Our mantra here at Kinderloop is ‘empowering early years educators, worldwide’. We truly value the passion, patience and hardwork educators & teachers provide to the youngest members of society. Kinderloop was created to make the lives of educators easier, so they could concentrate on the important stuff – like building relationships with children.
If you have had the pleasure of speaking to one of the team here at Kinderloop HQ, you will know that we value PEOPLE. There is only one thing we love more than getting to know the educators we work with and that is being able to make their life a little easier, through our smart technology & innovative ideas.
Naturally, when we meet other professionals just as passionate as us, we jump at the opportunity to work with them… CUE a collaboration with heart ~ Kinderloop & The Empowered Educator
Many of you will have heard of ‘The Empowered Educator’ and if you don’t already follow her on social media then start this instant! Jodie, the passionate human behind ‘The Empowered Educator’, shares much of the same enthusiasm about educators, as the team here at Kinderloop do!
Hey Jodie, we are excited about working together to create some simple and easy ways to document children’s learning through Kinderloop.
Can you tell us a little bit about the ‘Empowered Educator’?
I have been blogging since 2010 sharing simple early learning activities, ideas for educators and parents to create their own play resources and equipment and provide engaging (yet easy to setup) opportunities to get children back outside having fun and learning while they do it!
I created my ‘Keep It Simple’ approach for educators because as I engaged in conversations via email and socials with my lovely community of early childhood educators, leaders and coordinators I was surprised to realize that so many educators were being taught how to setup complicated invitations to play and write lengthy observations, programs and analysis of learning…but NOT shown how to simplify and still achieve the same results.
Many told me they didn’t even understand WHY they were doing all the writing they had been told to do or even what they should be setting up each day when they only had a miniscule budget…the complete opposite to what I learnt through studying my Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor degrees.
So ‘simplifying’ and breaking down complicated processes and documentation steps by using what I’ve learnt over the past 30 years became the core focus for The Empowered Educator blog, training and resources.
I may have qualifications and yes they are important for the ECE profession, but I absolutely think what’s more useful to educators is that I have over 30 years hands-on experience in the early childhood and community services sectors across many different roles and because of that I’m passionate about finding new ways to continually support early childhood educators who want to feel confident and enjoy the work that they do with young children, especially during these challenging times.
Because I have held many positions across varied NGO and private services including Nanny, Assistant Educator, Group Leader, Director, Manager, Family Day Care Coordinator, In Home Care Coordinator, Family Day Care Educator, Outside School Hours and Occasional Care Coordinator, Project Manager, Family Worker, Group Facilitator, Trainer & Presenter I know how important it is that early childhood educators are seen as unique individuals with different strengths, skills, role requirements and challenges…not just all thrown into the same category with blanket level of support, mentorship and professional development provision.
My goal for The Empowered Educator and my membership Academy For Empowered Educators is to provide early childhood educators all around the world with the tools, steps, systems and support they need and deserve to be able to simplify their role and feel empowered as an early year’s educator.
All educators need support to be able to enjoy their role and continue to make a difference to the lives of young children…while also feeling confident, inspired and respected.
So I really enjoy being able to help educators simplify and better understand requirements rather than just believing the myths (that just create unreasonable expectations and unnecessary overwhelm), plan and program effectively without wasting time so they can get back to quality interactions with the children, and how to embrace outdoor play for all ages.
That’s one of the reasons I’ve always shared easy DIY projects and play based activity ideas on my blog The Empowered Educator that have a strong focus on incorporating recycled, natural and open ended materials into play environments.
What made you reach out to Kinderloop?
I had noticed an increase in educators within my free Facebook group and also Academy members creating forum posts asking questions about or recommending Kinderloop and members were also asking me how they could use my Keep It Simple planning approach and the templates they were currently using with their Kinderloop accounts.
This question has kept coming up over the past few months as more and more educators turn to digital methods of planning to make their planning cycle easier.
The perfectionist in me hates not knowing the answer to something, especially for my Academy members so I decided to do a little research!
I knew a little about Kinderloop from reading the discussions in my group and member forums but to be very honest with you I’ve never been a huge fan of online planning and communication apps and programs (sorry! ?)
…the programs I’ve tried in the past seemed to create even more work for me rather than less writing as I like to be able to SEE my planning cycle steps visually so I know how to create connections quickly which is often hard to do when you are using an app or you’re not a tech lover…
…communicating with parents and families effectively in a way that makes sense to them is also really important to create a sense of belonging and opportunities for collaboration (and this all makes planning easier and faster too for us educators)…so there needs to be flexibility because not every parent is tech savvy either!
Then I started researching and reading about Kinderloop on this page and immediately felt relieved because I could see the following very obvious values and goals which aligned closely with my own and all that The Empowered Educator stands for:
- Empowering educators to feel more confident with their planning steps
- More meaningful documentation and planning with LESS writing
- Tools and steps that make it easy for educators to engage and communicate meaningfully with families…so there’s no excuse to skip this valuable step!
- Setup and navigation seems very simple with lots of support available which is something my members ask about regularly because many of them aren’t confident with digital tools and online tech so this was a relief.
- The planning walls, templates and community boards create a visual process which I love as this is so much easier to understand than walls of text.
Above all, as I’ve been chatting to Dan and Bec, it’s obvious to me that there is a very real focus on making planning and documentation simpler for educators rather than overcomplicating or writing more than is needed to document a child’s development and learning journey…
…this vision aligns perfectly with what I share on my blog and in the Academy For Empowered Educators so now I can reassure my members that they can actually use their current empowered ed templates and keep it simple approaches I’ve taught them with their current or new Kinderloop account.
Do you have any words of wisdom you can share with our community of educators?
Keep in mind that documentation is only a small part in the overall early education program and children’s learning journey. Think of it as the mortar that ‘sticks’ everything together to build your planning cycle pathway – one that you can then follow again and again.
It’s not the most important part of your role and you do have options as an educator for how you will source, document and use this information!
Recognise that we all have different skill levels, strengths and resources available so focus on using the tools and processes that work best for you.
If you are asked to use a tool, template or process you don’t feel confident with or fully understand, open a conversation with your leader, director, manager or coordinator to request further clarification, training or professional development support.
No matter your role – know that you’ll never feel confident in your documentation steps and role if you’re only doing the WHAT that you’ve been told you must do to meet regulations or standards… you also need (and have the right) to understand the WHY & HOW your doing something if you want to simplify your documentation.
Never be afraid to ask WHY or suggest exploring a simpler way…that’s how you learn and grow your skills as an educator.
So what does this mean for Kinderloop users & Empowered Educator members?
Well, it means you get access to two free custom made templates to use in your Kinderloop, inspired by Jodie, to help you simplify your documentation.
If you are an Empowered Educator member, then you can access more ‘EE members only’ templates in your Kinderloop.