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In the heat of the night!

On Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending the Margaret Horn lecture (United World, Entrepreneurial Leaders) which was hosted by LEYF. In brief Margret Horn, was the founder of LEYF when it was then called the ‘Westminster Health Society’.

June O’Sullivan, CEO of LEYF, eloquently chaired the evening.

It was an inspiring event and I listened attentively to three key note speakers; Greg Kyle-Langley who shared his insight on One Young World, an organisation that brings together the young people from around the world, Tom Sweetman, from Sticky Board, shared his dedication on bringing local communities together and finally Paul Spinks, a Manager from Bright Horizons and co-Chair of the London Men in Childcare.  Paul spoke passionately about the importance and challenges of men working with young children within early years.

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Paul Spinks – Key Note

Another key discussion was how we, as a sector, can come together to share and collaborate together in a meaningful way.

However, I had to motivate myself to attend this event as I returned home after a day of meetings to pack my bag for a training event the next day. Who honestly wants to leave their warm home, especially on a cold dark night?

But I am so glad that I did attend as the evening was informative, engaging and inspiring on many different levels.

It was also great to see some familiar faces within early years and, more importantly, I connected and shared with a range of individuals, for example a colleague who works with young fathers and partners of colleagues.

With this in mind, do you network on a regular basis within early years/education and outside of our early years/education world?

It is very important to network to share, collaborate, challenge and open up a dialogue with others.

As well as attending early years events, I frequently attend non early years events, such as my local residents’ meeting where I listen to Reg talking with pride about his stories from being in the army during World War II.

We can learn so much from each other, by connecting in a meaningful and productive way.

During the evening, June kindly gave me the opportunity to share the topical #EYTalking, which is the weekly discussion that takes place on Twitter, on a Tuesday evening from 8:00pm – 9:00pm for the early years/education community.

I am pleased to say that we have had colleagues joining us on a Tuesday evening from as far as the USA, Australia and Canada!

Twitter is another powerful way that we can share ideas and discuss via social media. In fact on Tuesday, 19th November, we will continue to discuss how we can open up a dialogue on an international level with our colleagues from around the world.

So my challenge to you is to set yourself a goal to network and connect with others and find out about what is going on in our world and hear the professional and personal stories of others which will enhance your knowledge and inform your practice.

You may wish to set yourself a goal that you attend, for example, at least one networking event every month.

So, what are you waiting for?

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8 Comments

  • psw260259

    I totally agree Laura – it is so important to network both face to face, via social media, by email. and even via good old snail mail to share things with colleagues who do not have the skills / the equipment / internet access.

    I think it is very important not to just go to things with your close colleagues and to sit next to them at training events and meetings. So to adding my thoughts to the personal challenge of attending things – maybe go to something out of your local area, or sit next to someone you don’t know.

    Then when you have attended something give some thought to how you could share this information with others – like Laura, I write blogs about things that I attend, but maybe others could write a short feedback for a newsletter, or give a brief account of things attended at a staff meeting or a committee meeting, or just chat to colleagues that did not attend.

    And yes it can be hard to motivate yourself to attend things in the evening or on a Saturday. I very nearly didn’t attend a safeguarding conference today – as it was the only Saturday in several months that I had free from conferences, meetings and training – and I thought safeguarding? Do I want to give up a Saturday for that when I have just updated my Group 3 safeguarding training? However I am very pleased that I did, as I learnt a lot about new local systems, saw copies of new paperwork, and was able to network with a large number of colleagues across all sectors during the breaks.

  • laurachildcare

    Thanks for sharing, Penny!

    I always, love meeting new people and sharing and connecting.

    It is the only way to grow and develop. 🙂

  • David Wright

    I also agree. We are privileged to live in a time and place when we have access to such incredible communications technology and opportunities which enable us to connect and share locally and globally. I believe we have a responsibility to use them for the benefit of our communities both where we live and across the World. In particular, the use of social media can be such a force for good on behalf of those who are disenfranchised or have no one to advocate for them. We are empowered in this generation to influence opinions and policy, to effect change, to harness the power of our collective knowledge and opinions, and to accelerate development. I have been so heartened and encouraged to be part of such a supportive, altruistic, professional, committed and positive Early Years community over the last few years, at a time when we really need one another to weather the seemingly constant storms of change and pressure that threaten to immerse us. Well said, Laura and thanks for the encouragement.

  • Gill mason

    Hi Laura, totally agree with yours and others comments. Here in Liverpool a group of us involved in all things early years meet monthly as a ‘collaborative enquiry’ focused on how can we individually and collaboratively improve our practice….recognising that in this sector …every moment counts…the meetings are thought provoking, reflective , empowering and have great impact on us individually, collaboratively on our settings and own practice.

  • sally King

    Although more internal networking than community based, our company is now organising cascade style meetings, where all three nurseries can share ideas (related to specific topics/current issues etc). We are even closing earlier to make life easier for staff. I am so proud that we are following the school inset principle (although not closing for a full day). This sends out a positive message to staff and I have already had two very positove comments from parents, which was surprising and extremely refreshing. Great that parents can also see the value!

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