and so quite a bit of clutter was cleared away. I did all this work because I was going to be showing off my classroom to other teachers and I wanted to feel proud and confident. The children were not there when the teachers visited but all the improvements and items on the to do list that finally got prioritised and finished because of the visit were there waiting for them in the morning. It was like a giant re-set or spring clean setting us up nicely for this next part of the journey. We wanted our guests to see our classroom in a certain way and so made it that way. How could the children not benefit from this?
In a way having a group of teachers visit us made us accountable. Other people were going to be looking and forming judgements about our work, how did we want them to see us? Is everything as it should be? I think it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of teaching, but it is when we share our work with others, through centre visits, that we can see again our own work through new eyes and be reminded of how exciting and wonderful it is. Energy restored, we bring more back to the children and move forward. Imagine what it would be like if we have people visiting every month or so? Crazy! I just hope we can repay the favour some time and visit some other centres.

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One thought on “Putting our best foot forward – How pride and vanity can contribute to better learning outcomes for children…

  1. Ooohh Im excited to see what Lou Lou will do to the garden. Updates please =)So happy to have other teachers see the Pipi whanau classroom. It is beautiful.

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