|• E v o l u t i o n •|
Funny isn’t it how things evolve over time…. much like my setting has evolved my ways of sharing my ideas have also expanded and in January I decided to include my early years ideas onto my instagram feed Mama’s den. I tentatively started posting what I do in my job as a registered childminder onto my page and couldn’t believe the response I was getting, people were sending me photos asking for my ideas of how they can improve upon or evolve their learning environments. People presume that my setting always looked how it does today which couldn’t be further from the truth.
We can only start with the basics and improve and enhance them as time passes, as our practice gets more affective and our knowledge of early years learning improves…. we evolve as practitioners.
You might think I’d being a bit crazy, or even OTT but it’s true. We don’t see ourselves change, we go about our day-to-day business, we plan for the children in our care. But stop and think for a moment, look back at old photographs of your setting or the activities you did 3/4/5 years ago… are they exactly the same? If the answer is yes then you really need to think of ways you can grow and develop, continued professional development is essential for us all. The chances are that you can see massive changes in your setting, planning and ideas.
So I am being asked for my ideas of how people can improve their learning environments and I take a moment to reflect. It wasn’t long ago that I was looking through endless photo’s of people’s playrooms or gardens and looking on with envy, so at what point did things change? When did I become the person people looked to for ideas?
In truth I don’t know when it was but at some point over the past 18 months I decided to start being true to myself and to pick up little ideas from here and there (mainly instagram and facebook) but to do my best to create a learning environment which reflected my own love of natural, wooden, open-ended toys and learning environments.
Ned the Robot available from Rudi and bear – use code mamasden10
I know I think much more now about how the toys, activities and my setting benefit the children as individuals.
I don’t claim to be an expert in this field by any means. I have worked as a childminder for the past 7 years but I have evolved massively and my setting has aswell. This has come via personal performance reviews of myself, Self-evaluation, Questioning my own practices: What am I doing well? What could be improved upon? How are the children benefitting from what we are doing?
I have concluded at different times that areas of my setting might need improving or changing. I love looking at how other people operate their settings whether it be another childminder, a nursery or pre-school. We all have our strengths and it would be so easy to be overwhelmed with the wealth of knowledge that others have in this field. Step back and look at what you could use in your setting, what are your strengths? What it within your means? What is achievable and focus on one area at a time.
I love having a nosey at how others do things. But you could be at the start of your journey and be looking at a setting which has had 3/4/5/10 years of evolution.
I’d of never thought to include art work into a play scene 5 years ago
Here is an example for you of how my ‘mud kitchen’ areas has changed over the past 4 years. From humble beginnings I’ve added to this area to create a wonderful learning zone.
Please feel free to drop me an email or send me pictures of your setting and tag me into your Instagram posts. I’m happy to share any hints and tips with you and love to see your feedback.
Here are some of the lovely comments I’ve had over on Instagram recently
letsplaymama – “It’s so important people share their ‘evolution’ because its easy to feel overwhelmed by what you don’t have.”
buttercup_lane_childminders – “Your page inspires me”
areusablelife – “Wow I love these creations and the happy faces. That’s what it’s all about.”
letsplaymama – “that will be great, look forward to seeing it. It’s so easy to see all these wonderful spaces which are people’s journeys years in and compare the beginning of your own journey.”