I would’ve missed out on the life-changing experiences our son taught not only me, but the children in the program, their families and ultimately the thousands of educators who've learned from my early years practice.
(I've never believed in leaving my personal life at the door...and the children for surely don't either!)
Leaving my personal life at the proverbial door or the baby gate at the top of the stairs to my accredited dayhome, would have been the worst decision I could have ever made.
There was also another story line emerging during this time, me as the educator contemplating all the strategies I had been taught, trying to shed the not-so best practices I had experienced from old school educators. Realizing that what I was "taught" as emergent curriculum was really just toeing the line and a disguise as theme-based planning.
I was exhausted from the Pinterest rabbit hole of never ending 100 dinosaur ideas I was attempting to sort through, then up late setting up the perfect activity...that the children didn’t want to play with anymore cause they had moved onto unicorns.
Why did I have to plan this way?
Is it really child led if I have 5 activities all planned out for the week?
Why can’t I just let them play?
How would I prove to parents that their children are learning and will be kindergarten ready?
I was exhausted, and I knew I could do better for the children, their families and myself
As I was questioned my philosophies and the intentions behind my practice..which didn’t feel good for me or the children….there was another big journey beginning.
Our son, who was 18 months at the time (not walking or talking) was challenging my parenting AND educator skills with hour long meltdowns that happened multiple times a day, having to pin him down to change a diaper and taking up all my time and whatever patience I had left.
At drop off and pick up Joshua was slapping me across the face and screaming...in my head I was desperately hoping that parents would still have their trust in me to care and educate for their children as I promised I could do.
ALL MY TIME, ATTENTION AND ENERGY WENT INTO TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HIS BEHAVIOURS.
No three incident reports and asked to leave policy but believe me, I was having multiple parent meetings in my head about his behaviour and how to get all parties on board.
This is when our superpowers as ECEs took over….research. I dove into books about sensory processing, play, relationships...anything that would help me understand our son and be able to stop managing the situation and create the kind of early learning program I had been dreaming about for years.
These 3 areas not only helped me understand our son, they also ignited my energy and guided me to curating my values and principles as an educator, found an educational philosophy that I didn’t realize I had been looking for and truly learned what child led learning was.
All 3 were integral for Joshua, the children in my program, the families and myself as the educator for us to have cohesive days filled with curiosity, trust, connection, creativity and playful learning.
I had no idea how impactful this combination would be and the way these aspects integrated their way into my everyday life as a parent and educator.
Having the duality of raising an autistic child and educator gives me a very unique experience, one that I value and am unbelievably grateful for.
This means that you have someone with expertise being shared from actual experience creating an inclusive early learning program who has literally felt the impacts of behaviour and found a beautiful path to not only understanding individual needs but also creating an environment filled with curiosity and wonder that the children and myself thrived and continue to grow in.
Joshua is my biggest teacher, to see the world differently, to go against the grain...and have tons of fun along the way.
Yes, we've had many challenging times and continue to do so BUT we've learned so much about his needs and embracing him for who he is.
When we accommodated to him instead of trying to have him accommodate to us is when we all found ways to live and thrive.
I know you might be in the thick of it and in survival mode (I feel you) but I want to assure you that you will figure it out and you don't have to do it alone...cause I'm here alongside with you!
You've got precious time and energy and my role is to not waste it with boring, theory heavy workshops that leave you confused.
My secret sauce is being able to captivate you with inspiring and practical ideas that are tied to child development that actually help you right now.
Veronica's insight and innovative ideas regarding supports for children with sensory needs gave me so much new perspective and inspiration to bring back to my own classroom and teaching practice. Veronica’s passion for early learning radiates and I find I’m often referencing resources and ideas she’s shared with me each day in my own work.
Inside you'll find a toolkit filled with instant & fresh ideas of hands-on-learning that will take the guesswork & stress out of using loose parts, planning and understanding behaviours.
Find out when the next live workshop is happening. But never miss out cause you can find access to the replays here too! Your professional learning won't always match my schedule, but it should align with your energy and time.
Here to help you simplify planning, understand behaviours & build strong relationships...all with the magic of loose parts!
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