As we draw near to the end of one year and the start of another, we usually begin thinking about celebrations. At Petit Early Learning Journey, we like to acknowledge and celebrate both children’s and Educators’ positive outcomes and successes.
December is traditionally a time when we ask our centres to nominate their team members for various awards using the three characteristics: “being”, “belonging” and “becoming”, as identified in the EYLF framework. Each centre has its own way of doing this, with some inviting families into the process.
Throughout the year, we also acknowledge other professional achievements in our centres, as well as on a national level with our Exceptional Team Member and Exceptional Centre of the Month. While these awards recognise our people, they would not exist without the progress of our children.
As an Educator with Petit ELJ, you will be part of a rich culture that uses critical reflection, family and community feedback to identify the practices that are working and improvements for children’s learning, community, stability, environment, inclusion and several other vital areas.
This month, we spoke with Tenita Williams, Centre Director at Petit Early Learning Journey Barton, to discuss:
- How they evaluate professional achievements as a centre and for individuals in their team.
- How they recognise and celebrate achievements as a team and with their community.
- Why it’s essential to acknowledge and recognise our Educators’ and children’s progress.
- The planning of social events to celebrate successes with the team, children, families and the community.
Evaluating professional achievement in child care
Often when we talk about assessment in child care, we refer to the children’s performance and development. However, when we consider Quality Area 7 of the National Quality Standard and its commitment to quality improvement and administration services, evaluating professional achievement comprises of an ongoing cycle of planning, review and evaluation.
At Petit ELJ, we promote regular performance reviews and individual staff development plans that encourage ongoing professional development and training. It is also crucial for professional development to contribute to an overall quality improvement plan for the centre.
When evaluating our needs for professional development, we’re mindful of our shared approach to pedagogy and work together to ensure our shared learning fits local contexts.
“We evaluate our progress regularly through critical reflection both individually and within our teams,” says Tenita. “I make it a habit to have regular check-ins, often over coffee, between myself as Centre Director and the centre’s Educators.”
By treating our families as valued partners, we invite and encourage open, honest and respectful communication. This approach enables us to provide quality feedback at performance evaluations and ongoing catch-ups about our behaviour and competencies.
Performance evaluations provide us with an opportunity to acknowledge achievements and contributions. However, a review process does not confine our recognition. As role models, we celebrate and share even our small wins and progress with our families and children.
“We also encourage our Educators to share their successes at team meetings and welcome all Educators to acknowledge their peer’s achievements.”
Recognising and celebrating achievements of Educators in early childhood education and care
As Educators and Early Childhood Teachers, we understand the importance of promoting and celebrating achievements. Identifying and celebrating progress is an integral part of our centres’ improvement process for children, families and Educators.
Evaluations aren’t just about finding ways to improve; they’re also about celebrating our achievements.
“We regularly promote all Educators’ achievements through verbal acknowledgement and share staff successes at the start of team meetings and regular staff morning teas,” says Tenita. “We also have an awards night at the end of each year.”
“As this year has been particularly difficult, we also provided thank you gifts to our team for working through COVID-19. We put together a bag with hand cream, a candle, plant and chocolate to let our staff know how much we valued their commitment.”
Each Petit ELJ centre has its way of recognising and celebrating Educators’ achievements. Some services post achievements on social media (Facebook and Instagram) while others recognise achievements in the centre’s reception area or on notice boards.
We also recognise and celebrate achievements for centres, teams and individuals in a monthly family newsletter and a quarterly team newsletter.
Why it is important to acknowledge and recognise children’s and Educators’ achievements
Promoting and celebrating achievements, including communicating the outcomes of evaluations, are important ways to recognise and acknowledge the efforts of children, families and staff working together. Celebrating achievements can help maintain motivation and commitment to continuous improvement.
Recognising positive outcomes and successes is an essential part of the planning and evaluation process.
By communicating and sharing the outcomes of evaluations with our Petit ELJ community, we recognise the collaboration and partnerships of our Educators, families and children. Promoting and celebrating our achievements makes our communities feel appreciated, and this motivates continuous improvement.
“It makes us focus on what we are doing well so we can continue to improve the centre and our practices,” says Tenita.
Celebrating success develops confidence, promotes learning and fosters a sense of belonging in children. It also has similar outcomes for adults. There are several ways that we encourage our Educators to celebrate success and recognise progress. These include:
- Identifying your team’s wins (big and small) and how you have contributed to them.
- Sharing observations with the team.
- Listening to other team members by recognising their successes.
- Reflecting on our progress and success and linking them to new goals.
Social events to celebrate success and progress
In previous years, our 18 centres have celebrated achievements by holding social gatherings coordinated with our families and children. These have included art exhibitions, where families can see their children’s artwork on show.
We have also held open days and market days where families can come to the centre with their children to join in special community celebrations. Families can tour the centres and talk to our Educators. They can also view their children’s work on display, and purchase items like succulents that the children have helped to plant and grow.
Special events, like graduations, hold significant meaning for our Educators who have observed their children growing, developing and learning from the nursery to graduation.
“We invite families into the centre for graduation, and it’s run like a formal ceremony,” says Tenita. “It’s also customary for the children to thank their teachers.”
“At our centre, we have many opportunities to review, reflect and celebrate our progress as a team and as individuals. We have:
- A staff awards night, which includes a dinner and recognition of achievement with awards.
- Annually celebrated Educators Day. Last year we organised 15-minute massages for our Educators and provided a morning tea. Our families also get involved by writing thank you notes or by providing other items of appreciation.
- Regular Educator morning teas, where we acknowledge our progress and achievements.”
And there are many other ways that we support our teams. Our interest in your professional development is sincere as it also impacts your team and your centre’s families and children. We want you to succeed. Celebrating your achievements or your teams is just one of the benefits of working with Petit ELJ.
Satisfy your career goals and celebrate success with Petit Early Learning Journey
At Petit ELJ, we place a strong emphasis on continuous quality improvement at our centres. It involves collaboration with families and team members, reviews, critical reflection and planning, professional development and training both on a personal level and as part of a team.
Our centre teams regularly collaborate on pedagogy and share information on the latest developments in early childhood education, choosing what works for their local community. Do you long for an authentic workplace with robust conversations, mentoring and coaching?