SEEC attends Semann and Slattery conference, shares reflections
The Sector > Provider > General News > Sydney Early Education Centres staff attend 2024 Infants and Toddlers Conference

Sydney Early Education Centres staff attend 2024 Infants and Toddlers Conference

by Freya Lucas

June 13, 2024

Select staff from Sydney Early Education Centres (SEEC) recently attended the 2024 Infants and Toddlers Conference, hosted by Semann and Slattery. 


The conference served as a powerful platform to drive quality practices in early childhood education, offering SEEC educators a chance to develop professionally and be inspired by leaders in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) field.


“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,” attendee Jacky shared.


Educators and leaders Isabella, Madeline, Bronte, Jacky, Rochelle, Margaret, Ann-Marie, Sultana and Pardeep shared the following ‘key takeaways’ from their experience. 


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,” they noted.


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,” the attendees said.


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. 


The design of the 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,” the attendees said.


“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,” Jacky added. 


“As Magda Gerber wisely put it, “paying full attention for a period of time is better than paying partial attention all the time.” 


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