PLAY IT BY EAR: A word on 'parent goals'.
It silly season and we are all tired of people not washing up their cups in the staffroom... HOWEVER > super-organised-neat-Nellies are working on their meetings and communications with parents for the start of 2020 as we speak. Can we all just take a minute to love these people and also loathe them?
What do you want from us?
Before Nelly jumps in I would ask Nelly to consider what it is we are hoping to draw from parents when we ask them for GOALS. Developing educational goals is no mean feat as a trained university teacher and takes years of experience to understand the reasons for goals, how to write them and then how to use them to gather data, measure a baseline, redevelop and monitor progress to then inform our program and pedagogy. Developing goals is a form of assessment, you must know about assessment in early childhood to do this effectively.
When we are asking families to jump these hoops for us are we asking them to genuinely see what they want for children or are we asking them to come up with the developmental goals for outcomes so we can tick the box for QA. 6 Collaborative Partnerships with Families?
Don't worry, be happy
I believe that there is such value in connecting with parents about what they truly want for their children. FUN FACT: You know what most parents have said to me in the past 20 years and what I say to my children's teachers 'I just want them to be happy'.
Now this can go two ways (probably more);
massive eye roll from Nelly due to no clearly written educational goal to put in the portfolio
a sense of relief that parents trust that teachers will deliver education that in effect has children thriving, secure and content without having to spoon-feed ideas about what to write or say.
When the latter occurs there is a space of time where if held well (in silence) families will reveal the next layer of how this could look. Some will go on to say;
that they would like them to have friends
others will say that having a good relationship with one teacher is important
without a doubt some will throw in that they want them to learn numbers or colours.
Of course parents will try to give you an answer you want to hear because you have set them up to give you feedback based on educational goals, so when you get the academic focus you will get goals that people make up based on what they know about what children should learn. Many folk in the community who are not trained teachers see our profession as learning concepts like colours and numbers. We know as trained professionals that colours and numbers are conceptual learning that occurs naturally when children engage in deeper inquiry based on what fascinates them most e.g. why does the ladybird have spots and the other one doesn't? Naturally colour and number comes up but it is not the focus of the inquiry. The children are motivated to learn as the are on an inquest via play and that is where the misalignment can come.
So...... Nelly re-think how you ask the question.
Meet families where they are and assure them that the way you deliver the education (your pedagogy - what you teach and how you teach it) is covered. Tell them you've got this! But you would love to hear their values so you can add this to the delivery recipe. By knowing what families cherish we have an opening to teach them more about early education and even act as advocates for our profession. Yes by changing your 'GOAL' word to 'what do you want for your child?' you are engaging in everyday advocacy. You can articulate what an intricate job it is to educate children and have them actually enjoy it!
By asking for goal sheets or 'all about me' sheets to be filled out Are we teaching families to not trust that we have education sorted? Could we reimagine this and simply ask families what they hope for and what they want for their child? Do you see the difference?
Disclaimer 1: You must have a high quality educational program and a climate of trust for this to work.
Disclaimer 2: For all you teacher-mums/dads/carers out there you are exception to the rule. You may go forth and write your detailed goal but do not expect it to be the same at school/care as it is at home, that shit is wooooorlds apart and your child is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Go forth brave knights and good luck with never sleeping due to knowing too much.
For those playing at home, here is tonights dinner.
500g Thigh Chicken
Buk Choy (or was it Pak?? hmmm)
Cook off the the thigh first and if you're like me and dont like chopping chicken raw, cook it whole and chop it up afterwards. Cook it in oil and make sure you render the fat off. Add a little soy sauce and garlic and really fry it up then add a little squeeze of honey at the end to caramelise the chicken. Chop it while you cook or take it out of the pan and chop it up and return it to the pan with your veges.
The veges have to be julienne. That means you will need to practise your knife skills! No chunks in stirfry ploise. Cut your carrots on an angle. Hot tip.
Stirfry everything with more oil, more soy and more honey and deglaze the pan by adding in some chicken stick or water if things are starting to blacken.
Serve with rice or Singapore noodles or just on its own. Kids love it. Give them chopsticks and really feel the love <tips and runs>
P.s. You must teach them to eat the whole foods first before you go throwing the veges in al together. Work on one vege for months. Exposure and opportunity to see the food in its whole form before getting funky.
Go on. Off you go, be brave, use chopsticks and don't ask for goals - I dare you!!!