Titling this collection of opinion pieces Outside angle doesn’t mean that they are about including geometry in the curriculum or positioning equipment to optimise learning in outdoor environments!
I enjoyed writing the 99 (yes, 99) What do you think? pieces for ECA’s NQS Professional Learning Program. I liked the freedom to choose topics and content. I aimed use that freedom to raise difficult questions, be controversial at times and provoke strong reactions. I wanted to prompt questioning by readers through offering my thoughts and questions.
My idea was that offering an unusual, uncommon or unpopular perspective about an issue or topic might encourage others to do the same. Significant and transforming learning occurs when we question and open ourselves up to ideas that may at first seem outrageous or that contradict strongly held beliefs.
The aims for this collection are the same as those for the What do you think? pieces. Two obvious changes, in addition to the title, are that they are briefer and that, although there will be links to the content, they don’t include a list of relevant Elements from the National Quality Standard or parts of the Early Years Learning Framework. An additional, less obvious, change is that I will try harder to ensure that the pieces are relevant to all service types, including outside school hours and vacation care services. That shouldn’t be hard— after all, we have (at least for now!) Frameworks that are very similar for services for school-age children and children under school age, and a National Quality Standard that applies to all service types. However, it’s easy for those of us whose work focuses mostly on services for children under school age to overlook outside school hours and vacation care.
So, why the title? Outside is about recognising that I am outside your service or workplace—I don’t know the context in which you work, or, if you work in a service, the children and families with whom you collaborate. Each reader has to figure out if and how my words fit their practice. The other connotation of the term outside is my aim to bring to these pieces some ‘outside-the-box-or-square’ thinking in order to encourage readers to think that way. The word angle of course refers to my position or approach to the topic.
A notice appeared last year in the entrance to the building where I live reminding tenants to ensure that both the security doors are closed behind them. The final sentence was ‘We don’t want people wondering through the building’. In education and care services, we do want people wondering through the building, sharing their ‘wonderings’ and taking action to make a positive difference for children.
What are some examples of constructive ‘outside-the-box-or-square’ thinking and actions at your service that brought about positive change?
How does your workplace encourage sharing perspectives and ideas?
How can creative thinking be encouraged further?