When we accepted the opportunity to join with the Tools for Life team, with the goal of developing an Early Years Educator’s Manual to create a foundation for the elementary school resources, there was no hesitation at all.
As ECE professors, and Registered Early Childhood Educators, we have always championed the early years as the source of emotional and social development in all our teaching and leadership activities. We share a deep commitment to young children and their optimal development in social, emotional and prosocial domains. Their experiences, both positive and painful, have touched us, troubled us and inspired us.
We have worked closely together for years – learning, teaching, mentoring and advocating for all children to have strong, caring, supportive and enduring relationships. This is aligned with the first standard of practice of the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators which is “building and maintaining caring and responsive relationships”. Our beliefs also align with the emphasis on Belonging and Well-being in the Ontario Ministry of Education document, How Does Learning Happen?. We have built links to HDLH in the Tools for Life Early Years Educator’s Manual.
As lifelong learners, we continually tap into the wealth of knowledge from an ongoing and expanding body of clinical wisdom and research that describes troubling truths about children’s lives and points a clear path to social emotional development, healing and resilience that we cannot continue to ignore. Seeing the difference a caring educator can make strengthens our commitment to share the message that one relationship can make a difference in the life of a child. We have also seen the positive outcome of a strong social emotional focus that is embedded in the environment and play-based curriculum, which creates the calm and caring atmosphere that supports all learning. Strong interpersonal foundations do lead to better futures.
TFL Early Years Specialists
ECE Professors, Janet Foster and Jan Blaxall