Boosting key skills for early childhood educators
To build early childhood educators’ skills in interacting with children.
Who we worked with
Our funders and key partners in this work were:
What we did
It’s difficult for early childhood educators to get time away from their daily responsibilities in order to access training in the ongoing skills they need to provide high-quality care and education.
To address this, we developed Making Moments Matter – a professional learning approach that enhances the way educators interact and build relationships with children.
The skills in Making Moments Matter are focused on maximising everyday interactions between adults and children and its approach is drawn from evidence gathered as part of our Early Home Learning Study of more than 2200 families. This study was also the foundation for our smalltalk program and is one of the largest systematic, community-based studies ever undertaken in Australia.
Doveton College pilot
We first worked with the Early Learning Centre at Doveton College to create Making Moments Matter and help the Centre take a consistent approach to important everyday interactions with children and families. Doveton is located in one of Melbourne’s most disadvantaged areas and takes an innovative, ‘whole-of-life’ approach to boost opportunities for its students, focusing on early intervention and family support.
With Doveton, we co-designed the approach to implementing Making Moments Matter, and the training and coaching activities were drawn from the particular challenges of the Doveton environment and community. We also designed a model that Doveton could take forward independently after building the in-house skills required. The focus here was enhancing relationships, promoting learning and giving guidance on children’s behaviour.
Next steps at Goodstart Early Learning
We then partnered with Goodstart to adapt Making Moments Matter and trial it in four of their centres in Victoria. We did four key things. Firstly, we became familiar with the Goodstart context and environment. Then, we gained an understanding its existing approach to improving practice. Next, we consulted on how best to engage educators at the centres. And finally, we delivered individual and group coaching to 64 educators. As we took a co-design approach, staff were closely involved in developing the training materials and facilitating training sessions. The focus here was helping staff to promote children’s social-emotional and physical wellbeing, thinking skills and language and communication.
Feedback from educators at Doveton College was positive. They said the training had improved their relationship with the children and they noticed an improvement in behaviour.
At Goodstart, the feedback was similarly positive. National Manager of Professional Practice Greg Antcliff says the organisation is leveraging Making Moments Matter to reconfigure the way it is working to better support its early learning centres.
“We enjoyed working with the Parenting Research Centre and we learned the value of co-production, using implementation frameworks and the importance of video feedback coaching and goal setting to get evidence into daily practice.”
Making Moments Matter has broad application, with potential to be a useful tool for parents themselves.
We are also building on this approach with a wider piece of work for in the field of early childhood education and care. This work is for the Victorian Department of Education and Training and involves designing further tools and resources for educators.
- Contact us to talk to one of our practice design or implementation specialists