Many of us working in the field of early education have spent two years in a holding pattern. We've been neither back there in 2019 - a place many long to return to - nor have we been in a place that we felt we had landed in the new normal. It's been the strangest limbo both personally and professionally.
Is this it? Have we landed at our destination? It's been more than a month since Alison and I released episode 170 about unmasking in many early childhood settings. The short-staffing in many programs has become a way of life. When I talk with teachers now about how things are going, they say, "We are still short staffed, but it is what it is." I've spoken with administrators who have begun to think of instructions for families after a COVID exposure as a routine part of their responsibilities.
I can accept that this is it. This is how things will be in a world in which we have all been handed the decision making power to determine what makes us individually comfortable. Educationally, perhaps it is finally time to focus forward instead of back. It's time to leave the limbo and figure out how we return to full implementation of high-quality practices with the lack of staff, unpredictable virus, and effects of the stress we have all endured.
There are many questions to consider.... and you know that Alison and I like to consider these aloud on the podcast. Here are some of the thoughts swirling in my head as I think about the now and the podcast future:
Every time I ask people what obstacles stand in the way of consistent documentation of children's learning, they say, "Time and staffing." How do we re-prioritize so we can plan what the children demonstrate to us that they need?
Many settings are still understandably cautious about allowing families and special visitors in the classrooms. How can we get to the know families and help them to know us?
Without as many visitors, how do we meaningfully connect our settings to the outside world so that children see that what we learn inside has relevance out there?
How do we provide more mental health support for the adults who impact who the children will become?
What concerns are swirling in your head? Let us know!