The 2016 Manitoba Child Care conference was held May 26th – 28th and as usual I attended all three days. Three full days of workshops always leaves me with information overload so I give myself a little break before I go review my notes to remind myself of all the points I found noteworthy. This year’s theme was ‘Be Inspired, Be Incredible’ and the workshops I attended were truly inspiring especially Teacher Tom!
I’ve attended various workshops and conferences annually throughout my childcare career. I’ve written about some of them here, here, here and here. Occasionally I have met ECE’s who appear to be there against their will – completely apathetic and unwilling to participate. It always makes me wonder why they chose childcare as a career if they have no desire to learn – how can they expect to inspire the children they care for?
I can’t imagine not being interested in expanding your interests – to have no curiosity – to be stagnant. I’ve attended some workshops that turned out to be much different than I had anticipated/hoped yet I have still found at least some tidbit of useful information. If it turns out that the workshop presenter and I have completely different views/goals I would still consider it a learning opportunity – even if it is only to reinforce my own beliefs.
I am disappointed that there are rarely more than a few family childcare providers in attendance at conferences. I’ve heard the excuses ‘It is too expensive’ (It’s a write-off), ‘I can’t afford to close for two days’ (Attend an evening or Saturday workshop), ‘There is nothing that interests me’ (really?!?!), ‘I already know all that stuff’ (so go lead a workshop – be the expert of your group – mentor others!),’I don’t know anyone else who is going’ (Great! Make some new friends). In fact, I think that last one is really important – possibly the most important reason you should be going. Family childcare providers work in isolation and it is really easy to get stuck in an old, outdated routine and never grow.
Certainly we can develop wonderful relationships with the families we have enrolled but that can’t provide the type of benefit we get from interacting with peers. Besides – we get food at conferences – food we don’t need to cook ourselves! I love food that someone else cooks – except fishy things, I don’t like seafood. One of the reasons I joined a gym is so I never have to turn down food when someone offers it to me. Ooops, sorry, I got a little off topic for a moment…
The Province of Manitoba Best Practices Licensing Manual for Family and Group Childcare Homes recommends:
Networking with colleagues is extremely important whether through conferences, committees, courses or some other type of training. Although useful at times I don’t think looking for new ideas on Pinterest or interacting with peers on social media sites counts as professional development. Personally I believe professional development should be a regulation, a requirement for licensing not just a best practice.
So, here are a few points from my notes from this year’s MCCA conference;
- Attitude matters, 100 positive people + 1 negative person = 101 negative people.
- Quality is only as strong as your most marginal performer.
- Cooperation is hardwired, competition is taught.
- Formal instruction prepares people to work in factories.
- Education is not the filling of an empty vessel – it is the ignition of the flame.
- If it is not interesting to you it is not interesting to them either.
- Play is what children do when adults stop telling them what they should do.
- Young children are the most creative problem solvers in the world.
- The role of the teacher is to prepare the environment for the children to play.
To be honest most of these points are not new knowledge for me but the conversations I was involved in surrounding these points were extremely enlightening and that is why I go to conferences. Counting down the days until my next conference – The Manitoba Nature Summit is just three months away – so excited!