ARCQE January 2020 Blog Post
by Aradhna Abraham
Both with tears in their eyes, she dropped off her ‘baby’ in the hands of our care-the Infant Room Educators. This was the first time I had to comfort a mother crying in the hallway as she planned her return to work after maternity leave. It was then, I felt the complexity of my role as an educator…not only was I responsible to observe, plan, and support the learning of the children in our teams’ care, I was also supporting the families I worked with, in a way that would deeply impact their experiences as parents. Flight -Alberta’s Early Learning and Child Care Framework describes the educator’s role as “complex and multifaceted” (Makovichuk, L.et al., 2014, p.6) and further states that “Families, children, and educators create places of vitality together—strong, active, and energetic communities, fostered by educators who engage in a practice of relationships”. (Makovichuk, L., et al., 2014, p.50). The complexity of my role as an educator, and the rippling impact early learning and care providers have with the broader community was evident to me in that moment. I knew that what I did and said in the next moments with that mother could be empowering and could further foster a trusting relationship.
Years later, I met Corine – ARCQE’s Executive Director, in graduate studies at the University of Alberta, and she shared with me ARCQE’s mission in ‘building capacity and quality’ within the childcare sector. I knew their mission was incredibly important for the educators working front line and was soon onboarding as ARCQE’s Virtual Workshop Co-ordinator.
In my time working with ARCQE, I had first-hand opportunities to join with educators across Alberta, both virtually and in-person and saw the positive influence of connecting educators with mentorship and professional development experiences. ARCQE’s unique design in supporting and resourcing to the needs of the Alberta childcare community, highlights the innovation occurring in the early learning sector and further helps to foster ‘a Practice of Relationships’ (Makovichuk, L., et al., 2014, p. 50) with front-line educators. It is that ‘relational practice’ that has enabled ARCQE to make impactful connections across the province, benefiting Alberta’s early years educators, and rippling to children and families.
I have always said that Early Childhood Educators are the ‘best people’ to work with. They are kind, empathetic, and passionate about supporting children and families and I truly believe this is due to the meaningful relationships we have established with our colleagues and within our communities.
Looking back at my time working within the sector, and the relationships developed with families and colleagues, I can see why educators are committed to serving the children in their care to the highest quality. The complex nature of our work hit me like a ton of bricks that day in the hallway with that particular mother, and I am glad that an organization such as ARCQE, provides diverse, professional learning opportunities for educators to enhance their practice and better support children. Strengthening relationships with parents in those early days was a pillar in creating a strong foundation and ARCQE’s coaches and mentors do a phenomenal job of empowering and inspiring care providers to build on their pedagogical practice. I am incredibly grateful to be able to support ARCQE as a Board Member in their mission to continue to lead and inspire educated and committed professionals to deliver exemplary practices.
Makovichuk, L., Hewes, J., Lirette, P., & Thomas, N. (2014). Flight: Alberta’s early learning and care framework. Retrieved from flightframework.ca.