Working in early childhood education we know the importance of learning. But for some of us, it can be hard to manage being both the educator and student at once. Today, I want to share a few self-education tips for family day care professionals, because if you want to truly make an impact on the lives of others, you must understand the value of life-long learning, and not limit your education to a classroom.
When education professionals undertake study to obtain their qualifications, we are taught how to care for children. But, what we aren’t taught in our training is how to manage a business. Most of us learn to do so through trial and error. However, the more self- education we do ourselves, the better chance we have of succeeding at becoming great business owners and service providers.
And the great thing is, the internet, books, podcasts, and online courses give us the chance to connect with experts. People who have been where we are and can offer sound advice on specific topics. Need to learn how to build a website? You can learn that from experts. Need to learn how to build systems for your educational program? You can learn that from experts, too.
This all means that YOU have the potential to make your business as big and wonderful as you want it to be. By being skilled and knowledgeable, you can offer a higher quality service which ultimately results in you being able to charge more, and operate at full capacity.
Additionally, the more you self-education you do, the closer you get to becoming an expert on any given topic. Then you can teach others if you choose to. Maybe you can write e-books on your area of expertise, become an adviser like me, or even sell digital products to help other education professionals.
While it can be daunting creating a self-education strategy for yourself, the rewards will be worth it. When you take control of your learning you are taking control of your potential and the direction of your career. For some people, they are happy in the position they are in, but they still strive to be the best they possibly can be in that role. For others, they may want to pursue new opportunities, and self-education can open new doors for them.
To get you inspired, here are my self-education tips for family day care professionals
5 Self-Education Tips for Family Day Care Professionals
1) Do a gap analysis: Take stock of where you are now, where you want to be, and how you will get there. For example, if you are an educator who hopes to one day become an approved provider, you are going to need to develop communication and leadership skills to enable you to manage a team. Consider the professional qualifications you will need, and also the personal qualities you will need to develop. A great place to do this, is in your journal. Check out some tips here on how to use your journal for business and self-education.
2) Carve out time for learning: I know we are all busy with our work and or families, so it can take a bit of planning ahead to fit in time for our own learning. Watch a few of my YouTube videos while you are making dinner or taking a bath. Listen to a podcast or audiobook while you are exercising or driving in the car, sign up to my newsletter (and read it). Dedicate some time each week to working on your self-education.
3) Quality resources: While the internet allows us to connect with many others in our industry, it is important to ensure you learn from expert, trusted, recognised sources. Make sure to check their credentials, and that they know what they are talking about. earn more about me here and read my Top 5 Strategies for Self-Education here
If you are striving for leadership in family day care, the best place to start is with the legislation surrounding family day care. I know it sounds boring and hard, but I’ve made sense of it for you and created The JPS Survival Guide for Australian Family Day Care Educators that helps simplify what you need to know. I give you practical tips on how you can apply the education and care laws to you and your business. You can access copies of the legislation here if you want.
4) Consider a mentor: Throughout my career I have had many mentors, Some formal, and some informal. A mentor can help give you direction and guidance, while also being an inspiration to you as you blaze your own path to success. I have mentors in the child care industry, as well as in business and leadership. Who knows, maybe you can help others by becoming a mentor to them.
If the idea mentoring others, or seeking your own mentor appeals to you, then check out my Mentoring Pack.
5) Make it fun: We all know that to reach our potential, we need to embrace self-education, however, that doesn’t mean the process has to be boring. You are more likely to stick with something if you find it enjoyable, so here are a few suggestions to make it fun.
- Get a study buddy. Connect with a peer or a friend who wants to work on their own professional development so you can share your journey with each other.
- Find out about a range of topics you may be interested in and follow the ‘topic’ that interests you most, you may want to become a coordinator, open your own service or pursue formal teaching qualifications, work toward your interest.
- Check out Incited Media. Lynda Cahill uses her journal to document her learning using a variety of creative techniques such as lettering, photos, doodles, and magazine clippings.
- Make your study time something you look forward to. Play some music, light a candle, or whatever you think will make your session enjoyable.
Just as we encourage children to learn through play, we too should enjoy learning.
If you are serious about growing your business then I want to help you. I am a recognised expert in education and care service delivery and offer a range of resources you can access. I have developed my signature program for Governance and Leadership in Family Day Care, you can check it out here which, in my opinion, should be used as part of your improvement strategy, understanding Governance in early childhood services sets the foundations for all future development.
So, connect with me so you don’t miss out on learning opportunities.