The Early Childhood Academy – First the Dialogue and then the Action

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So last week I wrote a blog post about Professional Identity within the Workforce. Well it was mainly focused on the Early Childhood Workforce. It has been read on my website by 190 people so thank you for taking the time to read and retweet. It had been seen on twitter by a staggering 10,755 times.

But this post is much more than a blog this week. It is to discuss the feedback from those who took part, liked and retweeted in the twitter poll from last Sunday 6th October asking the below question.

“Could an Early Childhood Academy be a reality? Offering a platform for CPD, professional recognition and identity for practice within the Early Childhood Workforce 0-5? Pls share and let’s find out the feeling amongst us all to inform my next steps”.

Well a staggering 251 people voted, which also had many open up a discussion about what the Early Childhood Academy would look and feel like. So, let’s look at the data first.

Now you have to air on the side of caution with a twitter poll as I am sure many who voted were from the Early Childhood sector. But many may not have been. But the data above does resonate with the comments that I have had sent to me during the week. So, it does seem that 88% of the workforce feel that such an Early Childhood Academy which recognises practice within the Early Childhood sector may be a positive step forward. It is the 12% that I am keen to further a discussion with as it would seem there is still some work and further critique needed. I would like those people who voted yes or no to make contact with me after you have read this post. Engage in a dialogue and don’t be afraid to do so.

Now let’s start talking about what the Early Childhood Academy, what it could feel and look like. It is my intention that this Academy would be run by the workforce and hold the recognition board to account. It is with this in mind that there would be a fellowship status which would relate very much to the practice within Early Childhood by meeting certain standards which would be written by a multi professional working group from the Early Childhood Sector.

So how could a fellowship be awarded and what would it look like? I am unsure at present how this can be achieved, but it can be done, we just need to find the best way. I am in a discussion with a platform where this sits well, and a further discussion is happening with HEI and Awarding Organisations. However, I would welcome a discussion from Early Years and Early Childhood institutes that are already established.

So here goes – remember that this is in my own head and is why I am having the discussions with you.
There would be 4 different Levels depending on how you would like to pursue the professional recognition.

Level One: Certificate of Affiliation to the Early Childhood Academy (CA.ECA)
This would suit anyone who holds a professionally recognised status, health professional or practitioner which may not want full fellowship but would like to be affiliated to the Early Childhood Academy.

Level Two: Associate Fellow of the Early Childhood Academy (AF.ECA)
This would be seen as entry to the Academy, aspiring Early Childhood Professionals either in training or at the start of their Early Childhood Journey.

Level Three: Fellow of the Early Childhood Academy (F.ECA)
This level would be for anyone who can demonstrate the ability to be child centred and meet certain outcomes in the role of an Early Childhood Professional in a holistic way. It could include learning, health, well-being, nurturing, relationships etc…

Level Four: Senior Fellow of the Early Childhood Academy (SF.ECA)
This level would be for anyone who has mastery at the above but developing positive change for children and reflexive knowledge. Being an experienced member of the workforce and can demonstrate certain leadership qualities, coaching and mentoring new staff and developing creative ways to enhance the outcomes for all children within their setting.

Each one would come with different standards which, would be written by the workforce, policy makers and academics. Coming together to recognise the outstanding practice within the Early Childhood Sector. However, the fellowships would not be awarded on status or job role. You would apply for a fellowship depending on whether you meet the criteria for each one. This means that if you are manager, a health professional, nursery professional, childminder or early years teacher, you would all be recognised by the academy for the same outcomes. The above is a rough guide to what it may look like. The why speaks for itself. Bringing us all together, not working in silos and no hierarchy or egos. It is the professional recognition by the workforce for the workforce.

I am unsure where this would fit, but I have already started a dialogue and discussion with many of you. I state this very clearly, it is not about the money or the role that we do. It is about identity and the positive position that something like this, being recognised for your hard work and dedication can make a huge difference on the well-being, identity and being able to enhance the voice of the Early Childhood Workforce is key to recognising you and the profession.

Early Years Matters (Juliette Davies) are going to be working in partnership with myself to help support the continual dialogue and to bring us together which is what they do well on the #EYMatters discussions.

Please do feel free to make contact with me on the email below if you would like to book onto the online discussion forum on the 23rdOctober. Or alternatively you can Tweet message me
@AaronEarlyYears or @EY_Matters.

Alternatively, you can email me: Aaron@EarlyYearsReviews.co.uk

Spaces for this are limited to 15 people per group.
Times will be at 5pm and 7:30pm. We will need your email address so that we can send you a link to call into the conference call.

I am mindful that not everyone will be able to join us, so I am proposing a questionnaire and a Face to Face round table discussion when I am travelling around the UK. Please keep your eye out on twitter for the information regarding these.

“We need to start the dialogue. Our voice is strong together, let’s get our identity strong too.”
Aaron Bradbury

“I welcome Aaron’s approach to getting the sector thinking about alternatives and discussing change. Irrespective if we feel other organisations and groups are doing similar. Even if we do not agree with Aaron on this debate. We must still reflect and think about what works well for the sector and ultimately how we can all continue to work together and be the voice for children and their families. Thank you, Aaron, for being bold, provoking and leading our reflections.”
Laura Henry, International writer, consultant and trainer

“I think this is a fantastic Idea and I would welcome the discussion about how an Early Childhood Academy could bring collaboration and identity to the workforce for all within the sector.”
Anonymous

I look forward to speaking with as many of you as possible and please do share with all colleagues that work within the Early Childhood Sector

Thank you
Aaron Bradbury

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