Monday, February 2, 2015

Adam Buckingham

The man who's name appears in the title was one of the greatest advocates for young children and for men who choose to work with them. I am struggling to find adequate words to describe what I am feeling, but will try anyway.

For those who didn't know Adam has passed away and he leaves a wonderful legacy behind. I know him best for his work with the ecmenz group in New Zealand. They host an annual Men in Early Childhood Education Summit and Adam invited me to be their guest last year. Unfortunately I had to decline as I couldn't make it and now I am regretting it as I will never have the opportunity to meet this very special man in person.

While I knew Adam best for his work with the ecmenz organisation, I later became aware of his tireless efforts at introducing sustainability to young children's lives, including writing a book titled 'Turning Trash into Treasure for Young Children'.

Adam worked tirelessly to ensure he left the children he was with in a better world then when they started and I believe he achieved that, if for no other reason then they got to experience life with him.

I didn't know him as well as others and therefore I cannot share loads of facts about his life without first looking it up and that would not be authentic or do him justice. What I will say though is that the global Early Childhood profession is much poorer for his passing. I would also like to add that I often wonder if I am actually making a difference to how men who work with young children are perceived or in encouraging more guys into the field. What I do know is that Adam did and if I can achieve half of what he did then my life will have been deemed a success.

Rest In Peace buddy and keep a watchful eye on us from time to time.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gecko Awards 2014

Hello to you all. It's been a while since I last posted and I was unsure if I would again anytime soon. Then it hit me that one of my more popular (by that I mean positive feedback rather than number of views) posts was the initial one recognising those who I viewed as contributing to the Global Early Childhood and Kinder (Osmosis) community as well as inspiring me personally and professionally.
This is the third instalment of the Gecko Awards. For those of you who missed the first two posts I listed a number of individuals many in the profession would be familiar with regardless of your location as most of them are recognised globally for what they do. I could have done likewise this time around, but I figured there was something even more worthwhile I could do.

Something I've become more aware of recently is to acknowledge our own strengths and achievements as a profession we are too quick to look at what's wrong rather than what's right. So here it is. The recipients of this year's Males in Early Childhood GECKO Awards are....drum roll please........................

All of you! That's right, every single one of you, regardless of whether you read this or not. If you do read this tell a friend. Hell, tell all the people you know in the Early Years profession. You all deserve it as you all do a great job of inspiring each other. You're wonderful at making a difference in children's lives. You are you and that's what counts. So everyone can consider themselves a GECKO recipient and check out the list of past winners in the previous two award posts and you'll see you are in some damn fine company.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Provocation - Gender Identity

Take this scenario: A boy arrives at your service wearing a pink shirt and a coupe of other boys notice his arrival. These boys comment that he's a girls because he's wearing a girl's shirt.

Or how about this one: A girl really wants to join some boys while they engaged in some rough and tumble superhero play, but one of the boys tells her she can't play be a superhero because she's a girl.

How do you react in such a situations if you react at all?

Are there other ways in which your children, colleagues or even yourself maintain biased beliefs that restrict certain children from engaging in specific experiences?

Are dress ups, dance or doll play domains primarily for girls?

Do you encourage boys more toward construction or with the use of real tools such as hammers and screwdrivers?

We all carry preconceived ideas and beliefs, but should we let these interfere with our pedagogical decisions?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Provocation - Questions

Questions can be a valuable way to gain information, but they can also be fraught with danger. When you ask somebody a question in order to get an answer to a quandary it's no big deal. However, if you question why or how something is done it can often be taken very personally even if it is not intended that way.

If someone questions why you do something do you become defensive? I know I have. It's instinctive for many of us, but is it justifiable? After all, don't such questions lend themselves to us being more reflective?

How do you react to being questioned? Do you immediately get on the defensive if your practices are being put up for debate? Do you welcome the scrutiny, safe in the knowledge that your approaches are impeccable? Do you relish the opportunity to look introspectively at your personal and/or professional life?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Provocation - messy play

What are your thoughts about messy play and what do you consider too messy?

Do you accept mud play if it is in a controlled environment such as a mud kitchen or is open plan mud exploration just as acceptable?