What I want you to know this Early Childhood Educators Day
Today, Wednesday 6th of September, is Early Childhood Educators Day. For weeks I've seen posts online asking for ideas to celebrate, or to make a team of educators feel valued. There have been stories and suggestions of lolly jars, and massages from some and dismay from others who have never felt celebrated at all.
Why celebrate Early Childhood Educators Day?
In our motivation and team building training sessions, I often talk about finding your why. I typically joke that we don't do this job for the glory, that no-one is throwing us a parade down the main street of town. But there is a grain of seriousness to that joke. For so long, the early childhood sector has been undervalued in the wider community, not seen as a profession. While we might say "we shouldn't need a day to celebrate", sometimes that's exactly what we need - something that draws attention to the work that we do.
Why is this Early Childhood Educators Day different?
I don't know if different is the right word, but in the last 12 months, we have seen so much unrest within our sector. I've written previously on the mass exodus of educators from the sector and talked to so many educators who are frustrated, burnt out, and needing something to change. Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but maybe by shining a light on the sector for this one day in September, we can highlight the struggles that it is facing.
What do I want you to know this Early Childhood Educators Day?
I want you to know that you are valued.
I want you to know that when you pick up a crying child, it makes a difference in their heart and their brain.
I want you to know that time spent playing is never time wasted.
I want you to know that the funny voices you use when reading a story are creating memories for children.
I want you to know that the reassurance you give families when they leave their child for the first (or hundredth) time is a gift.
I want you to know that the environments that you create for children's play bring joy and wonder.
I want you to know that the answers you give to the 4576 questions asked in a day, and the questions you ask in return, are sparking curiosity and creative thinking.
I want you to know that every time you put a Band-Aid on a child's knee and validate their hurt, rather than brushing it off and saying "you're fine", you tell them "you're safe with me."
I want you to know that children need you, that families need you, and that the early childhood community needs you. I know you are tired. I know some days you feel done. I know you are underpaid. I know you feel overwhelmed. While I can't fix all of those problems single handed, I will continue to advocate for the work that you do, to tell all who will listen (and maybe some who wont... but I'll tell them anyway) about the vital role that early childhood educators play in the development of humans who are at a crucial stage of life.
At Inspired EC, our motto is "we are changing the world for children" and we deeply believe that. And we believe that you are changing the world for children too.