Having worked our way through the practices and the role of the educator I will now unpack the principles and how these can be explored and embedded in your organisation. Here are 5 tips to help with this principle …
- Create a sense of belonging: There are many ways to ensure that all stakeholders have a sense of belonging, including through recognising their culture and identity in the environment. Developing a sense of belonging allows people to feel respected and included in service decisions. The way in which information is communicated and gathered can also be a means of including or excluding different families, educators and children.
- Develop and build trust: Trust is very important in services as it allows for a safe space for others to share their voice and feel heard. One of the simplest ways to develop trust is through consistency and predictable outcomes. This can allow for children, families and educators to feel secure in the environment as they can predict what will happen when they behave in certain ways.
- Allow others to use their voice: As I have discussed before on several different occasions it is important to ensure that everyone has a voice in the way that they need, not in the way that you want to offer it. Saying “speak up now or we move on” is confronting to some people who may have insightful suggestions but need time to process or a less intimidating space to raise them in. Consider offering a set time frame for feedback or additions to be raised via writing or verbal communication that allows different personalities to be heard.
- Allow that voice to be seen in service decisions: When families, children and educators are asked for their opinions and feedback it is good to reflect this in service decisions to show how their input had been used. This can be through policy updates, environment changes, modifications to systems or sharing information through newsletters etc.
- Practice empathy at all times: A key component of reciprocal relationships is that everyone feels like they have a voice and are heard, and empathy is a great way to achieve this. Considering other people’s opinions and perspectives allows for a deeper level of compassion and understanding than working on your own agenda.
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