Tag Archives: new year’s resolutions

New Year, New Perspective

eceprofessional

2017 coming to a close has inspired me to really think about who I am as a person—and as a professional. Child care providers get overlooked in this category sometimes. We have had specialized training. We have spent countless hours searching thrift stores and garage sales for fun items that we can add to our learning spaces for our children. We know our librarian on a first name basis because finding the right story to set the tone for our lessons makes it so much more real for the children.

Finding your own professional identity can be hard sometimes when you have parents and others labeling you as a “babysitter.” This bothered me to no end! I knew I was more than a babysitter so why were people calling me one? To quote one of our trainers, Becky Howard, here at 4C: “Whether you call yourself a teacher, caregiver, aide, assistant, or anything else, if you are in a classroom or home care setting with young children, you are a teacher. If you get paid to do it, you are a professional in fact, and should also be a professional in attitude.” Attitude is everything! If you do not believe enough in yourself and trust your judgment as a professional in the early childhood field, who else is going to?

There is a lot going on in the world today that can definitely put a damper on someone’s attitude and outlook. “Sadly, in toxically stressful environments filled with poverty, violence and illness, the seeds of optimism are weakened and often die.” -Steve Gross, Founder/Chief Playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation.

Be and bring your best—ramp up your confidence and optimism!

To fill your bucket, make some new goals and resolutions for yourself, personally and professionally. 4C for Children can help you with the goals that you would like to accomplish in your program/classroom this year.  You can take some courses/training that pertain to a topic that you are interested in to further your education. Getting your Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is a great first step to furthering your professional education. Get parents involved to see what it is that makes you a shining professional and why their kids loving going to your program.

Believe in what you do, believe the work that you do is so important, and you will help shape not only young minds but the minds of their parents and others around your program as well. I believe in you, and I hope you can believe in yourself too!

New year, new possibilities!

I can’t believe that it’s 2014.  I’m not sure what truly happened in 2013 that made it soar by so quickly, but here we are in the first month of a new year.  If you’re like me at all, you’ve already made your list of resolutions and are jumping on the band wagon to make 2014 the best year ever.  I have a mental list of all the things I would like to improve upon this year (anything from organization to fitness).

While you are preparing for a new year in your ECE program, don't miss out on what is happening in the here and now!

What does your mental list look like?  Classroom teachers, are you planning to rotate your materials to make your environment more interesting to the children?  Do you have goals of documenting children’s learning that happens through photographs?  Administrators, have you revisited everyone’s professional development plans and discovered what new and interesting workshops your staff could attend this year?

Making lists of all of the things that we resolve to do in a new year can feel very overwhelming.  So I think I have decided that the biggest resolution I have for myself this year is to slow down and just breathe. 2013 went by so very quickly that I can barely remember all of the important things that happened.  I hope that you will join me in taking time to slow down and enjoy the present today.

Whether you are a classroom teacher worried about keeping your portfolios up-to-date or an administrator navigating a new quality rating system or licensing regulations, take time to observe what is happening around you and appreciate the beauty of day-to-day life.  Classroom teachers, I hope that while you are keeping track of the goals that are set for the children in your classroom, you take time to play games with them and share their joy when they learn something new. Administrators, as you go through your checklists to make sure your teachers have all of the certifications that they need, I hope you also notice the good work being done in your classrooms and acknowledge their efforts. Wishing you and yours a memorable and productive 2014.  Happy New Year!

-Angie G.

Make your New Year’s resolutions count!

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably experienced the sudden burst of motivation that comes in early January, as holiday indulgences make their way to the waistline and New Year’s resolutions force a new look at the figure we see in the mirror.  “This is the year,” so the resolution goes, “that I vow to lose ten pounds and keep it off.”  Other common variations include goals to get back to one’s “true” weight, to fit into a smaller size, etc.  And worthy resolutions they are.  Sadly, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived, if not completely forgotten by February.

Make your new year's resolutions count!

So, let’s talk about how we can make one big resolution for the New Year: How can you be more positive? How can you impact the children and families you serve?  It’s easy to complain—everyone does it sometimes.  But what if you don’t complain, or at least try not to?  Being positive does not mean overlooking issues in your program that need addressing.  It’s important to point out problems in a professional way and solve them as team.  You might have said things like, “I don’t like the food” or “The paper towels aren’t very soft,” “The pay is low,” and “Some parents don’t appreciate us.”  All of those statements may be true, but do they really matter?  If they matter enough, work to change them.

It’s easier to have a good attitude when you direct attention away from yourself and focus on the needs of others.  No more complaining or “poor me” attitudes allowed.  You took a position in early childhood education to help young children, but contrary to what most people think, it’s not the responsibility of your employer or your supervisor or anyone else to make you happy –that’s your job.  Your employers don’t owe you; you owe them.  Now, don’t misunderstand, you should never be treated with disrespect or work in an environment that is physically or emotionally unsafe for the children or you.  But we tend to focus on our own needs rather than the needs of others.  Keep your focus on the children, and you’re likely to have a better attitude.

Now, let’s take this one more step.  Not only are you going to be positive and professional, you are going to help others be positive and professional.  When you hear someone say something negative, say something positive.  I realize that being overtly positive might not be a part of your natural tendency or personality, and it takes you out of your comfort zone.  Push yourself.  Make being positive a habit.

I suggest a few more steps:  Choose the right resolution, for the right reasons.  Create a plan and stick to it.  Stay on track.  With a good plan, making significant progress toward your goal may require very little discipline and you can make great strides by following the original plan.  My final piece of advice, remain flexible and keep on going!  Build in flexibility into your expectations; we can simply adjust things as we go.  Make the New Year a happy and productive one for your children, families and co-workers.  On behalf of our 4C staff, we wish all of you a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2014.

How’s Your New Year’s Resolution Going?

This year my new year’s resolution was not to make a new year’s resolution. It’s probably not what you are thinking–it’s not because I know I will inevitably break it by January 31, it’s because I am looking at my new year differently. Instead of choosing one lofty thing to fix, I am evaluating the strengths in my life. Yes, strengths. Not weaknesses. My number one strength, as determined by the VIA Institute, is curiosity. I looked back at 2010 with a critical eye and evaluated what I did to nurture this strength. How did I use my strength in relationships, at work and in my personal life? I realized that I could have been more fulfilled last year if I had spent more time asking my friends what they were up to, and how they were doing. I mean really doing. In the past my curiosity about people had led to many deep and satisfying relationships, unfortunately the one thing that I did not make time for in 2010. So, now I have a personal action plan that actually schedules in this valuable time, and at the end of 2011 I will be able to reflect and see if I am indeed more fulfilled.

As you are perhaps working on your professional development plan or quality improvement plan for your early childhood program, take the time to reflect on what you do well. What are you (or your program) known for? Some would call this “your niche.” How are you making sure you are not losing what makes you and your program unique?

So as you begin your 2011 personal action plan, consider doing a self-evaluation. What do you want more of? More time? More peace? More job satisfaction?  I believe if you nurture your strength, that main thing that gets you up in the morning, many of these other things will fall into place. You will need to plan for ways to accomplish this. I have been challenged to choose one word to define my year as opposed to identifying a resolution, and my word for 2011 is curiosity… what is your one word? I’m curious – let me know!