At Sanctuary, we believe in the benefits of continuing professional development for teachers. We are a community of learners; not only is our centre a place for children to learn, grow and develop, it is also a place that our educators can grow, learn, and develop together in harmony. We use continuing professional development opportunities to support our educational teams in various areas of their practice to ensure that they are up to date.
We use critical reflection to continually review our current practices and our educational programs. We pose questions to ourselves, the children, the community, and our colleagues in relation to areas that require improvement or areas that we are passionate about. This approach ensures that our curriculum is always fresh, progressive, and evolving so that your children receive the best early learning education possible.
What’s professional development?
When people use the term “professional development,” they usually mean
a formal process such as a conference, seminar, or workshop; collaborative learning among members of a work team. However, professional development can also occur in informal contexts such as discussions among work colleagues, independent reading and research, observations of a colleague’s work, or other learning from peers or the students themselves.
Educators also engage in self-directed learning such as conducting research, observing effective instruction perhaps at another school, or attending a conference or workshop. This ensures that educators’ learning is productive and stimulating for the children.
Why is professional development important for teachers?
University or TAFE doesn’t offer the extensive range of learning experiences necessary for our graduate educators to remain effective and progressive educators. Once an educator graduates, meets certification requirements, and are employed, they will naturally continue to learn through experience on the job. As in all professions, new teachers take years to gain the skills they need to be effective in their roles. Educators who do not engage with effective professional development throughout their career don’t improve their skills, fail to remain fresh and student learning suffers. At Sanctuary, we believe in improving our educators skills and aligning them with the needs of the children and our community. This is why professional development is so important for teachers.
Benefits of continuing professional development?
Continuing professional development enables educators to continue to develop the knowledge and skills that they need to stay up to date and address students’ early learning challenges. To reap the benefits of continuing professional development, it requires thoughtful planning followed by careful implementation with feedback and input from the children and families to ensure the professional development responds to the educators’ learning needs.
Educators who participate in professional development benefit by applying their new knowledge and skills to their work at hand. Professional development is not effective unless it enables teachers to improve and diversify their teaching methods to help them to become better school leaders. Our educators work together to use data to understand what students are not learning and to discover instructional gaps, then determine what they need to learn to help close those gaps. Educators set out to learn what they need to know and do to improve and provide children with a better learning experience. An educators’ professional development is improved when they are able to analyse and discuss with their team members what they are learning and their experiences in applying what they learned. Professional development allows educators to engage in an ongoing cycle of improvement.
How does Sanctuary implement professional development?
At Sanctuary we ensure that our educators are engaged in ongoing professional development, on topics that allow the children grow and learn in a curious and rich learning environment.
In May 2019, our focus was “provocations for play”. Our teams delved into how to create environments that provoke children’s curiosity, sense of agency and their ability to investigate their world through play. Our focus then shifted into upcycling and repurposing various standard items. The educators and children worked further around sustainability and the impact our actions have on our world. This workshop really allowed us to shift our focus from the self to the outer world.
Our focus this month is on documenting our children’s learning. We have been looking in depth into our legislative requirements, alternative styles of curriculum, child development and various theories. Our educators are able to provide rich learning environments and extend children’s learning to a higher level when they truly understand theories of child development. We also use Storypark, which we’ve discussed in depth in one of our previous articles.
At Sanctuary, we believe in the benefits of continuing professional development for teachers. We are a community of learners; not only is our centre a place for children to learn, grow and develop, it is also a place that our educators can grow, learn, and develop together in harmony.