This was originally published back in 2020.
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Georgi and Cathy have completed their Post Graduate Certificates in Positive Education this year, with thanks to sponsorship from Where There’s a Will. This means we now have three staff trained at a post graduate level in Positive Education on our staff. They have both learned so much and actioned so many wonderful progressions in our practices at The Yellow Cottage. Cathy focused on creating a music and drama program that taught strengths. Each week she chooses a strength and then puts together incredible music and drama activities for us to use in our afternoon group times. We have found this such a great addition to our program each day and the children look forward to exploring different strengths each week. Some of our favourites have been Bravery and learning ‘The Courage Song’. We have explored forgiveness playing ‘Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar!’ and ‘Doggie, Doggie where is my bone someone stole it from my home!’. We have learned how to be good leaders by taking on different, fun leadership challenges. Every week is different and brings a new lot of fun resources. We are very grateful to Cathy for her passion in this area.

Georgi has had a different focus and she has guided us as a team with the ‘Five Ways of Wellbeing’. As our Educational Leader, she has led us with regards to our everyday practice at TYC – she has drawn our attention to the element of “Taking Notice”; she has scaffolded our thinking and asked us to insure we are engaging with this element of The Five Ways to Wellbeing when we are capturing meaningful documentation.

Lea Waters refers to the importance of being mindful of where children are at, how can we help them to feel good and to function well. This is where we can apply the element of Take Notice to ensure we are noticing, and we are aware of the children’s state of wellbeing and how we can support this. Georgi has guided us as to how the strengths-based approach encourages us to focus on the children’s strengths, to provide children with tools of optimism and resilience, and to help them to play to their strengths; this is where we can continue to take notice of the strengths the children use, do they overplay / underplay their strengths. How can we support the use and understanding of their strengths to be providing them with the skills to feel good and to function well?

Georgi has also encouraged us as educators to consider the second element of The Five Ways to Wellbeing this is “Be active”. She asked us to consider our teaching practices and encouraged everyone to be actively engaged with the children and to actively listen to the children. She reminded us that listening can be a challenge, that it can be hard work to really listen, to know what it is the children are telling us. Listening is the basis of any learning relationship; the heart of our play-based learning is generated by listening to the children and valuing their interests and questions. These reflections of practice have been embraced by the staff and have made such a difference to the quality of the interactions that we have daily with the children at The Yellow Cottage.