Making the decision to change your environment - know your why!
Does what we discussed in the last section ring true to you? Does it speak to your heart? It is very important that a decision to make changes in your setting feels right for you, as without your solid WHY, it makes it difficult for changes to be effective and for your ethos to be accepted and embedded by the staff, parents and children.
I saw this photo posted online and have always taken heed to it as I think it is very appropriate, especially with the sharing culture social media offers which can sometimes lead to inspiration overload!
I can’t stress enough how important it is that what you do is right for YOU, YOUR SETTING AND YOUR CHILDREN. What works in one setting may not work in another – we all have different demographics of children, different environments and different staff. It can be very easy to see lots of aesthetically pleasing photos on Pinterest and Facebook that you think look beautiful, but it is essential to take a step back and ask yourself who you are doing it for? What impact will it have on the children? Does it reflect their interests?
You cannot take the decision to change your environment or practice lightly. I have been working with some settings through my consultancy that have seen lots of wonderful ideas and have made blue print copies of them in their setting and are now left with an environment that they no longer know and understand. Take INSPIRATION from lots of places, but put your own personal spin on it – mould and adapt ideas to suit your ethos and your setting.
I think PPD plays a key role in this – do lots of research, reading, courses of interest, visit other settings and speak to other people...REFLECT AND PLAN! Cultivate what speaks to you and embed it into your ethos and your practice in your OWN WAY. Do not be afraid to be unique, the last thing you want is to feel like a stranger in your own setting – that is not what this process is about. DEVELOP YOUR OWN APPROACH based on what speaks to you - whether you pull out aspects of Reggio, Montessori, Steiner etc. There is no right or wrong way, as long as you can meet statutory requirements and justify your decisions by evidencing the positive outcomes they are having on children’s learning, well-being and development, then you can’t go wrong. Don’t be afraid to be unique!
Knowing your WHY gives you a filter to make informed choices, that will give you fulfilment in all that you do.