Breathing life into practice through CPL
By Sharon Ho
Lisa Hodge RECE doesn’t believe in resting on her laurels when it comes to professional learning. The supervisor of a YWCA child care centre in Hamilton, ON, is also a Bachelor of Applied Science student at the University of Guelph. In addition to her university studies, Hodge is committed to continuous professional learning through reflective practice and participation in community committees.
“The learning has breathed life into my practice, which means I’m not becoming stale,” says Hodge. “It’s caused me to be honest about my strengths, weaknesses and what to aspire to. Ongoing learning means I’m developing new skills, strategies and my perspective changes as I learn more about the early childhood education profession.”
Hodge has learned a lot more about child development since beginning the Applied Science program.
“I’ve changed the way I view children, the family, how they’re connected to each other and the role they play in supporting each other,” she says.
Hodge believes that a commitment to professional learning makes her more accountable to the children and families she serves, her staff, the YWCA and the early childhood education and child care sector. Hodge also believes that this learning is important because the sector is changing all the time.
“I think the role we play as educators is so important that we need to be constantly learning in order to apply it to our practice,” said Hodge.
The College of Early Childhood Educators’ Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) program has also changed how Hodge and her staff view such learning.
“It’s not about the amount of hours or the number of check marks on a list of the things you’ve learned,” says Hodge. “It’s about thoughtful reflection, choosing your goals and then reflecting on how you’ve grown during the year.”
For RECEs who find it difficult to regularly engage in continuous professional learning, Hodge suggests thinking of the learning as self-care.
“It [CPL] is good for you,” she says. “If you’re going for a massage for self-care, it’s good for you and your body. Continuous professional learning is very much the same. It’s good for your practice and your profession.”