Infants and Toddlers conference underpins our commitment to excellence

SEEC Educators deep dive into the 2024 Infants and Toddlers Conference

Have you ever wondered how our team of early childhood educators manages the bustling energy of so many young children each day? Or perhaps you’ve pondered why the phrase “the terrible twos” resonates so widely? At SEEC, we understand that working with infants and toddlers demands a continuous commitment to learning and reflection, as our practices are regularly shaped by new research, methodologies, and pedagogical approaches.

This dedication led our SEEC team, including educators from various services as shown in the photo (left to right), Isabella (WEEC), Madeline (NEEC), Bronte (NEEC), Jacky (NEEC Ed Leader), Rochelle (CEEC), Margaret (SEEC Manager), Ann-Marie (CEEC Director), Sultana (WEEC Director), and Pardeep (WEEC), to attend the prestigious 2024 Infants and Toddlers Conference hosted by Semnan & Slattery on April 17, 2024. The Infants and Toddlers conference served as a powerful platform to drive quality practices in early childhood education, offering our educators a chance to develop professionally and be inspired by the leaders in our field.

Key takeaways from the Infants and Toddlers conference

The core philosophy of the conference 

The Infants and Toddlers conference emphasised the importance of strong, secure, and loving relationships in the pedagogy of infants and toddlers, aligning with our teaching philosophy at SEEC. We believe that building strong relationships with infants and toddlers, along with maintaining a consistent, positive partnership with families, is essential for achieving quality education and care. This very much underpins our practice at SEEC.

Meaningful rituals

The value of creating inviting and unhurried rituals and learning moments, allowing children to lead their day and learning while enabling teachers to be fully present. In our practice, we support children in exercising their agency and leading their day through ‘Slow Pedagogy,’ which emphasizes nurturing relationships and a responsive daily rhythm, ensuring our learning experiences are child-centred, engaging, and meaningful.

Enable active citizenship through relationships

Secure and consistent relationships ensure children’s rights and responsibilities as active citizens are understood, and their voices are heard and listened to. At SEEC, our relational pedagogy fosters strong, reciprocal relationships and promotes partnerships between educators and families, enabling them to support and listen to children’s capabilities and ideas, thereby upholding their rights and nurturing them as active future citizens.

Observation and curriculum design

Making strong connections with children as educators adopting slow-paced and relational pedagogy in their teaching and observations will reveal more details about the child, informing curriculum decisions. In our practice, whether actively engaging and observing children or intentionally pausing to make peaceful observations without interrupting their play, our educators make unhurried but informed decisions in their planning and interactions based on a holistic picture of each child.

A learning environment that responds to emotions

Designing and creating a physical environment that supports learning and development in children involves more than rearranging the resources and furniture; it also requires reflecting on the emotional responses such environments can evoke in children, including feelings of thrill, kinship, awe, refuge, and power. In our practice, the design of our learning environment not only responds to children’s interests and strengths but also reflects their rights and identity, fostering a strong sense of belonging to the community. This environment serves as a base for children to navigate and explore, seek comfort, refuge, and experience thrill in play.

Music is not an add-on

The significance of music as a powerful mode of communication, advocating for its integration as a common and inclusive language for all. At SEEC, music has been embedded in our physical environment, learning-for-life curriculum, and educators’ interactions with children. We encourage children to explore, use, and create music as a means of expression and communication across various contexts, responding to the diversity within our communities.

Tips for families to practice at home

All of the above learning and practices are evidence-based and backed by modern early childhood developmental and learning theories. This means they are proven beneficial to children. The good news is that they are not just for early childhood settings, they can be applied at home context too. 

If you are looking for tips, here is a list of what you can do as parents or carers:  

  • Establishing strong, secure, and loving relationships is fundamental. Support children’s sense of security, make them feel safe and be fully present when playing with them, for example, putting phones away, and be responsive to their effort to communicate ideas or feelings. Engage in high-quality interactions, and this means that the time spent together should be dedicated and uninterrupted.
  • Create meaningful rituals, such as reading together before bed or having a daily family walk, to build a sense of routine, rhythm, flexibility, and joyfulness to go about each day.
  • Listen to and validate your child/ren’s ideas and feelings, welcome their contributions, as well as the share of their experiences as well as opinions. Encouraging their active participation in the process of making family decisions, such as where to display their artwork at home, or find the next family trip or holiday destination together.
  • Be keen and active on building positive partnerships with your child/ren’s educators and teachers, share insights with them, and observe your child during their play to understand their interests and needs better and then use these observations to guide your interactions and engagement with them. 
  • Lastly, incorporate music into your interaction with child/ren, use it in play, as a tool for expression and bonding, whether through singing, dancing, or playing instruments together. 

These practices will not only enhance children’s learning and development but also strengthen family bonds and relationships, create a positive image of them, build their confidence and enable our little ones to thrive and maximise their potential.

Our ongoing journey

For those of us in early childhood education, these learning opportunities reinforce our commitment to being fully present and fostering positive, capable images of our children. As Magda Gerber wisely put it, “paying full attention for a period of time is better than paying partial attention all the time.” The Infants and Toddlers conference has left our SEEC team more inspired and motivated than ever. Thank you to all the families who support our continuous journey of growth and learning—it’s your trust and engagement that make all our efforts worthwhile. Here’s to many more years of learning, growing, and making a difference together!

Jacky, NEEC’s Educational Leader

Written By

Jacky, NEEC’s Educational Leader

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