Strive had the extraordinary honour of sharing Erika Murray’s impact story at our last Strive Committee meeting on Friday June 8, 2018. Erika had recently attended two of Strive’s professional learning opportunities – ‘Wee’ Wonder: Exploration of Everyday Materials for Infants and Continuous Professional Learning: Coffee and Conversations. It was evident that Erika has a passion for the early years and growing her practice to best support the children and families in her care. At the second event, Erika shared the story below and we immediately asked her if she would be willing to share with the larger community.
My name is Erika Murray and I am a Registered Early Childhood Educator in the Infant Room at Little Lambs Daycare in Strathroy. I would like to share with you how Strive has impacted my professional growth and development and helped to enrich the relationships with our families and involve our families with our program.
I’ve been fascinated with the concept of loose parts and open-ended materials for a few years now and decided that researching loose parts would be an achievable goal for my CPL portfolio. The concept of loose parts and how they would integrate into meaningful play with infants, while being developmentally appropriate, was what I set out to research.
After attending the “Wee Wonders” workshop, it triggered my memory about the concept of heuristic play that is mentioned in the book Loose Parts 2: Inspiring Play with Infants and
Toddlers and it shifted my focus to that concept of conceptual learning and heuristic play. I had purchased the book as a means of research and development shortly after beginning to work with infants but had put it on the back burner. After some reflective thinking Tuesday night and through conversations with my colleagues, I decided to shift my research goal for my CPL portfolio to the idea of heuristic play for all age groups.
The “Wee Wonders” workshop sparked the fire for both myself and my teammate Alysha. We arrived to work the next day eager to put our learning into practice. Alysha had taken her starter kit from Jenn & Ally and filled it with items to begin our own treasure box! As we started collaborating ideas, we drafted up a newsletter for our families. We asked if they could help us develop a strong loose part supply by donating items to the centre. In the newsletter, we gave a list of example items we were looking for. We also decided to ask our Director Cristina if we could make a Loose Parts Drop Box in a central location in our facility that parents could leave their donations. So Cristina emailed our families the newsletter and within a few hours we received emails back inquiring about the items we were looking for. It was great to hear that our families were excited to help enrich our environment.
I personally and professionally would like to thank Strive for making opportunities for professional development in our community. I’m really excited to continue my professional growth as I move forward and can’t wait to see what the fall calendar will bring! Thank you so much for being such inspiring leaders in our community!
Erika Murray, RECE
We want to thank Erika for sharing her wonderful story and look forward to hearing how her professional growth continues to impact the children in her care.