Wednesday Jul 19, 2023

Transforming Early Childhood Education: Empowering Educators and Young Learners with Ellen Drolette

Who’s Inspiring Impacts today? Ellen Drolette! Ellen Drolette is an appreciative educator and expert on early childhood education. Tune in as Ellen speaks with host Dr. Lindsey Godwin about the transformative impacts Appreciative Inquiry has on the mindsets and behaviors of early childhood teachers and students.

Ellen breaks down how Appreciative Inquiry can help educators reframe and change negative behaviors and perspectives, from kids’ biting habits to the dread you feel about Mondays. She emphasizes the power of using AI to dismantle and avoid negative self-fulfilling prophecies and even improve your interactions with co-teachers and parents.

Ellen Drolette is a certified Appreciative Inquiry practitioner and has found innovative ways to work AI into the practices of early childhood education. She earned her certificate at Champlain College under the direction of Dr. Lindsey Godwin. Ellen brings nearly 30 years of experience to the early childhood field. Her enthusiasm and passion for working with young children and families are as enormous as her passion for working with early childhood teachers, directors, mentors, administrators, and the entire team of early childhood educators. Ellen’s first book, Overcoming Teacher Burnout in Early Childhood: Strategies for Change, was published in 2018 by Redleaf Press and focuses on how early childhood professionals can battle burnout and low morale in the workplace.

Episode Highlights:

  • How Appreciative Inquiry guides her through difficult moments as an educator.
  • Ways to integrate Appreciative Inquiry in early childhood education + examples of AI questions to ask young students.
  • How to use Appreciative Inquiry at parent-teacher conferences.
  • Understanding, reframing, and correcting children’s behaviors, like biting, with Appreciative Inquiry.
  • How to stop dreading Mondays.
  • How to work more effectively with your co-teacher.

Resources Mentioned:

National Association for the Education of Young Children:

The Joy of Appreciative Living by Jacqueline Bascobert Kelm:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dwek: 

Research on Growth Mindset:

A summary of Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions: 

Summary of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and the Pygmalion Effect:

Inspiring Quotes:

“Once you learn about Appreciative Inquiry, you can implement it so deeply in all of the different places of your life.”

“I realized in that moment, it had nothing to do with the children. It had everything to do with me and my attitude and how I was showing up for that day… That really was very impactful for me.”

“If you know your co-teacher’s not a morning person, don’t try to engage with them in the morning, but also, recognizing what is going well with that teacher… that can go a long way... when you say that you appreciate the way someone did something, it’s so powerful.”

What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry, sometimes referred to as “the other AI”, is one of the best kept secrets behind meaningful and lasting change at organizations. The AI approach is strength-based, meaning it focuses on identifying and leveraging successes to solve problems, rather than focusing on trying to fix individual failures.

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