Click here to go back to the Society of Richmond Children's Centres website.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Annual General Madness

Hmmm I don't think that's what AGM actually stands for although from the vantage point of my desk it can sure feel like that sometimes!

Annual General Meeting....... a meeting no one really wants to be at.....

At least that is how it feels most often.

You don't usually get a crowd jumping up and down at the thought of spending an evening at an AGM.

I have come to dread it myself.

So many hours of work to get ready.  So many papers to be assembled....minutes, financial reports, slates for the Board and the Parent Advisory Committee....... coffee and goodies to order and this year, in a first for our organisation....we had to find a venue!

We are THAT big now!

And yet today as I was editing and reading my report, that chronicles the ups and downs and twists and turns of the last year in the life of the SRCC, I found a new perspective on the dear old, much maligned AGM.

I imagined that if the SRCC were a baby, a child, then the entries in its baby book would be all the things we talk about at the AGM......that the AGM allows us time to stop, take a look at how we've grown and changed from year to remember the milestones we reached, laugh at some good memories and shudder a little at some missteps...... but without this moment, this meeting, we might never stop to contemplate and celebrate and take stock.

So I am embracing the AGM at 7pm at the Nature Park tomorrow night...... and looking forward to gathering our clan together and having a moment.....I promise it won't drag on....there will be chocolate......and coffee.

It also gives us time and public space to thank each person who plays a part in the work we do and on a day when our neighbours to the South are all about Thanksgiving it seems fitting that we do a bit of that ourselves.

Plus its a legal requirement and no one wants to have to post bail for the Board of Directors now do they?

Happy AGM day Society of Richmond Children's Centres......... It's been quite a year!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Communities of Practice - The SRCC Learns together

Here at the SRCC we are trying to develop something called "Communities of Practice".  We have 5 locations, soon to have 6 and who know what the future holds beyond that.

Each location is a world unto itself..... a busy "town" of Educators with specific talents and strengths, Families and children from diverse backgrounds, talents, complications.....

Each centre develops its own culture within the culture of the whole SRCC..... we really can be compared to a family.....our eldest child (Terra Nova), Our middle children (Cook, Bowling Green and  West Cambie) and our new baby (Cranberry)..... All special, all unique, all growing and learning.

Singing a lullaby in Japanese
But, we wondered, do we get all these Educators connected?  How do we take the strengths at West Cambie and Terra Nova and share them?  How do we take the thinking at Bowling Green on a topic and share their learning with Cook?

We chose to do it by creating "Communities of Practice".  6 months ago we chose 5 areas of early childhood practice that happen everyday and divided all the staff into one of these 5 groups.....we really mixed them up.... novices and elders, extroverts and introverts, leaders and followers, talkers and listeners.

They were tasked with taking their area of practice and choosing an aspect of that topic to research together.  They were given a variety of resources and an afternoon together to kick start them but after that it was up to them to stay in touch, communicate their work, do the research and prepare a group presentation.

The topics were:
Role playing a negotiation
Outdoors / Nature
Digging Deep as Early Childhood Educators
Provocations  (ways we provoke children's interest / thinking)

This past week we had an All Staff meeting at Cranberry (so all our staff could meet the new baby)....and the groups presented their research.

No blog post can do justice to the work they presented.

With honesty they described some of their challenges. their struggle to accommodate a variety of points of view, sifting through research to find relevant information, finding time to connect and share...... and yet they persevered and they shared some wonderful insights with one another.....caused us all to think more deeply about their topic.  They did skits, sang songs, played music, used power points, did role plays and at one point a dance party broke out..... gifts were given as inspiration from one group to another..... I was SO PROUD of all of them.
An "outdoor family" discusses camping

Everyone participated and it was clear that relationships and bonds have formed across the SRCC in new ways.  One group has so enjoyed meeting with each other over wonderful potlucks.  Others sat together over our dinner time before the meeting animatedly discussing their work.  Some groups struggled to gel but despite challenges they showed their professionalism and commitment  to the work.

Listening and Learning
Once each group had finished they handed over their research to the next group who will be going deeper on the same topic over the next 3 months..... seeing what more we can learn about our work.
And so our commitment to do our best work, to be our best selves, to learn and grow and change continues...... we strive to live in to our vision  of "Changing the World by Honouring Childhood".