Question everything. (Or why do we have a birthday chart?)

Critical reflection, as we know is vitally important in our practice as educators. It is critical reflection that enables us to know if we are perpetuating injustice through our practice. If we are truly focusing on inclusion, if we are embedding the anti-bias goals. Questioning our practice helps us establish this.

But there is another sort of questioning we need to do in early education and care – questioning some of the longstanding practices we carry out and questioning our belief at what we think is “allowed” and “not allowed” in early education and care. 

Question Everything

Essentially this is questioning why we do x or y or z. Do these practices still serve a function, or has the function long been replaced by another option? (Birthday charts can so easily be replaced by electronic calendar alerts.)

Sometimes years can go past with educators doing the same things as if they are an absolute education and care requirement without ever questioning why.

Similarly next time you hear yourself say “we can’t do X” question yourself. Are you sure? What part of the Regs actually makes this practice or act illegal? Check. If it isn’t there, then you can probably do it. Sometimes our knowledge of the Regs is a hotchpotch of what is there and what we have learnt from others may or may not be there. Always go back to the source document because you may just be stopping doing something that would be great for children and other educators, because of a mistaken view that it is “forbidden”.

Myths grow like wildflowers in our sector. The questioning educator has a vital role in helping to stamp out myths. Next time you go to do something or stop yourself from doing something, question it. Be a myth buster. Speak out when you hear others perpetuating these myths. 

Why? Because the role of myths is a bit like the fables of old. They were designed to keep people, especially children, safe. But as times changed, some of our fables became somewhat irrelevant. If we keep believing them, we are constraining behaviour and actions for reasons that may have been valid once but are no more. 

And that is just sad.

Reflective questions

  • What practice/s in my setting happen because they always have? Do they serve a purpose? Are they in children’s best interest? 
  • What practice/s in my setting don’t we do because of a belief it is not allowed? IS this actually true? What is the evidence?
  • How can I help challenge some of the myths in the wider sector? Do I always stand up and call out incorrect beliefs or information? Why do I? Why do I not?

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