For many years as an educator and director I was a firm believer in defending my practice and that of my service. When an assessor challenged our use of glass jars I defended the decision, providing positive examples and research. When a parent questioned the legalities of tree climbing I directed them to our benefit risk assessment, found articles, research and safety information to back us up. When an educator said "we're not allowed to do that" I found regulations, made phone calls and got out the highlighter!
As a consultant I have often encouraged educators to defend what they do and while I still feel that way, a discussion with Tash (Inspired EC co-founder) this morning had me questioning whether it should always be up to educators to defend what they do. Instead, I would suggest that educators should feel empowered to question their challengers. Instead of having to prove ourselves... let's turn the tables!
When an assessor challenges your practice and says "you can't do that" ask to be shown where the in the National Quality Framework it says that you can 't.
When another educator says "we're not allowed to do that" ask them to find the regulation or law that says that.
Why should it be up to us to always defend what we do? If someone is putting an obstacle in the way of us providing opportunities for children (such as excursions) or creating an inspiring environment (by adding a trickle stream, for example) then they need to provide us with the hard facts - not just "Oh, I heard from Jane, who works at xyz service, that the assessor said it wasn't allowed."
Of course there will inevitably be times when someone (assessor, colleague) actually identifies an issue that we have missed and that is great - when they come to us with hard facts, we are able to swiftly make appropriate change to ensure the best outcomes for children.
Don't dread the visits from the regulatory authority, they are a great opportunity - just be prepared to ask the question "can you show me where that is written in the National Quality Framework?"
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