Thoughts from our NCO
Being Christian, Being Professional - Kia ū ki te Karaititanga, Kia mau ki te Ngaiotanga meetings - CECEAA shining as beacons of excellence in the Early Childhood arena. Having the privilege of attending the Early Childhood Advisory Committee and the Early Education Federation, having listened to and talked with many teachers, managers, parents and visited many services, I would like to share a few thoughts on what I have observed - which is an emphasis around the notions of Knowing, Being and Doing.
Much concentration and effort has gone into knowing and the importance of gaining knowledge. From a Māori world view knowledge has 3 aspects, mōhio, (internalised knowing), mātauranga ( external knowledge - to be gained) and maramatanga (understanding or illumination of knowledge).
At times it has been information overload as one wave after another has landed on services. The Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office have regularly produced books on a range of topics that we have had to try to understand and then implement, - the putting of the knowledge into practice, i.e. the doing. Then there has been information from MSD, MoH, MPI and so on. As a result there has been little time to know, understand and internalise the new knowledge.
Academic excellence has been promoted and new ways of doing things have been encouraged. Teachers are encouraged to engage in further study and gain higher qualifications. Professional Learning Opportunities are offered on-line, through workshops and seminars to assist in understanding and implementation.
The doing takes time as it is introduced, modified and adapted to suit each individual service.
I want to congratulate all those amazing teams who have worked so hard towards achieving this in the best interests of the children and families they serve!
Perhaps the weakest component is in the being. Taking time to focus on being is often shunted aside in the busyness of knowing and doing, YET it is the vital aspect that links the other two facets. Being is about existence - a being, it is a qualifier - being kind, and it suggests a continuous action or state - being knowledgable, being happy etc. So how can we excel at ‘being Christian’?
Being Christian - our existence - “in Him we live and move and have our being,” Acts 17:28 !
It is about a personal walk with Jesus. It is also about our collective walk as an Association!
Being Christian as a qualifier is to be Christ-like in our thoughts and actions. Earlier Christians were known by their kindness, their servanthood and love for God and one another. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ.” Romans 12 gives an excellent summary!
Being Christian as a continuous action or state/position suggests that our lives are to continually be growing. I look at nature and ear the echoes of the words of Ecclesiastes....there is a time for every season.....there are imes of winter when everything is dark and hidden, but in that state life is still happening. Then when spring beckons, life breaks through and begins to reach up. Summer sees the blossoming and then the beauty of autumn seeing the gentle waning towards winter once again.
Being Professional is similar to being Christian. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8 about excelling in everything and again in Philippians 4:8-9. 2 Peter 1 talks about making every effort to add qualities of being and knowing so we will be effective and productive. As I read the scriptures I realise that there is a good discussion to be had... What and who defines what it means to be a Professional in the ECE world? Does it only rely on qualifications or is it broader and more inclusive?
Being professional qualifies the status or role; it is a subjective perspective. It also encapsulates the expectations we have of the thoughts, the knowledge and actions not only of the individual but also of the collective.
Finally there is the need to be continually growing in knowledge, understanding and ultimately action (doing). In this continual spiral of growth we appropriate those knowledges, skills and attributes of being...in the best interests of the children.
Throughout these few days of conference I pray that you will engage in deep conversations to unpack what it means for you all.
As I hand on the mantle to the incoming National Co-ordinator I am grateful to the Lord for His calling for me to serve you all however He determined. I look back with mixed emotions. Sadness at dreams of The Well not yet realised but joy at the influence we have been able to have; especially the Te Whāriki update and currently the Draft Strategic Plan. I have loved meeting many of you and seeing the environments you have created for the children. I only wish that I could have visited every member!!
I know that God still has a purpose and a task for CECEAA in influencing the country and being those shining beacons on a hill. I ask that you all continue to fulfi l His will and purpose and encourage others to join us in doing so because the children of New Zealand need Christian presence and influence more than ever.
I pray that you all will grow in your walk with the Lord and each other as you listen and share - no matter what “season” you may be in and in the words of Paul,
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, Ephesians 3:16”
Mā te Atua koutou e manaaki,