There is one very simple way to set up every child, caregiver, and Early Childhood Educator for success, and according to Ana Cassidy, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LANGUAGE.
Ana Cassidy, Owner of Neverland Children’s Centre in Ladner, British Columbia, has a very unique approach to the way she teaches and guides young children. According to Ana, It’s All About The Language. This is the title of her online training program that’s based on 20+ years of experience in practicing some tried-and-true communication techniques. One’s that Ana claim are her answers to so many questions childcare workers, caregivers, and Early Learning Educators have about the results they are seeking when guiding young children. “Showing, Not Telling, is how I approach all of this,” Ana explains. “I offer hands-on training and personal coaching. Picking this up is easier than you might think. That’s because of the way I present it, ” Ana offers. The goal for all who participate – whether it be through an online course, workshop, or on-site coaching – is to come out learning new tools that can be applied to everyday scenarios that may likely arise in your classroom. The best part is that Ana can offer this for such a small investment in your time and money. “For just $10.00, anyone looking to gain some extra professional development credit hours, while at the same time learning helpful new communication techniques to apply on-the-job, will likely find both here,” offers Ana. These were Ana’s primary goals when developing this training series. “The uniqueness in my program is the way I back up everything I say and teach with video samples taken of me using this very language in my very own classroom. Each video begins with a challenge – one that could likely be encountered by a fellow Early Childhood Educator on any given day. The value comes from the results I have at the end of each video – the same ones I am wanting you to have after you learn this method of communicating with children.” It’s what Ana can show you that will stick with you. Predictable success – EACH AND EVERY TIME. “It’s pretty simple actually,” Ana explains, “All I do to achieve this is commit to the language I use. I remain consistent each and every time I speak to the children, selecting my words carefully, and with intention. You’ll see when you watch the videos. It’s kind of magical,” Ana smiles. “These videos are more valuable than anything I could ever write or say because you are getting to witness my techniques, step-by-step, and see the success unfold.”
There is a catch though, Ana pauses then continues, “ Intellectually, I can teach practically anyone to master these language techniques. That part is not hard. After you learn it, you need to apply it in the classroom, which requires practice on your part. If it doesn’t feel natural to you at first, rewatch the videos – they are your ticket to success! The level of commitment required by any caretaker to guide young children to communicate effectively and to even problem solve on their own, it’s tremendous. What I’ve done here is lighten this burden by simplifying it. I promise, if you watch the videos and go through the program, you will get it, and it will work for you in any setting – at home or in the classroom – and with any child.” Ana pauses, then continues. “I want this level of success for all of my children, and staff, of course. I believe this program sets up everyone for success, and what could be more positive than that!”, Ana beams. What you will gain after completing even the first course in this 10 part series, is confidence. Confidence that you can handle any situation that is thrown at you. “Whether you are a caretaker in your own home, or you find yourself working in a busy classroom, one thing I can promise you is you will have challenges thrown at you daily if not hourly, from these youngsters who require so much guidance. What I have to offer is a new language that will equip you with tools for any scenario that comes up,” Ana assures. Each of her short courses covers various themes you might encounter. “The best part is each module also amounts to 2.5 credit hours for ECE Educators!,” Ana explains. Themes range from – Workshop 1: Understanding Context, Workshop 2: Being Approachable, Workshop 3: Creating Attachment, Workshop 4: Helping Them Find Their Words, Workshop 5: Choice Or No-Choice Situation, Chapter 6: The Art Of Redirecting, Chapter 7: Setting Expectations, Chapter 8: Setting Up The Environment, Chapter 9: What Do You Think?, Chapter 10: Transitions.
My passion for creating a bridge between teachers, caregivers, and children towards Social-Emotional Health is what drives me. And once caretaker and child both take that next step and cross this bridge, a whole new world of communication opens up and awaits them on the other side. The reward is amazing. Ana Cassidy
PRACTICING WHAT SHE PREACHES
If you ever have a conversation with Ana about the well being of young children and how to affectively guide and educate them to make decisions and do things for themselves, you’ll certainly receive a very clear picture of her beliefs. This is because when it comes to Ana, everything about her viewpoint is constant. She is crystal clear about her ideas and ideals and there’s no mistaking where they come from: her heart. For Ana, the real test to her commitment is in her actions. “Yes, I do practice what I preach every moment that I am working with children and it never feels like an effort to do this,” Ana reflects.
“I don’t have to work at this as it’s just so obvious to me”, Ana offers, “It’s obvious because it feels right and more importantly, it creates positive results each and every time with the children, and what’s more important than that?”
“The passion that I have I can’t explain. It’s not something I think about, it’s just there. I just know that what I’m doing is exactly what I was meant to do. I know that for a fact, without any doubt,” Ana pauses with a smile as she reflects, then continues, “My passion for teaching children, parents and young educators about Social-Emotional Health is what drives me.” Ana is a strong believer that children are much better off to solve their own problems. According to Ana, “It’s all about teaching them how to problem solve which in turn, builds self esteem. All the things that we leave out as educators, and even parents too. These are the important things that we seem to overlook when it comes to guiding our children.” Ana continues, “We tend to solve everything for our children, thinking that’s just what we do as parents.
Our job is to protect them. Sometimes it’s overprotecting and we’re doing more damage than good without even realizing it.
Anna goes on to explain even further that, “Sometimes we do this as educators as well.” This is why at Neverland, Ana offers extensive training so her staff members can work together as a team using the same philosophy, practices, and even, a very specific ‘language’. When I asked Ana to explain this special language that her staff have adopted, she goes on to tell me that she teaches them to always focus on the positive and not the negative. This begins with Ana initially investing in making sure each Early Childhood Educator learns how to always focus on phrasing questions, answers, and any other communication shared with the children, in a very positive, proactive tone. “The way I want my staff to communicate with the children at Neverland is with the intent to always help them figure out what they should be doing and not what they shouldn’t be doing.” Ana pauses then continues, “Every child has the ability to find solutions to their problems and as Early Childhood Educators, it’s our job to help them find them and further, to be able to express their ideas and feelings to us and also, to their peers. Sure, this is more work and requires a greater commitment on the part of the educator, but it’s also far more rewarding in the end.” As part of the training process at Neverland Children’s Centre, everyone from the full time Early Childhood Educators to the Special Needs Educators and After School Care Workers spend time learning Ana’s language which comes while working alongside her. Here is where Ana shines as she happily jumps in and demonstrates the effectiveness of this language by modelling how to use it with the children in her own classrooms. In addition to her permanent staff in her daycare/extended preschool program, the staff in her School Aged Program are also seeing the value in this training.
When asked what she is most proud of, Ana answers that she never gives up on any child.
Ana has touched a lot of people with her philosophy. On any given day, you will often see many staff members and even parents, poke their heads into her office to seek some advice. This has led Ana to consider other ways she can share her communication tools with those in the Early Childhood Education field, and parents of children and youth. As Manager of the School Aged Program at Neverland, Kourtenay Cuthbert, has a lot of insight into how Ana’s language works for her staff. Since Kourtenay has been a part of the Neverland team for eight years and is considered a valuable senior staff member to Ana. She describes her experiences of adopting Ana’s language here. “When I first started working at Neverland, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pick up all this language I needed to use with the children. It was very tricky and took awhile and was like learning an entire new way of talking to children. At first I couldn’t get my head around never saying ‘No’ and having to always come up with ways to redirect and focus on what they can do. It’s hard to do on the spot like that. But now, I finally have it down and even use it on a daily basis in my second job, as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Surrey School District! I love it and see how the children respond to it.” Kourtenay pauses, then continues, “Now when I see a parent focus on the negative when they speak with their children, I have a really hard time not intervening and offering a more effective way to get the results they would like.”
“We had another student graduate from teacher’s training the year before, and she came back to spend the summer working with us. It was wonderful to have her return with her first year of teaching experience behind her. What I was most proud of was that she was still using her language after being away for most of the year,” Ana beams. When asked what she is most proud of, Ana answers that she never gives up on any child. Now I see a whole new level of passion in Ana as the expression in her eyes deepens. “When caring for typical children, I consider that most behaviour is learnt. The exciting thing about this is that this means it can also be relearnt. When children see the positive results to behaving differently, it’s a strong motivator for future behavioural choices. So when a child is misbehaving, it’s an opportunity for us educators to help that child rethink their choices and come up with better ones for themselves. As a result, that child is also teaching the other children what the new outcome can be. It’s a win-win teaching method for everyone.
This is a ten part series which each individual workshop being worth 2.5 hours of professional development credits. Ana is also available for small workshops and on-site training in your childcare centre located within the Greater Vancouver Region. Feel free to contact Ana directly here to learn more about how she can tailor a plan to meet your individual needs.
Look out for Ana’s advice column starting right here next month, called Ask Teacher Ana. It will offer all sorts of wonderful advice about these techniques – and most importantly, weekly videos!!! Feel free to write in to her if you have specific questions or advice you would like to request she consider covering in her monthly column – she welcomes your suggestions!
If you would like to contact Ana about any of her programs, please complete the following form and she will get back to you shortly.