November marks six months since I made the leap and began working for myself-alone and self-employed out in the big wide world as an Early Years Consultant.. But am I really alone?
Since I announced my decision to resign from my job I have become accustomed to the shocked and startled expressions; the ‘what if it doesn’t work’ and the ‘wow, that’s brave’. I have even enjoyed the ever so slightly patronising ‘well done you’ and the ‘go for its’ from people whilst pumping their fists in a jovial go-get-em type of way!
Perhaps what I wasn’t expecting, is the silence. The silence from other schools, settings and professionals that I met in my previous role, those that I supported and spent time working and collaborating with.. But interestingly there is also a silence from others working within the same sector, with whom I seek to extend and further establish professional working relationships.
You see, I love working with children and people. I’m an enthusiast- a passionate, gregarious, talkative type. And I like to share-practice, knowledge and experiences and I enjoy learning from others who like to do the same. I believe that we can learn from each other, whilst supporting, inspiring and motivating along the way. It doesn’t matter what role you have-or indeed what you do in this world, you will never know all there is to know, and I am firm believer that we all need a professional supportive network around us.
So when I reached out to an Early Years Education and Training Consultant recently, I wasn’t entirely certain of the response. But knock me down with a stickle brick; not only did she reply, she even suggested meeting up for a cuppa!
Today I met Anne for the first time and although we had never met, we talked and talked all things Early Years for two hours; from children and their emotional wellbeing, child development, funding, schools, staffing, qualifications, training and development amongst others and it was really rather WONDERFUL. She was supportive, reflective and bursting with suggestions and possibilities that she was happy to share with me.
And do you know what I have decided? Not only are Anne and I fellow enthusiasts- but we are also Early Years Cheerleaders.. She has restored my faith in others. and I am reminded that there are loads of us out there- I just need to find them!
So, I want to know, who else is with me-do you consider yourself an Early Years Cheerleader too? Are you whooping and cheering for our sector; for the children, families and workforce. A sector that supports and champions one another without fear of judgement or for any other reason that gets in our way. Quite simply, let’s support each other, pat each other on the back a little more often and collaborate to make a difference.
Because ultimately it is the children who will benefit from such a joined-up way of thinking and surely the impact of our training and continuing professional development is surely measured by the impact it has the children themselves.