Q: In Early Childhood Workshops that Work!, you present how to create effective workshops and training seminars. What is the most important advice you can give to educators who want to become better trainers?
Evaluate your work regularly. Always striving to improve is the best advice I can give. Read the evaluation sheets so you know what trainees liked—or didn’t and what they considered most important. Analyze pre- and post-tests for what was learned or what was misunderstood. Reflect on how smoothly the session went, or even use videos of yourself are ways to help you become better.
Q: Your career in education has spanned more than 30 years. How has training changed since you first became an educator? What challenges to educators face today that may have not been a factor earlier in your career?
My own training has come a long way. When I first began, I thought that I could just “tell them a lot about what I know” and that process would make a difference. Now, we’re looking at the big picture of professional development and life-long learning. It’s not enough to learn to do a job well. The job requirements change or we become aware of new research or program standards and thus new skills are required. Technology, too, is rapidly changing what one needs to know and be able to do. So everyone needs to be a part of a true community of learners.
Q: You were chosen by the Shreveport Chamber Commerce as one of “One Hundred Women of the Century.” What does that honor mean to you?
I am awed and humbled by the award and most grateful for receiving it. There is a wall at the chamber office with our names—and when I pass it, I have a sense of pride that the community recognizes the importance of a career working with or for young children.
Q: You wrote an article for Early Childhood News called “Maximizing Outdoor Play: Moving Interest Centers Outdoors.” Are children in danger of not getting enough time to play outdoors? Why is outdoor play important for young children?
Certainly they are! The days of going outside every day after school and spending all day Saturday in vacant lots, parks, or front yards are long gone. We are now hearing more about the need for children to connect with nature and the benefits our earth provides as well the need for unstructured time with others for social development. And then there are the concerns about obesity and fitness resulting from lack of exercise. Outdoor play does it all—exercise, connecting with nature, and the freedom to be a child in social interactions with other children.