One word - a goal that helps you anchor your actions

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It is a new year and with a brand new calendar seems to come a desire for goal setting and change. We feel refreshed after a break, and ready for some forward movement.  We want to start the year with a bang, positive and inspired.  

Gaining or draining?

All too often big goals are often set, but how long do they truly last?  How do we stay inspired? How do we keep moving forward in a role that can take all our energy to just maintain our status quo?

What if, instead of the lofty, wordy goals, we chose one word.  Just one single word to set the tone of our year.  This word wouldn't be solely for our teaching, or our leadership, but for our whole selves - the teacher us, the friend us, the parent, the partner, the colleague.  

Often we segment our professional goals from the rest of our lives, and they feel disjointed from the other spheres of our being.  If we have too many development plans whirling around we tend to lose focus on all of them.  All of them get put in the ‘too hard basket’.  

One word!

One word is not too hard.  

Having just word that covers the spectrum of our roles is a wonderful way to simplify our development, and really let us achieve what we want.  It lets us drop the wall between our personal and professional selves, which is a large part of being a heart centred teacher.   

What word, you ask?  

That's entirely up to you.  We all have our own ‘what next’, and a goal set on our behalf doesn’t make the same impact as one you truly believe in.

Listen to your heart and you'll know what is lacking.  You'll know what you want more of.  It may be action, bravery, creativity, daring, enthusiasm, fun, gratitude, health...we can keep going through the alphabet but you know your word.

Sit with it!

If you don’t automatically have one that's ok. Sit with it, be curious as to what you need and it will come.  You'll get your aha moment when you least expect it.  The word will feel right and you'll see possibilities before you, even as you first utter it. Your word will choose you, rather than the other way around.

It seems too simple, one single word.  It perhaps doesn’t feel weighty enough or specific enough.  But it can carry a lot with it.  

It can be an anchor point to measure choices against, a beacon to inspire you when your light is fizzling out, and a route marker to track your yearly path.  

This one key focus will travel the year with you, and at the end you will have lived that word so consciously that eventually it has become a part of you.  That word you know you needed more of will have impacted your year, and you will have grown – not just as a teacher, but as a fully integrated person.

How can the adult-you enjoy Christmas?

At the Heart School we are passionate about creating beautiful and meaningful Christmas memories for young children.  When they have long hours in care, and less at home or out in the community, it is really important our settings provide them some of the childhood magic that is the festive season.  But what about our adults?  Couldn’t they do with some Christmas magic of their own?  

A home away from home - what does this look and feel like?

"A home away from home". 

It's a description of ECE settings that is bandied about so often that its true meaning tends to be overlooked.  It is not enough to use the phrase as a selling point for parents.  We need to think about what home means to a very young child, and find genuine ways of offering a homely, nurturing safe haven. 

Are you giving or are you living the lessons?

 "There is no difference between living and learning... it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate." - John Holt

We have noticed a growing trend to implement ‘teaching programmes’ in an attempt to teach our young ‘pre/before school’ children academic as well as social/emotional skills. Much can be said about how and when to teach children reading/math/writing skills, a topic for another time. What concerns us is the trend to ‘teach’ children social skills and values by way of ‘giving lessons’.

Are you captivating moments? - Or is the camera captivating you?

One of our strengths at Little Earth is that we are deeply reflective.     
Not only are we committed to our own personal growth as teachers, but to our collective growth as a remarkable preschool.  The danger in doing things well is becoming complacent, and so it is essential that we continue to question what we do. As Grace Hopper puts it, "the most dangerous phrase in [our] language is 'we've always done it this way'"!