In launching my business, I have had the opportunity to connect with some of the incredible minds making waves in ECE right now. Through the power of social media, I had the opportunity to connect with Carla Ward, owner and founder of Early Learning Foundations last week. Carla is an RECE and Certified Wonder Based Educator. She's been an ECE for 15 years and spent many years teaching kindergarten. Last year she left teaching full time to run her business based out of the GTA and soon to be virtual! Early Learning Foundations offers workshops, tutoring, e-commerce and conferences supporting ECEs. "I work with ECE's as advocates, inspiring and igniting passion. I enjoy working with ECE's that are burnt out or looking to leave the field." "My why behind starting Early Learning Foundations is that I found that there are two kinds of ECE's- those who love working with kids and that's where it ends and there are those that love kids and want to support their development. I want to inspire more understanding of child development with those who like being with children and I want to support those who are there to support their development." R:" Can you speak to the challenges you faced and how you overcame them?" C:" I've always worked two jobs, it's a struggle when you need two sources of income. While in the field I found working with an awesome team and having great communication helped. I've been both an educator and a supervisor, so that communication piece is important. Setting boundaries, not responding to emails on Saturday and ensuring we schedule time for ourselves is important." C:" Now, it's a lot harder when you work for yourself and enjoy what you do. For me, it's fun planning out a course or a workshop. So it's about finding balance. I set office hours for myself - I will work from X to X and when that time is done, it's family time. R:" Do you have any advice for new educators or those who have in the field a while?" C:" For new educators, ask questions, ask questions, ask questions! Do not accept things as they've always been done. It's okay to be outside the box and introduce new ideas." We want new educators to learn but we love working with new educators because they come with new ideas. Especially when you've been in the field for 15 years- I loved working with new educators because hands-on, open-ended play is what they're trained in. For educators that have been in the field a while- take professional development that is way outside your comfort zone. Because we have been in the field for so long, we go to these workshops that are an introduction to something that we already know. It's taking workshops like mindfulness or business. That's who I got started with all of this- I started with taking a business course because I wanted to promote my program. And for all ECE's- I think we need to be louder and prouder of our profession. I think every ECE should have a social media account for their positions and take pictures of lesson plans or if you spent all day Saturday laminating. We're working so hard to get professional pay- we know we deserve it. But because we're there for the kids we're not bragging or showing off what we're doing. We don't have to post pictures of our students but if we put a picture of a provocation or something the kids built out of blocks- we need to make a bigger deal of it. Play also isn't getting the respect it deserves. We want Early Childhood Education to be the most respected profession." On May 23rd at 10 am, Carla is hosting a 90-minute workshop where participants will learn the importance of language and literacy in early years programs, different methods of storytelling and how to include literacy in play. Carla can be found on social media as ELFoundations.