Over two days, leaders from across the Guardian network gathered in Melbourne for the annual conference, Inspire.Aspire.2023. Annual conferences like Inspire.Aspire.2023 provide a unique platform for early childhood educators to enhance their professional skills.
Following a Welcome from CEO Warren Bright on Day 1, the ice was broken by teams competing to make the best guacamole! This activity showcased the importance of sharing a vision to create a premium experience for families. A discussion was also focussed on leadership, where attendees were asked what they aspired to or wanted to be remembered for, including what attendees thought made an inspirational leader. He highlighted the difference between doing a job well with aspiring to inspire, where a person inspired their team and was able to impact thousands of children’s lives.
Inspire: to fill someone with confidence and desire to do something
Aspire: to want something very much or hope to achieve something or be successful
In one interesting exercise, AI tool ChatGPT was asked what describes an inspirational leader and how an ordinary person can be an inspirational leader. The key theme that emerged was that leaders who show kindness foster a positive and productive work environment. Kindness and gratitude go a long way in recognising a team’s efforts and motivating them to continue to excel. In other words, through kindness, ordinary people can be inspirational leaders.
On day two of the conference, attention was turned to high-quality teaching practice. The Quality Leadership Council asked attendees to consider “What if our image of child and team were the same?” Guest speaker Rachael Robertson gave an inspiring keynote ‘Leading on the Edge’, covering leadership insights from her year-long experience in Antarctica.
Our Coopers Plains Centre presented their cultural inclusivity journey, including training in Cultural Insights and the Koori Curriculum, and embedding these in their daily practice. High energy was on display in the afternoon’s team-bonding African Tribal Drumming session!
It was an enriching two days; each Centre Leader has had their cup filled with sharing best practices and stories of leadership.
The Conference also featured the highly anticipated Aspires Awards, a showcase of talent and passion from across the network. The 2023 Aspires Centre Team of the Year Award went to Kinfolk Albury in NSW (North region) and Truganina in VIC (South region). Both Centres live a commitment to continuous improvement and each day demonstrate how they are positive, brave, thoughtful, and professional.
For the second year running, our Conference was a vibrant hub for knowledge exchange, where educators can learn about the newest trends, methodologies, and technologies in early education. They provide opportunities to connect with other people in the network, fostering collaborative relationships and a sense of community. Additionally, exposure to a diverse range of ideas and perspectives will no doubt spark innovation, inspire creative solutions, and encourage continual growth and development in a field that truly makes a positive impact on thousands of lives each day.
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