Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Companions of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO): Clare Wells for services to early childhood education.


All of us who have known Clare and watched her career over the last 40 years have witnessed her tenacity and incredible leadership in the early childhood space. As a teacher, a unionist and holding a variety of positions within the education sector space….

  


Clare has been the chief executive of New Zealand Kindergartens Te Putahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa since 2008 and retired from this position in 2018. Her previous roles include policy adviser for the New Zealand Public Service Association and a senior policy adviser to the Minister of Education. Ms Wells has been on several education boards and groups since 1991, most recently the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards Panel of Experts, the Minister of Education’s Cross-Sector Forum and the Minister’s Continuity of Early Learning Group, the Childrens’ Action Plan Directorate Workforce Advisory Group, the New Zealand Teachers Council Early Childhood Education Advisory Group (of which she is Chair), the Early Childhood Education Quality Working Group, and is a member of the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee.

It was not so long ago that she was among many other issues advocating for a return to 100% qualified staff …

“Teacher shortages aren’t limited to schools” said NZ Kindergartens Chief Executive Clare Wells. “There is also an urgent need to address the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers in early childhood education (ECE).”
“We are seeing the result of government changes over the past decade and shifting targets and timeframes to achieve a fully qualified ECE teaching workforce” said Clare Wells. Sixteen years ago, the Labour government set in place targets for 100% qualified teachers in teacher-led, centre-based services. In 2010, the National government slashed the target to 80% along with the funding. “Years of uncertainty for people looking to take up a teaching career, and for employers and training providers, is taking its toll. We have to turn that around.”
“Kindergartens and many education and care services have managed to hang on to 100% qualified teachers but that’s getting harder to do” said Clare Wells. “Attracting people into the teaching profession is one thing, supporting them to stay there is another – and we have to do both” Clare Wells said.
What will make a difference:
·       determining that all staff in teaching roles are qualified teachers;
·       reinstating and improving funding levels to maintain 100% qualified teachers in services where this is currently the case;
·       designing policy and implementing funding to help those working in ECE services to become qualified teachers;
·       providing appropriate funding to ensure newly graduated teachers have access to the support they need as beginning teachers;
·       increasing pay and improving employment conditions for all qualified ECE teachers and ensuring they are covered by a national collective agreement;
·       extending the support offered to teachers in the schools sector to all teachers, to attract and retain staff especially in isolated and rural communities.

“Clearly the initiatives to attract more school teachers is a welcome ‘quick fix’ but there is no such offer to ECE” Clare Wells said. “We’re lagging behind again. We need the government to put a stake in the ground now and implement a coherent workforce policy, ensure top quality teacher education programmes are available, and ensure ECE services have the resources and support they need to attract and retain qualified teachers.
It is these sorts of actions and obvious advocacy for the movement as a whole that have lead to Clare’s recognition this weekend. Well done Clare you have worked tirelessly for not only Early Childhood Education but for the public service as well!  A well deserved award. Congratulations. Arohanui, Wendy

Friday, March 27, 2020

#BeKind

On Stuff, Coronavirus and specifically about the Kiwis who are sharing stories of kindness under #BeKind hashtag on Twitter....

 
Kiwis have taken to Twitter to share stories of kindness as New Zealand enters Covid-19 level four lockdown.

New Zealanders must now stay indoors for four weeks and only emerge for essential purposes, including going to the supermarket and work, if their job is an essential service.
On Wednesday night, Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles encouraged people to share stories of kindness on Twitter, under the hashtag #BeKind, a phrase coined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as she addressed the nation on Monday. Some examples:

A PhD candidate said her supervisor had agreed to lend her flat a bicycle for going to the supermarket so she could avoid public transport.

"My elderly father saw a woman get yelled at in the supermarket because she was confused about where/how to line up. Dad let her go in front of him forcing the ill mannered person further back in the line," said another.

"Be kind," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

One woman said she had been enjoying spotting teddy bears in windows despite the idea being targeted at children.


Sadly, I do not have a teddy bear to add, but maybe these Pigs will brighten up someones day??




Others shared acts of kindness they had done to make others' lives easier.

"I've told my tenants that if they are made redundant during the next two months not to worry about rent. We will keep you housed."

A woman who usually helped an exchange student get to and from the airport said she took her in as she couldn't return home, nor could her family fly to New Zealand to be with her.

"Now I have a third daughter to care for. An awesome addition to our bubble."

Another said she helped an older couple load top up vouchers onto their phones.

Check out sharing stories of kindness under #BeKind hashtag on Twitter....


LOCKDOWN

My very dear friend and colleague, Annie White from the USA has sent this beautiful poem written by a priest at this time. So much is happening in these very uncertain times. My heart goes out to Carla Rinaldi especially, so many very difficult challenges for the Italians and especially for Carla. Take care everyone, where ever you are in the world.  Take time to look for the silver lining.

Love Wendy



Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.


Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020

There is no doubt in my mind that our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is putting kindness and care into her front frame as she navigates these very uncertain times and gives the nation very clear messages to act on. Thank you for enabling hope to be kept in view!!








Monday, January 6, 2020

Family Matters


I was a little astounded to see how long it has been since I added to my personal blog. Social media is such a challenge with an interesting and busy work and home life! I thought I would just add a few family photos to show the changing face of our family. 

Tim (my eldest son) and his partner Kelly now have two children, bringing a great deal of joy to all of us. Just sharing a few family photos!! 


I received the first images of Isla when I was working in Hangzhou in China. I was sitting in the lecture theatre, when the photos came through. It was an emotional moment! Jane saw the photo and began to draw! See drawing image below.



Here is the family, Miller is filled with awe and wonder as he meets his new sister!
My first encounter when I arrived back in New Zealand. A visit directly from the airport to meet and hold baby Isla!!
A short time later with Tim, Miller and Isla!
Patrick comes home from Melbourne to meet Isla! 
 
The utter joy of both parenthood and grandparenthood! So wonderful to be part of the families journey. There is never too much love in a family and it just gets expanded with the birth of another child.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Learning Story Conversations with Wendy Lee, Educational Leadership Proj...




Over the next few weeks we will be releasing a series of video conversations that I had while in Canada. These video conversations are focussed on Learning Stories and we are interested to see what interest there is in this way of delivering some of the pedagogical ideas in early childhood education. 


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A post from Early Childhood Ireland!

Celebrating Children’s Stories with Wendy Lee

September 12, 2017
On Saturday, Early Childhood Ireland, in partnership with DCU, Institute of Education, presented Celebrating Children’s Stories, A Masterclass in Documentation with Wendy Lee. An inspirational day of questioning and reflection as Wendy straight away set the tone by reminding us that huge responsibility comes with teaching in ECCE: ‘How many jobs can you go to each day and have the chance to make a difference in a child’s life? Who we are and how we are around children is at the heart of teaching. Relationships are critical, children need to feel deeply respected and deeply loved’.


The use of story, connects children and families, it tunes teachers into the moment and it allows all children to share their experiences and their understanding of the world around them. Learning stories catch the complexity of children’s learning, it also makes every voice credible. It is about children recognising and valuing who they are by teachers that know them and care deeply for them.


We would like to thank the following guest speakers who generously gave their time to share their own learning stories and experiences. Each speaker brought us on a different journey, showing how they weave stories into the fabric of their settings. 
Nickola Cullen from Beverton Preschool and Roots and Wings Centre Donabate
Maxine Ryan and Aine Harrington from Clare Family Resource Centre Ennis
Anne Macken and her team from Happy Days Ballyporeen
Alicia Cormican from Darndale Integrated Childcare Service

You too can submit stories that show significant learning moments or events that happen through play in your service. Go to Learning Stories section on our website.

In the afternoon, Dr. Play, Carmel Brennan delivered an emotionally charged and passionate presentation, her last one as part of Early Childhood Ireland before her retirement next month. A call to ‘re-wild’ the child and remove the structure. Encouraging deep reflection, she referred to Jim Greenman’s quote “childhood is when human beings should fall in love with the world.” “Are we giving the children in our care the opportunity to fall in love with the world?” she asked.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Queenstown, April 2016

Our final two days in Queenstown were an exploration of the township and surrounds, which included viewing the fabulous painting by Tim Wilson that was reported in the Herald. This painting has just fetched the highest price paid for an artwork by a living New Zealand artist, a Sheikh from the UAE paid $575.000 for this painting entitled ‘Summer Rains’ - an impressionistic landscape of Doubtful Sound. This painting took 2 years to complete and it quite spectacular. It changes dramatically as the light changes on the painting. We visited the Goldfields and did a little panning for gold, visited Carrick winery to see the lovely sculpture exhibition there as well. We lunched at Mt Difficulty vineyard and passed through Arrowtown and travelled beside Lake Hayes. We also went on a visit to Cardrona and watched the ‘highflyers’, a visit to Millbrook and a farewell lunch at Jack’s Point. A fabulous way to end a very enjoyable holiday!! The final image in this series is of a sculpture done by local artist Mark Hill that is sited at the Queenstown airport, this sculpture represents the Maori Chiefs assembled as a welcoming party to welcome all the visitors from afar!!





Dave and Wendy at Mt Difficulty


These are the gold fields, places my grandfather started life in NZ



Time to farewell Queenstown!