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Massey Child Care Centre: self-worth and self-motivation

Issue: Volume 94, Number 15

Posted: 24 August 2015
Reference #: 1H9crz

The centre was a finalist in the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards this year; their award focused on improved outcomes for both children and teachers.

The formation of the Community of Practice was the result of leaders wanting to develop an organisational culture that would nurture self-motivated teachers. It is intended to be a place where teachers can be leaders of their own learning and reflective practitioners can engage in professional dialogue with others, in order to further develop their thinking and their practice.

The Community of Practice culture asks teachers to be open to new ideas, and to actively reflect on the construction of knowledge in order to build capacity on the personal, interpersonal and institutional planes. The foundation of any effective learning culture is individuals who are leaders of their own learning, who actively seek new knowledge through research and new thinking.

Massey Child Care Centre has developed organisational structures that ensure engagement in professional dialogue, critical reflection, programme development and communication with families. Strong strategic direction and robust reviews contribute to the development and maintenance of the Community of Practice.

The decision to implement the Community of Practice has improved the ability of teachers to develop their knowledge and skills, while integrating theory and practice; enabling children to be critical thinkers and to be involved in meaningful learning experiences. Enabling deep change by way of revised teaching and learning strategies, has resulted in the construction of the image of the child as a powerful agent in their own learning, whose ideas are valued.

The Massey Child Care Centre curriculum is designed with a lot of flexibility, allowing children to set their own agenda; acknowledging that they learn in the here and now. Children who are encouraged to actively contribute their own ideas, and who are supported to develop their unique strengths, become confident in their sense of self. Mana (identity); Wairua (spirit); and Mauri (spark or life force) are protected when teachers listen and respond to children. Children are actively encouraged to contribute their own ideas and set the tone of the day.

As a result of the research and professional dialogue that is critical to the Community of Practice, rosters no longer exist within the centre. Teachers take responsibility for ensuring that each child’s own routine and rhythm, as well as parents’ aspirations, are acknowledged and supported within the environment. Teachers form their routines around a child’s needs, meaning there are no fixed lunch times or set non-contact times.

Teachers found that to acknowledge children in this way, they also needed to have their own learning acknowledged. This critically reflective culture supports teachers to drive their own learning in an environment that appreciates them for who they are and what they bring to the centre. Self-awareness is promoted by the community through trust, respect and intentional strategies for their development, dependent on the teacher’s individual needs.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 6:55 pm, 24 August 2015

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