As the year 2023 winds down, I find myself in a reflective mood, looking back on a year that was rich with learning, growth, and meaningful experiences in the world of Early Childhood Education (ECE). This journey, shared with you – a vibrant community of educators, mentors, colleagues and collaborators – has been nothing short of extraordinary.
A Deep Dive into Mindfulness and Personal Growth
This year, my continued exploration into mindfulness and personal growth reached new depths. Further integrating these practices into my daily life, both personally and professionally, has been enlightening. I’ve learned that being present and conscious in every moment enriches our interactions and decision-making, both in our personal lives and as educators nurturing young minds.
Consulting and Facility Design in ECE
A major highlight of my professional journey this year involved consulting on several child care projects and being an integral part of the team designing multiple child care facilities. These experiences allowed me to blend my passion for ECE with innovative design principles, creating environments that foster learning, exploration, and growth.
Exploring the Intersection of Spiral Dynamics, Consciousness, and ECE
This year, one of my most enlightening and transformative endeavors involved diving deeply into the interplay of Spiral Dynamics, consciousness, and Early Childhood Education, particularly in relation to Montessori principles. This exploration has not only expanded my understanding of child development and learning processes but also brought to the forefront the significance of educator personal and professional growth. Embracing the concepts of consciousness and surrendering in this context, I’ve begun to perceive the ECE landscape through a more holistic and nuanced lens. This journey has been a process of awakening, allowing me to align more closely with the natural ebb and flow of life and education. The insights gained from this exploration have been truly invigorating, and I am eager to continue unraveling the rich tapestry that this blend of Spiral Dynamics and ECE presents.
Mentoring and Empowering ECE Professionals
Launching a new coaching and mentoring service in 2023 was a significant milestone. It is a privilege to guide and support ECE professionals in various aspects of their careers, from mindfulness and self-care to leadership and classroom management. This service has also been a platform for addressing the unique challenges and strengths of neurodivergent educators and exploring career development within the field.
Collaborative Projects and Indigenous ECE Programs
This year, I had the honour of collaborating on innovative ECE projects, including contributing to Indigenous early childhood education initiatives. These collaborations have been deeply enriching, enhancing my understanding and appreciation of diverse cultural perspectives and practices in ECE.
Exploring Neurodivergence in ECE: A Personal and Professional Journey
My journey this year was profound as I dove into the depths of neurodivergence, encompassing ADHD, autism, and other unique cognitive landscapes, both in my personal experience and within the broader ECE practice. As someone who identifies with and understands neurodivergence, I’ve been able to bring a deeply personal perspective to this exploration. This insight has been instrumental in developing strategies and approaches to make ECE environments more inclusive and nurturing for all.
Alongside my own experiences, I’ve had the privilege of engaging with multiple colleagues and educators who also identify as neurodivergent. Together, we’ve shared insights and challenges, creating a rich tapestry of understanding that has greatly informed our lives and professional practices. This collective journey has highlighted the importance of acknowledging and embracing the unique strengths and needs of neurodivergent children and educators, fostering environments where everyone’s individuality is not just accepted, but celebrated and leveraged for greater learning and growth.
This exploration into neurodiversity has been a journey of both personal and professional enlightenment, and it has reinforced my commitment to advocating for and implementing inclusive practices in ECE settings. My goal is to continue this path of discovery, sharing insights, and empowering others in the ECE community to recognize and harness the full potential of neurodiverse minds.
Addressing Imposter Syndrome and Professional Expansion
Being part of an exploration into the impact of imposter syndrome on individuals has been enlightening. Understanding its effects is crucial for supporting educators in overcoming self-doubt and confidently expanding their professional horizons.
Looking Ahead: 2024 and Beyond
As the calendar turns to 2024, I am brimming with excitement and anticipation for what the future holds. The upcoming year is shaping up to be a pivotal one, marked by significant milestones and continued growth in both my personal and professional life.
Launching the ECE Workshops & Montessori-Inspired Studio Space – A key highlight for 2024 will be the launch of our soon to be updated ECE Workshops & Montessori-Inspired studio space. This venture is a physical manifestation of my dedication to providing high-quality early learning opportunities and professional development. It will serve as a location for us to develop customized content for our digital products and consulting services plus will be an inspiring space for small groups of young children.
Expanding Neurodiversity – Building on this year’s insights, I plan to delve deeper into neurodiversity. My aim is to create more inclusive and supportive environments that celebrate and harness the strengths of neurodivergent children and educators.
Enhancing Spiral Dynamics Integration in ECE – Another major focus for 2024 will be the continued exploration and integration of Spiral Dynamics into the way I think about the world of ECE. I intend to deepen my research and explore further application of this framework, exploring how it can both enhance and transform educational approaches, the personal and professional growth of educators and support the holistic development of young children.
Continued Consulting, Mentoring & ECE Workshops – I look forward to continuing my efforts in consulting, mentoring, and providing online Early Childhood Education workshops. These pillars of our work at 45 Conversations represent a commitment to ongoing learning, collaboration, and empowerment within the ECE community. My consulting work will keep focusing on developing innovative child care projects, where my expertise in facility design and educational philosophy can create nurturing and stimulating environments for children. Meanwhile, the mentoring service, will hopefully expand in reach and uplift more ECE professionals in their diverse career paths. Finally, I am particularly excited about launching several new ECE Workshops as well as digital resource decks for early childhood educators in 2024.
With Gratitude and Appreciation
As I reflect on the past year and look forward to the next, I am filled with gratitude and appreciation for your unwavering support and shared passion for Early Childhood Education. Together, we are making incredible strides for children and families, and I am confident that 2024 will be a year of even greater achievements and impactful enhancements.
Here’s to a year filled with new discoveries, collaborative successes, and continued positive impacts on the field of early childhood education.
I appreciate you and wish you all the best for a healthy, happy and inspiring 2024!