If you are feeling a little unmotivated to setup or create at the moment you will find a HUGE collection of playful ideas, inspiration and programming support for educators and parents when you scroll through 2018's most visited posts and pages here on The Empowered Ed blog – I've already categorised them into my Empowered Ed 8 Essential Learning Areas and they are waiting for you below!
I was actually updating my records recently and was amazed to find out that this Empowered Educator website had nearly 1 million pageviews in 2018!! THANKYOU to all of those that visited the blog, emailed, left messages, asked questions, joined my Facebook Group, became a member of the new Empowered Ed Hub, opened a weekly newsletter or downloaded one of my professional development resources or training!!
We truly have become an Empowered Educator Community and I'm so proud of you for seeking out the support you need, wanting to increase your skills in certain areas, continually providing engaging learning experiences and environments for young children or just recognising and embracing the fact that we are always learning something new no matter our level of education, training or practical experience….and it's ok (in fact I'd say empowered!)to go back to basics or seek to simplify to achieve that goal without spending your life savings or nights hiding in the cupboard with a chocolate and glass of chardonnay!!
So I thought it might be helpful as we head further into 2019 to take a closer look at the 2018 stats and share with you the most frequently visited blog posts in what I consider to be the 8 essential areas educators and other readers are currently finding helpful and above all supportive to their different roles! Perhaps there might be something you missed even if you are a regular reader (and who could blame you – time is so hard to come by in this job!).
So let's scroll down through the Empowered Educator 8 essential learning areas I've put together for you. I'd also suggest saving this page to your bookmarks or pinning to your favourite Pinterest board as you are going to want to come back and forth as this is a huge collection and treasure trove of support for you!
#1. Programming & The Planning Cycle
This is the Empowered Educator learning area that readers visited most frequently in 2018 so if you are feeling overwhelmed in this area or just want to simplify and revisit the basics please know that you are definitely not on your own in wanting to access support with your planning! Here are the top 8 posts for this category in 2018…..
Understanding Observations, Reflection and Linking in Early Childhood Settings.
Analysis, Reflection and Evaluation in Early Childhood Programming.
Early Childhood Programming Made Simple – Part 2 Using Observations Effectively
Child Portfolios in Early Childhood Settings – Are they Necessary?
Working with the Framework Learning Outcomes – Part 1 LINKING
#2. Embedding Sustainability & Eco-Friendly Fun
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will already know I absolutely love finding ways to encourage children to develop a respect for the world around them. By including them as active participants in their own learning AND making it easy and fun they are more likely to continue with the actions and skills they are learning as they grow older.
As early childhood educators and parents it is up to us to ensure children can access opportunities to look after the world and community around them in a variety of different ways…and that doesn't just mean having a vegetable garden and chickens! Let's take a look at some of the most popular posts in this category for 2018…
Introducing Sustainability to Children….Ideas and Inspiration!
#3. Learning Environments
Setting up indoor and outdoor playful learning environments doesn't have to mean overcomplicating, spending huge amounts of money or taking 2 hours to set up a Pinterest worthy invitation to play each morning. It's about knowing and understanding the needs of the children in your care, thinking outside the box, using what you already have in different ways, inviting children to take ownership of their space and ensuring they feel a sense of belonging.
Browse through the most visited posts in this category last year for a little inspiration and some simple strategies to try whether working in a home based or centre based environment!
5 Important elements to include in your natural outdoor play space
#4. Sensory Support
Providing regular opportunities for children to engage in sensory play is important to me as both an educator and a Mum. I truly believe if I hadn't offered sensory play experiences to my twins from a young age the issues one has had with sensory processing challenges would have been a lot worse and we wouldn't have made the progress we have over the years. We have gone from gagging and throwing up when her foot touched wet sand to painting and crafting with wet sand!
Never underestimate the power of sensory play….it's one of the most popular search topics on my blog so let's take a look at what readers were interested in throughout 2018!
Sensory Painting for children – Exploring texture through art
#5. Playful Learning
Play is indeed a child's ‘work' and so very important to all stages of development. There are many ways we can introduce, encourage and extend upon play based learning – no big budget or fancy equipment required! Why not try some of these favourite ideas and experiences visited by Empowered Ed readers last year.
#6. Family Day Care Focus
I'm pretty passionate about the benefits of family day care environments and supporting home based educators in their dual role of educator and small business owner. It's not for the faint hearted or lazy that's for sure, but it can be oh so rewarding to set up your own environment and run your early learning service according to your philosophy and principles while welcoming children and families to your home each day.
Because I have walked in the shoes of a family day care educator as well as coordinator I know the effort and skill it takes and how easy it can be to feel isolated and unsupported in your work….and that's why I will continue to share articles that speak directly to the specific needs of Family Day Care educators! Perhaps one of the most popular posts in this category for 2018 could help you too!
Choosing a Family Daycare Scheme – what do you need to consider?
Setting up for Home Child Care – Tips for keeping your house a home!
Ideas for promoting and advertising a home day care business.
Documenting in Home/Family Day Care Part 2 – Finding your programming style.
Interviewing new parents for your Family Day Care Service – 5 Top Tips to ensure your success!
#7. Leadership & Educator Support
The Educational leader can take many forms within the early childhood profession and is an important role….however it can also be a stressful role, especially if leaders are not clear on exactly what it is they are meant to be doing! Depending on the early learning service type it can be a complex job description and ongoing support is essential to the success of a cohesive and happy team…as well as leader!
In 2019 I'll be sharing articles and resources with a greater focus on helping educational leaders better understand & simplify their role, motivate, mentor and initiate change where needed. If you are an educational leader make sure to check out the resource shop here on the website or visit my TPT store if you find that easier. In the meantime you can get started on some previous articles that support the varied role of leaders and educators.
Process V Product in Early Learning – Can we find a balance?
Sustainability – How can Early Years Educators show evidence of embedded practice?
#8. DIY Resources, Projects & Equipment
Often the most popular or played with resources and equipment are the ones you have made yourself with budget friendly or recycled materials. Instead of wishing you had a bigger budget or adding yet another page to your wishlist why not try one of the projects or activities below – make sure to include the children in your process!!
Playful Storytelling – Using a Story Bag, Basket or Prop Box
I hope you have found this collection of ideas and inspiration (as well as the freebie resources on certain pages) helpful – perhaps it has reignited that mojo and motivation to take action! Did any of the posts in this collection help you in some way? Let me know your favourite in the comments below – I love to hear from readers!
Love reading for new ideas , refreshing, encouragement and support.
Can I ask do you have any resources and/or readings to support with writing strategies/actions for educators to support the goals and experiences set.
Hope this makes sense.