Hello, my name is Kim and I am the founding director of Spark ECE Consultancy.
“Why is professional development important for teachers?" Learning doesn’t end when we obtain a degree, diploma or certificate and enter the world of work; it is an ongoing process of continuous self-improvement and exploration of the world around us. As an educator we are committed to lifelong learning as this is a core aspect of being a teacher and a characteristic that is intrinsic to many of us. Education is a field that is constantly changing and evolving in response to the changing needs of children, families and our communities. No matter how long you’ve been a teacher, there is always an opportunity to hone your craft and become more effective at what you do. Professional development allows teachers to expand their skills and knowledge and grow as educators. It is a way to become a better teacher, advance your career, better understand the children and families you work with, and challenge yourself in and out of the classroom.
My journey as a teacher started later in life, I left school at 15, was a mother at 19 years old, then wife and stepmother, I worked full-time always trying hard to get ahead. Life can be funny and take you by surprise, the people you meet can often change the road you are on. Suddenly I found myself contemplating life as I knew it and took a gigantic leap into the unknown depths of education. This is where I found my passion of learning and developing myself as a person and professional. I continue to study for the love of learning and the joy it brings me.
My professional background includes a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood, Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Management and a Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching, Endorsed in Early Intervention and Master of Education in Early Childhood Intervention (studying towards).
I have actively engaged in developing my own professional practice and knowledge through my passion for learning and reflection. My love of working within a coaching and mentoring model of practice lead me down the path of working with an incredible team of like minded professionals within the, 'Ministry of Education in New Zealand, during my time there I had the most amazing opportunities to work alongside, Psychologists, Speech and Occupational Therapists and experienced Early Intervention Teachers.
My family and I made the decision to move to Australia after the ongoing trauma of earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ. I went back to teaching and discovered that there was a significant need for professional support and guidance within the sector. Once again I found myself being pulled to take on the role of mentor and coach and was on another journey as a Team Leader for the– Pathways to Early Learning and Development Program, I then went on a joint adventure to start a business so that I could continue my passion for supporting the significant adults of children with developmental delays and disabilities.
Spark Early Childhood Education Consultancy was brought into fruition due to my current work in supporting families and educators of children with a diverse range of needs. I feel very fortunate and privileged to be able to walk alongside, supporting the growth and development of the significant adults in the lives of children, and continue to learn from these ongoing experiences.
My experiences and professional development journey continue to influence my practices with the many hats I wear, as an early childhood teacher, mentor, coach and leader in providing inclusive environments for all children, families and educators.
When we begin our journey in education we are influenced by a variety of theories of child development. These are a set of ideas that help us describe in an organised way how we view the behaviour and development of children. As an educator I draw on these theories and reflect what it means in practice, as this continually informs my practice when working with children and families.
The theoretical and philosophical foundations of my teaching include working from a strengths-based model, my practice has been informed by theorists such as Bandura’s theory of the triadic reciprocal causation which suggests that the child’s personal factors, behaviours and the environment have an equal influence on the developing child. Vygotsky and Bronfenbrenner’s socio-cultural and ecological models are deeply embedded in my philosophy as it is important for to me to see the whole child; this also means the family and wider community.
My whakatauki from my mihi ‘Whaangai ka tupu ka puawai – 'That which is nurtured blossoms and grows’ embellishes my belief that relationships are the key factor in developing children so that they can grow into confident competent individuals. My orientation and approach have not only been formed by Bandura, Vygotsky and Bronfenbrenner but of the Reggio Emilia approach which looks at inquiry-based learning where different cultures, values, opinions are welcomed and embraced as enriching our society and understanding of diversity.
As a teacher, early intervention specialist and early childhood consultant I recognise that I need to look through multiple lenses to have a positive view on learning and development for individual children, families and the educators that I work alongside to develop a love for continuing professional growth and development.