Tracey Webster is an RECE and Professional Learning Consultant for Affiliated Services for Children and Youth (ASCY) in Hamilton. She sat down with the College to discuss her own Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) journey and why she feels CPL matters so much to the success of RECEs.
According to Tracey, it’s a lot more than just ticking off boxes to reach a goal. CPL is about being more intentional and reflective about professional learning as an Early Childhood Educator.
1. Collaboration is paramount
Discussion with other RECEs can help you determine your professional learning goals and activities. Through collaboration with peers, Tracey was able to determine that communication was something she wanted to focus on.
“I have found being able to reflect with others about professional practice and the CPL process has been valuable and creates a sense of community with others,” she says. “[Through this reflection], I started a CPL Facebook group to reach a broader community as a professional learning activity.”
2. Goal-setting is one of the most important parts of the process
Goals that RECEs set through the CPL process represent a road map to future self-directed learning and growth. Tracey found goal-setting to be one of the most important, and difficult, parts of the CPL process – but doing this important step also led to realizations about her own practice.
“One of my own goals was to support other RECEs with the CPL process,” Tracey says. “I noticed that many misconceptions about the CPL process existed and I felt a sense of responsibility, both personally and professionally, to respond.”
3. Portfolios show you where you have been – and where you want to go
Tracey believes RECEs need portfolios because they allow us to reflect on where we are now and provide direction for future professional development.
“A portfolio is the documentation of the educator’s learning and development,” she reflects. “Over time, it will show the depth and breadth of the RECE’s interests and growth. I love having a professional portfolio because it shows my approach to learning and demonstrates how I’ve incorporated these learnings into my practice.”
A CPL portfolio can be kept electronically, or on paper. Check out these portfolio examples for ideas on how to structure yours.