This time two years ago I wrote about ‘sowing the seeds of love’ with children on Valentine’s day. This year, let’s focus on nurturing those seeds of love with the adults/early learning educators who provide loving care each day to our children. While Valentine’s day is associated with chocolates, cards, flowers and gifts (all ok too!), this year, why not focus on Valentine’s day with the gift of appreciation among our work colleagues. When was the last time you told the person you work with how much you appreciate them? In early learning and care settings, we spend a considerable portion of our week working alongside another adult. We share the care of children, we share the highs and lows of our working week, we share the moments when things go great or not so great! We may work quietly alongside each other, focusing all our attention on the children, and not taking a moment to say, “I really appreciate how you helped me, how you noticed when I smiled and got a big smile in return from one of the children”.
This Valentine’s day, think about something your colleague did that made you smile. Something that inspired you, that supported you to work things out. Someone who was there for you when you needed to bounce an idea off, to lighten the load. We could define this as teamwork, and even offer a definition of ‘when a group of people work together cohesively, towards a common goal, creating a positive working atmosphere, and supporting each other to combine individual strengths to enhance team performance’. But we know that this is so much more than teamwork, it is positive regard, it is strength, it is friendship, it is appreciation, and in a way, it is love! Love for your fellow colleague and why not take advantage of Valentine’s day to express it. Of course, you don’t have to confine it to Valentine’s day, but you could start on this day!
Do it anonymously if you wish. Take a little time, make a note of when, where, what or how your colleague supported you, made you laugh, valued your opinion, or was there for you when you needed it in your working day! Put the note up with their name and narrative, display it on your staff notice board, or be brave and put it on your parents notice board! It may also inspire others to add comments! In the words of Forrest Gump, life may be just like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get!
Valentine’s day is traditionally (commercially) about acts of love! Let your colleague/team, know how much you appreciate them this year with your act of love – think about it, post it and revel in the joy that you made someone’s day today. Nurture those seeds of love!
Kathleen Tuite holds an MA in Early Childhood Studies and works for Early Childhood Ireland as an Early Childhood Specialist. Kathleen’s work includes offering advice, support and mentoring to Early Years Educators, teachers and students. Using the National Frameworks, Kathleen offers training across all areas of Early Years Practice and last year became a Marte Meo Colleague Trainer.